Several years ago, I decided ‘I’m going to start running to lose weight’.
Most evenings I’d part run/part walk the 6km path around the river, I couldn’t yet run the entire 6kms. I continued this habit for several months, eagerly anticipating transformation.
Did I lose weight? No. I was fitter and now able to run the entire 6km. However, I was frustrated at not losing weight, which was my main goal, so I gave up.
Why didn’t I lose weight? I now realise that after running I ate more because I felt like ‘I earned it’.
Looking back now I can easily see what went wrong. If I wanted to lose weight I needed to:
But what I was doing was:
Have you ever heard ‘You can’t out-exercise a bad diet’? Well, it’s true.
I even thought I might have had a slow metabolism, so I went to see a doctor. But no, I was just consuming too many calories for weight loss.
Since then I have fixed my diet. When I say I fixed, I don’t mean that I dieted, I just changed my dietary habits to better ones that I could maintain long term.
I now eat a mainly wholefoods diet of protein, vegetables and healthy fats with less take away, packaged and sweetened foods. It keeps me feeling full, stifles sweet cravings and gives me all the nutrients I need for a high energy level.
Back then, I also didn’t realise that running with excess weight was adding stress to my joints. Several knee operations later I understand that resistance (strength) training helps me be both a better runner by increasing joint support AND aids weight loss by increasing the size of my engine (metabolism).
As our lean muscle mass starts declining in our late 20s or early 30s so does our need for energy. Yet, I was snacking more than ever. It was no surprise I didn't lose weight.
The takeaway message is this: You can’t outrun a crappy diet. Want to lose weight? Eat a bit better and move a bit more – consistently. If that’s too hard, get support and enjoy the journey.
Coach Ange Gawthorne