It’s hard to be a runner and not try to stick with a diet at the same time. The two are entwined in our society, where it’s typical for those who run on regular basis to want to eat like one, too. But there are some mistakes runners make when trying to lose weight that can actually backfire. Here are 7 weight-loss mistakes runners make, so you can avoid them:
Not Doing It for Long Enough
The majority of people who try to lose weight don’t stick with it for long enough. According to a recent Gallup survey, only 8% of those who start a diet will still be on it after a year. So if you want to lose weight, you need to make sure that losing weight is your goal and not just something else you’re going to do until something better comes along. That way, when the going gets tough and temptations are everywhere, your commitment will carry you through.
Not Understanding the Difference between Fat, Muscle and Water Weight
One of the most misunderstood fat-loss principles is that of water weight. When you start a diet and begin to lose weight, you will always lose some water weight at first. That’s because your body is fully hydrated before you begin and as you start cutting calories or restricting food intake, your body will flush out the excess fluid in order to accommodate the new, lower intake level.
So don’t be alarmed when you begin to lose weight, thinking that it’s all fat. You could actually be losing as much as 5 pounds of water weight within the first week of dieting.
Going Too Low
The next mistake is going too low with your calorie intake. When you’re running a lot and are trying to cut calories, you might start out at 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. But once you start losing weight, you might assume that cutting calories further will help you lose even more weight. However, one of the main reasons so many runners stop being able to lose weight is because they go too low in their calorie intake and end up in a starvation mode. This leads to a decrease in the amount of energy burned throughout the day.
Not Paying Attention to Portion Control
One thing that can easily sneak up on you is portion control. If you cut back on portions, you might end up with a “hollow” feeling because your body is not getting the full amount of food it needs. For example, if you normally eat a slice of pizza for lunch and now only eat half of that slice, when the pizza is gone (which inevitably happens) you’ll feel that you’re still hungry.
Likewise, if your normal breakfast is two slices of toast and now you only get one slice, you could end up getting hungry mid-morning. That’s because portion control is important and you need to keep your portions controlled or else you could be missing out on the nutrients your body needs to function efficiently, not just to lose weight.
Not Using Food Choices Wisely
If you’re a runner and are trying to lose weight, one thing that can help is making sure to select the right foods for weight loss. Instead of having a bowl of ice cream every night before bed, eat some yogurt instead. If you only drink a certain kind of coffee, make sure to get a different one. Instead of eating burgers just because it’s on the menu, you should try to stick with leaner alternatives like chicken or fish. Having healthy foods available at all times, no matter what time of day you eat your meal can be helpful for those trying to lose weight.
Not Having a Plan
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s tough to know how much food you should be eating and how many calories that is. If you don’t plan ahead, then when hunger kicks in, your plan ends up getting thrown out the window. Instead of just eating whenever hunger hits, try to avoid getting in this situation altogether by taking the time to plan ahead. Create a meal schedule that takes into account not only food selection but also meal size and timing. Moreover, create a schedule of your workouts and figure out how long you’re going to workout for (in case you were wondering, one of the best weight loss plans for runners is a tempo run.)
Running can be a great way to lose weight. But if you want to avoid falling into any of these traps, make sure that running is only one part of your plan and that losing weight isn’t just the next thing on your agenda. With a little willpower and drive, running can help you burn off the weight that you want to lose, but if you make sure to avoid these 7 weight-loss mistakes runners often make, this could be the year that you finally reach your weight-loss goals.