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In some respects, weight loss and running go hand in hand – running is a great way to lose weight and the lighter you are the more efficient runner you become.
I’m often asked about the best ways to lose weight. Naturally I recommend exercise; specifically weight training and interval-based cardio, in combination with a healthy eating plan. There’s lots of anecdotal evidence out there as to the additional things people can do to make weight loss more effective. This advice ranges from the sensible to the sublime, and in some cases these hints and tips can actually do more harm than good.
I recently came across an article that had examined the most beneficial means of boosting weight loss. The article appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, so had the advantage of being based on empirical research rather than anecdotal evidence. All participants followed a diet, or a diet and exercise plan, and the study examined a range of additional behaviours and their effects on weight loss.
1. Keep a food diary
The most beneficial way of boosting weight loss was to keep a food diary. As compared to those who did not, participants who used this practice lost an additional six pounds. A food diary allows you to record what you eat, helping to keep track of calories and making sure you stay within the daily guidelines. Equally important is the ability to record how you feel and what motivates you to eat. Understanding the emotional connection; the how and why you eat is key to losing weight.
The researchers gave the following tips for keeping a food diary:
Be honest – record everything you eat
Be accurate – measure portions, read labels
Be complete – include details such as how the food was prepared, and the addition of any toppings or condiments
Be consistent – always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smart phone
2. Don't skip meals
In addition to documenting the foods you eat, the study showed that eating at regular intervals and avoiding skipping meals was an effective weight loss strategy. Those who reported skipping meals lost eight fewer pounds than those who ate at regular intervals. ‘The mechanism is not completely clear, but we think that skipping meals or fasting might cause you to respond more favourably to high-calorie foods and therefore take in more calories overall,’ explains lead researcher Anne McTiernan. ‘We also think skipping meals might cluster together with other behaviours. For instance, the lack of time and effort spent on planning and preparing meals may lead a person to skip meals and/or eat out more.’
3. Eat out less often
The third key recommendation was to avoid eating out at restaurants, especially at lunch time. Those who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently. While regularly eating at restaurants will counter your weight loss efforts, eating out at lunch seems to have a greater effect than at breakfast or dinner. ‘Eating in restaurants usually means less individual control over ingredients and cooking methods, as well as larger portion sizes,’ explains McTiernan.
The results of the study are encouraging as the three simple recommendations; keeping a food diary, not skipping meals and avoid eating out less often, can enhance any weight loss efforts.
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Been trying to shift weight for years with no success- initial drops always went back on with more. Started running to train for a 1/2 marathon for charity and didn't lose any weight for a month or so although had expected to. Company my husband works for were developing a free Facebook style food diary app and so I helped out with some beta testing. It has been revolutionary for me. Made me really see how bad my eating habits had become and also meant I couldn't overlook the high sugar, high fat snacks I was having without really realising, you know, the two or three biscuits with a cup of tea, the chocolate bar from the petrol station, that sort of thing. So far I've lost 18 pounds in 9 weeks and obviously my blooming addiction to running has helped (now training for a marathon) but the biggest change has been my diet. My husband (not a runner) has managed to lose almost 2 stone. It isn't some magic solution, you have to be honest and work at it but the community side of it is what made the difference for us. People you friend see what you post so you find yourself thinking 'Do i really want to post this chocolate bar? Why not? Because maybe i shouldn't be having it.' and your app friends are there to encourage you. If you want to check it out it is called SlimCircle, soon to be renamed MyFoodCircle. There are some members of the development team you can friend to get you started or you could just get some of your real friends or husband etc to do it with you as your support team. There are also users on there not trying to lose weight but who just like sharing the interesting food they eat along with runners/weightlifters who are using it as a tool to track their diets to improve performance. Just to clarify this is a free app and my husband and I benefit in no way if people sign up. Just letting you know it's there basically!
Been running for 6 weeks now, training for a half marathon, 4 times a week been doing 10k and
One 45min spin class once a week, with 2 rest days, ive been eating around 1200callories a day
(probs less to be honest) and I've not lost a single pound !! Don't get me wrong I don't need to loose
Much but I was kinda hoping to shift half a stone before my holidays in 8 wks time. Can anyone give
Me any pointers ? It's making me doubt if it's worth the effort altho I feel great in myself I would like
To see the benefits on my waistline !! X x x x
If you are genuinely taking in that little then it is probably a case of being too little. I quote from Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald 'in many cases, the body responds to inadequate caloric intake during periods of heavy training not by shedding more and more weight but by reducing its metabolic rate and imposing fatigue during training to conserve weight.' you say you are taking in 1200 calories, is that before you've subtracted the 700kcals or so from your 10k runs? I know it sounds counter intuitive but try increasing your calories a little, in a healthy way, the body has an amazing way of protecting itself when you become highly restrictive with calories and you need to take it out of 'panic mode' and into fat burning, lean making mode!
No that's not subtracting my callories burnt from running so I probably have a whole lot less than 1200 cals a day ( appart from Saturday, I have treat night and probably far too many drinks which make up the callories I don't have in the week) I'm 5ft 2 and around 110lbs I've eaten the same for years, quite OCD about my diet and everything else in my life !! I just want to tone up cos altho I'm only little my belly is supper squishy and flabby, that's the part I want to sort out.
nicky yuen just wondering if you've tried doing any ab crunches. 100 every morning should help
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