Advice on weight loss..

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Please can someone advise me?

I'm overweight and in my 40s, love my age but hate my weight.

I started running in January because I'd volunteered to join a charity run in June.  I haven't run for over 20 years so took the couch to 5k route first and am just now starting the beginners 10k training.The good news is that in January I couldn't run more than a few hundred yards.  I can now run over 2 miles.

But - and there always is a but....

I automatically assumed that as long as I ate sensibly, I would lose weight.  I don't eat a lot of processed foods - the majority of my meals are home-made from scratch.  I do eat my full quota of fruit and veg each day and I eat a limited amount of carbs. Previously to lose weight, I had to cut out carbs completely for six months but I'm not happy to do this while I'm running as I fear it will do more harm than good.  I now drink the prescribed 2+ litres of water each day and have cut out a lot of the caffeine from my diet.

However, in the three months that I've been running, I've only lost 3lb.  I seem to lose some, then put it back on again, lose some more then put it back on etc.

Please, please can someone advise me as to what else i can do?  I'm not going to give up the running because I've committed to the charity run but my frustration levels are so high it can't be healthy.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.  Thank you :)

mumtheshopper mumtheshopper


I wish I knew the answer to this.  I was running 10k, outside and on treadmills 3 or 4 times a week whilst I put on my 2 stone.  I ate sensibly most of the time too.  Hitting 40 has meant, for me, that losing weight is completely impossible!!  It was hard before, and I've spent a lifetime trying, but now, impossible

macdaddy256 macdaddy256

Posted in reply to mumtheshopper

Know your personal weight maintenance calories (WMC), your food calorie intake (FC), and how many calories you've burned through exercise each day (EC).

Finish each day having used more calories than you have consumed ((WMC + EC) < FC), ensure a balanced diet with plenty of liquid, and DO NOT end a day in deficit by more than 1000 calories.

That's it. For every 3,500 calories you accumulate in deficit, you will lose about 1lb.

I used the MyNetDiary app to work all this out, keep track of my diet, and make sure it was balanced, but there's plenty of ways of doing that. Just be careful to accurately record absolutely everything. Calories can hide in some surprising places.

I lost nearly 5 1/2 stone in about 9 or 10 months.

GorillaMan GorillaMan


One thing to bear in mind is that running will have caused your leg muscles to develop and muscle weighs more than fat. So if you have lost 3 lbs you may have actually lost more than 3 lbs of fat but gained some muscle. Has your shape changed at all?

I do sympathise, as I am overweight myself and am losing weight at a similarly slow rate, despite the fact that I'm currently in the latter stages of training for a marathon! But everything I have read says that slow, steady, long-term weight loss is the way to go and will result in keeping the weight-off.

It's important not to have un-realistic expectations of running. Over time, when combined with a low-fat diet, it will help you to lose weight and become healthier - but think in terms of a year or two, rather than a few months. As you've probably noticed - people who lose weight quckly by doing extreme things always put it back on again - usually with interest.  

macdaddy256 macdaddy256

Posted in reply to GorillaMan

It's true - if you use very gradual weight loss it is possible to increase muscle mass. However, I tracked my own body analysis over a year and while I was losing weight reasonably quickly, I also lost muscle mass as well as fat (mass as opposed percentage, which is how most body analysis scales work). Most of the 'qualified' advice I read seemed to point to this as normal - muscle as well as fat being used up during weight-loss. As I slowed the weight lost, coming into a reasonable BMI, small increases in muscle mass became consistent - but only with very small changes in weight.

I don't include supplements, steroids or other such daftness in this.

I think one of the main reasons people put on weight after dieting is that they opt for a special diet with selective nutrition - wholly unnecessary unless you have a specific clinical need - rather than simply evolving their current diet towards something more balanced and controlled. Of course, evolving your diet does imply a more gradual weight loss anyway, so the two go together.

I stress, I'm not a nutritionist, an expert, or a doctor - just a reformed bucket of lard.

Mutley Mutley

Posted in reply to macdaddy256

I agree totally with mcdaddy :) I have lost a stone in 6 weeks, using this method, I'm female and 44 and it works. Its amazing where the hidden calories lurk, the only way is to track your calorie intake via a diary. if I try and guess I over estimate and I don't see results, good luck and keep at it :)

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Posted in reply to mumtheshopper

Thank you, I know it wasn't good news for you but it's very comforting to know I'm not alone.  I really do appreciate you sharing this with me.  Good luck with your running. :)

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Posted in reply to macdaddy256

Thank you for putting it into perspective.  I was finding it hard to reconcile that I wasn't eating any more than I used to, was exercising more, but not losing much.  I really appreciate the comments :)

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Posted in reply to GorillaMan

Thank you so much.  Yes, I do believe I was being unrealistic but sometimes it's hard not to believe that the running you do will instantly help you change! I promise to keep going and hopefully feel the benefits soon.  Thanks for taking the time to post :)

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Posted in reply to macdaddy256

Thank you.  I agree about diets, I've never really done a proper diet except for the removal of carbs from my normal eating several years ago.  I also don't take supplements and prefer to get my nutrients from my food, hence why so many of our meals are made from scratch with raw ingredients.

I'll keep up what I'm doing and hope the benefits manifest themselves in the long term.

I really appreciate your time taken to respond, thanks :)

Casualtyofchocolate Casualtyofchocolate

Posted in reply to Mutley

Thank you.  I'm not sure about the diary, only because I know I won't keep it up.  However, I will be more careful about the snacks element of my diet and be wary of how much they mount up.  Great advice, thanks :)

Allanbach Allanbach


At the beginning of the year in the same position as you - non- runner starting couch to 5k and over weight by a couple of stone. Started running, well fast walking. Struggled even a couple of minutes. No weight loss. I joined weight watchers (online) after a month, and combined with the excersise and watching what I ate have lost about 1.5 stone, and now running 5-8k non stop. Running wont work on its own - need to watch what you eat. Weight watchers opened my eyes to portion size, and the cost of those weekend lapses (wine etc). Find something to help you work that out, counting calories would be a similar option I guess.

Best of luck. These mid-life crises can be sort of fun!

Mcfluff Mcfluff

Posted in reply to Allanbach

One mistake people commonly make is to OVERestimate the amount of calories burnt during exercise - running a mile actually only burns about 100 calories, so to lose weight, you'd have to run dozens and dozens of miles per week, while not eating any extra food.

I can highly recommend Weightwatchers if you are serious about losing weight...  Good luck :-)

victoria abbott victoria abbott

Posted in reply to Mcfluff

I agree with alanbach it would be great if you could run and lose weight but it's about what you eat and portion control. Over Easter I ran 10k everyday but didn't lose a gramme. This week I have looked at what I have eaten ( I follow slimming world) and have lost 4 Ibs taking my total weight loss to 6.5 stone. The food is the most important thing the running helps but will not work in isolation

Sara Pestell Sara Pestell

Posted in reply to victoria abbott

In my office, someone is ALWAYS on a diet, and drawing from these daily discussions on what works and what doesn't I would say there are several factors. Age, for one - the older you are the harder it goes but its definitely achievable. Also, as someone on here mentioned, muscle weighs more than fat but you won't be able see the tone appear until you have lost a little more so don't lose heart. Portion size and controlling snacks are another part of it - it's so easy to overeat however healthy the meal is. If you are serious about losing weight then a weight loss club is a step in the right direction, and your running can only enhance the effect.

Good luck!!