Diet and Weight Loss

Since I started running I have lost nearly 3 stone in weight.

This isn’t just through running but from a few other changes to my diet as well… Over the years I have tried just abut every sort of diet going, from diets that you mean you seem to leave off milk shakes and other meal replacement “stuff” to weight watchers, low fat diets etc etc.

On each of them I have lost weight only to gradually put it all back on again over the coming months. For me this has been the main problem with “diets” in that yes, they do help you lose weight but unless you change your underlying eating and exercise patterns you WILL put the weight back on again. 

There are many reasons that people eat too much or the “wrong” things…. I tended to eat as a reward to myself… or to cheer myself up if I was feeling fed up… there are so many reasons, the list could go on and on…. including not enough time to cook “proper” food etc, etc. But a basic fact is that if you want to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you use. You can do this by either changing the food you eat to versions that contain less calories, cut down on the amount you eat or by increasing the number of calories you use through exercise (or a mix of all three).

There is no magic answer. The real downside is that you have to keep up with these changes to keep the weight off. You have to make lifestyle changes.

When I started running I did this because I wanted to lose weight. I also started looking at what I was eating.. as well as what I was drinking ! I kept a food diary and wrote down literally everything that I ate and drank. To be honest I scared myself a bit, I wasn’t aware of how many calories were in the snacks I was having or in the alcohol I was consuming.

Did you know that a large (250ml) glass of average strength red wine is approx 214 calories ? or that one pint of “premium” larger is 330 calories ?? Did you also know that you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1lb of fat. Yes, when you start a diet you may lose far more than that to start with but that may just be extra fluid that you are losing and not just fat……

The main changes I have made are as follows (in no particular order !):

1. Drastically reduce my alcohol intake
2. Eat more fruit and veg
3. Change to wholemeal pasta and brown rice
4. Reduce portion sizes
5. Cut out snacks or switch to a healthy option (dried fruit rather than biscuits)
6. Cook healthier versions of meals

These aren’t just changes for the time that I am “dieting” these are permanent changes. They have to be or I will start putting the weight back on… So what is different for me this time ? Well, this time I am far more committed to the weight loss being permanent. It has taken me 18 months to get where I am today, I have seen the differences it has made in my day to day life. I am far fitter now than I have been at any time in my life. I don’t worry that I won’t be able to keep up with friends if we go for a walk (yet alone hire bikes and go for a ride !) Work has become easier, being fitter has had some real advantages…. I still eat chocolate, biscuits, cakes etc… just nowhere near the amount or frequency that I used to. It is a “treat” rather than the “norm” in my day… It hasn’t always been easy, to start with I did feel hungry between meals but that has gradually gone.. but it has been worth the effort. I’m now training for a marathon, something that I would have though impossible 18 months ago.

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