This is the time of year when I look in the mirror and I don’t like what’s looking back at me. I ate too much of my kids’ candy at Halloween, I overindulged at Thanksgiving, and then the holidays … don’t even get me started on the holidays.

Luckily, I learned long ago that running for weight loss is the best way to transform the figure I see looking back at me in the mirror. But how does running for weight loss work?

See below for some running weight loss tips, as well as some ideas for making running as much fun as possible. Best of luck with your running for weight loss!

Here’s the thing about losing weight: Everyone’s body is different, and the way I respond to one running for weight loss plan may not be the same way you respond. But stay at it for this one reason: Running offers tons of benefits, even aside from weight loss. That is, even if you’re not seeing results on the scale, you’re still getting healthier.


Is Running Good for Weight Loss?

I’ll make this as simple as possible: Yes, running is good for weight loss. When you want to lose weight, you’re trying to create a calorie deficit. That is, you want to burn more calories than you take in.

For example, let’s say that your recommended daily intake is 2,000 calories. If you consume 2,400 calories and then burn 400 through exercise, you’re going to start losing weight. It’s simple math.

But, if you’re consuming 2,800 calories a day and burning the same 400, you’re going to start gaining.

That’s one reason why running is so great for weight loss: You can efficiently burn tons of calories in a short period of time.

Here’s another example: If you weigh 200 pounds and you run 3 miles in 30 minutes, you will burn about 450 calories. And you’d be hard-pressed to burn as many with any other exercise.

Here’s a running calorie calculator you can use to input your own weight, distance and time to see how many calories you burn during a run.


Where Does Food Fit In?

Running is so good for weight loss, but only if you can keep your eating in check. Here’s the trick, though: If you’re new to running, the shock to your body is going to leave you famished.

Try to fight the urge to binge eat after running. If you give in to the temptation, you may undo all the good you did for your body during the run, and you may also thwart your weight loss goals.

Also, sometimes the hunger you feel after a run as a beginner is actually dehydration. Try drinking lots of water before you eat. You may find that your hunger pangs go away and that you feel full after drinking some water.

Remember that you’re trying to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. So the best thing you can do is to adhere to your recommended daily intake of calories, and then create a deficit by running.


Don’t Forget to Change it Up

After you’ve been running for a while, you may start to feel like you’ve plateaued. That is, your body will soon get used to your workout, and you may find that you’re burning fewer calories and losing less weight.

What can you do about this? Change it up.

You can change up your running for weight loss plan by included interval training, hills, tempo runs, slow runs, long runs and intermediate runs. Or, you can try some cross-training. Get involved in workout class, do yoga, try kayaking — anything to get your heart rate up. This will help you burn more calories, and it will also keep your body guessing.

And one final thought on changing it up: When you change up your workouts, it keeps you from getting bored. If you run 3 miles a day along the same route at the same pace, it’s only natural that you’re going to lose interest over time. So keep it fresh by trying something new.


Is Running or Walking Better for Weight Loss?

Here’s another easy one: Running is far better for weight loss than walking. Here’s why: High-intensity workouts like running are far more stimulating, which means you continue to burn calories even after the workout is over. That’s not the case with talking.

But let me be clear: If you feel like walking is all that you can do, then that’s exactly what you should be doing. Walking offers lots of benefits, and many have dropped significant weight through walking and diet alone.

But, if you have an option, running is going to help you reach your weight loss goals far more quickly.


Make Sure You Have the Right Running Gear

If you haven’t run before, make sure you have the right gear before you get started. Why is running gear so important? Three reasons:

  • Comfort: You’re going to feel far more comfortable running in clothes and gear designed for the activity. If you try running in just any old pair of sneakers and you’re running in cotton shorts and shirts, you’re not going to be comfortable — and you’re not going to be able to run to your full potential.
  • Season: When it’s cold outside (as it is at the time of this writing), you need proper winter attire. I just partnered with my colleague Holly on a guide to cold weather running gear. I’ve found that cold weather is a huge impediment to running for weight loss, but you can overcome that impediment simply by having clothes that keep you warm.
  • Health: Having the right running gear also keeps you from getting injured. This is especially true of shoes. If you’re trying to run in the wrong kind of shoes, or if you’re running in old shoes that have seen better days, you greatly increase the chances of getting hurt. Nothing’s going to kill your running for weight loss plan faster than getting hurt.


Just Start!

And here’s one last point for those interested in running for weight loss: Just start! There’s never going to be an ideal time to start running or to start losing weight. So just start, and do it right now.

Develop a running for weight loss plan. Get the right gear. Think through your diet. And get started. As noted above, losing weight is all about creating a calorie deficit. It’s simple math! But you’re not going to create the deficit until you get started.


Final Thoughts on Running for Weight Loss?

Here’s one last secret about running: It makes you feel great. I can’t recommend running enough because it delivers a high you don’t get through other activities. And, after a run is complete, there’s this period where your blood pressure is low and your entire body feels as relaxed as you’ve ever felt it.

This runner’s high is available to anyone. Running is just about the most readily available activity you can start — there are few barriers to entry. So get started today!

Do you have running weight loss stories to share? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or we’d even love for you to guest post for us. If interested, get in touch via our contact page.