Can Running Help Me Lose Weight?

A woman running near the Teton mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
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"I've lost a couple of pounds on Weight Watchers over the past few months, but I want to speed up my weight loss progress. Will running help me lose weight?"

Running can definitely help you lose weight, especially if you're combining a regular running routine with cutting calories. Running is a full body workout and one of the most vigorous exercises out there, so it's definitely an efficient way to burn calories and shed pounds.

But, first, if you've never run before, make sure you check out the Absolute Beginners' Guide to Running before getting started. You may find it helpful to follow a beginner training schedule. Here are a few free ones to take a look at and determine which one works best for you:

Proper Fueling is Key

Now, since your weight loss plans include dieting and running, it's important that you know how to properly fuel your runs. Some new runners who are also trying to lose weight end up giving up quickly because their low-calorie intake makes them feel too low-energy during their runs.

It's important that you make sure you're eating properly before your runs, after your workouts, and possibly even during your runs, if you're training for an endurance event such as a marathon.Get some tips on super foods for runners, which are very nutrient-dense and will give you the most bang-for-your-buck.

Once you start a running routine, you may find that you start to get more hungry. That's completely normal -- your body needs more calories to fuel those workouts. The key is to make sure that you don't overcompensate and end up taking in more calories than you're actually burning. Some runners actually end up gaining weight when they start running!

  It helps to eat five to six small meals throughout the day, rather than eating three big meals. Here are some other tips to avoid feeling hungry as your activity increases.

As you start running regularly, you may also be tempted to overindulge in fattening or high-calorie foods as a result of your hard work. Try not to use food as a reward. Instead, treat yourself to non-food rewards, such as new running gear or a massage when you reach a running goal. And follow these tips for controlling food cravings.

Get even more tips for running to lose weight:

Also see: Frequently-Asked Questions About Running and Weight Loss

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