Balancing the Scales

A Simple Formula

The calculus of weight loss is not terribly complicated: Burn more calories than you take in.

More: Strength Train to Lose Weight

By running, of course, you step up your calorie use significantly, since the average 40-minute run burns about 500 calories. By eating moderate meals and grazing on healthy snacks throughout the day, you can keep your calories below the break-even point (about 2,500 calories per day for the average runner) without ever feeling hungry.

Although most people seem to associate weight loss with hunger pangs, that is precisely the wrong approach. Better to avoid ever getting too hungry in the first place. It is when you are hungriest that you are most likely to throw caution to the wind and engage in a flat-out binge. For details on when and how much you should eat, read "Portion Patrol."

Exercise, much more than diet, is the key, however, since a healthy lifestyle leads on its own to a healthy body. Diets alone often don't keep weight off for long, since self-denial is neither fun nor sustainable over the long haul. Fitness, too, seems to promote a better communication between your mind and body; runners typically become more sensitive to the times when they are overeating or eating the wrong foods.

Have patience, enjoy your running and put your weight worries on the back burner. With consistency and a sound diet, the pounds will take care of themselves.

More: Eat More to Lose Weight

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About the Author

Be sure to check out our other articles for new runners, including what a runner's building blocks are, how to take your first steps as a runner, how to build your mileage and our running shoe guide.

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