Which Diet is Best for New Runners?

There are some serious, negative, long-term consequences that can come from detox diets. Short term, you might suffer some unpleasant side effects from so-called cleansing products. And if you're suffering from a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, these diets could put you at risk for other complications if you put traditional, effective medical treatments aside while you cleanse. As a runner, detox diets are likely to derail your training. You're likely to feel fatigued due to too few nutrients, and you may spend extra time darting for a porta-john thanks to the cleansing products. Bottom line, think twice before jumping into a detox diet with both feet.

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Commercial Diets

Many people turn to commercial programs like Weight Watchers, Medifast or Jenny Craig for weight loss.

The upside: Some commercial weight-loss programs can be very effective in not only helping with weight loss but also helping to encourage general lifestyle changes. For instance, with Weight Watchers, foods and drinks are assigned point values according to the nutrients they provide and overall calorie contribution. This encourages people to learn how nutritious certain foods are. They also require members to weigh their foods, which teaches portion control, another important tenet of long-term weight loss.

Some programs also include weekly meetings led by trained instructors and require weekly weigh-ins and accountability. This type of program encourages exercise, as working out can "earn" you more points. All of this includes the social support and counseling that research has proven can be so helpful for weight loss. Many of the programs provide online support in addition to in-person meetings, so people can take advantage of that even if they don't live near a regular meeting place.

Are these diets right for new runners? Some commercial diets—namely those where you have to buy that diet brand's food either in the grocery store or through the mail—can be difficult to sustain. Once you stop buying the food (which has controlled portions) and return to eating regular food that you prepare, the weight is sure to creep back.

The foods on the system don't come cheap either, so you may see your grocery bill swell. Another drawback: Mail-order diets are not designed family style. That means you can expect to receive your food in the mail and still need to prepare a meal for the rest of the family. Finally, if the diet cuts calories too rapidly, you may not have the energy you need to work out, and that can make weight loss more difficult.

More: 5 Myths About Running, Calories and Weight Loss

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