Running to Lose Weight, but No Weight Loss

Just because you’re using the excellent calorie burning activity of running to lose weight doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be successful.

Yes it provides you with a great chance of success when you follow the right running methods in the right manner, but there are also various reasons why you may be struggling and finding it harder to lose weight than you should be.

Take a look at the three reasons below and you might just see why you’re using running to lose weight yet still finding it difficult to get any results.

1. Losing fat but gaining muscle

When you first start using running to lose weight you can gain a small amount of muscle mass because your muscles are not accustomed to running and therefore they grow due to being challenged.

The weight of this increased muscle is usually cancelled out by losing weight from fat which means that overall your weight doesn’t change and it can be difficult to understand why.

When this happens your body fat percentage will have reduced which shows that you’re still making excellent progress even though your weight hasn’t changed yet.

This is why it can be very useful to measure your body fat percentage so that you can determine the exact changes that are happening to your body.

Don’t worry about building too much muscle though because running is an activity that makes you look fit and toned rather than bulky. Your muscles will not keep growing.

They may grow slightly when you first start running but from then on your body will be burning fat while trying to maintain its muscle.

To measure your progress it’s also important to understand that muscle is denser than fat which means that it takes up less space on your body for the same weight.

So if you’re not losing any weight you can also take some body measurements such as your waist and hip sizes, or see if your clothes are becoming looser. You may find that you’re actually getting smaller and making much better progress than you first thought.

2. Eating more

When using running to lose weight it’s easy to consume more food without even realising it because your body wants more energy.

By doing this you can end up cancelling out all your running efforts by consuming just as many calories as you burn. This becomes very frustrating when you lose little or no weight and have no idea why.

Keeping a food diary can help you monitor what you consume and by comparing the diary from week to week you can ensure that your calorie intake isn’t increasing and that your weight loss is staying on track.

Another problem that some people have is consciously consuming more food. So you may complete a run and then feel that it won’t do any harm to reward yourself with extra food or a treat.

Again by doing this you’re cancelling out some or all of your running efforts and making it harder to lose weight.

3. Running stopped improving

Very often people start running to lose weight and their fitness improves quickly. They become better and better at running and because of this their ability to burn calories keeps increasing and they keep losing weight.

Then they reach a point where their running progress plateaus. Suddenly they are no longer improving and therefore their ability to burn calories stays the same.

As they keep losing weight their metabolism decreases because a lower body weight burns a smaller number of calories. This means that they burn fewer calories each day until eventually their weight loss plateaus.

That’s why an important part of using running to lose weight is to keep improving your running ability so that you can keep improving your ability to burn calories.

Eventually you can reach the stage where weight loss becomes fairly easy because you’re able to complete much higher quality runs and burn lots of calories in the process.

Just to summarise

Here you have three of the most common reasons why someone can be running to lose weight yet still be struggling with their weight loss.

Don’t be too concerned if you don’t lose weight straight way, it doesn’t always happen. Also keep your diet in check and always keep trying to improve your running ability.

Do this and you have a great chance to lose weight and keep on losing it.


Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
This entry was posted in Running, Weight Loss and tagged , ,

8 Responses to Running to Lose Weight, but No Weight Loss

  1. Paul Ward says:

    Yes, I agree with everything here, except in my own personal experience so far I actually eat less.
    Yesterday I managed 11.2Km and burned just under 1200 calories (its very hilly and challenging round where I live). And all I ate was a banana and some porridge for lunch, and fish cake, mash and baked beans followed by a yoghurt for tea.
    I’ve just analysed what I do and it seems like when I get into a “running or training mindset” my diet adjust to my goals – like at the moment I need weight loss, but when I used to run marathons, my weight wasn’t a problem and I had to make sure I ate enough calories in order to train and run.
    My goal at the moment is to be able to do 4 x 16Km runs per week, and to loose weight – I need to loose about 10Kg.
    As James explained above though I will encounter plateaus and times when I will stagnate, but after being through it once I should be prepared, and YES these sort of things will happen to most people.

    Good luck everyone


    • James says:

      Some people do eat less due to their running Paul although most people eat more, even if they don’t realise they are doing it.

      It’s great news for you though. Losing weight is much easier if you don’t feel like eating as much, or if you’re capable of adjusting your diet fairly easily to meet your goals.

  2. suiter says:

    You have answered a troubling question for me. Thanx , I’ll keep u posted in the weeks and months to come

  3. tom says:

    i have been running for the past 7 weeks.I started off at aboutt 4 miles a day and have progressed upto about 8-10 miles a day,having the odd day off for my muscles to recover.My weight has remained pretty constant although my body shape and tone have dramatically changed.I have also been very worried that i have not lost any weight,but i can see the results and believe that if i continue as i am and increase my mileage or my intensity that i will get my desired body tone in the end!!…i dont over eat and on average have maybe a roll for lunch and a hot meal in the evening…i think sugar may be my undoing as i have rather too much in my tea!!….am hoping to keep this up until i achieve my goals…so far so good….any comments?

    • James says:

      It sounds like you’ve been doing well with your running Tom, you’re certainly putting in a lot of running and doing plenty of miles.

      It’s hard to tell why you haven’t lost any weight yet but maybe you’re not be eating enough as strange as it may sound. If you have too larger calorie deficit between what you burn and what you consume then your body tries to hold onto its energy and burn fewer calories which makes it harder to lose weight.

  4. Nargiza says:


    I just started receiving your emails about running, and it is so useful and interesting. Thank you!! As you mentioned we should not be eating more after running as we did before. So my question is: what to eat then? I’ve heard that when you start doing physical exercise your body needs more energy, and you need to provide it, but the right one ( not chocolates or biscuits).

    So what is the right energy for our body?


    • James says:

      I’m glad that your finding everything so useful Nargiza.

      Your questions would require a lot of detail to answer, much more than what I can write here. Generally though you need carbohydrates to fuel your running.

      However, even though you may consume more carbohydrates you can still consume fewer calories and lose weight. For example, fat provides 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram. So swapping some fat for carbohydrates means fewer calories consumed overall.

  5. Sundari says:

    I have started running 5 weeks ago. Started with 2 miles per day Running, 2 miles per day walking. Also doing strength training for 2 days a week with my trainers help. I am 5’1 and 155 pounds. I did not lose a pound after this workout. I am moderately eating and of course there are few cheat days in eating. Taking a day rest. I am really frustrated why I am not loosing weight. Any specific reasons? Thanks