Running to Lose Weight – For How Long?

Many people would like to know how long they should expect to be running to lose weight, and this is where I’ll let you know the answer.

What I explain here could be the difference between you struggling with your weight FOREVER, or you being able to reach your desired weight and stay there.

So just how long do you need to run for, to lose weight and keep it off over the long term? Is it weeks, months, or even years?

Before I answer this, let’s take a look at the following two choices. Which one best describes your main aim?

1. I want to lose weight

2. I want a change in lifestyle

Most people choose Option 1. They don’t really want to change their lifestyle too much. They just want to be at a lower weight so that they feel fitter and healthier or look better.

However, if you want to keep your weight off over the long term you MUST aim for Option 2. That’s because you can’t lose weight and keep it off over the long term without changing your lifestyle.

This doesn’t mean that you need massive upheaval in your life to lose weight. It’s more about making the right type of changes that you will enjoy and stick to, and which all add up to a fitter, healthier, and slimmer you.

Now let’s consider how diets work…

A diet is considered a short term solution. You go on a diet for a short amount of time, and then you come off the diet.

The problem is that, although you can lose weight when going on the diet, they’re usually restrictive and de-motivating so it’s not something that can be maintained over the long term.

So as soon as you return to your normal way of eating, the weight returns just as fast as you lost it. This happens to virtually everyone who uses a diet to lose weight and then comes off the diet.

It’s the same principle with running…

If you use running to reach your desired weight, but then you stop running and return to a sedentary lifestyle, then the weight will come back.

I would never tell you that you can run for a few months, reach your desired weight, and then you’re done, because it’s not true.

However, that’s what many diets and weight loss products do. They say things like lose 8 pounds in a week, or lose 10 pounds in the next 10 days.

What they don’t tell you is that it’s a short term fix and that your weight will return just as quickly as you lost it when you’ve finished the diet. It’s what’s known as "yo-yo" dieting.

Plus you also have the demoralising and frustrating knowledge that you’ve just wasted weeks, months, or even years of your life doing various diets and are no better off than when you started.

What I’m trying to say here is that you need to see running as part of a change in lifestyle. It should be something that you are willing to stick to for years to come.

That may sound a bit daunting at first, especially if you’ve not started running yet, or if you’re quite new to running, but it can be easier than it sounds.

There are massive physical and mental health benefits of running and it can make a significant positive impact on your life. When you experience these great benefits you’ll just never want to give running up.

So the thing to do right now is make sure that running is part of your life and not something that’s seen as a short term fix.

So you’ll need to stick to running and keep persisting until it becomes a habit. It should become something that you do without question just like going shopping, going to work, or looking after your children.

I believe that if you can make big improvements to your running and weight loss, your health and fitness, and you experience the other massive benefits that running provides, then you’ll chose to make running a significant part of your life.

So try to see running as a long term solution to your weight loss. While it would be great if you lose weight quickly, and that is certainly possible, remember that by continuing running you’ll then be able to keep your weight off.

Also remember that running has MANY more benefits than weight loss alone which again justifies it as something you should aim to incorporate into your life over the long term.


P.S. If you are interested in using running to lose weight, and you would like to know how to improve your lifestyle so that you can keep your weight off for life, be sure to check out my running programs and telephone coaching.

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2 Responses to Running to Lose Weight – For How Long?

  1. Jon says:

    Started running in March this year – 18 stone +. Could run about 100 yards
    Now weigh 14 1/2 stone – Can run 5 miles – aged 47 – Still got a bit to go but am enjoying it.
    I could hardly even run round the track once when I was at school.
    I recommend not only exercise but adjusted eating habits, they both work to get you where you need to be.

    • James says:

      It’s great to hear that you are doing so well Jon, both with your running and losing well over 3 stone so far. Keep it up!

      Yes I agree, using a combination of exercise and improved diet and eating habits is the way to get the best results.