Weight Loss while running (very overweight) (Read 194 times)


    Hello all. I'm a 38 year old, 5'7". 170 pound runner.  I am carrying 40 pounds more than I should be... due to many things. I come from a family of 350+ individuals, so just staying at this weight has been a struggle for me.   I don't binge eat... but I am hungry all the time!


    I just ran my first half- the Get Lucky in Chicago- and finished at 2:18. I was happy to finish,


    Currently my workouts consist of 6-8 miles every other day with a 12-14 mile run on Sunday.


    I can find reduced calorie diets, I can find performance diets, but I cannot find info on what I should eat while I am trying to improve times AND lose weight. I'm not a huge sugar eater (except for very fine chocolate) but crave salt.


    It's also worth mentioning I have no thyroid function, and take meds for it. Any advice/others with this experience?  I just cannot accept i'm doomed to having this gut and butt the rest of my life.


      Lots of lean protein, and fresh veggies.

      Pushups, planks, and squats......and don't forget to stretch carefully often.  Protect those joints and tendons.    Good job on that half marathon!  Smile


      Running is stupid

          Others will provide better answers, but to sum up advice I've seen here before:


          If you are significantly overweight, the best way to improve your times is simply to lose the extra weight.  As long as you aren't being too aggressive with your weight loss, your times will improve.


          (Aggressive weight loss means very strict calorie restrictions such that your body starts breaking down muscle for energy.  Exactly where that line is varies person to person, but the sort of lifestyle change strategy it sounds like you want, where you aim to lose .5-1 lb a week, isn't going to lead to this problem.)


          Where weight loss and steady training can take minutes off your time, "Performance diets" are about squeezing out those last few seconds of improvement.


            Male or female?

            Certified Running Coach
            Crocked since 2013

            The Irreverent Reverand

              I'm a 6'0" 39 year old male who as recently as last summer weighed in at 242, and have for years ranged between the high 220s and the high 230s. I am now 207, and looking to drop under 200. I can't speak to the thyroid issue, but for me I monitored and limited my intake using weight watchers and I ran consistently. It seems to be working for me - I'm running faster average paces in my workouts, I've run a HM PR in the past year, and I'm losing weight.


              Good luck!

              Husband. Father of three. Lutheran pastor. National Guardsman. Runner. Political junkie. Baseball fan.

              PRs: 3:27 marathon; 1:41 half; 45:07 10K; 23:26 5K; 6:02 mile; <12 parsecs Kessel Run


                Weight loss will improve times.  I went from 300#+ non-runner to a 215# (6'3) 3:09 marathon in 10 months - 2003-2004.


                I ran 6 times a week, did eliptical the 7th.


                I walked every day (3-5 miles) - 2 purposes:  1)  to help legs heal from running and 2)  to burn calories


                Some people that run will just loose weight because they are running, but I had to be more focussed than that.


                You can only have one master - Weight loss or speed gain ... What I mean by this is there are times you will have to make a choice and what is the most important to you?  I would go for weight loss.  Choosing weight loss means that some workouts might not go as well (Speed or long runs)


                If you are looking at the long-term, you are looking 2-10 years down the road.


                Generally I would target 2 pounds per week.  The day before your long run, eat a little more.


                So you are running 4x a week?


                I like the hard day / easy day routine - But the easy days do not have to be "Off days" ... maybe build up to 6 days a week with easy days being a really easy pace 3-4 miler.


                What speed work do you do?

                I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

                  I've been able to drop 24 pounds in 3 months by dropping out all high carb food and drink.  I've found that eliminating high carbs removes pretty much all cravings for me.  But I have no idea how that interacts with thyroid issues, and long runs without carbs probably could not be done safely.  I only run 4-6 miles at a time right now.


                  I've found that weight loss is 90% about what you eat.  Exercise is a side player.


                  I would not worry about times.  Drop 20 pounds and your half marathon would improve 5-10 minutes from that alone.


                  I'd like to suggest you think about health 1st and make consideration of running times a distant afterthought that takes care of itself later.

                  In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion






                    PS - I am blessed that the equation of


                    Calories consumes

                    less:  Base metabolism = 2,200 calories 6'3 and 215

                    Less:  Exercise (Different burn for each, but 130 calories per mile running or walking)


                    = excess or deficeit calories / 3500 =  weight gained or lossed


                    I do better if I exercise every day

                    I do better if I add light weights and core

                    I do much better if I avoid alcohol

                    I do much better if I drink 100+ ounces of h20


                    **  If I am sweating enough, I have to take extra salt into my diet.


                    You have to find the ways that you do better - But if the medicine for your thyroid in correct doses, hopefully you can find a balance that allows you to loose weight.


                    I have been broken (Injured) for a long time, so I have gotten fat again - The sad thing to think is at 2 pounds per week, it will take 1/2 a year (6 months) to get back to where I should be.


                    Good running to you.

                    I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

                    Just a dude.

                      I'm down 80 lbs.


                      I want to emphasis it is all about what you eat. I find that I get to thresholds, where the more I work out the more I have to eat. For me, somewhere around 40-50 miles a week is the most I can do and still lose aggressively. If I run more, I just can't help but eat more and stop losing weight. Many people say that each pound is worth 1-2 seconds per mile. That's quite an improvement, so I can wait for longer runs and more speed work.


                      I started with lots of walking, and slowly turned that into running.


                      If you are hungry a lot, look at what you are eating. Eat low calorie but filling things. (Apples and bananas are fairly good. There's tons of other things...) I think when I started, I was hungry all the time for 2-3 weeks, and then I adjusted.


                      Spread out your meals if you can. Eating 5 very small meals is better than 3. Just don't let yourself eat 5 medium sized meals. Same total calories for the day, but you burn extra energy by keeping your digestion system working more.



                      Getting back in shape... Just need it to be a skinnier shape... 

                        I've lost 53 pounds so far, from last Summer weighing 225, to now this Spring weighing 172.


                        For me, the key was switching to foods that don't spike my appetite.  So, no soda, no sugar snacks, no wheat snacks, no bread, no pancakes, no pasta, no wheat products, no rice, no potatoes.  But lots of green veggies, lean meats, and whole fruits.  Drink water.  Some milk and cheese daily, but reduced amounts.


                        Losing weight through diet, and running to get stronger, are great ways to get faster, in my opinion, in my own experiences anyway.  If I'm going out for a long run, I eat a couple dates or some other fruit beforehand for more energy during a run, but otherwise I'm eating to lose weight and be healthy.

                          I've lost, and kept off, about 35 pounds so far. I have another 30 to go.


                          I'm not the best runner though. I'm working on that. I usually get to the question you have though - should I focus on losing weight first or can I do both?


                          The best advice I was given in regards to losing weight was to find what works for you. For me, and fortunately my husband as well, we have had the best success losing weight by eating very very low carb (keto). For the level of running I do, I am fine. I do eat carbs during a race if I'm "racing" it (as opposed to just enjoying a supported run) and use the time after races as planned cheats (I like my beer - and clearly I am fond of brackets too). But it isn't for everyone.


                          some people do great with meal plan services; others with just counting calories etc.


                          You didn't gain it all at once, you're not going to lose it all at once. I'm 41 now. I figure I'm currently trying to counteract 35 or so years of laziness and I'm in it for the long haul Smile


                          The point I guess it that you have to experiment and see what works best for you.


                          Good luck to you!

                          First or last...it's the same finish line

                          HF #4362

                            I made the assumption you're a woman because thyroid is predominantly a woman's problem, and our height and target weight are comparable. Assuming that's correct...


                            In my opinion, targeting two pounds a week is too aggressive.  I just punched your age, height, weight and exercise into a calorie counter and it came back at about 1,500 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week.  To be clear, that calorie count already takes into account 6-7 hours of vigorous exercise per week.  That sounds like unsustainable misery to me.


                            To lose 1 pound a week, you would consume about 2,000 calories per day.  That sounds far more doable, and much more likely to lead to a permanent sustainable weight loss.


                              I made the assumption you're a woman because thyroid is predominantly a woman's problem, and our height and target weight are comparable. Assuming that's correct.


                              That's why I asked. If zhe is not a woman 130 pounds is way to low.

                              Certified Running Coach
                              Crocked since 2013

                                Since I started running 2 years ago, i has gained nutrition knowledge dramatically. Some nutrition professor (I can remember his name) said salt is easier to be adjusted than sugar. It is not true that people need more salt to feel a meal taste good when getting older. It takes 30 days to change the salt intake habit. Dicipline yourself not putting extra salt for 30 days, you should be able to get used to less salt.


                                You may write down every meal, drink and snack you have, then analyse what a killer is. I watched a tv program. A lady believed she had a very healthy diet but did not know why she was still quite overweight. She had fruit salad, some healthy snack, lean protein meals and salad, hardly any carb. She thought she had about 2000 calories a day. Guess what? After a close review, she had about 4000 calories every day. She didn't usually count fruit juice, under estimate her portion and calories. Every meal was 2 or even 3 times more than what she should eat.


                                That is my 2 cents.

                                5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - 6:10/mi for 4mi (08/14), FM - 3:03 (09/14)