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16944 Views 26 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2010 6:10 PM by hkay 1 2 Previous Next
princesskimagure Rookie 2 posts since
Jan 5, 2010
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Jan 5, 2010 3:34 AM

how much weight can one lose from running?

How much weight is it possible to lose while running?  Ideally I'd like to go from 170 to 120, but I do not know if this is possible with just running.

I've been pretty much completely inactive so I'm probably going to do C25k (probably weight training on my off days).  After that I plan to run more than that and hope for the best.

So I guess my question is, is this at all possible?  I know that cardio helps one lose weight but I just want to know if I can get down to a healthy weight pretty much with running alone (along with weight training).

Thanks in advance!


eta: I should add that I will be dieting somewhat as well, so it won't be exercise alone.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Running, in and of itself, will not make you lose weight.  It will help get your body in shape - muscles, tendons, etc.  Weight-bearing exercise also helps with bone density.  Losing weight is more a matter of calories in being less than calories out.  You have to consume less than you burn.  Running and other exercise will help you burn calories, so the diet becomes important in controlling your intake.


    I'm sure you get more comments on this.




  • jenster! Legend 295 posts since
    May 27, 2009

    I burn about 100 calories per mile while running. With the C25k, I wouldnt expect to lose a lot of weight doing that alone because you're maybe looking at 150-250 calories burned per session (depending on the resting metabolic rate, might burn more than me on a 25 min walk/run). Don't let that discourage you though, you're working your way up to the more strenuous activity. 


    Weight training is an excellent idea and it's great you'll be doing that on you off days. Try to aim for a circuit style training if you can. That way you can get your heart rate up while strengthening you muscles. I also cycle and do pilates. Pilates is an amazing core work out - nothing makes my abs hurt more.


    As much as I work out, I will not lose fat without careful attention to my diet. Don't say "dieting somewhat" because the majority of your weight loss effort will come directly from what you put in your body!! Don't think you can eat more because you're working out. Thinking that way will leave you frustrated. Instead, pay more attention to what you eat. Think of food as fueling your workout. Veggies, lean protein, whole grains is my diet. Eat foods that are high in fiber so it takes longer to digest and leaves you satisfied longer. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. If you're hungry, you're probably thirsty so drink up! Spread your calorie inake throughout the day and keep healthy options around you (I'm the crazy girl who always has a banana in her purse).


    Once you're done with the C25k plan start a 10k program right away. Start planning out your long term goals. Start looking for races you want to do. This is a total lifestyle change - but a great one. Congrats on taking the first steps!

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  • joedadd Pro 122 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I lost 80 pounds with running as my main exercise. One of the things about being healthy and in shape is you want to do more things, like get up off the couch and play sports, clean up around the house, start projects around the house, etc that you would otherwise no do. It was getting to a point with me that I was burning more calories on my off running days on weekend by playing tennis, basketball or catch with my children than on the other weekend day where I ran.


    Of course if you are going to drink beer and eat a ton of calories, you won't lose weight.


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  • spicegeek Community Moderator 2,563 posts since
    Jan 14, 2007

    As a new runner - very little .. maybe 1lb every 4 weeks


    Problem with running is that it is physically hard on your body and you have to build up slowly - hence you really can`t do much when you first start - the C25K program - if you follow it for distance not time - has you covering 3 miles by the last day - so lets say 3 miles 3 times a week is the very MOST the program will have you do - that about 900 - 1000 cals - you have to burn 3500 to burn 1 lb - and this is assuming you are not over eating.


    Now .. if you are 50lbs over weight - thats fairly significant - no offense - you really shouldn`t be having any issues losing weight if you are following a low calorie / high protien . low fat . low carb diet. You want to aim for about 1200 - 1500 cals per day - spread over 5 - 6 small meals - count calories - weigh your food - it is very easy for an extra 100 cals to creep in here and there next thing you have eaten 1700 instead of 1200 - I prepare as much of my food as possible in advance. dieting somewhat sin`t going to cut it - you HAVE to diet .. sorry. My next question is 120 lbs a healthy weight for you ?


    Exercise - weight training and cardio will help you - but your food is the key - I would suggest you hold off running and try biking or using the eliptical - you`ll be able to spend longer each day doing cardio as both of those are easier on the body from a pounding point of view and the fitness you gain will help you if you decide you want to run after hitting your weight goal - you should be trying for 60 mins of cardio 5 - 6 times a week and 2 or 3 sessions of weight training

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  • rbird Legend 1,073 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I went from 230 to 180 within about a year of when I began running but it did take watching my calorie intake too.  Your goal is very achievable.  It took a while for the significant weightloss to show on the scale and mostly not until after I completed C25k and moved onto longer distances.   BUT my body started to reshape itself fairly quickly and that is probably your true goal rather than trying to reach an arbitrary number on the scale.  My clothes became just a little more comfortable, then downright loose.  The paunch under my beltline noticibly shrank.  I had to tighten my belt a notch, and then another.  It even seemed like my pants grew longer, but the reality was that they didn't need to travel as far around my shrinking butt.


    Keep a log or diary of what you eat and of your exercise.  It helps a lot.


    Its simple math.

    3500 calories = 1 pound

    Try to save 500 calories per day through diet and exercise

    500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories = 1 pound lost per week


    and you reach your goal by the end of the year.



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  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    Sorry to say, but running alone isn't going to cause you to lose significant weight without careful calorie control.  Especially for a beginner runner, as someone else pointed out, you are very limited in your mileage.  If your diet stayed the same you would have to run 30-40 miles per week to burn off JUST ONE POUND!  As a beginner you will run far fewer miles than that.  To lose 2 lbs/week you need a 7000 calorie deficit for the week.  So if you are walking and/or running 15 miles per week - about average for a beginner - you are only burning about 1500 of those calories.  The rest of the deficit will have to come from your diet.  You will need to cut out another 5500/week or about 800/day to reach your goal.  Just as a general estimate, if your maintenance calorie requirement is 2000/day, then you need to cut down to 1200/day to lose 2 lbs/week (and remember that is IN ADDITION to running 15 miles/week).


    If you can stick to the 1200 calories/day and the 15 miles/week you could expect to lose your 50 lbs in about 6 months.  Keep in mind, though, that there are many variables which affect your weight loss so even if you do everything "right", you still might not lose exactly 2 lbs/week every single week.  If you are significantly overweight, you will probably lose the first few pounds quickly and you will get excited about how "easy" it is.  Then you will face weeks the scale doesn't budge even though you are sticking to your plan.  Its NOT EASY and I still struggle with it myself.  Anyone who tells you its easy to stick to a 1200 calorie diet for months at a time while also exercising is a liar!

  • rbird Legend 1,073 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jan 5, 2010 10:41 AM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: how much weight can one lose from running?

    Be committed, but also be patient.  I agree that a 1200 calorie per day diet would be very hard.  I would have found it impossible.


    But trying to achieve a calorie deficit of 500-700 calories per day below your base metabolic rate, including calories burned through exercise is not that hard.


    If you burn 300-400 calories from a 3 mile run, you are more than half way there.  The rest is the equivalent of a handful of cookies.


    Avoid sugary snacks.  Switch from regular to diet soda or water.  Avoid the Starbucks drive thru on the way to work.  Don’t have fries with your hamburger.  Lose the cheese from your sandwich.  Hold the mayo.  There are a ton of ways to lose a few hundred calories a day without making substantial changes to your lifestyle. 


    You can achieve your goal.  This forum is full of success stories, just check out this discussion:



    The real hard part is keeping the weight off permanently.

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  • cyndi t Legend 1,061 posts since
    Aug 11, 2008

    You've gotten some great advice here from some very skilled runners...but to add my two cents...I get a real sense that you're looking for a "fix" to your problem.  Forgive me if that's not your intent but you're "I'll diet somewhat"  and after C25K you'll "hope for the best" are sending big signals to me that you're really not in this for real.  What's that all about?  No one or no magic pill is going to make you lose weight or gain fitness no matter what TV shows or infomercials would like you to believe..  Its hard work every day...period.  Its worth it for all the obvious reasons but like the others have said, its very less and move more.  period.  A lot of us, including me, have lost a significant amount of weight...but its been a long journey.  I eat pretty much what I want but the choices I make are healthy choices in appropriate portion sizes...its a lifestyle I chose every day...I chose to make the right food and fitness choices...I run in freezing cold, heat and humidity, when I'm not in the mood, when I'd rather sleep in, when it rains and snows; and I eat to fuel my runs, low fat options,  fruits and vegetables, fresh foods with as little preservatives as possible, lean meats, whole grains,  very little sugar, lots of water.  I made a conscious decision when I started my journey to eat healthy, exercise frequently and COMMITT to a lifestyle choice not a diet...having been on many diets that worked great but I could never achieve permanent weight loss, I did not want to ever diet again.  Yes, the benefit has been that I've reduced my size a lot (from a size 20 I'm now a size 10 and starting to buy 8's).  If you're looking for a quick fix, its not here, actually its not anywhere.  If you're looking for a better life, then welcome aboard. Make a committment to yourself to embrace this journey and be in it for the long haul.  I'll end this with I hope I haven't offended you but sometimes we need to really look at what it is we're trying to achieve and be honest with ourselves.  Good luck.


  • TomHorn Expert 42 posts since
    Dec 30, 2009

    Not much to add, but losing 50lbs is definitely possible ... I'm living proof it can be done. Started at 238lbs and was 185lbs when I hopped on the scale on Monday.


    Having said that, everyone is correct. You won't do it just by running. Losing weight is simple math. Burn more calories than you consume, and you will lose weight. Don't forget, strength training will create more muscle, which then burns more calories. It's good that you are planning to do both.


    From my experience, I would also recommend not getting hung up on the final weight number for your goal. Running (and strength training) re-sculpts your body. Muscle weighs more than fat as well, so you might actually look great at 130lbs or 140lbs. My original goal was getting down to 175lbs. Despite hovering between 185lbs and 190lbs for the past few weeks, my body fat is definitely still being reduced even though I'm not really losing much weight in the process. I'll now be happy to stay at this weight, or even a little higher if it means I've been successful in getting rid of the excess body fat. I couldn't have said that when I started ... I was too hung up on the number.

  • thedridis Amateur 23 posts since
    Dec 31, 2009

    I lost 40 lbs with running and Weight Watches in 3 months.  The good thing is running really helped me make better food choices.  I actually craved fruit and salad and it was so much easier to eat more sensibley whilst being on a running program.  I think I read that Oprah, when she was over 200 lbs ran every day and could not lose weight til she made other changes as well.  I do feel like my weight loss accelerated quite a lot when I started running (and walking on off days).

  • heavydmc Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    Yeah, yeah, many answers about why you can't do it.  Bah!  Start running and make the better choices that you can.  When you reach for a soda, try water instead.  When you want a burger, try chicken instead.  You will find that sticking with it a while will give you more energy, and will likely change the foods you crave to healthier choices.  You may not always win these battles, but if you accept that people don't magically change their habits overnight, you are well on your way.  The other half is just forcing yourself to get out there.  Once it's a habit, you will probably find that not exercising regularly leaves you feeling more tired and sluggish than a good workout.  It just takes time and patience!

  • TyKy Pro 134 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    Yes it can be done.  Everybody here makes good points and they are correct.  I will say that I went from 205 to 128 in a year.  I did nothing but run, lift weights and watch what I ate.


    For running I couldn't even compleate 1/2 lap on a track when I started.  So what I did was set small running goals and then would walk till I felt I could do it again.  As time went on my running became longer and longer.  The main thing is that you're out there exercising.  Make sure your out there at least 3 days a week for 30-40 min.  Keep a log of your times and how far you ran.  It'll help keep you motivated when you feel your not improving.


    For weight lifting at first I could get nothing in but 1 day a week.  I knew that wasn't the best, but I figured it was better than nothing.  So I lifted that one day a week for the entire year.  I feel the weight lifting really helped me a lot and its something I still continue to do.  I recently stopped lifting for about 2 months and gained so much weight its not even funny.


    For eating there is so much out there I felt over whelmed.  The way I looked at it we all went to school and took health class.  We know what our body needs, its just getting past what our body wants.  I will say that weight loss is from diet and exercise.  One with out the other is not gonna cut it.  All the diet plans and counting calories aside a great place to start is be simple and realistic.  Cut something out that you know you have a problem with.  Make that effort till the craving is gone, usually takes about a week, then ADD something else.  Maybe start with something like soda.  Drink no soda and after about a week you'll find you don't even want it.  Then add those sweets.  Before you know it you'll be droping pounds and be eating a lot healthier.


    Good luck and keep us updated!

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    Hey, do you guys mind if I express a pet peeve on the subject?  (apologies to the OP!)


    This is just me, okay, but it drives me nuts when the number one weight loss advice I hear - over and over - is "give up sodas".  As in "if you give up one sweetened soda per day you will lose 10 lbs in a year" or something like that.  But I struggle with my weight and I DON'T DRINK SODA!  Never have.  I don't drink any calories other than the fat free half and half in my coffee.  No sugar.  No juices.  Rarely any alcohol or diet sodas, even.  So every time I hear that advice, I'm like, yeah I wish it was really that simple.   Not drinking soda only works for weight loss if you were drinking it to begin with!


    Okay, got it off my chest.  Carry on.

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