Tuesday, April 30, 2013

So the question gets asked, "did running make you lose all that weight?".  Typically my answer is it definitely helped in my weight loss, but it did not cause all the physical changes in my success story.
EDIT: My new book about life after weight loss has been released.  http://amzn.to/1w6v7uP

I lost weight because before I started running I was 355 pounds, consistently overeating and was not active at all.  All I had to do to begin losing weight was start eating right and become somewhat active.  In a simple statement, that is really how I lost the weight.  (See past posts for some of specific ways I lost the weight.)

The reason why running helped me lose weight is because I was able to burn calories in a shorter amount of time during workouts because my level of effort is higher during running vs. walking. For example 1 hour of running will burn more calories in an hour vs. walking during those 60 minutes. 

The other reason why it helped during my weight loss journey is because luckily for me I fell in love with running.  I looked forward to those one on one appointments.  I did not hate running.  Now this is the reason why it helped me lose weight.  If I despised running and never looked forward to those times in the gym or on the road, I would have quit exercising, especially if I found all the other cardio machines to be boring.

Why do I love running?  It is hard to explain at times.  Some people say you have to be a runner to understand why people love it.  However, I wanted to list some of my personal reasons:
  • I grew up hating running.  Never ran 1 mile until high school and even then every year I tried to avoid it.  What I hated turned into a passion for me.  I have conquered one of my childhood fears.
  • You can run all year round if you have access to a treadmill.  More importantly you can do this exercise outside.  Now treadmill running is pretty boring, but at least I can still run if I am stuck indoors due to weather.  I absolutely love running outside because I am able to enjoy all different neighborhoods and cities.
  • It continues to challenge me and helps me set new goals.  For me, if I have no goals I have no motivation to get into the gym.  Goals drive me to want to become better and reach them at the end.
  • It helps me to keep my weight down.  Would my weight stay down if I "had to" go do a 60 minute session on an elliptical machine?  For me, no.  Maybe for someone else but I don't think I would be motivated to go to the gym to beat any type of time or distance from a previous exercise session.
  • I get to do this activity with my son.  My son now participates in local fun runs when I sign up for a race.  He is doing distances I never did until I was in my teenage years.
  • I love how it feels.  I love being pushed to new limits during some hard running sessions, love how my body bounces back and gets stronger and ready for big races.
So what happens if you hate running or some type of injury prevents you from running?  Then find another passion.  Maybe weight lifting, exercise videos, Crossfit, hiking, bicycling or walking.  Whatever it is, it has to be something you want to do.  If do not want go do it on your down days, you will find an excuse and once you begin missing gym sessions, it becomes a habit and before you know it you are back to bad practices.

So was or is running my secret ingredient to weight loss?  No.  Weight loss occurred when I consumed less calories and burnt off more via all sorts of exercise including running.  Would I gain weight if I stopped running?  Most likely, especially if I stopped exercising and my diet was not great.  But I will keep running because I love it, I physically can do it and because I have so many more goals to accomplish.

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By: Fred Lechuga

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for your inspiring story! I decided to lose weight a few months ago since my brother's wedding is coming up. I jumpstart my fitness regimen by going on a 3 Day Military diet. Most people will wonder why I did the diet route. Well, it helped me heaps in controlling my appetite because I was able to practice portion control. Calorie counting also became a habit. With my group of friends, we decided to go walking twice a week, zumba once a week and strength training in between days. For more information regarding the military diet, here's a great resource link http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/diet-plan/3-day-military-diet-substitutes.html