A lot of people start running to lose weight, and rightfully so. It's a major calorie burner. But just because you pick up the sport doesn't mean you're guaranteed a smaller waistline.

That's because burning calories increases your demand for calories, and if you eat too much to compensate, you'll do just the opposite of what you wanted: gain.



"Many people find that, when they start running, they get hungrier," said Jennifer Van Allen, running coach and coauthor with dietitian Pamela Nisevich Bede, of Run to Lose: A Complete Weight Loss Guide for Runners. "And even if their stomachs aren't growing louder and more often, they just feel entitled to eat more."

That means the big splashy brunch, the extra desert "because I ran today" - it can add up.
"Some people assume that running gives them carte blanche to eat with abandon. And while running does burn calories, and it will help you reach your weight loss goals, it takes just a few minutes to eat back the calories you burned on a workout - and then some," Van Allen said.

I've fallen victim to this. I ran two marathons in 2014, and despite long runs and speed workouts followed by more long runs, I put on weight. I appeased my "runger" by eating beyond what I needed to refuel my body. I only lost that weight this year when I took time off from marathons to train for shorter races, and now that I'm training for a marathon again, I'm confronting the issue again: how do I eat enough, but not too much, to stay lean and strong for marathon day?

I'm not alone in this struggle, said Van Allen. She points to a 2010 study that followed 64 marathon-training runners for 12 weeks. On average, runners who weren't overweight at the start of tracking didn't lose any weight. Some lost as much as 27 pounds, and other gained as much as 14. Sixty-three percent of all runners said that they ate more during training.

"That's the case with a lot of people," she said. "You're running more, and you need to consume more calories to get energy for workouts."

The hard part is reaching a balance between fueling you up without weighing you down.

There isn't one solution, either, because we're all different.

"If there was a mantra for Run to Lose It, it would be, 'take it personally,' " she said. "The book's key message is that many people who are dieting and running to lose weight get derailed because they don't factor in enough of their own tastes and lifestyles into their execution strategies."
I know that when I run a lot, I try to eat a sensible dinner, but if it's not enough, I'm back in the kitchen by 8 p.m. hoping that I still have blue corn tortillas in the cabinet. So this time around, I'm planning larger dinners, ones with more protein while still mixing in carbohydrates. The result is that I'm much more energized for the run the next day, and I haven't been doing any evening scrounging.
Of course, I've just started my training, and I'll have to see if it holds as I get into 30, 40, 50-plus mile weeks.
If running is new to you, Van Allen said to be honest - and gentle - with yourself. Leaning anything new, such as running or eating to fuel that running, takes time. "No one gets it right 100 percent of the time," she said. "All we can do is our best, learn from our mistakes, and keep moving forward."

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/on-the-run/Running-and-losing-weight-dont-always-go-together.html#kXzDDyqI6uatMIJV.99

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