Running and Weight Loss: Just wondering if... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Running and Weight Loss

Minty4 profile image

Just wondering if anyone has experienced weight loss from running without massively changing their diet. I mean where the diet is reasonably healthy anyway.

Or has your appetite changed as a result of running? I'm genuinely interested to know the impact of running on weight and appetite without restricting calories (but not overeating). Thank you!

33 Replies

Run more, eat less always works.

Burrows79 profile image

As Ian says, it's the only way. You have to put more out and be in a calorie deficit to lose weight

TJEL profile image

I have followed Slimming World for 20 years and know how to lose a few pounds if I put them on over a weekend but since I started running I can't lose an oz 😔. I started running to get fitter but wanted to lose 1/2 stone too but it's not happening and I'm frustrated now 😔. I was advised on this site it can take from 4-12 weeks for your body to know what your doing - really hope this is true x

runner56 profile image
runner56Graduate in reply to TJEL

Tjel. You are getting fitter. Concentrate on that.

TJEL profile image
TJELGraduate in reply to runner56

That's my husbands response 😃

If you maintain exactly the calories you are eating and run a lot you would lose weight. But that would be a real lot of running. So, for example if you wanted to lose the standard 1lb/week just by calories expended running, that would be 3,500 calories. Running a marathon burns around 2,500 calories. So if you ran a marathon every weekend and did 5k every weekday you could still take a rest day and lose a pound. As long as you didn't eat anything else.

Obviously this is a bit extreme. If you just ran a reasonable distance - say the 3 x 30 minutes of the programme, and added no extra foods, you would theoretically lose weight but at a much slower rate - a bit under a lb/month.

It is, as others have said, the combination of diet and exercise that allows weight management. Abs are made in the kitchen.

useitorloseit profile image
useitorloseitGraduate in reply to Rignold

So are thick slices of toast with lashings of Nutella. I think this could be where I'm going wrong. Hmm.

TJEL profile image
TJELGraduate in reply to useitorloseit


TJEL profile image
TJELGraduate in reply to Rignold

The thing is I really don't have to lose the weight I would just like to. I lost 6 stone with Slimming World eating a healthy diet (and still do). I could lose 2/3 lb a week without exercise so I just hoped that by doing it would help but it isn't 😔 x

Godebs profile image

Hi minty

I am at wk 9 and have not changed my diet or eating pattern throughout the programme.

On the scales I have lost 2 lb BUT in my clothes I have lost inches off my waist and fat off my upper back (which is fab😉).

I didn't notice anything till around wk 7 but now I feel much trimmer and fitter.

Keep going and tell me what you found by week 9.


Debbie x

HiddenGem profile image
HiddenGemGraduate in reply to Godebs

That's good to know Debbie well done

misswobble profile image

You have to look at your eats and drinks with a critical eye if you are looking to lose weight while running

its always the first place to look 👀

Minty4 profile image

Thanks everyone. I do eat fairly healthily. I could do with losing weight and I've found I'm not craving bad stuff nor overeating since I've been running. I'm eating less but not counting calories. I feel amazing and so any weight loss will be a bonus. 😊

I started the programme in November last year and have so far lost over three stone. The first half of that came off really quickly but I have had to work hard to drop the rest. I did find after graduation that I lost focus and the weight crept up a bit. So I am now working towards 10km and the weight is dropping again. I have not made massive changes to my diet but have cut out most chocolate and sugar. I think I could lose more if I dieted as well but would rather run than diet. The best measurement for you will be how your clothes fit rather than weight. I am wearing smaller clothes and I feel great about it. I also like how running has given me sexy legs!! Stick with the plan and it will all come right. Good luck

Minty4 profile image
Minty4Graduate in reply to The_Mighty_Webb

That's what I was hoping to hear from someone. You must feel amazing! Well done you. Keep up the good work. I have a plan for post graduation. 😊

From reading posts on here and from my own experiences I think it depends on the person

For example I weigh 11stone, I put on 3kg over the winter as I wasn’t working out as much as I’d like to (went from 67kg in Sept 16 to 69kg end of March 17).

I began the couch to 5k course in April after not feeling my best and seeing my clothes not fit me as well as they used to.

I’ve now finished the couch to 5k and have been running non-stop for around 25-40 minutes 3 times a week for just under a month. It’s now that I can say I feel like I’m losing the weight.

On the scales I havnt lost any weight. But surely this is because I have new found muscle weight and it’s my clothing I should play attention too.

My clothes do feel better on me, and I feel less bloated

I haven’t changed my diet massively, I’ve cut out a few bad lunchtime choices but that’s it. I was going no carb on my days of rest but I started spinning on these days now so eat how I always have but I WEIGH my carbs. So I cook everything from scratch then ensure I have the correct weight in pasta/rice/cous cous etc

My friend saw a similar effect of the couch to 5k, she lost nothing on the scales but dropped 2 dress sizes! –

I hope that helps !

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to amygill1990

You don't have new found muscle, I'm afraid. Running (or spinning) does not build muscle.

Running for 40 mins 3 times a week will be burning you an extra 1100 cals a week, which, combined with a caloric deficit, would result in weight loss over time.

It is quite often said on here that "we are all different" and "it depends on the person" with regard to caloric expenditure and related topics but that is only true to a very minor extent. Some people are geneticall predisposed to different body type - mesomorph, endomorph etc, and the exact number of calories a person burns will depend a bit on their size and weight and metabolic rate, but we all burn calories the same way. Our bodies metabolise food the same way. The same laws of thermodynamics apply to all of us. Weight loss happens only when you are in caloric deficit. Weight gain only happens when you are in caloric surplus. Cardio exercise builds fitness but not muscle.

TJEL profile image
TJELGraduate in reply to Rignold

Very interesting x

mezzominx profile image
mezzominx in reply to Rignold

mezzominx profile image
mezzominx in reply to Rignold

Cardio seems to in fact build muscle :) (see link)

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to mezzominx

Hmm, can't seem to read the full article as the page keeps skipping to another article about HIIT whenever I scroll past the first paragraph.

Although the first paragraph says A new study suggests cardio may build muscle after all... which is interesting but is one study that flies in the face of all the orthodoxy of the understanding of cardio vs resistance etc.

If cardio did build muscle then marathon and ultra runners would look like Arnold Schwarzenegger rather thn being superthin and wiry.

I agree with what your saying


I know from previous experiences that some individuals can loose weight by working out alone

I piled on the pounds when I was backpacking, when I returned home I didn't change my diet I just hit the gym hard, I lost my travel weight and was the smallest I had been for years.

I was still eating the same for meals and didn't drastically cut out anything 'bad'. I was younger, this was about 3/4 years ago so Id have been 24, don't know if that has a part to play with my metabolism!

If you don't gain muscle from running/spinning, is it more of a toning thing I am experiencing now in regards to clothes size/same weight on scales?

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to amygill1990

You certainly can lose weight by exercise alone. But you have to expend the calories. 30 minutes of walk/jog is about 200 cals.

People who do hours of very intense exercise every day burn a lot more, obviously. If you do an hour of Crossfit ever morning, go for an hour's run at lunchtime and do a spin class after work, you will have torched a good 100-1200 cals. Although in real terms, you can't sustain that level of exercise and not eat like a horse afterwards to replenish your body or you just burn out.

I've not lost on the scales but am getting my waist back and have lost my double chin strangely! Stil have my chubby belly tho but little things take time. Plus I'm starving after a run so I eat a good meal afterwards.

Minty4 profile image
Minty4Graduate in reply to Cazza73

Interesting. My appetite dissipates when I run. I also do 3 weight training sessions a week which leave me ravenous. 🐷🐷🐷

Gillma profile image

I've noticed varying things - appetite occasionally voracious occasionally rather poor. Tummy rolls increasing☹️. But fitness and energy steadily increasing too. I spend every morning on my feet gardening, housework, etc, then slump a bit till the eve. My hope is that my metabolism is adjusting to my new regime and that one day soon I will wake up slender, fit and 10 years younger - and will have retrained as a flying pig farmer. 😏🐖sorry not to be more helpful!

Minty4 profile image
Minty4Graduate in reply to Gillma

Haha @ flying pigs. At least you're getting fitter. That has to count for something.

Lost 11 on the 5:2 diet before running. Since starting running 7 weeks ago no loss (even though continuing the 5:2 but waist and things toned considerably to the point that my new jeans bought at Easter are now too loose. Not so bothered about my weight as I'm so much fitter and more toned 👍🏼

I started running to lose weight, after 6 weeks my body feels a bit tighter. I threw away my weighing scales after an unhealthy amount of checking them but my clothes do fit better. I reckon I could lose weight but my diet will always be that of a child running wild at a birthday party. The great part is because of my increased fitness, and feeling what my body can do, I've ended up caring less about the weight I'm carrying and just getting on with being super proud of myself.

This increased confidence garners compliments.

It's how I imagined I would feel if I did lose weight, but chances are I've not lost a pound!

Funny how things workout sometimes

Magicwand profile image
Magicwand in reply to Hamburglar

I like your attitude! 😁

I have lost around 12kg in about 5 months but the change in body shape is definitely more noticeable - my belly no longer sticks out further than my boobs and I don't wobble as much as I used to! I have gone down 2 dress sizes.

Diet wise I would say I'm just eating more healthily and cut back on carbs (bread, rice etc) and I have been trying to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Sometimes I am famished after a run but there isn't a pattern. I don't feel I need to eat as much as I used to.

I am now running about 12 miles a week (slowly, mind you) and feel mentally and physically better than I have done in years.

My quads and gluteals are definitely more defined - just need to work on my arms and belly separately.

Good luck with everything.

Minty4 profile image
Minty4Graduate in reply to MrsShrek

Well done you! I have some naughty habits but I am hoping to replace them with new habits, like running. 😃

Beany123 profile image

I agree, It is energy in versus energy out, but some people (pcos/metabolic syndrome/thyroid issues) are very adept at storing add to this people with pcos/metabolic syndrome have high levels of insulin which makes them hungrier than others. It’s crap but it means it’s a little more complicated than saying ‘eat less, move more’. The things you eat are also important.

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