Running and weight loss: Hi all! What is your... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Running and weight loss

Joyjoy01 profile image

Hi all! What is your opinion on running for burning fat? I know of all the many, many benefits of running which I’m looking forward to but ultimately I’m starting this plan (again!) to run three 30 mins session a week and slim down (along with my healthy eating). People I ask keep telling me to do HIIT or the cross trainer at the gym instead if I want to see results. Surely running 30 mins 3 times a week will burn fat and shape my legs etc?!

20 Replies

I graduated a month ago and couldn't tell you how much weight I've lost as I refuse to have The Sad Step in my house and chose to instead look at my waist size. I definitely have lost weight as I'm now a size 14 rather than 16 and lots of my clothes are a lot baggier (terrible yet joyous problem to have!) and so far have lost 2 inches from my waist.

I thought that running 3 times a week would surely mean this would happen and I'm pretty sure my legs are looking slightly trimmer too, but having been overweight my whole life I can't image there ever being no wobble whatsoever to my thighs! 😂

There's no doubt running is great for physical health but I can feel how great is it for my mental health too and I've never slept better too! 🏃‍♀️👍👍💪🏃‍♀️

Thank you ChoosingHappy for your reply. Yes, inches is where it counts and you sound like you have done fantastic. Thanks for the advice. I’m gonna keep it up! 🙂

Hello Joyjoy; I am just to begin week 7 and am about three stone overweight. I feel like I have lost weight - just a few pounds to date - as my jeans and some tops seem baggier. Covered up I look semi-decent lol. If you are following a healthy eating plan you should lose weight. The problem is, and I have been guilty of it in the past, when we run but don't follow a healthy diet and overdo the cakes, sweets and booze because we feel we can burn them off. I still have treats but no longer have rubbish throughout the day. A lotof my eating (and drinking) was through boredom and latterly grief at losing my husband but there's no future in it. So I have embraced couchto5K and also am doing lots of long walks. I have downloaded the BBC Sounds App and listen to plays and comedies (I prefer that to music) and before I know it, I've done 45mins/an hour's walk. Once I've graduated I will listen to Sounds whereas now I just have Michael Johnson encouraging me.

You will see results I am sure.

Keep going

Joyjoy01 profile image
Joyjoy01 in reply to Akallover

Hi Akallover! Thanks for your advice. I’ll definitely make sure that I curb the eating and not think I now have a free rein! I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You are doing amazing by still trying to do this for yourself. I lost someone close recently and have been going through grief and depression and I know how hard it is to still try to carry on with life. I’ll try the BBC sounds app. Will make a change from me continually playing the rocky theme tune over & over! All the best to u. 🙂

damienair profile image

I’ve been running for 2 years and have lost 2.5 stone in weight. However I only lost the weight since January due to eating healthier.

Weight loss is 90% food related and 10% exercise. And running is so much easier and better after weight has been lost. I run 3-4 times per week, but if I lose myself and start eating the wrong food I will put weight back on very easily.

You can’t outrun a poor diet.


Joyjoy01 profile image
Joyjoy01 in reply to damienair

Thanks Damienair. Wise words. Yes I’ll make sure I stick with my eating plan aswell. What a shame we can’t run and still eat loads of chips though!! 😂 All the best. 🙂

2718281 profile image

Hi Joyjoy01, I think the most important thing about weight loss methods is sustainability. Healthy eating is the key, but adding exercise can help as long as you don't replace the calories you burn with a higher intake.

Different exercise will burn calories at a different rate, so some exercises will be more efficient, but if you don't like them, the probability of sticking to them in the long term is quite low, whist if you are doing something you like, you will stick to it :)

Strength training, even if it doesn't burn many calories, is very good as it helps to tone your body and to create more muscle tissue that will increase your calorie consumption. If you combine running and some strength training, I think you are good to go, as long as you enjoy it (or you enjoy the high after you complete a run, I have to say there are days that I run thinking "why the hell I'm doing this?", but I feel some good afterward that I forget by the time I'm going for my next run). I'm not so consistent with strength training, but I should, as it can help prevent injuries...

Joyjoy01 profile image
Joyjoy01 in reply to 2718281

Thanks so much for the advice! I totally agree it’s sustainability and even though people are advising me to do the cross trainer etc, I just don’t like doing that so I can’t see me keeping it up. I do like doing the weights though and have started that in conjunction with the running and eating better. So hopefully all together things will start working. Now if only I could give up the wine!!! 😂Thanks again x

2718281 profile image
2718281Graduate in reply to Joyjoy01

The other advice is one step at a time, so even if you are still enjoying some wine, you are doing all those things, you are much better off than you were a couple of weeks or months ago :)

John_W profile image

Good and bad news re: weight-loss and running.

Bad news (1) running 1 mile at moderate speed burns only 100 calories. So if you manage to run 5k (say in 35-40 mins), which is 3.1 miles, then you're burning 300 calories. Which is only half a burger, or maybe 2-3 glasses of wine. In those terms, it's not much. For calorie burning, there are better exercises. Certainly from a time point-of-view, you get more bang-for-your-buck with Weight-lifting and HIIT.

Bad news (2) running puts on muscle which is denser than fat and some people actually put on weight - if they haven't changed anything else in their life, like... diet.

GOOD NEWS! Running is a great way to get fit - and C25K is a wonderful and safe way to start your journey. If you enjoy it, then you'll be naturally motivated to start being more watchful and careful about what you eat and it can become a virtuous circle.

By making changes to your diet (eg. smaller portions, and being more careful about added sugar and fats), then alongside your running, you should see positive results.

Good luck!


Buddy34 profile image

Everyone will always have a difference of opinion on what you should do. So my story is May 2018 I started brisk walking 6 days a week then started c25k in October my actual food eating was fine my addiction was chocolate and lots of it because i had stopped smoking. Anyway I've lost 3 and a half stone so not much to go . I thank my running for this and only a small amount of chocolate now and again. Good luck 😊

MarkyD profile image

Long, slow runs will burn fat. After graduating C25K, gradually build up to 10km runs, about 1 hour. Your body will continue to burn fat for the subsequent 24 hours.

Whilst doing C25K and eating healthily you’ll definitely tone up, drop a dress size and folks will comment that you’ve lost weight (even if you haven’t).

I’m with John_W on HIIT. It’s good time-wise, but perhaps you have to factor in the travel time to the gym. Me... I just pull on my running things and head out of the door. The freedom, head-space and nature (I’m in the countryside) are unbeatable... just me against the elements and my gremlins).

So just run for the love of it. Fat burn is a happy side effect 😎

Run123456 profile image

Well I lost half a stone in the first three weeks and have lost nothing since but have developed some muscles (not just on my legs but my abs have more tone too). But I guess we are all different. 🙂

Aspire24 profile image

Healthy eating and running has worked for me. Lost over 2 stone since starting in January. Running helps with mindset as I find you watch what you eat before you run and then for some reason after a run I don’t feel so hungry🤔. It means you can still have a few treats 👍. Add to that body shape changes and all that then improves your mental health as everyone keeps telling you how good you look. Then the fun bit, you start to become evangelical about C25K, I have 5 converts on my list so far now🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

I’m on weight watchers at the moment, I’m on week 2 of C25k I lost 3.5lbs this week since starting running my biggest loss so far! Now I’m eating healthy and added the exercise it seems to be coming off quicker 🙂

in reply to Puglover87

You need to be careful, 3.5lbs can be to much to lose in one week, you should be aiming for around 1-1.5lb per week.

Your body might begin to fight it and starvation mode will kick in. Look up starvation mode on Google if you want to understand it more.

Good luck on your journey.

Puglover87 profile image
Puglover87 in reply to

Thank you I will, I have been loosing 2lbs a week for six weeks and then last week because I have added the running I lost more, and in that week I had a pizza express too 🙂

in reply to Puglover87

Dont mention pizza 🤤🤤😉

It's OK, just be careful and you will make it. Let's see if you lose similar weight next week, sometimes it can slow down. But be careful. 🙂

Yes running will help with weightloss as long as you are eating a healthy diet along the way..

Sp81 profile image

I started running to aid weight loss and somewhere during the journey I started losing weight to help me run. 20lb so far following an aim of 1-2lb a week. Admittedly it’s the inches that’s been the most appreciated ( even on the arms!). I completed 3 runs a week a little bit of weight lifting and yoga type stuff on non run days and installed a diet diary app. ( way too easy to treat myself for running) tracking my food wasn’t fun in the beginning but definitely worth it and helped me be more mindful of what I was eating. Only thing I wished I did in the beginning (too scared) was to take accurate measurements although my clothes are a good indication. I now enjoy clothes shopping again yeah!!! The best thing is running has been the best antidepressant I have ever tried. I wish you happy running xx

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