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Couch to 5K
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losing weight

Hurrah, week 1 complete. Not a pretty site to see 17stone of flab attempting to run so it was done under the cover of darkness. I'm running to loose weight but looking at some of the postings it would seem this may be futile. Is weight lost due to running or is it just converted into heavier muscle mass?

17 Replies

There are lots of posts about weight loss and it can be done with running but you do need moderate your diet too...in a nutshell if you move more and eat less you should lose weight.

Would recommend that you also take your measurements because you will definitely lose inches as you'll tone up and this is a great incentive. Good luck with your journey


Hannah i have not lost any weight since starting but equally have not gained either, and my diet is unchanged.

If I stuck to a healthy diet I think that the weight would come up. Good luck with your runs.


I lost a stone in two months going from wk 1 to wk 9 run 1 and watching what I ate. Had to stop because of injury and weight has crept back on. Hope to get back to running soon. It does work, but you will need to watch what you eat as well. Good luck.


Yes. You do need to keep a tight eye on what you are eating as well. Apparently some people taking up exercise put on weight because they assume that they are using up more energy than they actually are.

I am doing chubby club i.e. weight watchers, as well as my jogs and it is coming off slowly but surely. You will definitely lose weight if you combine the two.

Good luck.


I've lost 10lbs at last weigh in which was just before Xmas. I've finished c25k but run 3 times a week for 30mins. It seems to work, but as everyone else says watch what you eat. You need about 1300 calories coming in to function properly and then running will get those pounds off quicker. There's a fitness tracker app for smart phones which you can put all your food and exercise in to track it.


I've lost just under 30kg (or four and a half stone) since starting the programme last January, but don't think any of that is attributable to the exercise. I know it's counter-intuitive and goes against theory and everything I've read about weight loss (and I've read a lot!), but I keep daily stats and would see any correlation. You might read stuff about muscle being more dense that fat - the story goes that by running you'll be replacing fat with muscle - or about the proportions of water changing. But the science disproves that this is a significant factor. HOWEVER - and I'm sorry if I'm being a bore - everyone should do what works for themselves and you'll only find that by trying out different things. Although I started running to help with my weight loss, the programme soon became a parallel activity that I did for its own sake. No doubt in my mind that weight loss (count your calories - the only sure fire method) and exercise are the perfect partners.


Stick with it! I started at just over 16 st. A year later I'm 13 st. Had a bit of a break from it over last 6 months as a family member was ill but have just started running again regulatly a week or so ago and have realised I've really missed it!

For me, after a couple of weeks I didn't care what I looked like or what anyone thought of me as I was already so proud of what I was achieving and could feel myself getting fitter.

I've still a couple of stone to lose to get to where I want to be but now I'm more focused on feeling fit and strong.



I weighed myself yesterday and I have put ON weight. I am a size smaller though so I guess I have replaced fat with muscle. I weigh 145lbs now, was about 140lb before, and I haven't really been regulating my diet.


Hannah I agree with the above that to lose weight you have to reduce your calorie intake too. I've just graduated and haven't lost anything but then I'm eating the same as I always do. I feel so much fitter though and I've every intention of continuing to run 3 times a week as its very addictive as I'm sure many will agree.


This is my experience with running and weight loss: couchto5k.healthunlocked.co...

In short, I had 15lbs to lose to be back under 25 BMI. I lost about 6 or 7 during the program (but nothing until week 6 or 7 which really frustrated me at the time) and then after I graduated it just fell off and I lost the next 10 really quickly! It seems to mirror this discussion here: couchto5k.healthunlocked.co...

I agree with others though that it is key you are aware of your intake and calories burnt (with an app or something) as particularly in the early weeks, you may not be burning as many calories as you expect. Keep an eye on your shape, that will change more than the scales during C25K.


Sorry I mean "programme". I have to use American spelling at work and it's given me terrible habits!


My experience is similar to yours and others - plateaus happen and can be frustrating, but eventually you get past them.

I liked your first link but the second repeats the assertion that fat is replaced by muscle, which is more dense, has more water, blah blah.

I think there is conflicting evidence. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has concluded that physical activity, without caloric restriction, minimally if at all affects fat loss. However, Ross, Freeman, and Janssen (2000) suggests that exercise alone can be as effective as caloric restriction for weight loss. I don't know where the weight went but, since the exercise only group experienced little or no change in their body fat, it's hard to see an argument that muscle mass had caused any reduction in weight loss.

However, Sopko et al. (1985) reported on a study where one group reduced calorie intake by 500 a day and a second group exercised to the extent of 500 calories a day. you might expect the outcome to be the same, and you'd be right. The diet only group lost 6.1kg. The exercise only group lost 6.2 kg. But the body fat in the diet only group went down by 6.4%, where the exercise only group went down by 7.7%. There's insufficient date to confirm whether some of the fat burned in exercise is replaced by muscle. But a feeling that the exercisers' extra 0.2 kg lost weight represents the extra 1.3% fat loss would sound reasonable. If muscle is added, I'm not sure where it is being reflected in these results.

I think we'd all agree though that the most effective approach is to use a mix of exercise and diet.


I didn't lose anything from just running, but I stopped putting on and stabilised my weight, but that hasn't stopped people telling me that I had lost weight, so take measurements.

But I'm not giving up the running, I love It too much, I no longer care if I'm not losing through running. Better fat and fit than fat and unfit :-)

I've started to watch my diet and now the weight is coming off slowly I'm using myfitnesspal app to record what I eat and exercise and it is excellent and FREE

Good luck and you'll soon love it :-)


I didn't do a thing with my diet (which to be honest is a bit heavy on the chocolate) but I lost about half a stone on C25K which doesn't seem like much BUT I have definitely lost inches and loads of people think I have lost lots of weight. I didn't take my measurements at the begining and regret it now. And at the end of the day it's how the clothes fit and how you look and feel that matters not a number on the scales. Aside from all the other benefits - having more energy, being a lot less stressed, better skin, being able to run up the stairs with out dying, I hardly ran over Christmas and put on only 2 pounds. Don't know about you but I've done millions of diets, lost weight quickly and put it all back on within a few months. C25K is the ONLY way I have ever lost weight and kept it off for any length of time and that was without even trying and it's just so much more life affirming to than the endless calorie/points/exchanges counting!

My advice - take your measurements, don't worry too much about the number on the scales. If you get to the end of C25K and think it was a waste of time let me know and I will eat my hat!

BTW I started as a stealth runner too! But now I even run past the other mums at school drop off time -must be the endorphins! Good luck :-)


First of all, Hannah - well done for completing W1. You're on the way now and to start it at the dreariest, darkest time of the year is even more of an achievement.

I started last August, but I don't know what I weighed at the time. Somewhere around the 15 stone mark, I'm guessing (I had been 16 stone 6 at the beginning of the year, but had radically changed my diet and given up meat, fish, eggs and most dairy, but still had a little butter, milk and cheese). I also started 'conscious' eating. I.e. being aware of what and when I was putting in my mouth. VERY aware. As others have said, it's very easy to overestimate the amount of calories you burn in energy and to eat to make up for it, but then find that you've over-eaten. Unfortunately, there is no short-cut - eat less, move more is the mantra. BUT, you've taken that 1st all important step. This will be about so much more than just losing a few stone. You will gain self-esteem, self-belief, be fitter, stand taller, and it may just lead you down other avenues that you never believed that you would be capable of going down.

Just to add though that I have to wear a uniform at work (tailored trousers and shirt) and I've gone from a size 24 (they do come up small as they're tailored) to a size 16 since last August and people keep saying that I've lost shedloads of weight. For a while nothing seemed to happen really, then all of a sudden, everything felt looser and I felt lighter. I was just under 13 stone after Christmas. So, if you keep on with the programme, try to introduce other forms of activity in too such as upping your walking, taking stairs, swimming and just generally increasing your all round activity AND you only eat when hungry (and try to eat mainly fruit, veg, pulses, grains, lean meat and fish - I strongly believe that people overeat because the body is starved of nutrients not starved of food), drink lots of water, stop eating when the hunger is no longer there, and reward and comfort yourself in ways other than food, I bet you that by the beginning of Summer you will be amazed at the transformation and weight loss. This isn't a quick fix, it's a programme that builds, not too slowly, but it needs to be done in tandem with other areas of your life.

I am soooo looking forward to reading about your progress on here.


Just to say,hear, hear to the above post. I need to not feel deprived so I think of all the good stuff I can eat and think about the harm the unhealthy stuff might be doing, this seems to help. Following a plan, weight watchers or something similar as well as the running will work, honest. Good luck.


I am over weight and just started c25k two weeks ago. I have read that when your body turns into muscle it then can burn more calories so you may gain a little for muscle but then it will help you to loose weight.


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