February 12, 2015

Running Towards Weight Loss

Photo Credit: Gareth 1953 
Guest Post By Megan White

Running (or not) seems to be a theme this week! And don't forget we're giving away some Altra Zero-Drop shoes (and it's not too late to enter).

While some of us suffer from injuries that make running a Bad Idea and a source of angst, jealousy, and whining, for most people, running is a Good Idea!  But... even if you are physically able to run, how the heck do you motivate yourself to do it?

This guest post is by our Paleo Pal Megan White, who has a new book out called The Ten Running Commandments and who has already shared a post with us on Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet. She is an enthusiastic runner, and has some tips to share!-- Crabby

The words we tell ourselves can make or break us.

These words can be positive. They can take you from your bed in the early morning to the dark streets, allowing you to burn off a couple hundred calories before the day ahead (and fitting you up with hours of endorphins to get you through the early-morning blues).

Alternately, these words can be negative. They can keep you strapped to your couch, a bag of potato chips in your hand, and thoughts of Netflix humming in your head. We’ve all been there. (Sadly, just three days of this attitude can get me up-to-date on full seasons of House of Cards.)

Ultimately, the choice is yours. How are you going to speak to yourself to get yourself out the door, ready to reap the many benefits of running (or walking! Or elliptical-ing! Or whatever!)? How are you going to speak to yourself to make good dinner recipe choices, rather than heading out to that (all-too-delicious) Chinese restaurant down the street? How can you burst beyond these running roadblocks, get your tennies on your feet, and dart down the road (whatever mp3 of your choice bumping in your ear)?

You must conquer the running roadblocks. Here is an excerpt from my newly-published book: The Ten Running Commandments. These are based off my long, tireless courtship with running. (Will they? Won’t they? So many said of running and I. Ultimately, our relationship has stood the test of time!)

1. The Motivation Technician.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to build the motivation to get yourself out the door. If you’re lacking the motivation to succeed, remember the wonderful benefits of running.

cartoon credit: xkcd

My favorites are:

A. Continuous calorie-burning power. That’s right. When you exercise, you’re burning calories the entire time. But running allows that calorie burning to continue on. This is called “afterburn.” As long as you run with at least 70 percent of your inner power during your exercise, you’ll have afterburn for about three hours. This occurs while you’re sitting around, smiling like a goon because the endorphins are rollicking through your body. This brings me to my next point:

B. Running makes you smile. Like an idiot. Sometimes, when I’m running down the road, I get weird looks. But I can’t help it! A physiological behavior study noted that when you run, your brain’s neurochemical activities make it seem like you’re on drugs. It’s like a reward system, without the negative side effects and the illegality. For just the cost of a pair of shoes and a bit of time on the tread or on the trail, insane giddiness can be yours. You’re welcome!

2. Tricking Yourself Out the Door.

No matter how long you’ve been running, it can still be very difficult to lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement (especially in the dead of this ever-grey winter). This is what I do:

A. I put on my running clothes about thirty minutes before I’m planning to go running. This way, I’m forcing my brain to get used to the idea. “This is it, brain and feet. We’re going out there. I don’t care that it’s 15 degrees. We’re going to do it, and we’re going to like it.”

Plus, I’d feel too embarrassed in front of my dog if I took off my running clothes, donned my ice cream cone pajama pants, and started House of Cards again, without running. I’d know; my dog would know. And that self-esteem would nose-dive between the couch pillows.

B. I always have a weekly running mileage goal. In the summer, it’s usually around 35 miles a week. In the winter—it’s less. Usually, I aim for 20. My ridiculous winter running gear includes my mom’s mittens from the 70’s and a very large college sweatshirt. I don’t look good, but again: I’m smiling.

C. I tell myself I’m only going for a walk. I start out there in the cold, feeling good about moving. And then I start thinking: if I just ran one mile, then I could maybe have that afterburn I love so much; I could maybe work off that burrito from yesterday. I start thinking that maybe running wouldn’t be so bad. And then, before I know it, I’m at home, grinning like an idiot. What just happened? I tricked myself into running. And I’ll do it again!

So anyway, guys. I’ve had my running roadblocks, and I continue to pound beyond them, every single day. I could talk about form all day; about building speed; about building miles. But I think the core of every runner’s problem is motivation and finding your own version of success. Good luck in your exercising endeavors!

Megan White, author of running weight loss book, The Ten Running Commandments, is a Paleo diet food fanatic running around the world, searching for the most nutritional, tasty treats in every country she can find. Follow her on her journey at CavemanCravings.net as she dodges sugar cravings, works to better her mind and body, and picks up some creative Paleo diet recipes along the way.


  1. Good grief, for once I found the post when it's only a few minutes old, instead of day or two!
    I've never been a morning exerciser, and I don't want to be. I like my exercise after my (very physical) work day. The calorie burning part is far less important to me than the joint-moving part. Steady walking does more to loosen up my hips and knees than the variety of moving I do at work. Smiling: I'm lucky that I live in a region where smiling is normal. I get smiles back, not funny looks.
    Even as much as I enjoy it, tricking myself out the door is hard. Since I don't run, my walking clothes are identical to my work and home clothes, so that doesn't work. I don't have goals, either, except to get out there and move. Of course, when it's very cold, and definitely when the pollen count is high, I try to force myself to use the hated stationary bike instead. I don't often succeed, because I am such a walker, not a biker, but in pollen seasons not breathing outdoors is healthier than getting exercise and not being able to breathe through my nose the next day. I do, though, often trick myself into going farther by saying "You only need to walk for fifteen minutes" and then going for thirty, but sometimes I really only have a short time. I do that with yoga, too: "One sun salutation is better than nothing" will turn into my usual ten minutes about half the time.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. I absolutely love running and so, of course I love everything about this post and agree with all the good points you made. I too run with a huge smile on my face or signing to my music like a lunatic. But hey, it takes one to know one, right? :-)

    1. A coworker saw me out by my office, as she was driving home for the evening. The next morning she said "you had such a happy look on your face!" Hey, I wasn't sitting at my desk working!

  3. I have run smiling, crying, laughing, singing - I just love to run!!!
    Great idea about tricking yourself out the door - sometimes that's all it takes!!!

  4. In many things, just telling yourself that you only have to do a small amount of whatever it is works wonders. It's inertia, i think. If you can get yourself over the initial inertia that has you stopped, the motion makes you want to keep moving.

    One example in my life would be to tell myself i only have to sweep this room, not the whole house. Once the broom or vacuum is out, though, i've overcome the inertia and i figure, what's the use of not finishing while i'm already at it?

    Great suggestions here!

  5. The importance of running cannot be over-emphasized. Not only will it help keep you in shape (weight-wise), but it will also help improve your general well being.

    You can start by running 1 mile and increase the mileage as time goes on - such baby steps can pay off big time in the long run.

  6. Great tips, especially the brain trickery! My speed is on par with turtles and tiny dogs, but I do love to run. The ensuing feel-goods are always worth it.

  7. Messymimi, your system is a lot like the one I used before I really got into athletic activities: I made myself get dressed and start, but told myself I could stop after 10 minutes if I wanted to. Y'know, I never did stop. Once I was there and warmed up, everything felt better. Really, just getting started is key to so many things.

    Megan, thanks for your ideas on running. As one who likes cycling better, I have to admit that running does not always put a smile on my face. I am still awaiting that runner's high so many of you seem to experience. Still, I totally agree that it is an amazingly efficient and effective exercise - so I am off to run my 4th 5k since December tomorrow morning.

    1. In my opinion, you will need to run over an hour at a time very consistently to get that second wind feeling. Perhaps with your biking background it will come easier, but it's vastly overrated.

    2. Thanks, Dr. J. Sort of like that green flash after a tropical sunset, maybe?

  8. I've been running for a long time! I started doing it so I would have endurance for other sports. Then I took a break, but a bet got me going again, and I have done it ever since. I love the feeling of being in shape. I was born to run, but I've also learned how to be in the long run.

  9. Running is my thing so I have no problem being motivated to run. Even when I have bad runs, I keep coming back because I do love how I feel. It's all that other strength type stuff that I struggle with!

  10. Great Post and nice article.It is Better for good health
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. All diets are based on an idea that’s supposed to make them different. Aside from the basic "eat this and don’t eat that", diets have to have an original twist in order to be noticed by the general public. Standing out in the crowded field of the modern dieting industry can sometimes make the difference between success and failure and even a good idea needs to be promoted. The same can be said about the Body Clock Diet, which is one of the diets that try to look beyond food in order to link the eating process with the greater picture of body processes.

    The basic idea is that aside from being careful about what you eat, you should also be careful about the timing of meals in order to fit in with the natural rhythm of your body. The body has its own internal clock that regulates the metabolism, appetite, sleep and energy levels. This diet focuses on eating the right kind of food while observing the internal clock. It is important to eat regularly and getting the right balance of nutrients with each meal since this lets the body turn the feeling of hunger on and off naturally.

    There is, of course, a two-week eating plan that you must follow in order to lose weight. Staying true to the body rhythms, each day features three meals and two snacks that are rich in vegetables and fruits. The eating plan follows a general protein-rich, low-fat pattern, which is nothing new. The best part of the diet, however, is tying everything in with the rest of the body. For instance, the author argues that eating grains and cereals should be done in the morning in order to match the effect of insulin on the brain, while dinner should consist of a light blend low glycemic cabs and lean protein.

    The Body Clock Diet

  12. Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with us. My pleasure to being here on your blog..I wanna come back here for new post from your site.


  13. This is good stuff, Megan. :) Thanks for this wonderful guide. And I totally agree with you, we need people like you in the pro-health campaign on proper weight loss.
    By the way, I'm Laura and my experience on was that after I had my second daughter I was frustrated and depressed about the way my body looked and felt.
    I couldn't get back to where I was. I started to look for a way to get in shape and shed those unwanted pounds from pregnancy but going to the gym was not in the budget at the time.
    I began my fitness journey just 3 years ago. On July 4, 2010 I began a weight loss Challenge which changed my life. I felt great.


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