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Today’s guest post features blogger June Doran of This Simple Balance.
I have four kids – one girl and three boys (8, 6, 4, & 2) – and I gained the most weight by far with my first pregnancy. That little girl weighed only 8.5 pounds at birth, but I packed on a good fifty pounds or more by the time she came out.
I needed to figure out how to lose the pregnancy weight. The catch? I wanted to do it without going on a diet.
How to Lose the Pregnancy Weight without Dieting
I ended up choosing to run a half-marathon. Now before you click away thinking, “I could never do that – I HATE running,” you need to know that I once did, too.
All my life, I’ve wanted to be a runner (probably watching Sydney Bristow kick butt in Alias contributed to this desire), but my running career was a very sad affair. I developed shin splints in the first week of track practice in high school. The coaches told me to run through them.
I said, “I quit.”
About once a year after my three-day track career, I’d lace up my sneakers for my annual attempt at running that once lasted a whole two weeks. Ha! I loved the idea of being a runner, but I seemed destined to fail.
I never ran more than three miles straight in my life. And while I say I “ran” a half-marathon, most real runners would consider it jogging. You don’t need to be a runner to do this (though it might turn you into one!).
If I can do this, you can, too.
Why Run a Half-Marathon to Lose Pregnancy Weight
I had three requirements when I created my plan to lose the pregnancy weight:
- No Dieting
- Relatively High Stakes
- A Plan to Get Healthy (no stepping on the scale every other day)
First, as I sorted through my options, I knew I wanted a plan that did NOT involve dieting. I never dieted before in my life, and I wasn’t about to start now.
And did I mention my daughter was born in mid-October? I had absolutely no intention of missing out on all the holiday goodies.
Second, when you invest money in something, you tend to commit just a little bit more. Buying good running shoes and signing up for a half-marathon cost about $120. Joining our local gym so I could use the treadmills (I started training during Boston winter) cost another $10 a month.
As a pretty frugal person, I wasn’t about to let all that money go to waste.
I also signed up with a friend for added accountability.
Finally, the best part by far about running a half-marathon was that I just needed to follow the plan. I didn’t step on the scale every other day to see fluctuating, depressing numbers.
A half-marathon involved enough training that I could probably lose the weight, but wasn’t as intimidating as a full marathon.
I just ran (sometimes ran/walked) my miles for the day, checked it off, and lived the rest of my life pretty much the same. I wasn’t trapped in an endless, discouraging cycle of lose a few pounds, gain a pound.
8 Simple Steps to Run a Half Marathon to Lose Pregnancy Weight (with no running experience)
Wait Six Weeks to Start
This probably goes without saying, but do not jump off the couch a week after giving birth. Wait until your six-week post-partum check-up, and get your doctor’s approval to start.
Buy Good Shoes
Find a local running store in your area. Most running stores will help you figure out the best type of running shoe for you.
They will look at your foot shape and watch you run a short distance to see what kind of arch support you need. They will then tell you 2-3 shoes that will work for you. You don’t need to purchase them at the store. You easily find the same shoes on Amazon.
But I cannot stress this enough: most running injuries as due to wearing old shoes or the wrong shoes. My husband trained for a marathon in the wrong shoes and suffered a knee injury he has never recovered from.
Invest in good shoes. An injury will cost you far more than the $65-$80 in the long run, plus it will make losing weight that much harder.
Choose the Right Race
If multiple races are available in your area, do a little research on the courses before signing up. Think about what you want to get out of the race, too.
Maybe you care about scenery. Maybe you don’t.
You might want a flat course that is a couple of boring loops.
You might like the variety of hills and a single loop course.
Only look at a few though. Decision fatigue can make you give up and throw in the towel before you even get started.
Once you fork over that $50, it makes you get out of bed in the morning. It forces you to get out the door to start your run, even when you’d rather be scrolling through Netflix.
Enter your credit card information and click “Sign Up.” There’s no turning back now! Time to kick that pregnancy weight to the curb, one mile at a time.
Use a Training Plan
I recommend using Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training plan. It’s straightforward and one of the most popular plans out there. It also offers plans for three different types of runners: novice, intermediate, and advanced.
All three plans suggest one day of cross-activity, in other words, some kind of exercise other than running. You can do this, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
Two weeks into the plan, I only had time three runs every week: 3-mile, 5-mile, and the weekend long run, which builds from 3 miles up to 12 miles. He schedules an additional run during the week of varying lengths (no more than 5 miles), but I never had time for that much.
You can do well with just three runs a week. Less than that probably won’t give you the results you’re looking for.
Find Audio Entertainment
Running six or seven miles or more can get a little boring unless you live in an area that has great scenery. Sign up for podcasts, grab some audio books, or schedule phone calls with a friend (though you may need to wait until you’re in better shape to talk while running).
For safety, always run with one headphone out. Make sure someone knows your running route, run during the day and in a relatively populated area, and run with someone else if possible.
If you have to run at night, stick to the gym or a busy and well-lit city street with sidewalks.
I can’t stress safety enough: running is awesome but unfortunately, as a woman today, you need to be cautious.
Take it Slow
If you need to do a combination or walking and running, do it. Need to job so slowly you think you’d go faster walking? That’s o.k., too!
Don’t get frustrated with yourself. It takes time to build up running endurance. Slowly increase your running time.
Better to go slow and keep going, then to go too fast and quit.
Ask family and friends to come cheer you on during your half-marathon or at the finish line. It’s pretty exhilarating to run across the finish line to cheering people you actually know.
Make sure to treat yourself and celebrate your accomplishment. No matter how many pounds you lost, finishing a half-marathon is a big deal!
Losing the Pregnancy Weight is Possible
I used this method to lose not only my 50 pounds of baby weight, but also the 10 pounds I wanted to lose before I got pregnant. I started at 190 pounds and dropped to below 130.
I should note, however, that I did breastfeed my daughter, which is documented to contribute to weight loss. I ate a fairly balanced diet overall, but I definitely ate ice cream once a week along with other random treats.
I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same results. But I DO know that regardless of the amount of pregnancy weight you lose, getting in shape and finishing a half-marathon will boost your energy levels and change how you see yourself.
You CAN do this. I’m cheering you on!
If you decide to use this plan to lose the pregnancy weight, share in the comments which race you signed up for! The more accountability, the better.
Follow June on Social Media!