Lose weight while running – the healthy way

In less than three months, Fedhealth’s Dream Chasers will line up at the start line of their chosen Sanlam Cape Town Marathon event – participating in either the 10km race, the 12km trail run or the full 42,2km marathon.

Being able to complete one of these events isn’t just about being physically fit though – it’s also about eating healthily, so you can give your body the fuel it needs to take on the task. That’s why we enlisted the help of our in-house dietician (and runner) Andrea du Plessis to help get our Dream Chasers on the right nutritional track. Here, she shares her weight loss tips for runners.


Benefits of weight loss for runners

One of the most popular reasons people start running is to lose weight, says Andrea. “Being in shape definitely benefits runners because a loss of body fat can boost running performance,” she says. “It also helps reduce injury risk, by alleviating the pressure and strain on the joints and spine during running.” It also helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and other indicators of general health, specifically heart health. However, once runners start a regular programme, Andrea says that losing body weight while still keeping energy levels up during training becomes the real challenge.


With this in mind, here are her six tips for losing weight the healthy way, so that you still maintain your energy levels as you train:


  1. Drink more water. Good hydration helps to reduce sweet cravings and also fills up your stomach at meal times.
  2. Don’t overeat after training. This is very easy to do, as you may feel extremely hungry, but resist the urge to go overboard. Instead, stock up on low carb veggies to fill up your stomach, including things like baby marrows, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and cucumber.
  3. Be “carb clever”. Eat your carbs before training rather than after, to make sure your body burns off that energy while you’re running.
  4. Don’t starve yourself. If you’re embarking on an intensive running programme, you shouldn’t consider going on fasting or starvation diets.
  5. Eat more protein. This will help you maintain your muscle strength, while also keeping your appetite under control. Good sources of high-quality protein include cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, milk, yoghurt, biltong, eggs, soya beans, chicken, fish, beef and pork.
  6. Training hard and reducing your food intake are two factors that increase your requirements for vitamins and minerals. Make sure you take a vitamin B complex daily, as vitamin B is essential for energy metabolism. Also consider having your iron levels tested – iron supplementation is recommended in cases of low iron levels, to combat fatigue during running training.


Embarking on a regular running programme is an excellent way of improving your general health – including losing weight in a healthy way, something you can maintain over time.

Want to see how our Dream Chasers are getting along? Keep an eye on our social media platforms in the coming months – including some videos of our Johannesburg Dream Chasers in action too.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.