Hi, I’m a 56 Year old female who has just started running in the last couple of months. I’m finding that my hips and thighs are getting bigger instead of smaller. What am I doing wrong? I run about 16-20 miles per week.
Hi Lisa, thanks for your question and well done for starting running :).
It is not uncommon for people to either not lose weight when they first start running and for others, gaining weight is an issue.
You say that your hips and thighs are getting bigger and I wonder how you are measuring that. Sometimes, being bloated makes you think that you are getting bigger and also muscle gain can mean the scales are not moving.
If your scales are not budging or you are feeling bigger, here are a few possible reasons:
* When you start running, it is normal to drink more fluids. All fluids weigh something and depending on when you weigh yourself, that fluid weight can show up on your scales.
* Muscle weighs more than fat. So as you lose fat by doing more exercise, you could well be gaining more healthy muscle.
* Calories! Are you eating more than you need or are you eating more to congratulate yourself on your run. If you eat more calories than you need, your body stores them as fat. In females this is often around the belly and hips.
* You need to burn about 3500 calories in order to lose 1 pound of body fat. If you have a 300 calories a day deficit, then you might lose around 1/2 pound a week. However, the speed at which you lose weight can be quite individual and depends on your metabolism and genetic makeup. It is much better to lose weight slowly and steadily.
* Stress. If you are stressed from anxiety, lack of sleep or other issues, then your body responds by producing more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone which triggers you body to produce more insulin. This increase in insulin causes your blood sugar level to drop which in turn makes your body crave more sugary and fatty foods. So in essence, stress can make you gain weigh and deposit fat.
* Don't weigh yourself every day. It can be demoralising as the scales will not be a true reflection of what's going on in your body, especially if you have taken in lots of fluids that day. Much better to measure every week. Another way is to not use scales at all and judge weight loss by how your clothes fit, especially round your hips and belly.
So those are just a few areas to get you thinking about. Keep on running and hopefully soon you will start seeing the results that you want :).
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