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So when I started back on a running & exercise program a little over a month ago I did so full force. I began eating 5 times a day, running 4 times a week and working out 2 days a week. And I felt great...even lost around 15 lbs.

Well, I think I'm starting to feel the effect of slamming myself into a routine. My left knee has starting hurting me and I have shot my diet in the head over the last weekbecause I am burnt out on the same foods every day. I have gained about 6 pounds back.

I have done a good amount of research and have come to the conclusion that I am increasing my mileage way too fast. I'm up to 10-12 miles per week, that's coming from 0 miles a week just over a month ago. I would say that is a greater than a 10% increase per week. But I was feeling so good I thought I could handle it.

So the program can be modified, and I can slow myself down. But the change in diet is where I just completely suck. I know almost nothing about proper nutrition and the % of certain foods my body needs (protein, fat, carbs) Everything I read is geared towards the high mileage runner with a size 30 waist. WAY too many carbs. I just can't see myself losing the weight I need to lose on a program like that. I am 6' 1" and 225 lbs as of this morning. My goal weight is 180. And I know this is a good weight for me....I was always a thin person up until 8-10 years ago.

O.K.---that was long and drawn out. What I need is some help on how to make a lifestyle change when it comes to eating. I need to educate myself but have no idea where to begin.

I have decided to start from scratch....with a clean slate.


RT, I can see where the frustration lies in 10-12 miles per week not making the dent you want. What I would recommend is adding walking mileage to the mix. I had some "fat years" myself and when I decided to drop the weight, I did my morning runs, but then also 2-3 mile walks at noon and 2 mile walks in the evening. At one point, I was logging 60 mile weeks, but over half of it was walking. Amazing thing is, calorie-wise, whether you run or walk, you burn the same calories per mile. So if you want to burn calories like a 50-mile a week runner, get out there and walk some mileage into your routine. It's easy on the joints and guaranteed once some pounds melt away, your knees are going to feel much better. Having "been there and done that", my recommends is pile miles.


I'm not sure what you're asking here regarding diet. So here's what I'm guessing:

You will lose weight by eating "right" and continuing with your exercise program. I have no idea what your typical diet consists of, so if you eat fairly well now, maybe all you need is a little portion control. Have you researched the Food Guide Pyramid? The U.S. publishes one, but the Mediterranean Food Guide Pyramid has also been scoring extra points lately.

For MOST people who are just trying to stay in shape, you don't need an athlete's diet, just a reasonable one.

Food Guide Pyramid

Mediterranean Food Pyramid


I would suggest to concentrate on the amount of calories you consume first before becoming obsessed with the amount of what type of calories. Do that later. But if you really want that info, I'd suggest a 40-30-30 ratio, with the carbs being the 40%. First, find out your BMR. How many calories you need a day just to survive. Then add in the exercise part of it. Here's the Harris-Benedict calculation for men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kgs) + (5 X height in cm) - (6.8 X age in years) Weight in lbs divide by 2.2 to get kgs Height in inches multiplied by 2.54 to get cm Now, the activity levels: Sedentary - little or no exercise: BMR X 1.2 Lightly Active - light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week: BMR X 1.375 Moderately Active - moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week: BMR X 1.55 Very Active - hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week: BMR X 1.725 Extra Active - very hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training: BMR X 1.9 So now you just need to keep track of the number of calories you ingest per day. Write it down and add it up. Actually does keep you pretty honest about all that 'gut rot'. Remember that you want to be in calorie deficit: Burning more calories per day than ingesting. And don't forget that you burn calories all day doing everything you do, even sleeping. If you want more info on these numbers let me know. One more thing, 3500 calories in one pound. Now go do your math.


O.K., I'm a little scared. I did my calculations...and according to the formulas you gave I need to consume 2985 calories per day. How in the hell do I burn over 3000 calories a day? The only thing I can think of is to lower this number significantly....which will only leave me fatigued. Which is not an option.

Please tell me I'm wrong...... :(


Not true. At the same body weight, you burn more calories the faster you go.
Burning calories is all dependent on your specific body weight and the intensity of whatever activity you're doing. Running has a higher intensity level than walking, therefore running burns more calories.
What we're trying to do is measure or estimate energy expenditure during exercise. This is done by measuring oxygen uptake (VO2). Normally direct measurement of VO2 is done in a laboratory setting, but reasonable estimates can still be made during steady state exercise. "They also estimate or predict energy expenditure (and thus weight loss) for some nonergometric exercise modalities (e.g., indoor or outdoor walking and running)."1
So we estimate the relative VO2, and then from that the amount of calories expended.
Here's an example and it's very mathematically involved.
For Walking:
RelVO2 = (.1*S) + (1.8*S*G) + 3.5
For Running:
RelVO2 = (.2*S) + (.9*S*G) + 3.5
S=Speed expressed in meters per minute
G=Fractional grade (We'll use 1% for both since we're doing all this outside.)
20 minute/mile pace = 3 MPH = 80.4 m.min
RelVO2 = (.1*80.4) +(1.8*80.4*.01) +3.5
RelVO2 = 12.99
8 minute/mile pace = 7.5 MPH = 201 m.min
RelVO2 = (.2*201) +(.9*201*.01) + 3.5
RelVO2 = 45.51
NOW, to get to how many calories burned per minute and then per workout:
Multiply your RelVO2 by your weight in kg (We'll use the same weight for both examples: 70kg) to get your Absolute VO2, as expressen in liters/minute.
Then you multiply that number by the constant 5, to get number of kcals burned per minute.
(12.99*70)/1000 = .9093 L.min
.9093*5 = 4.55 Kcals burned per minute
(45.51*70)/1000 = 3.19 L.min
3.19*5 = 15.95 Kcals burned per minute
NOW let's do the same distance theory:
Walking 1 mile in 20 minutes = 4.55*20 = 91 total Kcals burned
Running 1 mile in 8 minutes = 15.95*8 = 127.6 total Kcals burned
Everything is the same - weight, grade, distance. The only thing that's different is speed. So, the faster you go (up to a point) the more calories you burn.
1ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Sixth Edition. 2000


I gotta stop reading Runners World.


Seriously, thanks Fla! You've got my number crunchin' enzymes going. <reaching for the 10-key>


I gotta stop reading Runners World.
Yeah, I've debated for eons on whether to send them a letter to the editor about this. And, you're welcome. Got all this stuff in my little running Excel program, so let me know if you want anything.


RT, I hadn't seen this post initially but I responded at length to your thread in the Health & Nutrition forum if you want to go read.

I'm not a nutritionist, (I just play one on the Internet ;) ) but I've done a LOT of research over the years on the topic, having an extensive past eating disorder history and also a chronic illness which forced me to make some major dietary changes in order to stay healthy, so I hear what you're saying and I'd be happy to help as well. Obviously I'm not suggesting you have an ED, please don't misunderstand that, but I've taken courses in ED therapy and as I said in the other post, I think the behavioral modification programs that we use with our ED clients can be adapted to anyone, even someone without an ED. It's all about making lifestyle changes that you can live with forever, as opposed to "dieting" today for whatever temporary gains you want to make.

Fla has some great info up there (I'm with shelee on the headache though...hehe) which is also important to know in conjunction with what you're taking in. Go get either or both of the two books I recommended in the other thread, they will help you IMMENSELY to learn about nutrition. And feel free to PM me as well if you want to. :)


Just to use myself as an example so you guys don't get scared about all those calories...

My BMR = 1354.24

My AMR = 2336.06 (If I ate this much daily, I would inflate!)

On average I burn ~1800 Kcals per day just doing daily activities.
On average I burn ~600 Kcals per day from running.

I already have a calorie deficit of ~65 Kcals.

So, if I reduce my calorie intake by ~250 calories from my normal, my calorie deficit increases.