What you need is a simple plan. Here it is, in just two parts: 1) Make a little more time to run; 2) Concentrate on a handful of dietary changes that, over the course of a year, can produce significant weight-loss results.
RELATED: Lose weight (and keep it off!) with Run Your Butt Off!
Below we've listed 20 great diet changes that you'll find easy to achieve. Many of them will help you cut 100 calories or more from a single serving. Now do the math. Say you eat this particular food or meal three times a week. That's 100 x 3 x 52, or 15, 600 calories saved in a year. Which comes to almost 5 pounds, since you'll lose one pound for every 3, 500 calories cut from your food intake.
Make another food substitution, and you're up to 10 pounds. Beyond that, the sky's the limit.
Don't skip breakfast. A good breakfast is the most crucial part of any healthy weight-loss effort, as it revs up your energy level and metabolism for the full day. (Need more convincing for a.m. meals? Check out these 5 Reasons Runners Need Breakfast.)
Homemade raisin bran
Description: Mix one cup of Total cereal, a packet of raisins, and 1 cup nonfat milk. This simple home recipe with 244 calories fortifies you with 100 percent of the Daily Value for most vitamins and minerals, boosts your protein intake by 12 grams, and gives you a sweet, natural fiber and sugar source.
You'll Save: 50 calories, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and 5 grams of fat compared with ready-to-serve raisin bran doused with a cup of 2-percent milk.
Scrambled whites with greens
Description: This low-fat, scrambled-egg alternative provides 54 grams of high-quality dietary protein in just 255 calories. First, spray your frying pan with fat-free Pam. Then pour the equivalent of four servings of Eggology egg whites (or Second Nature or Egg Beaters egg whites) in a bowl and blend with 1/2 cup spinach and 1/2 cup mushrooms. Heat the pan until the Pam starts to bubble, pour in the eggs, and fry until the eggs are nearly dry.
You'll Save: 40 calories, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, and 13 grams of fat compared with two normal scrambled eggs.
Balanced Diet Shake
Description: For something cool, tasty, and nutrient-filled in the morning, try a shake or smoothie. The Balanced Diet nutritional drink provides 180 calories with lots of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in a naturally flavored French vanilla or chocolate royale. Each serving includes 5 grams of dietary fiber and 10 grams of soy, or 40 percent of the daily minimum now recommended by the American Heart Association.
You'll Save: 60 calories daily and nearly 6 grams of fat compared with many other similar drinks.
Frozen fruit smoothie
Description: You can prepare your own personal antioxidant-filled fruit smoothie like the following one that runner Bruce Shapiro used to lose 30 pounds over the last few years. Combine and blend: one cup frozen, unsweetened blueberries; 1/2 banana; 1/4 cup wheat germ; and water.
You'll Save: 200 calories for each 2- to 3-cup serving, compared with many store-bought and canned smoothie beverages. (These six other smoothie ingredients will also keep you running.)
Toasted plain Lender's Bagel with natural jam
Description: Sure, a frozen bagel can't match a fresh one, but it's easier to obtain for many people, and a little toasting brings it to near perfection. Just spread with your favorite natural jam.
You'll Save: Anywhere from 160 to 360 calories and more than 10 grams of fat compared with similar bagels bought at Dunkin' Donuts and other outlets where the bagels are spread with cream cheese.