The new year is finally here, and with it many people are making the resolution to lose weight. Our columnist was successful with this resolution ten years ago, but knows: the road is rocky and long!

Every January, I dread articles like “How to lose weight by running!” or “Running melts fat”, reports in which running is treated as the most effective way to lose weight. As a miracle weapon against too many kilos.

I don’t want to discourage you right away, but: If your car has to go to the TÜV, have it checked thoroughly beforehand. All relevant parts and functions are scrutinized and, if necessary, repaired, exchanged and replaced. There we are used to the fact that a car is a complex thing, there we invest a lot of money when in doubt, there we have learned that the car only runs when all the components of the system work together. For us it should be enough if we only change the spark plugs and then everything is in the paint again?

Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “Those who exercise achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite topic. For seven years he has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons. So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiss lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne. He writes about running here every Thursday.

Of course, the car comparison lags a bit. Because the human body is much more complicated. And more individual. In any case, running can be the engine to reduce weight. Exercise in the form of endurance uses up calories. The longer we run, the more calories are burned. In order to really burn fat, however, the individual heart rate range in which the body switches to burning must be found.

This area is different for everyone. A heart rate monitor only shows the heart rate, but not the optimal frequency. You can only find out about this optimal combustion area if you have a respiratory gas analysis and a stress ECG made by a doctor. And this examination, these tests are the basis of everything. Especially if you really want to lose weight by running.

I’ve met some people who threw their running shoes in the corner after a few months. All resolutions were already gone in the spring. Because they hadn’t lost weight, they had gained weight! In the exact analysis, if these people have made themselves honest, you could find amazing things! They ran at least three times a week, sometimes ten kilometers or more. However, they had succumbed to the “reward devil”. That had whispered in their ears, “Hey, you ran. You burned properly. Now you can eat whatever you want. Dig in!”. And they listened to the devil. They ate more and unhealthier things than before. So not only were they compensating for what they had lost, they were consuming far more calories than they had burned.

And here’s another part of the truth, unfortunately: Without paying attention to your diet, you won’t have the beach body you might want in the summer. This requires lots of vegetables, little red meat, little dairy products, preferably no alcohol, and very importantly: sugar is the biggest culprit. It’s in almost everything. Find out where, everywhere, and at least try to reduce it. Plus, drink! Drink what you can. Preferably water or tea. The more you pay attention to the ingredients in food and drinks, the greater the chance of losing weight in a very healthy way.

To give you the last bit of truth on the way: If you want to lose weight permanently and healthily, you have to change your attitude. All that has been mentioned above is part of this. There is also something that no one who believes in losing weight through running wants to hear: the body needs muscles! Scientists say: If you really want to grow old, you have to work on your muscles by the time you are 40 at the latest. Only they give the body stability. Joints are protected, vulnerable parts of the body such as the back are massively strengthened. Even runners need leg training, because just running doesn’t activate all muscle groups.

From overweight chain smoker to marathon runner – a success story

When it comes to losing weight, we cannot avoid muscle training. Because muscles burn fat! That doesn’t mean you should become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. It just means the body needs variety. He gets used to walking pretty quickly. In order to lose weight permanently, your body needs new impulses. You don’t just build muscles in the gym. Yoga, skiing, swimming, cycling are wonderful sports, each targeting different muscle groups. So, get running, eat and drink like an athlete, take care of your body like the toughest MOT inspector, and you’ll be a real slim deer in the summer! That’s how it works.

Read all of Mike Kleiß’s columns here.