Have you ever wondered how in the world to stop overeating after exercise? I know I did because that is definitely something I have struggled with in the past. My reason for researching this was to learn for myself how to control this dilemma and share what I found with YOU! So if you’ve ever wondered how to get control over overeating after exercise, this should shed some light on the WHY and the HOW to fix it. Follow these steps to gain back your control over food!
1. Avoid Food Rewards –
This one is HUGE. I so often hear people say, “When I lose 30 pounds I am going to reward myself with a HUGE pizza,” etc. It obviously isn’t always pizza, but it so often is food related. Do you ever say things like this? I know I used to; I realized that the mentality that I deserved food as a reward for losing weight made absolutely NO SENSE. According to a study in a journal called Appetite, people who even THOUGHT about exercise portioned out 52% more of a snack mix than those who didn’t. So the huge problem with that is, many of us take in more calories than we burn, causing us to not lose weight even with kick-butt workouts. Try sticking with your normal food portions; if after 10-15 minutes you still feel hungry, help yourself to a bit more. It takes a while for our brains to recognize that we are SATISFIED – so slow down!
2. Drink a TON of Water –
I’m sure you have heard this one before – I know I had. The fact that I chose to ignore it for so long was my own fault, LOL. 😀 When you’re feeling hungry, but you know you JUST ate an hour or so ago, you may be experiencing mild dehydration. The symptoms of mild dehydration include low energy, sleepiness and can make you crave food. Just because you don’t “feel” thirsty, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue drinking water. During a hard workout, you can lose anywhere from 24 to 48 ounces of sweat per hour! Obviously you also don’t want to drink TOO MUCH, so take it slow and drink 16 to 24 ounces 1-2 hours before your workout, then another 8 ounces 15 minutes before you get busy. Sip up after you’re done as well to re-hydrate and fight that feeling of false hunger!
3. Get REAL With Your Calories –
In the past, I was guilty of this as well – over-estimating my calories burned during exercise. What made it difficult for me was so darn machines at the gym! The treadmill and elliptical at the gym can grossly over-estimate calories burned – the only accurate measure provided by a treadmill is a treadmill test done in a lab. The problem with these machines over-estimating our calorie burn, and us over-estimating our calorie burn if we work out at home, is that we might THINK we burned 800 calories during our workout and eat 600 calories at our next meal. What’s the issue there? We actually only burned 200. EEK! See the problem? Even fitness apps like myfitnesspal can greatly over-estimate calorie burn. I’m not sure what type of formula these tools use, but they’ve never been accurate for me. The way I counter this is by using my favorite heart-rate monitor made by Polar. I love it, because it shows based on my weight and heart rate, how many calories I’ve expended. I realize that there is no way this is 100% accurate either, but I trust it more than I do something that doesn’t take into account my heart rate. I think we battle some mental fuzziness too- when we THINK we have burned 800 calories at our workout, I think we tend to THINK we are hungrier than we are, causing us to overeat.
4. ALWAYS Carry a Snack With You-
The #1 thing I have done that has had the BIGGEST impact on helping me stop overeating after exercise, or any other time, is carrying a snack at all times. What happens when you’re out and about, have just finished a workout, and you’re literally about ready to eat your arm off? You might just eat whatever you can get your hands on. By the time your hunger becomes “urgent,” it is very hard to make a wise food decision. Always have a healthy option in your purse when you’re on the go, and re-fuel 30 minutes after exercise even if you aren’t hungry. Don’t go CRAZY, just nibble on something small with protein and carbohydrates. One of my favorite treats is a grapefruit with a teaspoon full of some kind of seeds, an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or a glass of Shakeology. There are tons of options – find the one that works best for you to avoid the pitfalls of being famished with no other option but fast food.
5. Eat More Protein-
Have no fear- eating more protein will not cause you to become a muscle-head. 🙂 For women, eating more protein can help us slim down. There was actually a study done at the University of Washington that said people consumed an average of 441 calories fewer on days when their diet was 30% protein compared to when it was just 15% protein. That’s a HUGE difference! Eating protein helps to slow down the release of ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates hunger and releases an increased amount of a hormone that controls satiety. As active women, we require more protein to rebuild and repair our muscles that are broken down when we exercise. Aim to start incorporating protein at each meal to help rebuild your body while decreasing those false hunger pangs after exercise.