Many people experience an increase in appetite when training for events that require long, intense exercise sessions. Adequately fueling your body for the activity is important, but increased hunger makes it easy to overconsume calories.
Stick with healthy foods.
Don’t use your increase in exercise as a way to justify filling up on junk foods. Your body needs to replenish the nutrients used during exercise. Healthy foods will aid in your recovery and help support your immune system. Choose nutrient-dense foods with fiber and protein to stay full and satisfied.
Plan your snacks.
Take note of when you feel hungry and how that relates to your exercise time. Do morning workouts leave you famished in the afternoons? Plan your snacks accordingly.
Know your goals.
An increase in exercise increases your calorie needs. You might be hungry because you truly need more food. Determine if your training goal is to maintain weight or lose weight. Use MyFoodDiary to determine your calorie needs based on your new level of activity, then add nutritious foods to your meals and snacks to help reach your weight goals.
Recognize true hunger.
Identify your hunger cues correctly. Intense training programs commonly cause disruptions in your sleep and stress levels. This can lead to a change in hormones that trigger hunger, cravings, and emotional eating. Dehydration is also often mistaken for hunger.
Stop when you feel full.
After a long run or bike ride, you might feel that you’ve earned a large meal only to leave the table feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. Eat mindfully and stop eating as soon as you start to feel full.
It’s possible for fitness goals to be too specific. When you select an exact goal weight or a specific time for completing a race, you put emphasis on perfection. If you slightly miss your goal weight or if you don’t meet your target race time, you feel like a failure. This way of viewing fitness undervalues the progress you have made, because you are striving for what you picture as an ideal result.
Take your focus off of a golden number. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months and you lose 19, you have accomplished a lot. But you may be so focused on not reaching 20 that you fail to see your progress. Use ranges for all of your goals. Lose 18 to 20 pounds, or reach a goal weight of 145 to 150 pounds. Eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, or finish the 5K in 30 to 33 minutes. Goals that include a range are specific enough to motivate you, but they put less pressure on perfection, allowing you to celebrate your progress.
Select supporting goals
While your main goal may be weight loss, other health indicators may help you stay motivated too. By tracking your blood pressure, heart rate and body fat, the positive changes in these areas can serve as motivation when you hit a plateau on the scale. Exercise goals work in a similar way. Maybe you can’t run 6 miles yet without walking, but your upper body strength or lower body flexibility may have increased beyond your expectations.
Set up a schedule to measure your progress regularly. Weigh yourself weekly, measure your blood pressure every month, or assess your body fat every three months. This allows you to adjust your program if you aren’t seeing the changes you want while allowing enough time for your new habits to have a positive impact on your health.
The summer heat can derail your best intentions for an afternoon workout, so exercise in the morning. It’s best to avoid outdoor exercise between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when the sun is at its strongest. Heat and humidity during this time forces you to decrease the intensity or length of your workout and can put you at risk for overheating. The cooler temperatures and less intense sun make a morning workout more enjoyable.
Summer is the best time to take advantage of the vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients in fresh produce. Using fruits and vegetables to fill up with fewer calories will help you reach your summer weight loss goals. Lighten up side dishes with fresh salads and grilled vegetables, and satisfy your sweet tooth with seasonal fruit.
Step 4: Plan ahead for treats
Summer isn’t quite the same without an occasional popsicle or scoop of ice cream. Plan for these treats by adjusting your food intake and your workouts to compensate for the extra calories. Skip a second helping at dinner so you can have dessert, or save treats for the days you can commit to a more intense workout.
Step 5: Create a restful evening routine
The change in daylight hours during the summer may influence your bedtime. When it’s still bright out at 8:00 pm, it can be more difficult to wind down from the day in preparation for a good night of rest. Create a routine that signals your body that it’s time for sleep. Close the blinds and end screen time 1 to 2 hours before you are ready to go to sleep.
Meal delivery services that bring recipes and ingredients to your door are a growing trend for those who want to cook more. If your goal is weight loss, your priorities may be different than the average consumer. Below are a few things to investigate as you choose a meal delivery service that is right for you.
Are there options that meet your weight loss needs?
Many of these services provide healthier options, but that doesn’t always mean they will fit your calorie and nutrient needs for weight loss. Some recipes can look deceivingly healthy, only to have upwards of 900 calories and over 1,000 milligrams of sodium in a serving. It’s important that the nutrition information for the recipes be available to you before you make the commitment to sign up for the service.
Do the meals contain enough vegetables?
The goal of these services is to make cooking easier, which means many recipes turn to simple ingredients like pasta and rice. Others may contain only a piece of fish and a starch like mashed potatoes. Be sure the recipes offered use plenty of vegetables for balanced nutrition. If you find yourself constantly adding your own salad to every meal, the delivery service may not be a good investment.
Does the amount of prep fit your needs?
New recipes can help prevent boredom and help you discover new foods you enjoy. It’s important to be realistic about how adventurous you want to be in the the kitchen. If the recipes you order are filled with unfamiliar ingredients and require more skill than you expect, at the end of the week you might find your shipment still sitting in the refrigerator with other untouched ingredients. If you are new to cooking, choose a service that provides simple, healthy foods and plenty of instruction to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Is there a local service available?
Many delivery services operate nationally and regionally, but more and more local services are popping up in larger cities. While either can be a good option, local services are worth exploring. Recipe kits shipped from far away may contain ingredients that have wilted or spoiled during transit. If a local company is sourcing from farms and stores nearby, your ingredients may be fresher than what national companies can provide.
Once you commit to your weight loss goals, you may want see changes fast. It can be discouraging to learn you should lose weight at a slow and steady pace, but stick with it. There is good reason for this approach to fitness.
A safe rate of weight loss
Health experts recommend a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This rate requires a deficit of 500 to 1000 calories per day that can be achieved by eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity.
Benefits of a slow and steady loss
Permanent weight loss requires incorporating healthier habits you can live with. This involves satisfying hunger and cravings in a healthy way by eating more fruits and vegetables, smart snacking and reduced portion sizes. It also means finding an exercise routine you enjoy. The result is a gradual pace of weight loss that you can stick with to reach your goals. It takes time to create these habits. But once they become a part of your lifestyle, losing weight and maintaining that loss becomes easier.
With a slower rate of weight loss, your body metabolizes fat to provide energy and offset your calorie deficit. You will maintain lean muscle mass and you will feel more toned and fit. By eating a healthy diet and maintaining a balanced exercise program, you avoid the risk of feeling fatigued, irritable and unable to concentrate.
Dangers of rapid weight loss
When first starting a weight loss program, you may see a rapid drop of up to 10 pounds in the first couple of weeks. This can be due to changes in your eating habits and water weight loss. After that, weight loss should slow. By continuing to lose weight rapidly, you risk losing muscle, something that can lower your metabolic rate over time.
Rapid weight loss can also require unhealthy habits that are difficult to maintain long term, such as eating too few calories and exercising at intensity levels higher than what is appropriate for your fitness level. Unhealthy pills, supplements and food restriction can also be a part of a rapid weight loss program.
These practices can put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies and overuse injuries. Once the diet ends, the chances are greater that you will return to old habits and gain back any weight you lost. Avoid these dangers, aim for gradual weight loss, and keep healthy, permanent change the goal of your fitness program.