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How to Deal with Increased Hunger After Exercise

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We have all experienced it – that feeling of hunger right after working out. But is it hunger or something else? Either way, there are some things you can do to keep the hunger pains from ruining your diet for the day.

Number of calories

Some people think they can eat as much as they want after exercising. While it can take an hour to burn off 500 calories, it can take only five minutes to eat the same number back. A better strategy, according to some dietitians, is to eat back half of what you burn. So for example if you did burn off 500 calories, you could eat back up to 250 calories; not that you have to, but you could and you would still be at a 250-calorie deficit.

Type of food

Another strategy to satisfy a post-exercise hunger is to eat the right type of food. Not all calories are created equal. While you could drink down 250 calories by consuming an energy drink after exercising, eating an apple with peanut butter will be more satisfying and keep you full longer, thus reducing the temptation to further snack.

Staying hydrated

Sometimes signals in the body get crossed. It is fact we lose water through perspiration and through our breathing. This loss is of course amplified when working out. You may be interpreting this loss of water as a sign of hunger when in reality, you are dehydrated and need to drink water. Before consuming food, try drinking an eight-ounce glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If you still are feeling hungry, then go ahead and eat a light healthy snack. In many cases, the glass of water will suppress the hunger signal.

Pre-workout snack

As counterintuitive as it may seem, eating something that gives you quick energy right before a workout, such as a piece of fruit, can actually lessen the post-workout hunger signal. By adding in those extra quick absorbing calories, you don’t end up burning as many stored calories as you would otherwise, but you won’t feel as hunger at the end of your workout either. So instead of consuming 500 calories post-workout, maybe a 150-calorie snack satisfies you instead, thus saving you a couple of hundred calories or more in the end.

Timing

By timing your workout so you are finished around a scheduled mealtime, you can avoid eating extra calories that you would otherwise had as a snack.

By using these strategies, you can deal with your post-workout hunger without busting your calorie count for the day. Eat smart and listen to your body to ensure you really know what it is telling you.

How to Keep Hunger at Bay When Cutting Calories

Most of us know to lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we consume. Generally speaking, a deficit of 500 calories per day will result in about a pound of weight lost per week. But as we also know, when cutting out calories we can feel hungrier than when we were eating more. So what is the secret to keeping hunger at bay when on a weight reduction plan? Actually there are two: staying hydrated and eating fiber-rich foods.

Staying hydrated

As odd as it may sound, the hunger pangs you are feeling might not be hunger at all. Sometimes they are a signal that you are dehydrated. To find out if you are really hungry or not, try drinking an 8-ounce glass of water and wait 20 minutes.

Drinking water – plain or carbonated – is the best. Stay away from other types of drinks which can be loaded with sugar and calories. They may satisfy you now, but as soon as your body digests the simple carbohydrates in the drink (sugar) you will be hungry again.

If the hunger pangs go away after drinking a glass of water and waiting, then you were just thirsty. If you are truly hungry, the water will not stop the hunger you are feeling and you should probably eat something. Now let’s talk about what that something should be.

Eat fiber-rich foods

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial. Spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, watermelon, apples, beans and peas are all good sources of soluble fiber. The skins of fruits and hulls found in seeds and grains, like whole-grain bread and brown rice, are good sources of insoluble fiber. In the case of apples, if you eat it with the skin on, you get both kinds of fiber.

The main purpose of eating fiber is because it keeps you feeling full longer, thus reducing the urge to snack on unhealthy foods.

Other health benefits besides helping you lose weight include keeping you regular, reducing cholesterol, keeping sugar spikes under control.

Once eaten, soluble fiber and the other foods eaten with it turns to a gel-like substance, thus slowing down digestion of everything you ate. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool so it can help push foods through your system faster as it makes its way through the digestive system.

By staying hydrated with water and eating a diet high in fiber, weight loss, or weight management once at goal, becomes easier – still not easy, but easier. You will be able to lose weight with fewer hunger pangs, which makes sticking to a healthy diet more enjoyable.

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