Many of my clients report they are "always hungry", as if hunger is a personality quirk. Hunger is simply a request for fuel. If you are hungry all the time, you likely are eating too little food during the day (only to overindulge at night).
Think about hunger this way: If you were taking care of a little baby, and the baby was crying because it was hungry, not feeding that child would be called child abuse. Not feeding your own body when it is hungry is being abusive to yourself. Don't do that!!!
Even if you want to lose body fat, you can lose weight without being ravenously hungry. Just eat 100 calories less at the end of the day, and that will theoretically contribute to 10 pounds of fat loss a year. Two hundred calories less at the end of the day, 20 lbs of fat loss. Chip away at weight loss, rather than living hungry (no fun, and not sustainable).
Nancy Clark MS RD
For more information on how to find the right balance of food so you can feel content without getting fat, take a look at chapters 15 and 16 in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. You'll learn how to lose weight without starving yourself!
“I call this the meno-pot” my 49 year old client remarked as she grabbed the flesh around her abdomen. “And I don’t like it! I dread the thought of gaining more and more weight.” She believed she was destined to get fat with aging. Not the case.
The truth is, menopause is not a sentence to gain undesired body fat. Factors other than hormones come into play. "Midlife" is more to blame than menopause. Midlife changes in physical activity, poor sleep due to hot flashes, a sedentary workstyle name just a few. Some keys to minimizing the meno-pot are to make a priority of getting adequate sleep, staying active, and learning how to eat appropriate portions of food.
Not gaining weight during midlife is much easier than losing it... Think twice before you eat and ask "Does my body really need this fuel?"
My Sports Nutrition Guidebook has a strong section on how to lose weight and maintain energy to exercise--as well as how to manage the meno-pot.
Seems like July is a month filled with summer parties. Several of my clients are now fretting about BBQs, beer, ice cream cones, and other such treats. They are afraid they will overeat these goodies and gain weight.
If weight is an issue for you, remember that you can go to a party to enjoy the PEOPLE and not just the food. Too often, weight-conscious athletes pay too much attention to the food at the party, and fail to enjoy their friends.
Here are three tips for surviving social events that abound with tempting food:
1. Don’t arrive at the party feeling hungry. When you feel hungry, you are more likely to treat yourself to goodies “because you saved up calories.” My bet is, if you arrive hungry, you’ll not only eat—but you’ll overeat far more calories than you saved!
2. Eat a diet portion of whatever you want. The first three mouthfuls taste the best; savor those and don't feel the need to eat "the whole thing" just because it is there. Be aware of “last chance eating” (you know, last chance to eat cookies, so I’d better eat another one…”). Take that second cookie home and enjoy it the next day, when your body is ready for some fuel.
3. Socialize away from the food. That is, don’t stand near the picnic table; find someplace where food is out of reach.
These tips work for any social event. Just remember to have fun enjoying the people, and put food at the bottom of the priority list.
The hot weather has (finally) come to Boston and most endurance athletes aren’t use to it yet. Here are a few tips for managing the heat.
--Be sure to not only drink enough fluids during exercise but also add a little sodium to your pre-exercise stint in the heat if you plan to be outside for a a few hours. The sodium helps retain the fluids in your body (as opposed to have plain water go in one end and out the other). This can help delay dehydration and enhance your endurance.
While on a daily basis you might want to minimize your sodium intake, a little extra salt before hot weather exercise can be a wise choice.Some possible choices are chicken noodle soup (or any canned brothy soup), V-8 juice, salted pretzels, baked chips, olives, pickles, ham and cheese sandwich with mustard – or any salted/salty food, before you go. This might be a change in eating habits for health-conscious endurance athletes who cook their oatmeal without salt, rarely eat canned or processed foods, and have no salt shaker on the dinner table.
You might lose 500 to 800+ mg sodium per pound of sweat. (Weigh yourself pre and post exercise to figure our how many pounds of sweat you lose in an hour.) While you need not get obsessed about replacing sodium milligram for milligram, reading food labels can give you a frame of reference regarding how much you replace with your food choices. For example--
A can of chicken noodle soup offers 2,350 mg sodium
A quart of Gatorade offers 440 mg sodium
Eight ounces of orange juice has only 5 mg
Generally, if you crave salt, you should eat salt.
All too often, clients come to me whining they have failed to lose weight, even though they have stopped eating "junk foods." Now, they are eating only "healthy foods." They thought hamburgers, fries, and ice cream were making them fat, so they deleted those foods and replaced them with salads (with lots of dressing), trail mix, and protein shakes. Make that, lots of salad, bags of trail mix, and super-sized protein shakes. Little do they realize, excess calories from "healthy foods" can be just as fattening as calories from "junk foods."
If you want to trim some undesired body fat, your best bet is, indeed, to knock off the excess calories of soft drinks, fried foods, and sweets. Theoretically, eating just 100 fewer calories at the end of the day can contribute to loss of 10 pounds of fat per year. But be sure to count the calories in "healthy foods." .... they can contribute to fat-gain, too. You can gain weight by eating too much fruit, just as you can gain weight by eating too many cookies.
Try to enjoy a food plan that is 85-90% "healthy" foods and 10-15% "whatever". Some days "whatever" might be berries; other days, "whatever" might be blueberry pie. Enjoy the balance.
For more information on how to choose a balanced sports diet that will support your goals: