“I’m hungry all the time,” my clients commonly complain. They just don’t understand why they are hungry all the time, even after having eaten meals. Is this a personality quirk? Are their bodies different from everyone else’s?
The answer is plain and simple. Hunger is a request for fuel. If we did not get hungry, we would waste away to nothing. These active people feel hungry all the time because their bodies ARE hungry. They have not eaten enough food to accommodate their needs.
To live hungry is abusive … Would you withhold food from a crying (hungry) baby? No. That would be called child abuse. Please, do not abuse your body by withholding food from yourself and living hungry all day.
“But if I eat more, I’ll get fat…” is the common fearful response to my suggestion to enjoy double portions at breakfast and lunch. These hungry athletes fail to understand they are more likely to “get fat” from skimping at breakfast and lunch, because they will later undoubtedly succumb to too much dinner or evening snacking. Excess evening calories are indeed fattening.
You will be better able to manage your weight if you fuel adequately by day, and feel fed and satiated. You can then lose weight at the end of the day by chipping off 100 to 300 calories from dinner and evening snacks. How about this for your motto today: “Fuel by day; diet by night”?
Eat wisely and feel great,
For more information on how to abate hunger, lose weight and maintain energy to exercise, read Chapters 15 and 16 in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.
For personalized advice, consult with a sports dietitian. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org and can help you find a local expert.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find recipes to fuel you for high energy and good health, check out my new app: Nancy Clark’s Recipes for Athletes. The information will help you create meals that make you feel and perform better.
The app offers 71 recipes, searchable by calories, carbohydrate, protein, and fat. You can further sort the recipes by recommendations for what to eat pre- and post-exercise, as well as for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes.
Each recipe comes with a colorful photo of the prepared dish accompany the recipes as well as additional nutrition information for each recipe so you know the exact health value for each prepared meal.
The app also includes a quick reference listing of the most popular protein and energy bars, sports and energy drinks, and protein powders.
If you live outside the States, you can select imperial or metric measurements.
THe city of Boston is starting to buzz with Marathon excitement. If you are one of the nervous runners, here’s a nutrition tip to help you prepare for the 26.2-mile event:
Carb-load, don't fat-load!
Many runners confuse high fat and high carb foods. They fat load. Fat does not get stored in your muscles as glycogen (the fuel needed to prevent you from “hitting the wall”). Only carbs get stored in your muscles as glycogen.
Carbohydrate-rich foods include:
Hot and cold cereals
Fruits- bananas, grapes, raisins, and all fresh and dried fruits and juices
Breads, bagels, crackers – preferably whole grain, so you don’t get constipated
Rice, noodles, stuffing
Pasta with tomato sauce (not cheese sauces);
Baked or boiled (sweet) potatoes (without lots of butter)
Vegetables, particularly carrots, peas, beets, corn, and winter squash
Lower carbohydrate, high fat choices that may taste great, fill your stomach but leave your muscles unfueled include:
Donuts, Danish, croissants and other buttery pastries
Lasagna oozing with cheese and meat,
Pizza glistening with pepperoni grease
I’ll be at the Mizuno Booth at the Runner’s Expo if you have any last minute questions.
Speaking at the 27th annual symposium of SCAN (the Sports and Cardiovascular Nutritionists’ group of the American Dietetic Association), Dr. John Ivy, PhD of the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas-Austin shared these pointers:
• During extended exercise, your muscles need water, carbohydrate, electrolytes, and perhaps protein. While the need for protein during exercise to enhance performance can be debated, consuming protein will not be detrimental. For example, adding protein to a sports drink can lower post-exercisce markers of muscle damage, reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, and enhance recovery.
• Consuming protein before and after you lift weights optimizes gains in muscle mass and power.
• If you are serious about building muscle, you should eat meals and snacks consistently throughout the day, to provide a steady infusion of carbohydrates (to fuel) and protein (to build and repair) muscles.
• Eating breakfast is important to take the body out of a catabolic (breaking-down) state. Don't skip this morning meal!
• Consuming a small (100-calorie) high protein snack (such as some turkey or cottage cheese) before going to bed can enhance the availability of amino acids throughout the night. Anabolic (muscle building) activity is highest at night, so this snack can help optimize muscular development.