by Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
Are you hungry after your workout? Recent studies show that post-exercise hunger can actually sabotage your weight loss effort if you’re not careful.
While exercise is a key part of any weight loss effort it’s important to point out that we all overestimate the calories we use for exercise, and underestimate the calories we eat – a miscalculation that can produce steady weight gain. Add increased hunger after exercise - a normal metabolic response - and it can be a recipe for weight loss disaster. So what’s the connection between exercising and appetite?
While a severely intense workout usually dulls appetite, many people report an increase in hunger after exercising. This is the body’s response to “refueling”. But when you pre-plan, you won’t have any trouble with this!
- Have a snack of about 150 calories a ½ to 1 hour before your workout, and you’ll be less ravenous after your workout. Aim for a mixture of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you have enough water during your workout, and drink at least 8 ounces of water afterwards. Hunger is often confused with thirst.
- Allow yourself a snack of about 150 calories after exercise if you feel you are hungry. Most people discover for themselves whether this snack is better before (see above) or after exercise. Account for these calories.
- Don’t figure you’ve exercised hundreds of extra calories, and it’s time for “free eating”. It takes 5 minutes to eat 500 calories, and 2 hours to burn it off!
Drop me a note about your own experiences with exercise and appetite! Do you see the connection?