This is a common problem for regular exercisers - when you're training you can eat more than usual to fuel the exercise whilst staying in shape but as soon as you stop exercising the pounds can pile on. I generally find it takes up to a month for your appetite to regulate down to normal so what can you do to limit the damage?
Well I'm totally against appetite suppressant drugs but by understanding how appetite works you can make some sensible food choices to stave off the hunger pangs, useful for both dieters and the injured. So what makes you feel hungry and what can you do about it?
An empty stomach: Pressure on the walls of your stomach tell you that you're full.
- eat high fibre bulky low calorie foods such as fruit and veg, pulses and wholegrains, this will take up a larger volume for less calories
- start your meal by eating healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados, oily fish as fats slow the rate of stomach emptying making you feel fuller for longer
- eat protein with every meal as protein takes twice as long to digest as carbs delaying stomach emptying
- eat soup: by blending water with food it increases the volume in your stomach without increasing the calories. Note that drinking water with a meal isn't as effective.
A drop in blood sugar levels:
When your blood sugar levels drop your appetite kicks in to get you to take in calories. When your blood sugar levels go up the hunger goes away:
- eat slowly as this feedback takes 15 minutes to kick in
- eat regularly so that your blood sugar doesn't drop too low, this avoids getting ravenous and over-eating to compensate.
- eat low GI carbohydrates which release sugars into your bloodstream more slowly, delaying a drop in blood sugar levels
Hopefully by the time my appetite is back to normal I'll be back on the treadmill!
Have a good weekend!