For starters I'd like to clarify that often the amount people eat and what their body needs doesn't correlate, so for example if you're a petite girl who is in the habit of cleaning your plate when served the same sized portion as your rugby playing boyfriend even though you feel stuffed, then having a regular workout will affect your weight by burning off these spare calories.
You can even use exercise as a way to be able to eat more if you really love your food, or to help generate an appetite when you know you'll be having a three course dinner.
However what we eat is very strongly related to our appetite, so we need to look at the factors that affect appetite other than exercise to unlock the true key to staying slim.
For me there are three key elements, listed below. If you address all three your appetite will naturally regulate and you'll be able to enjoy your food, eat til your appetite is satisfied whilst easily maintaining a healthy weight:
- The first and most important is blood sugar regulation and hormones. If you regularly eat refined sugars and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cereals and sweets then your body will produce a higher level of the fat storing hormone insulin. This will simultaneously make your body store a higher percentage of the calories you eat as fat and disregulate your blood sugar making you feel hungry more often.
The only way to fix this is to make a concerted effort to eat unrefined slow digesting carbs 80 per cent of the time (20per cent left for treat time!) and always balance carbs with protein and/or fats to slow their digestion. The results aren't quick, but after a couple of months can be quite dramatic so are worth the dedication. Brown rice, wholegrain bread and pasta, oats, pulses, quinoa and new or sweet potatoes are the best slow digesting carbs.
- The next element is nutrient levels. I've blogged on this recently so won't repeat myself here, but basically if you don't eat a nutrient rich diet your body will up your appetite to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements. Have a Jason Vale super juice everyday and notice how your appetite reduces.
- Finally there are artificial and 'drug' foods. These are foods/chemicals that induce an artificial increase in appetite. They include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, flavour enhancers such as MSG and other artificial flavourings and preservatives (look out for E numbers) and should be avoided as much as possible.