So you’ve started working out more? That’s awesome! What a fantastic way to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, there’s a pesky side effect to working out more: increased hunger. This is difficult to overcome, especially when you’re doing all the right things to get healthier.
So how do you deal with increased hunger without undoing your hard work?
Time it right: Increased hunger can occur if you aren’t eating at the right times around your workout schedule. While this can be highly individualized, pay attention to how much food you’re consuming pre- and post-workout. Are you skipping valuable nutrients before a sweat session and coming home ravenous as a result? Or maybe you aren’t eating quickly enough post-workout and getting “hangry”?
“..it’s important to view food as energy to keep you going strong each day.”
Fuel it right: If you are truly hungry, then please eat! But often the sensation of hunger is your body’s need for water or even be a simple craving. As you start working out more, it’s crucial for optimal performance and aesthetic change to shift your focus to eating foods that fuel your body. This doesn’t mean you have to give up the joy and fun of eating, but it’s important to view food as energy to keep you going strong each day. And junky, processed foods will only slow you down.
Know your alternatives: Most people who stay on track without increased hunger rely on alternate foods and activities throughout the day. This might mean knowing how to cook a healthier version of your usual craving or learning how to distract yourself by doing another activity instead. You could also try drinking more water at these moments and ensuring that there are healthy fats as well as generous amounts of protein and veggies in your diet!
Increased hunger doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of working out more. With a bit of planning, improved nutritional choices and mindfulness about your eating behaviors, you’ll start to see your hard work in the gym pay off big time!