One of the biggest challenges when you are training for an endurance event is finding a balance of eating enough to fuel your exercise, but not eating everything in sight. If you don’t eat enough you won’t have the energy for a good workout. If you eat too much, you may gain weight.
You can also experience increased hunger when you start a workout routine for the first time.
During half marathon training, my hunger usually is under control. But since I’ve been upping my cardio to an hour every day the hunger monster has started to rear its ugly head. Plus with my schedule I have been doing a lot of back to back runs. Today I ran 5 miles outside, and in combination with yesterday’s 10, I was famished by the time I came home from work.
Since I am still trying to lose a few pounds, I try these strategies to make sure I’m not eating too many calories:
- Drink lots of water. Sometimes I confuse thirst for hunger. I try to refill a glass of water throughout the day to avoid this. Plus, that makes me get up for bathroom breaks more often (and time away from the computer is always a good thing).
- Up the protein. Protein fills me up much more than carbs. For meals, I almost include eggs, beans or tofu. High protein snacks include: hard-boiled eggs, string cheese and hummus.
- Keep a stash of fruit nearby. Fruit is a great way to get fill up your stomach without adding on too many calories. I have at least 2 servings a day.
- Turn veggies into snacks. Just like #3, vegetables are a low calorie way to fill up. If I get home and I’m starving, I snack on vegetables while I cook dinner. My favorite raw vegetables to snack on are carrots, pepper strips and cucumbers. I personally do like many other raw veggies, so I often steam (broccoli) or roast some vegetables, put them in tupperware and take them to work for a snack.
- Track your eats. I’m still counting points on Weight Watchers, which really helps me make sure I’m not overeating. (I’ll post an update about WW later this week). In past training cycles I’ve used Daily Plate to make sure I’m in an ideal calorie range.
Keep in mind I have to focus on #3 and #4 since I’m trying to lose weight. If you are not worried about that, enjoy eating back all those extra calories you burn!
When you are training, how do you tame your “hunger monster?”