Prevention magazine’s February 2011 issue, has some interesting articles, which are probably applicable to all of us. One such article, “Beat Your Body’s Fat Traps,” advises that our exercise workouts may actually be undermining our attempts to lose weight. It claims that many who undertook a New Year’s resolution to lose pounds, overcompensated their successes “by eating as much as 270 extra calories a day–negating more than half of the calories they burned. This self-sabotage has a ripple effect. As the number on the scale inches down at a painfully slow pace, many women give up altogether.”
Our bodies may be our own worst enemies. As a reproductive apparatus, women’s bodies “stubbornly hang onto fat. A study in the journal Appetite found that for every pound of fat that women lost while dieting, their desire to eat increased about 2%.” A University of Massachusetts study found that women who were overweight and sedentary and exercised more than an hour, 4 consecutive days in a row, saw a change in their appetite hormones which more than likely stimulated eating. The same was not true of men. Often lending a hand in sabotaging our efforts to drop pounds, are our psyches which encourage us to have that dessert, as reward for a tough workout, a job well done.
A study in the UK showed signs of hope, however. During the 12 week time frame, half the new exercisers ate more, but the remainder did not, eating 130 fewer calories daily, and losing 4 times more weight. Prevention’s advice for all of us?
The first step is to know what you’re up against–working out doesn’t entitle you to eat whatever you want. Next, you need a smart exercise plan that curbs your hunger, coupled with an eating plan that fuels your workouts, not your appetite, so you don’t take in calories you just burned off.
Preven proceeds to lay out an appropriate eating plan. It’s suggested that eating every 3 to 4 hours maintains a constant supply of calories which maintains normal blood sugar levels before and after exercising. This prevents an insulin spike which encourages storage of body fat the next time one eats. Furthermore, to resist taking in extra calories with the increase in eating, “keep meals to 500 calories or less and snacks under 200, limiting total calories to about 1,600 to 1,800 a day.”
Eating protein at every meal promotes a full feeling by stimulating gut hormones. This helps to curb one’s appetite. Breakfast recommendations are eggs, milk, soy milk, yogurt and oatmeal. For other meals and snacks the following fit the bill, nuts, beans, whole grains, lowfat dairy, fish, lean meats, and poultry.
Loading up on fiber, 25 to 30 grams a day fills the stomach with fewer calories. And water quenches the thirst like nothing else after working out. Increased thirst after exercise is often mistakened for hunger. And sipping sweetened drinks only overrides any calories burned.