Post-Exercise Eating: Don't Undo Your Workout

One of the easiest ways to sabotage your weight loss goals is with the Post-Workout Food Binge. We've all been there. You burn a bunch of calories in the gym, then, an hour later you're starving. Next thing you know, you're gobbling up everything in sight (or maybe just a few particularly delicious donuts). It doesn't take long before those calories and the pounds pile up. So, what can you do about it?  Plenty!  We've got eight tips to avoid overeating after a workout.

1) Be aware. The first step to solving a problem is identifying it. Breaking habits, like overeating after a workout, starts with being aware you're doing it.  Once you're aware, you're less likely to overindulge.

2) Keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat (yes, ever single bite) is the best way to increase awareness of how many calories you're consuming.  It's easy to think, "It's just a cookie and I just exercised," but mindless eating is a major contributor to excess calorie consumption. 

3) Cave in. If you're hungry, you're hungry and there's nothing wrong with that. Hunger is your body's way of reminding you to take care of yourself. Accept it, plan for it and then make sensible choices.

4) Time your workout around mealtime. Try working out an hour before your normal breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime. That way, you'll satisfy your munchies and incorporate your post-workout caloric needs into your normal caloric intake and be less likely to overindulge. 

5) Carry portion-controlled snacks with you. If you can't beat the munchies, embrace them. Toss a bag of nuts, sliced fruit, or carrot sticks into your purse. Fill your lunch box with hummus, turkey slices, and other high-protein, high-fiber snacks.

6) Bulk up on fast fiber. Fruits and veggies fill you up in a hurry to help curb your cravings until mealtime. They'll also keep you full for longer. Grab an apple or orange for a low-calorie vitamin-packed craving-cruncher.

7) Power up on protein. If you don't eat enough protein, you might overeat because you've burned up all your pre-workout calories. Carbohydrates like fruits, breads, and cereals are easily metabolized to provide quick-calories. Protein takes more time and effort to digest, and provides calories for the long haul. Add a couple eggs to your pre-workout breakfast or have a cup of yogurt right before you run. Then, munch on a high-protein snack after your workout.

8) Drink water.  Our bodies might say, "feed me," when what they really mean is "hydrate me."  Carry a water bottle with you, and stay hydrated.  Drink a glass of water when hunger pangs hit and see if your cravings evaporate.