Fitting exercise into a jam-packed daily routine can be as difficult as squeezing into the little black dress in the depths of your closet that made you start exercising in the first place. So when you finally settle into a routine, it’s a great feeling.
If you’re exercising to lose weight rather than to stay fit, it’s an even greater feeling when you see actual results, such as fitting comfortably into once too-tight clothing or having more energy. You’re burning fuel and the pounds are melting off — slowly but surely.
But sometimes, burning all that fuel leaves some people feeling like they’re out of gas. They have might have great energy, but they feel hungry or even hungrier than usual at that. Some succumb to their suddenly awakened appetites, and even if they don’t indulge in sugary treats or high-calorie snacks, they don’t watch their portions and begin to bargain.
You worked out three days so far this week, so you deserve that extra helping of greasalicious drunken noodles. You’ll tack on an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill so you can enjoy that extra helping of made-from-scratch sour cream mashy pots. You ran late at work, got to the gym 40 minutes late and now you’re ready to wolf down the entire pot of vegetarian chili you’ve been craving for the past two and a half weeks. It’s all good, right? After all, it’s not candy or chocolate or cheesecake, and you deserve a reward for all that hard work you’re doing.
It’s never felt very fair, but it takes forever to drop the pounds and the blink of an eye to put them back on again — or to hit that frustrating plateau. Now, you don’t want to starve because doing so will be likewise detrimental to your weight-loss efforts. If you’re hungry, you have to eat, but first you need to do some simple math in your head.
To lose weight, you need to both burn calories with exercise and adjust your caloric intake. Say farewell to seconds even on the delicious rice and beans your mom’s insisting you eat because you’re getting so skinny. Get out of the habit of thinking that it’s OK to devour large quantities of food without keeping track of the calories you’re consuming because it’s not fast food or junky stuff. And check out these post-workout snacks that will satisfy that nagging craving to eat all the food.
Chobani key lime yogurt with granola is a nice post-workout snack, or you can mix some of your own low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt with some granola.
Chop up a banana, add it to some plain yogurt and top it off with a sprinkling of cinnamon for a nice, filling treat that will feel like you’re indulging in dessert. Don’t like cinnamon? Throw some blueberries and strawberries into that plain yogurt, and go ahead and add a teaspoon of mini dark chocolate chips.
Peanut butter slathered on some apple slices or a couple of celery stalks is a filling, healthy snack — but don’t slather on half a jar of peanut butter. Stick with the organic stuff if you can, and keep it to no more than a tablespoon total. Don’t like peanut butter? Accompany your apple slices with a single serving of string cheese.
Pop open a can of tuna fish. Put that mayo away and mix in some salad cream instead (you’re welcome). Shred some carrots and chop up a stalk of celery and mix well. Spread on a piece of Ryvita and call it a day (no, really, you’re welcome).
Sometimes 2 cups of low-fat chocolate milk is enough to make the hungry growl monster go back to sleep. Why not?
And last but not least, spread 2 tablespoons of hummus on a small whole-wheat pita. Do keep it to 2 tablespoons of hummus, though, since this is a snack we’re talking about here, OK?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should get you started on learning how to eat right and get back some of that fuel without wasting all the work you’re doing, not only working out but also managing to keep up a regular routine in a world that never seems to have enough hours in the day.