“If you run a lot, you can eat a lot” is a phrase that many of us are grateful to place our full belief in. However, the “eat a lot” part, when referring to cardio exercise or running, does not necessarily mean eating whatever you feel like, whenever you want, especially if your objective is to lose weight by running.
Aside from exercise, careful regulation of diet is even more important for those wishing to lose weight. The two can be combined in the following ways:
For people who are looking to reduce their weight, severely limiting food intake or even fasting from food altogether usually only offers temporary weight loss as when that person returns to their previous diet, it can result in them putting all the weight back on. Some may end up heavier than when they began. This is because when we eat less, our body is tricked into thinking that it is undernourished. As a result, it slows down the metabolic process and increases the energy level stored in our body in the form of fats in order to be used as a substitute fuel. Hence, while weight loss resulting from fasting may seem effective in the short term, the long-term effects are a body which metabolizes at a slower rate, leading to a damaged metabolic system and muscle loss. Such negative effects are often felt more notably by runners who could potentially end up bigger than before due to the amount of food they might eat after a run.
Eat a balanced diet including the 5 main food groups in moderation, while being careful to avoid overly sweet, salty and fatty foods. Try to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits that do not contain too much sugars. Additionally, select foods which are high in fiber as these will keep you feeling fuller for longer as well as benefit the digestive system. Proteins in the form of lean meat, nuts or soy can offer similar benefits to fiber in terms of feeling fuller for longer, whilst aiding in muscle building, making a high protein diet particularly useful to those who exercise regularly, and runners who require large amounts of energy. Consuming essential vitamins is also recommended.
In terms of choosing healthy foods that can help you lose weight, try to replace white flour intake with wholegrain flour, or wholegrain bread. Select fish or skinless meat instead of pork, beef or offal. Replace candy snacks with nuts and grains, while also drinking clean water rather than carbonated or sweetened beverages.
Our brains only send signals telling our body that it is full 20 minutes after we’ve finished eating. Hence, eating around 80% of your regular portion usually results in you feeling comfortably full, whereas eating until we are 100% full can eventually result in feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Furthermore, overeating will cause the stomach to expand, meaning that more and more food will be required to fill the bigger space each time.
Waiting until you feel hungry or are feeling hunger pangs are actually signs of good health and our brains will, over time, become used to feeling full on less food. Do not allow hunger or cravings to get the better of you and cause you to eat much more than your body needs.
Eating too quickly can mean we often eat much more than we need due to the brain’s signals only reaching our stomachs once we’ve already over eaten. Thus, trying to chew slowly will not only mean you eat less food, it will also result in you getting the full taste and flavor from your food.
Most of us are used to eating the entire plate of food we make or are given. Thus, if we change to a smaller plate, we can still eat the full plate whisht eating less than before.
Many of us have been taught not to waste our food. However, this doesn’t mean that we need to eat everything on our plate if we’re already full. To prevent wasting, fill up your plate with lesser food than you usually eat or think you need. If you’re still hungry you can always add more later. Nevertheless, there will still be times with leftover food on your plate, it is better to share the food or throw it away than causing further damage by allowing that food to become leftover energy stored in your body.
Not only will drinking enough water each day aide various bodily systems to function normally, but water can also stimulate the effective and efficient metabolism of fats stored in the body. Sufficient amount of water can also help with bowel movements.
Regular exercise alongside careful regulation of diet, may lead to stress especially when you are overly disciplined, has the potential to inhibit long-term progress. Instead enjoy the process, and focus on the progress. Rewarding yourself with your favorite or most craved for food, one day per week, can help provide the relief and encouragement necessary to make continuous, healthy progress on a long-term basis.
Faculty of Medicine Vajira Hospital, Navamindradhiraj University , 2012