If you've increased the amount you exercise but aren't getting the weight loss results you expected, it could be that you've also increased the number of calories you consume. It doesn't take much food to negate the calories burned through exercise.
The problem could be that you're eating more without realizing it. Subconsciously, you might feel you need to eat more because you've had a good workout. Or it could be that you get hungry due to the increased calories your body burns post exercise. Whatever the reason, you need to plan your food as diligently as you plan your exercise.
Before exercise, skip the sports and energy bars and instead choose a glass of skim milk, a small container of low or non-fat yogurt, or a piece of fruit. These options are all around 100 calories, whereas many sports and energy bars are 200, 300 calories or more.
After exercise, levels of the hormones PYY, GLP-1 and PP, which tell the brain when the stomach is full, increase. This is one reason why you may not feel hungry immediately after exercise, which can also carry through to your next meal. If you find you do feel hungry after exercise, plan on a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit to hold you over until your next meal.
It's great to have three small meals a day plus two or three healthy snacks between meals. And you can time your exercise, meals and snacks so that you can eat something both before and after exercise, if you like. What you need to avoid is the mindset that you'll burn off anything extra you eat. Have you ever been dining with someone who ordered pie ala mode for dessert and said they'd burn it off later at the gym?
After eating a big meal, it's not likely they made it to the gym. And even if they did, it's not likely they "burned it off." Check it out with our Activity and Food Calculators. The dessert alone could amount to a couple hours working with weights.
Exercise is very good for your health, and will help you lose weight in many different ways. You can read more about it in the tutorial topic Why Exercise Is Important for Weight Loss.
Just don't let the exercise go to your head and sabotage your food plan. That would go to your waistline.
Megan Porter, RD