Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does exercise increase your appetite?

I've been reading articles about the effect exercise has on appetite. As usual, there's conflicting evidence. The general consensus is that moderate activity decreases your appetite, but vigorous exercise can increase your appetite.

I think the main issue is eating healthy, filling food. Most experts say you need to eat within half an hour after exercise to replace your glycogen stores. Eat low-fat, high-protein and high-fiber foods and you will be fine.

I also think it's important to not talk yourself into a pit that I've been in many times - "I work hard, I deserve to eat this ice cream, chocolate, cookie, or whatever." Although exercise is fabulous for your heart, lungs, prevention of disease, and re-shaping your body, you will not be able to maintain a healthy weight if you consume too many calories. Most of us underestimate how many calorie we burn with exercise. So avoid the trap and think, "I worked hard today, I want to keep being healthy and getting double the rewards!"

Another trap to avoid is exercising hard at the gym but then sitting around the rest of the day. Your overall movement will contribute to your weight control and health as much as your gym session. Try to sneak in little ways to move all day - run the stairs instead of yelling down to the kids, park farther away at the grocery store, take more trips rather than hauling twenty pounds of stuff from the car in each arm.

What about you? How do you keep your appetite under control when you're exercising hard? How do you keep yourself moving when the couch looks so appetizing?


  1. I don't have the answers to your questions. I haven't been very successful at keeping my appetite under control. :) I know this doesn't work for everyone but I've discovered with my personality that I have to avoid all sweets, or even simple carbohydrates, or I just want more. Some people can allow themselves to have one cookie or a small bowl of ice cream but I just can't. As for exercise, I just try to keep moving. I have plenty of housework to do so I'm just trying to get it done.

    I have one question. Do you consider a potato a vegetable?

  2. Potatoes have been given a bad rap as a starch, but they are definitely a vegetable and have a lot of great nutrients in them. You just have to be careful because they do have more calories and less fiber than most veggies.

    I completely agree with you - I'm an all or none kind of girl. I can't just eat one cookie or half a cup of ice cream. It's better if I go cold turkey and just let myself have a treat once a week. Then when I do eat that treat I feel so gross it makes me want to be good again!