Monday, March 24, 2014

Exercise and eating...

I have seen people commenting that they don't exercise because it makes them too hungry and they eat more.  To me, this argument is ridiculous because you know how I feel about being FIT and HEALTHY as opposed to just being thin or a certain number on the scale.  But we can't throw this argument out completely - research shows that the average person gains 10 pounds while training for a marathon!  

I've never run a marathon.  The longest distance I've ever run is 18 miles.  Usually exercise actually dampens my appetite.  But, a very long run like that does make your body start demanding fuel.  I have found that consuming a gel on anything longer then a 10 mile run seems to help me keep going.  But yesterday I had run 11 on the treadmill and came upstairs for a potty break and the thought of even eating a gel made my stomach lurch, so I didn't have one and managed my goal of 2 more miles with no problem.  

Now, I've also lectured on here about not eating back exercise calories for a number of reasons.  And I'm certainly not going to advocate that you start doing that.  But I also think that we need to use common sense and listen to our bodies, too.  

This morning I was sitting at my desk at work and I felt thrashed.  I just felt like everything was so much of an effort.  I was completely run down, but not exactly tired.  Just weak feeling.

So I took a body inventory.  I had slept really well last night.  And I went through what I had eaten in the day.  All healthy and good food.  And a lot of it.

But then I got to thinking.  I wore my heart rate monitor when I ran and it said I burned 1200 calories in the 13 mile run.  And then later in the day the dogs were just WOUND UP and pestering.  I knew they needed to get outside - so I bundled up - yes it is still unbearably cold here - and took them for a 4 mile walk.  250 calories burned. 

I got home and felt stiff and so Marc and I did an hour long yoga DVD.  It was not an intense yoga, but I still had to have burned some calories.

So adding it all up I realized - I ate about 2200 calories yesterday - higher then normal - but I had burned about 1600!  So I netted 600 calories!  Oops.  And no, I wasn't intentionally restricting like that, I just didn't think about the extra calories, and because it felt like I was eating so much more, I lost track.  For example, I had made turkey chili (which was delish if I do say so myself!) and I paired it with a huge amount of raw spinach and some strawberries.  As you know if you have ever eaten raw spinach - it was a huge bowlful, but actually contained very few calories.

So once again, this comes down to listening to your body and being mindful of calories in and calories out.  Exercise - even vigorous exercise - is not an excuse to start eating with careless abandon.  But you also need to fuel your body!  What's the number on that?  Unfortunately, it's not an exact science.  

But I will remind myself that I do need to fuel myself appropriately.  Not doing so is unhealthy and can lead to injuries.  So I need to eat more at times.  This news makes Fat Jen very happy but it scares Thin Jen.


  1. My issue is that I still want to eat like I did running...and am still SUPER restricted.Have been having a lot of back pain so have had to cut back on the limited stuff I was doing!
    There is a thing of eating too much stuff that's good for you!!!

    1. Yeah - sometimes I am in denial that healthy food still has calories!!