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Increased appetite with heavy exercise


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I'm 46 yo and about 50 pounds overweight. I have had periods of my life that I was thin but mostly it has been a lifelong challenge to deal with my weight and my parents and other family members are morbidly obese, 

I have finally gotten into a solid exercise routine. I exercise hard (for me!) M-F. I tend to do cardio/weight training videos that are 50 minutes to an hour and then another 30-40 of some kind of lighter cardio. This seems to be the amount of exercise necessary to trip my endorphins are put me in a good mood. I feel great all day after I workout. I feel strong and energetic and it has lifted my spirits so much. I am happy with my exercise routine. But - I am so super hungry. I'm a habitual dieter and so am very in tuned with what I am eating and feelings of hunger. Even if I'm not tracking I do know how much I am eating. There was a big uptick when I got my exercise routine intense enough to feel the benefits. Once I started feeling really good about the exercise, I noticed just how really hungry I am all the time.

I'm not interested in intensely dieting or doing keto or anything like that (BTDT more than enough times). I just want to eat generally healthy and workout. But, if I am working out so much I sure would like to see at least a little results and not just be eating all of it back. I don't want to cut back on my exercise.

So, are there any tips to deal with this? Pre or post workout meal/snack? Any particularly filling healthy foods to help fight this off? I'm assuming protein is key. Would a protein shake or something post workout help? Any tips for timing or types of food to help calm the hunger monster? It doesn't feel good to be hungry all the time.

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Protein drink before - because I dehydrate

Jerky after as snacks for the protein (and too costly for me to overeat even if I make my own pork/beef jerky)

A friend does water before and an apple after but my doctors all ask me to up my protein intake.

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I tend to snack on something with a good amount of fibre plus protein. Plain low fat Greek yoghurt with celery to dip, for example. That seems to satisfy me. And lots of water.

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The Weight Lifting for Women book I use recommends a high-protein snack or meal within 30 minutes after completing an exercise session.  It has made a big difference in the amount of hunger I experience.  I can workout in the morning and have my protein shake, then not be hungry until dinner.  If I do get hungry, a big drink of water usually tells me that it was thirst and not hunger that I was experiencing, or sometimes chewing gum will trigger my "just ate" reaction.  Other times a high fiber snack will do the trick if I'm hungry between meals - I often snack on fresh produce like snap peas if I'm up late.

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If you’re a volume eater a whole pound of broccoli is only a few hundred calories. 

Otherwise ignoring it and drinking more water generally makes hunger pangs go away in about 20 minutes. 

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For me pretty often that intense feeling is actually thirst.  I’ve learned to drink a good sized glass of water when I feel like that, and then wait 15-20 minutes and see if it subsides.  As often as not, it does.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Protein.  I have a good protein snack during the day and 30 minutes after a good workout have protein ( two personal trainers have told me about this both over 45 to help). Otherwise, I get hungry.  
 

If you are looking for a protein powder-  I can’t say enough about Quest Cinnamon Crunch protein powder.  It tastes great in oatmeal and pancake batter. Even the picky eaters in my house can’t taste that I added protein powder to stuff.  It has really helped me with my hunger in the morning. I hear the vanilla is good too and that is on my grocery list. 
 

 

Edited by itsheresomewhere
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12 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

I'm 46 yo and about 50 pounds overweight. I have had periods of my life that I was thin but mostly it has been a lifelong challenge to deal with my weight and my parents and other family members are morbidly obese, 

I have finally gotten into a solid exercise routine. I exercise hard (for me!)

Not telling you what to do at all, since you seem happy with your workout plan.

Like you, I love to exercise, but the older that I get (I'm now 53), the more I realize that weight loss has very little to do with exercise. It's mostly diet. Actually, it's mostly mental. I recently found Pahla B and her YouTube channel is so helpful. On her site, she has an e-book that's super-helpful about weight loss. She also has this, which really clarified things for me. 

A friend of mine who recommended me to her, reminded me that we’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to exercise strenuously and for long periods of time in order to lose weight. Yet, a major factor in weight gain is stress. When the body encounters stress, it stores fat. The body perceives intense exercise as stress. This stress leads to weight gain.

Pahla B says that in order to lose weight:

Do not overdo exercise. Too much exercise and for too long a period of time will sabotage your weight loss.

Eat a consistent number of calories every single day. Your body likes to know what to expect. When you give it consistency, it will stop freaking out and it will start releasing the weight. This diet change will be at least 90%, if not, 95%, of your success.

Another factor that helps is to get on the scale every single day.

When we’re young, exercise can help with losing a few pounds. As we age, it’s mostly diet. We all know that exercise has many benefits. It helps with weight maintenance, boosting one’s energy levels, feeling good, and (hopefully) paying attention to taking care of oneself, including what you put into your mouth. However, if exercise is used as a mental justification to eat more, it will not work. Not saying that you do this. Just sharing this for you or for anyone who may be interested. She has a podcast as well. 

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Echoing protein and water.  
I’ve never agreed with vilifying carbs, but I’ve always felt better when upping the protein, which just happens to lower the carbs.

I generally have a snack or small meal that’s carb-y an hour or two before working out and drink lots of water during. Then something high protein after, and continue water.

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2 hours ago, Negin said:

Not telling you what to do at all, since you seem happy with your workout plan.

Like you, I love to exercise, but the older that I get (I'm now 53), the more I realize that weight loss has very little to do with exercise. It's mostly diet. Actually, it's mostly mental. I recently found Pahla B and her YouTube channel is so helpful. On her site, she has an e-book that's super-helpful about weight loss. She also has this, which really clarified things for me. 

A friend of mine who recommended me to her, reminded me that we’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to exercise strenuously and for long periods of time in order to lose weight. Yet, a major factor in weight gain is stress. When the body encounters stress, it stores fat. The body perceives intense exercise as stress. This stress leads to weight gain.

Pahla B says that in order to lose weight:

Do not overdo exercise. Too much exercise and for too long a period of time will sabotage your weight loss.

Eat a consistent number of calories every single day. Your body likes to know what to expect. When you give it consistency, it will stop freaking out and it will start releasing the weight. This diet change will be at least 90%, if not, 95%, of your success.

Another factor that helps is to get on the scale every single day.

When we’re young, exercise can help with losing a few pounds. As we age, it’s mostly diet. We all know that exercise has many benefits. It helps with weight maintenance, boosting one’s energy levels, feeling good, and (hopefully) paying attention to taking care of oneself, including what you put into your mouth. However, if exercise is used as a mental justification to eat more, it will not work. Not saying that you do this. Just sharing this for you or for anyone who may be interested. She has a podcast as well. 

Yeah I actually know this about overdoing the exercise sabotaging weight loss but I have decided the benefits I am getting from my exercise routine are winning out. I may never lose the weight but being strong and fit (while fluffy) feels more important and honestly more attainable right now. For the first time I am exercising not for the specific goal of weight loss and it feels like a healthier situation. 
 

So that’s why I’m not looking to change that even though from a pure weight loss perspective it might be better. But thank you for the info!

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Fwiw, years ago Curves (the women's workout place) had some studies showing people actually lost *more* if they ate more and even intentionally gained weight periodically. It breaks the body's sense that it is fasting or starving and kicks back in the metabolism. Yours is going, so that's good! I get crazy hungry like that too. I'm sorta admiring your ability to do so much cardio, haha. I'm a real 20 minutes kinda gal. I think maybe I have fast twitch muscle fibers or whatever, because long cardio just kills me. I found it in my ds' genes, so one of us does, lol. 

Have you tried eating a fiber cereal in the morning? Inulin gummies are also good. You definitely have to hydrate if you do that. 

For me, I lose weight when I'm not looking. When I look at the scale constantly, it totally jinxes it. Good luck!

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https://nutritionfacts.org/video/evidence-based-weight-loss-live-presentation/
 

Have you heard of Dr. Michael Greger and nutritionfacts.org?   
He is an MD and has some great information about diet and weight loss.  I linked a talk that I went to that I thought was helpful but he also had a podcast and some nice and short videos with lots of great evidence based information.  

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If your blood sugar is nearing 100 or in the pre-diabetes range, it might be post-workout blood sugar issues. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/qa/how-does-exercise-affect-blood-sugar  Exercise lowers blood sugar over time, but sometimes it can make it go up for a bit right after the workout before coming down. 

I started using a glucose monitor, and I found that even fairly small elevations in my blood sugar make me ravenously hungry. Explains a lot of my adult life (it was high normal when I was young, thin, super active, and watched my diet). I understand not vilifying carbs, but in my case, carbs are terrible. Some people can make them essentially their only food group and be fine, but not me.

15 hours ago, Katy said:

If you’re a volume eater a whole pound of broccoli is only a few hundred calories. 

That is an interesting term. Where does it come from? 

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34 minutes ago, kbutton said:

If your blood sugar is nearing 100 or in the pre-diabetes range, it might be post-workout blood sugar issues. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/qa/how-does-exercise-affect-blood-sugar  Exercise lowers blood sugar over time, but sometimes it can make it go up for a bit right after the workout before coming down. 

I started using a glucose monitor, and I found that even fairly small elevations in my blood sugar make me ravenously hungry. Explains a lot of my adult life (it was high normal when I was young, thin, super active, and watched my diet). I understand not vilifying carbs, but in my case, carbs are terrible. Some people can make them essentially their only food group and be fine, but not me.

That is an interesting term. Where does it come from? 

I have no idea who made up the term volume eater.  Some people (usually naturally thin people) have fat receptors in their stomach. The majority have only stretch receptors and will eat a lower calorie diet if they focus more on foods that have more volume per calorie. IE: 100 calories of apple is a lot more satisfying to most people than 100 calories of oil. Volumetrics, Eat This Not That, and dozens of other diets that have been out in my lifetime have focused on the same principle. 
 

There’s a speech I saw recently on YouTube that focuses on the same thing. This is to a vegan audience, I don’t recommend being pure vegan, but they are the thinnest population for probably this reason. 
 

 

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On 4/2/2021 at 3:58 AM, Negin said:

Not telling you what to do at all, since you seem happy with your workout plan.

Like you, I love to exercise, but the older that I get (I'm now 53), the more I realize that weight loss has very little to do with exercise. It's mostly diet. Actually, it's mostly mental. I recently found Pahla B and her YouTube channel is so helpful. On her site, she has an e-book that's super-helpful about weight loss. She also has this, which really clarified things for me. 

A friend of mine who recommended me to her, reminded me that we’ve been conditioned to believe that we need to exercise strenuously and for long periods of time in order to lose weight. Yet, a major factor in weight gain is stress. When the body encounters stress, it stores fat. The body perceives intense exercise as stress. This stress leads to weight gain.

Pahla B says that in order to lose weight:

Do not overdo exercise. Too much exercise and for too long a period of time will sabotage your weight loss.

Eat a consistent number of calories every single day. Your body likes to know what to expect. When you give it consistency, it will stop freaking out and it will start releasing the weight. This diet change will be at least 90%, if not, 95%, of your success.

Another factor that helps is to get on the scale every single day.

When we’re young, exercise can help with losing a few pounds. As we age, it’s mostly diet. We all know that exercise has many benefits. It helps with weight maintenance, boosting one’s energy levels, feeling good, and (hopefully) paying attention to taking care of oneself, including what you put into your mouth. However, if exercise is used as a mental justification to eat more, it will not work. Not saying that you do this. Just sharing this for you or for anyone who may be interested. She has a podcast as well. 

Thank you for this recommendation! I've only done two workouts so far but she is exactly what I need. 

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On 4/2/2021 at 6:43 AM, teachermom2834 said:

Yeah I actually know this about overdoing the exercise sabotaging weight loss but I have decided the benefits I am getting from my exercise routine are winning out. I may never lose the weight but being strong and fit (while fluffy) feels more important and honestly more attainable right now. For the first time I am exercising not for the specific goal of weight loss and it feels like a healthier situation. 
 

So that’s why I’m not looking to change that even though from a pure weight loss perspective it might be better. But thank you for the info!

(sincerely) Good for you! Exercise has far more benefits than just the number on the scale and is important as we age. I've noticed for me that the thing that drives up my appetite the most is intensive cardio. I try to dial it back some when I notice I'm just starving all the time. What helps me is focusing on - balancing my fat/protein/carb intake, eating lots of fruit and veggies (filling for less calories and nutritious) and drinking plenty of water. 

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I find that if I’m lacking in protein overall (like less than 40 g a day)I can get really hungry, particularly when I’m expending a lot of calories. But I hate eating  meat, and I’m sadly lactose intolerant. So, I generally end up supplementing my meals with protein bars or a protein shake. When I’m really tracking what I eat and eat closer to 90-100g (which is lower than the weight lifting world recommendations, I know!), I feel much less hungry!! 

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19 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

I find that if I’m lacking in protein overall (like less than 40 g a day)I can get really hungry, particularly when I’m expending a lot of calories. But I hate eating  meat, and I’m sadly lactose intolerant. So, I generally end up supplementing my meals with protein bars or a protein shake. When I’m really tracking what I eat and eat closer to 90-100g (which is lower than the weight lifting world recommendations, I know!), I feel much less hungry!! 

I'm a vegetarian and I lift weights and do a lot of cardio (probably too much).  I eat egg whites, peanut butter, and protein bars for most of my protein.  I'm starving all the time, though.  😞  I have heard that too much cardio can make you really hungry and I wonder if that's my problem.  

ETA - this is what @Soror said about cardio as well.  I do think there's a sweet spot where it's enough but not too much that it makes you too hungry.

Edited by Kassia
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23 hours ago, Kassia said:

I'm a vegetarian and I lift weights and do a lot of cardio (probably too much).  I eat egg whites, peanut butter, and protein bars for most of my protein.  I'm starving all the time, though.  😞  I have heard that too much cardio can make you really hungry and I wonder if that's my problem.  

ETA - this is what @Soror said about cardio as well.  I do think there's a sweet spot where it's enough but not too much that it makes you too hungry.

Don’t know if you’ve ever been over on Reddit xxfitness, but that’s where I get most of my fitness info from (they have lots of good stuff under “community info”...of course there’s also plenty of the clueless “how can I spot reduce” questions, but if you can look past those you can really learn a lot...) Anyway, they seem to hold that too much cardio can indeed make you super hungry, and depending on how much you eat to deal with that can derail your gains. I tried for years to get away with not doing cardio, but frankly besides being great for your heart and lungs (which at 47 I need to take much more seriously!), I also find that it improves circulation improving the appearance of that pesky cellulite that seems to be omnipresent at my age. But yes, as you said, I think there is a fine line!  

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21 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

Don’t know if you’ve ever been over on Reddit xxfitness, but that’s where I get most of my fitness info from (they have lots of good stuff under “community info”...of course there’s also plenty of the clueless “how can I spot reduce” questions, but if you can look past those you can really learn a lot...) Anyway, they seem to hold that too much cardio can indeed make you super hungry, and depending on how much you eat to deal with that can derail your gains. I tried for years to get away with not doing cardio, but frankly besides being great for your heart and lungs (which at 47 I need to take much more seriously!), I also find that it improves circulation improving the appearance of that pesky cellulite that seems to be omnipresent at my age. But yes, as you said, I think there is a fine line!  

I'm 53 and cardio doesn't seem to do anything for my circulation (I have terrible circulation) or cellulite but it sure is good for my heart - I have a very low resting heart rate.  And, yes, I agree that you can derail your gains by doing so much cardio that you increase your appetite.  I probably do too much cardio but it's hard for me to tell how much it affects my appetite because I'm always starving whether or not I exercise!  Of course, intense weight lifting can also make you hungrier.  It's all so difficult to figure out!  

 

Thanks for the Reddit recommendation!  

 

 

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