Thursday, September 13, 2012

The hunger games

I am feeling very generous today and normally when I feel that way, I'll host some sort of giveaway or contest. Not today, though. Today I give you a preview of a post I'm planning for next week. It is called: What I didn't eat Wednesday. And I promise that it will be the least read post ever because it will only include one thing: a doughnut, which I still have yet to eat this week despite strong cravings.

Yesterday, despite my best attempts, I could not stop eating. It wasn't emotional or stress. I wasn't particularly dehydrated nor had I imbibed too many Diet Cokes. The truth of the matter was that I was simply hungry.

The pangs I felt in my stomach were real and a bit alarming. This week is a cutback week on the "Train Like a Mother" plan, and I have ran just twice for a total of 8.5 miles. I've had some BODYPUMP rehearsing mixed in, as well, doing upper body tracks on Tuesday and lower body tracks on Wednesday. Yet, I found myself eating like I had ran 20 miles (though I'll save that for next weekend).

Here's the rundown:

A.M. I ate a granola bar from Aldi about 5 a.m. when I thought I would get a run in early. But I didn't. And while I waited for my run, I found myself hungry so I ate a chunk of banana with homemade coconut almond butter (+ chocolate sprinkles). After the run, I made a single-version of my Saturday Morning Pancakes. Once I got to work, I had half a plum, a few Triscuit Thin Crisps and a small piece of dark chocolate to tie me over to lunch.

Lunch. My work husband and I went to a very gourmet spot (read: the hospital cafeteria), and I had a black bean burger on a wheat bun, chicken noodle soup and a side of summer squash. On the way out, I grabbed a piece of pumpkin pie - oh, so weak - and ate just the filling when I got back to the office.

Afternoon. I felt like I was snacking all afternoon but when I look back, I see that it wasn't too bad. Another granola bar and an apple.

Dinner. Homemade chicken burrito and, horror of all horrors, packaged and prepared Mexican rice that was full of sodium and preservatives. Tasted so good and took only 7 minutes. Immediately following, I ate an Italian ice. Dairy free, for the win!

Evening. I think it was this that clinched it. After rehearsing BP, I found myself making a bowl of oatmeal at 8 p.m. WTF. I felt like I had eaten enough - about 1,600 or so calories - but there I was, hungry again.

No wonder people gain weight during marathon training.

I tried to figure out exactly why this happens but most of the advice centers around how not to gain weight during marathon training as opposed to why you want to eat everything in reach. A forum on did have some interesting theories about taper hunger:

*Your body is used to eating a certain way and doesn't realize that you aren't training as hard.

*Your body is trying to recover and replenish thus requiring more food.

*Your body is storing fuel for a big effort.

All plausible. Very, very plausible.

The one thing I did notice when I was looking at the BodyMedia analysis of my diet was that I ate a crap ton of carbs (63 percent of my intake) and not a lot of protein (16 percent). I'm very conscious to include protein at every meal but it looks like bumping it up during snack time might help as well.

Could someone pass me some nuts? Better yet, nuts dipped in hummus. Mmkay, thanks.


  1. I'm convinced metabolism (or at least hunger) lags exercise by a few days. The first week I was injured this spring, I wanted to eat EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. During a cutback week, you probably should continue taking in what your body needs.

    I think the trick is keeping the "EVERYTHING IN SIGHT" healthy. I put my 3 carrots on my desk when I get to work, so they're literally the first thing I see when I get hungry. If I eat them and I'm still actually hungry, game on: bag of nuts in the desk drawer, you're mine.

  2. I agree with Robyn that hunger lags exercise by a few days. It sounds like you're eating well - good foods, not crap - so I wouldn't worry that the volume is up a little bit. BUt increasing your protein is a really good idea.

  3. Hi Kimberly,
    I enjoyed reading your article, even though I must admit I had to chuckle every now and then. I could feel exactly what you were talking about.
    Take care.

  4. I always find that I am hungrier during step back run weeks than when mileage is high. Doesn't make sense but I'm sure it's your body's way of saying "i need some fuel!". I wish all marathon training came with weight loss, that would be awesome.

  5. Now I totally want a warm Krispie Kreme donut. I am also a bottomless pit. I've had zero self control and find myself starving an hour and a half after all of my meals.

  6. Saw this in Facebook

    Tips to Reduce weight:

    Turn your head to the right then to the left.
    Repeat the exercise every time you are offered
    something to eat.
    Usually, I would just drink lots of water if I feel that I get too hungry but then again, I don't exercise much.