A while back I made some discoveries in my diet that helped immenselyto control my appetite. Still working on applying them all the time, but at least I know about it. I will let you in on my little secret. I still have the days where I find myself in the kitchen eating item after item. It used to be getting up from the couch or whatever other sedentary non-activity I was doing. But I am now finding it happens more when I work out more. I basically use up a lot of muscle glycogen and then my body wants to replace it. No problem really as long as I eat the right foods. Therein lies the problem. Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote a while back but did not post for some reason.
I have been struggling with the calorie counting for 11 weeks or so now. OK, struggle is not the right word, it has been very successful, but it is a battle to do better. My goal was initially to eat 1800 a day and it didn’t happen, I was still successful at 2200 calories daily but it takes longer that way to lose weight. I have been getting it down close to 2000 on average for a few weeks now. This last week I intentionally added some fiber to my diet and the meals are not only making me full, I sometimes feel stuffed. These days where it happens I am eating less than 1800 calories and I have the feeling of being stuffed! I can hardly believe it.
The discovery was that fiber keep you feeling full. And it is even better if it is the bulky stuff like a cup of carrots, as opposed to something that sounds goofy but many people do, like eating a granola bar that wasn’t all that great for you but is laced with several grams of chickory root that was dried and ground up and added to the bar. Yeah this is what a fiber one bar is, only 140 calories and 10 grams of soluable fiber. Soluable means two things, to those with even a little high school chemistry it means that it will dissolve in water. But the real way soluable fiber is classified that way is that it ferments in the gut. Thats right, you can hear it talking back later. Eat a fiber one bar in the morning and evening for a couple days if you need to win any contests.
Now it is recommended to eat several times after a hard workout at short intervals. The first item is a liquid recovery drink followed by small meals at two hour intervals. Ideally these would be chosen for their nutritional value and they would involve fruits and vegetables and protien and even some good fats. My problem, is they are trips to the cupboard for a snack not a meal. I eat cheese crackers with a glass of milk. Then I am back later for ritz slimed with peanut butter and another glass of milk. Then that weight watchers popsicle for 140 calories calls me out. Then that wasn’t really a meal so I prepare a small sandwhich to go with it.
The thing is I am supposed to eat meals at these intervals when I work out long and hard. The last two Saturdays I did quite a bit. 1.2 mile swim, a 16 mile bike and a 3 mile run here for 1500 calories. Or a half marathon and a 1050 yard swim for 2100 calories. It takes over 2 hours and I get very hungry. I need to skip the dense caloric foods that come prepackaged for quick eating and take the time to eat more like I do during the week.
I eat breakfast during the week, then pack up a snack for the morning, lunch, and a snack for the afternoon. By the time I am out the door for work I know exactly how many calories I will have eaten before I sit down to my dinner, barring unforseen circumstances of course. Things like donuts using Jedi mind tricks to make me scoop them up off the plate when idiots bring them in to work thinking they are being nice. I usually avoid them cause they are not around, but sometimes I am weak. Who the hell needs to eat a 400-500 calorie deep fried pastry slathered with superfine ground sucrose mixed with a liquid and flavors like maple? Maybe I should cut the donut into sixths and take one bite. One 60 calorie bite that is still not worth it. Or better yet take a donut, take a bit, and toss the blasted thing in the trash. That will be what I try the next time, it gets rid of one more donut from the pile so they are gone faster, I get a little taste, and I still only eat 60 calories. I will head out like I am refilling my coffee so no one sees me and gets offended.
On Saturday I have no concept of planning. The only thing I do lately is make sure I get the recoverey drink. And then plan to eat 3 times after each of the next 2 hour periods. I shall plan all the meals the next few times. One of the items should be a soup that has lots of fiber. Another should include veggies, and another should include a piece of fruit. Here is the plan:
- after workout: revovery drink (Endurox R4) 270 calories
- 1 hour later or when hungry: 1/2 c plain yogurt, 1/2 c fruit, stevia sweetener, with added fiber (T ground flax) and 1/4 c of a crunchy cereal. 200 calories
- 2 hours later: 8 ritz crackers, 3 slices lunch ham, 1 slice cheese, 1/2 c baby carrots, 1/2 c raw brocolli. 300 calories
- 2 hours later: large bowl of lentil and sausage soup with veggies. This recipe is one of our family favorites and we use turkey sausage now. 200 calories.
Now this 1000 calorie blitzkrieg might sound like I am going overboard. But I tell you I just burned 1500 calories and only ate 1400 (breakfast of 400 plus 1000 recovery) and I am sitting at just about dinner time with a negative calorie balance for the day so far. If I am not just raving hungry I have accomplished my goal. Besides looking back over my calorie counts I notice on Saturdays I have been doing better since I started doing a recovery drink alone, so this is the easy first step to a successful workout and not eating too much later. But I still do poorly when I eat unheathy snacks by the time I get to dinner I still have big hunger cravings. Granola bars, cheese-n-crackers, cheesy-crackers sandwiches, and those darn weight watchers cookies-n-cream popsicles, and the skinny cow ice cream sandwiches are the typical things that find their weigh into my belly. (yeah I spelled it wrong on purpose).
There was one saturday where I ate 300 calories for breakfast, 200 in gel and sport drink during the 1700 calories workout (1.2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3.2 mile run). Then went on to have 550 calories for lunch, 600 calories in afternoon snacks, and found myself with such an urge to eat that I ate 1400 calories around what should have been dinner time in snacks that consisted of: girl scout cookies, ice cream sandwhiches,crackers n peanut butter, popcorn, and cereal. Good thing the day ended there.
I really do think fiber, by way of eating it in naturally low calorie high bulk foods is the key to not being hungry and eating too much. I will leave you with a little more from that blog entry that never got posted where I was dicussing what I learned from eating fiber.
I am skipping an afternoon snack here and there not because of will power but because I don’t feel hungry. I can really pack away the calories when we go out and eat for example at Red Robin Burger a couple of months ago I had the banzai burger (1000 calories) with steak fries (hundreds more) and then a tase of the kid’s milkshakes and birthday sunday for a total of 1500 calories in one meal. Granted I was full, and a little uncomfortable, but it is the same feeling I had the other evening when I ate about 600 calories of lentil and sausage soup which had about 18-20 grams of fiber in the one serving (lentils are amazing). And get this, less than half of the calories came from the soup, the crackers and milk were more calories. I did not even consider a late night snack and ended the day on 1760 calories stuffed and wanting no more. Every other time I ate 1760 calories or less (11 times about once a week) the following day I ate (2145, 2420, 2320, 2460, 2570, 2000, 2620, 2260, 1935, 2165, 1950) which is an average of 2260 and this time I ate 1920 the lowest followed by another day that was better than my goal of 2000. (It is cool to have the spreadsheet of data for comparisons like this.) And this second day the heaviest workout day of my workouts at 2300 yards swam in 64 minutes and 4.7 miles run in 44 and a half minutes. That is 1380 calories burned and still I sit here without hunger writing this, full for the day on 1850 calories. This fiber stuff is magic I tell you.