A conundrum of embarking on a ‘health kick’ that involves curbing eating while increasing physical activity is that you get hungry, really hungry, hungry enough to get hangry!

A brisk morning walk can make you noticeably hungrier by mid-morning and something like swimming – absolutely ravenous. Ironically, burning those extra calories can make it more challenging to take in fewer calories than you burn. If you want to increase your physical activity while curbing the increased appetite that may accompany it, here are some considerations to keep your appetite in check.

Your personal energy balance equation – does it add up?

Understand your own personal energy balance: document (using an app like Easy Diet Diary if you like) your food intake and energy output on various days of the week and weekend to see whether your energy in and energy out match up. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my energy intake and output match up from day to day?
  • Do I eat more on more active days and less on less active days? Or the opposite!!
  • Do I eat more or less after certain types of activity? (Me: “More after swimming, less after hard running”). Your body reacts to exercise by shifting the blood supply to the muscles that need oxygen at the time, so you may have delayed appetite after hard running while your body readjusts to prioritising digestion.
  • Do I eat more on work/weekdays or weekends?
  • Do I eat more when stressed/relaxed/tired/happy/sad? Emotional influences on food intake often out-muscle your innate appetite. Knowing this and being able to recognise it is the first step towards managing it.

If you notice some ‘red flags’ after answering the above questions, there might be some solutions you can think of yourself, or you might benefit from consulting with a dietitian from Help Yourself to help you balance your energy equation.


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