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.