If daily runs and exercise classes aren’t paying off, it’s time to confront what studies are finally suggesting: While exercise has numerous other health benefits, weight loss is not necessarily one of them, contrary to popular belief.
It’s not worth giving up because it improves your mood, lowers your blood pressure, boosts your energy and improves your sleep, so we talked to Page Love of Nutri Fit Sport Therapy in Atlanta, Georgia in the US about how to make exercise work for you by accompanying it with eating right.
Love, a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), says to fight the increase in appetite that can come with exercise and that studies suggest can lead to weight gain, make sure you are getting adequate fibrous carbohydrates, which can help you feel full longer.
These include nearly all beans and vegetables including peas, chickpeas, soybeans and lima beans, says Love, who describes her approach as one based on whole foods.
After exercising it’s normal to crave simple or white carbohydrates but the refined sugar and hidden sugars add up quickly, so opt for complex carbs instead, says Love.
For example, if you’re craving toast on white bread with jelly after a workout, opt instead for Greek yogurt with granola to feel fuller and avoid over-consuming sugar.
Love cautions against artificial sweeteners, citing research suggesting that despite not having any calories they could provoke the same reaction from the brain and pancreas as real sugar, causing a spike in blood sugar and insulin, revving up the appetite.
She recommends eating every three to four hours in order to keep from building up a hunger debt that can send your glucose levels skyrocketing, possibly causing you to eat more when you finally do.
Sweet potatoes, Omega 3 fish, quinoa, almonds, whole grains and dark leafy greens are all examples of her recommendations under her whole foods approach.