Losing Weight & Maintaining Energy to Exercise
Content by: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
When setting the goal to lose weight as an athlete, it is often difficult to maintain enough energy to train and perform. There are healthy steps that can assist in achieving both. Read more!
To lose weight in a healthy way and successfully keep it off, you need to learn how to eat well. Instead of going on a diet, you want to learn how to eat smaller portions of the foods you currently enjoy. These tips can help you lose undesired body fat, plus have energy to exercise well.
• Evaluate your meal patterns. If you eat very little during the day and then feast at night, experiment with fueling more during the active part of your day. You will then be less hungry at night, be able to eat less and burn fat while you are sleeping.
• Plan to eat about 10- to 20-percent less than what you typically eat. If you cut back too much (i.e., skip meals, eat only a salad for lunch), you will likely become ravenously hungry and at high risk for blowing your diet.
• Organize your food into a balanced eating plan. A high school athlete might need 2, 500 to 3,500+ calories to maintain weight and 2,000 to 2,700+ calories to lose weight. Divided into three meals plus snacks, this could be:
Breakfast: 500-700 calories
Lunch: 600-800 calories
Pre-exercise: 200-300 calories
Dinner: 600-700 calories
Snack: 100-200 calories
By reading food labels, using calorie information and measuring your food once or twice, you can estimate about how much you are currently eating and where you could easily cut back.
• Do not skimp at breakfast or lunch or afternoon snack. You need the fuel to be able to think well at school and train well in the afternoon. Again, be sure to eat enough calories during the day so you will have plenty of energy to exercise at your best. Your goal is to fuel by day and lose weight (diet) by night, when sleeping.
• Eat slowly. Your brain needs about 20 minutes to receive the signal that you have eaten your fill. Practice chewing slowly, putting down the fork between bites (rather than eating nonstop), tasting the food and savoring it.
• Losing weight is hard work. Look at your week ahead of you and plan a maintain day. Have a rest day from losing weight (not a “cheat day” with serious overeating).
• Keep food out of sight and reach so you can more easily manage your intake.
• Learn how to handle boredom, stress and anxiety without over-eating. Write in a journal for 5 to 10 minutes to help you process stressful issues. Find other activities that you enjoy. Otherwise, you might try to distract yourself by eating fun foods.
• Think positively. Every morning before you get out of bed, visualize yourself eating well and achieving your nutrition goals.
• If you weigh yourself, do so only in the morning! Weigh after you have gone to the bathroom and before you have eaten.
• Be proud of your healthy eating patterns. What you learn today will serve you well for the rest of your life!
1. Set a realistic time frame to achieve your goals. Allow one week to lose ½ to 1 pound.
2. Do not cut back too much. You should never get too hungry, even when losing weight.
3. Push yourself away from the dinner table when you are almost full. The goal is to lose weight when sleeping and wake up ready for breakfast.
4. Manage cravings with the healthy tips found in the download.