When I'm training regularly I get a voracious appetite, one that has me consuming far more calories than I've expended. One of the ways I try to trick my brain into feeling satisfied is portion control, a topic this article in Trail Runner Magazine covers in depth How Should Runners Handle Portion Control?
The main points to consider:
* A portion is a subjective amount of food, one that has grown in size and calories
* A serving is a specific amount of food established by the USDA (the one you find on the nutrition label)
* Are your goals to maintain, gain, or lose weight? Set a calorie goal and track what you eat.
* Listen to your body's hunger and satiety cues. Are you a fast eater? Slow down - and give the "full" signal time to get to your brain
* Starving yourself early in the day usually leads to binge eating later
* Small, healthy, frequent meals are better than a few large meals
* Big effort days need a big meal to recover - but remember to adjust on your rest and recovery days
* You don't have to deny yourself treats, just don't go crazy
One really simple thing that helps me is to eat from small plates and small bowls. It seems ridiculous, but it really does help reduce portion size and it feels like you've had plenty to eat. It also slows you down, and gives you a chance to think if you're full or not before going for that second or third helping.
Tracking calories is a pain, but with new apps like MyFitnessPal that have a huge database of foods (and a barcode scanner for prepackaged food) it's become a lot easier. Most people tend to eat similar foods over and over, so you only have to count calories for a while before you'll have a good idea of where you're at without having to get out your phone.
How do you control your appetite when you're training? Let us know in the comments below.