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Question:

I'm training for a marathon and I'm also trying to lose weight. I always feel hungry. Any suggestions? — Jennifer, IL

Jane Folkman

Answer:

 

I suggest you do not restrict your caloric intake too drastically. Severely restricting your food intake in an effort to shed pounds fast can reduce your metabolic rate and work against your weight loss goal. A food-fuel deficit that is too great can hinder your athletic performance and training. A sensible approach is to reduce your caloric needs by about 10-20 percent depending on your daily training program. For the average woman, this would be between a 250 and 500-calorie reduction each day. Combined with the increased exercise, you could easily lose about 1 pound per week. This, plus a sensible eating plan that includes frequent meals and snacks, will help you shed the extra pounds without interfering with your athletic performance or leaving you too hungry.

Runners and long distance bikers can get hungry every three to four hours. Your goal should be to eat on a schedule and plan a meal or snack every three to fours hours to prevent yourself from getting too hungry. You'll be eating more often, but reducing excessive hunger, and therefore preventing overeating. This type of program can also provide your body with the constant energy it needs to endure long distance running. In choosing your meals and snacks, make sure to include a lot of high carbohydrate foods like whole-grain breads and cereals, grains, pastas, vegetables, fruits and fruit juices. Make sure that portions are evenly divided between meals and snacks, and that you include complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain rice and pasta, beans and legumes.
About Jane Folkman

Jane Folkman, MS, RD graduated from Case Western Reserve University on a full scholarship with a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition . She also attended the University of Vermont where she earned her BS degree with a double major in Human Nutrition and Foods and Animal Sciences. Her specialty areas are maternal and child health, diabetes, and nutrition communications.

Jane has served as an elected officer for the American Dietetic Association, and on numerous committees and task forces for this leading professional organization. She has also served as the President of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Jane was chosen the Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award for Massachusetts in 1994.


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