Decoding your post-workout food urges
You’re on the hunt for anything salty, fatty, or sugary. Your eyes dart to every available potato chip bag, chocolate bar, and soda machine.
No, you’re not pregnant, you’re just walking through the gym lobby after your workout!
But seriously, craving these diet vices means that your diet may be missing necessary nutrients.
“We can consider cravings after a workout to be a message from the brain that the body has depleted something that is essential for function, repair, and development/growth,” said Joanne Casulli, a certified holistic health counselor based in Scottsdale, AZ.
A salt craving often indicates dehydration, and possibly a loss of sodium and trace minerals, Joanne said. The solution is simple: drinking water before, during, and after your workout. Electrolyte-enhanced water is a good option, but steer clear of sports drinks that are often loaded with sugar.
Craving fatty foods is often your brain’s alert that you need, well, fat. You could be lacking the good fats found in nuts and olive oil.
The trickiest craving is sugar, because it can mean you need either more lean protein or more carbohydrates. “The sugar craving is an alert from the brain to let us know one of our energy sources is depleting,” she said. The best way to prevent this craving is to eat brown rice or another whole grain that helps keep blood sugar levels even. Lean protein like fish, chicken, turkey, and egg whites are also good options to stave off this craving.
Bottom line? “Stay hydrated throughout the day, make sure you are eating enough calories — and in an appropriate ratio of protein, carbs, and ‘good fats’ throughout your day,” Joanne said, a ratio that varies depending on your metabolism, activity level, and lifestyle. And don't skip meals, especially on workout days.
xx, The FabFitFun Team
Posted on June 15, 2012 in Health