Using food as a reward is a very common habit among dieters and fitness enthusiasts. Therefore, it is no surprise that quite a number of people who exercise regularly feel that it is okay to indulge in some heavy eating after a grueling workout. After all, it stands to reason that filling up on food to replenish energy would be fitting after burning hundreds of calories during intense workouts.
While there is nothing wrong with a little snacking after a workout, overdoing it can send you into a workout plateau or worse, see you gain weight despite all your hard work. So, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, it is essential that you stop using food as a reward. To help you with that task, here are a few ideas on how you can hold back from overeating after a strenuous workout.
Keep Full on Less Food
One effective trick to stop using food as a reward is keeping full without driving consumption up. A full stomach will not crave for food. Consequently, you will not feel the need to treat yourself to a massive post-workout feast. A good way of staying full is to include foods that have a satiating (filling) effect into your diet. A few examples include protein packed, fiber-rich, and whole grain foods.
Alternatively, you can schedule your workouts right before major meals but still making sure to fuel for your exercise session as required. This way you can eat to your satisfaction after a workout and consequently avoid packing in extra calories later in the day.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is another way that will help keep your belly full and cravings under control.
Keep Sugary Treats Out of the House
Avoid keeping a stockpile of sweets, chocolates, ice cream, and other sugary treats in your refrigerator or kitchen pantry. The presence of these treats increases the chances of falling victim to using food as a reward.
Make a List of Things That Make You Happy
Create a list of things you enjoy doing but normally do not get to do. It could be a day at the spa, a shopping spree, a night out with friends, movies you have not got around to watching, or any fun activity that does not involve overindulging in food. Keep this list close by and make it your go-to option for treats whenever you feel like rewarding yourself for sticking to your diet or getting through a hard workout.
Change Your View of Exercise
Most of us look at exercise as a difficult task that requires a lot of effort to accomplish. So, when we have a good workout, we feel the need to reward ourselves with a heavy meal. This trap all too often leads to overindulgence, thus driving up calorie intake and messing up weight loss or muscle-building progress. One very simple but effective way of stopping this cycle is to view exercise in a new light. If you start looking at exercise as something fun and necessary for enjoying overall health and fitness, you will not feel the need to reward yourself for reaching a huge milestone in your fitness journey.
Remember Your Fitness Goals
Lastly, when everything else fails, simply remind yourself why you started exercising and/or dieting in the first place. Perhaps you wanted to drop extra pounds to improve your overall quality of life. Or, maybe you simply wanted to get a ripped physique. Whatever your fitness goals are, think and meditate over them. After that, take stock of how far you have come and how much closer you are to achieving your fitness goals. By assessing your progress and looking forward to reaching your ultimate fitness target, you will definitely think twice about jeopardizing your progress for a tub of ice cream or some chocolate bars.