The Hungry Woman’s Guide to Eating. Part 3

Working out kills my appetite, but it makes my sister ravenous. Why are we so different?
The difference may be in your eating schedule or in the kind of workout you do. “Intense physical exercise suppresses hunger for an hour or two after a workout because your blood flow has been diverted away from the digestive tract and into the muscles,” explains Kristine Clark, Ph.D., the director of sports nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. “However, a more moderate workout doesn’t seem to dampen hunger.” As simple as it sounds, the timing of your meals and snacks is important, too. “If you haven’t had anything since lunch, and you’re exercising after work, you need to eat a snack before your workout,” says Flipse. “Even a piece of fruit or an energy bar will keep you from feeling starved when you finish.”

I’m absolutely famished just before my period. What’s that about?
“You get hungry because your body, spurred on by the hormone progesterone, burns more calories premenstrually, says Susan I. Barr, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. During the second half of the menstrual cycle, an increase in progesterone causes women’s basal metabolic rates to increase slightly, meaning it takes more total calories just to keep all your body’s systems running. In her study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Barr showed that ovulating women ate an additional 200 to 300 calories a day during the second half of their menstrual cycle to compensate for the increase in their basal metabolic rate. If you don’t adjust your diet before your period, your body will register a calorie deficit and send up one of those stomach-rumbling, knee-weakening hunger signals.

Does eating a lot stretch my stomach and make me hungrier?
“Not if you just treat yourself to the occasional feast,” says Geliebter. But if you keep eating bigger-than-usual meals day after day for several weeks, the muscles in your stomach walls, continually stretched to accommodate the extra load, will stay that way. The inevitable result? “Over time, that can mean you really do have to eat more in order to feel full,” he explains. Luckily, according to Geliebter, it is possible to reverse this process. Consistently trimming your portion sizes for a week or two will help your stomach shrink back down to its original size, which means you’ll once again feel fuller on less food.

Why am I hungry a few hours after I eat Chinese food?
Are you really, or are you just susceptible to the old saying? When Chinese meals were mostly rice with a little meat, this claim made sense: White rice is digested quickly, making blood sugar peak and fall fast. “But these days, most Chinese food is loaded with meat and oil and often a lot of calories-hunger tamers all,” notes Dr. La Puma. What helps: Choose dishes with high-fiber vegetables (broccoli, bok choy) and lean protein (shrimp or chicken). Chinese noodles and fried dishes are low in fiber and will make the old saying ring true.

1 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup lowfat
milk and a sliced banana
8 oz calcium-fortified orange juice

Mid-morning snack
Pear or apple with 1/4 cup nuts or
1 oz reduced-fat cheese

Chef’s salad with lowfat tuna salad or 3 oz lean roast beef
2 whole-grain breadsticks a

Midafternoon snack
Small whole-wheat pita spread with 1/2 tbsp peanut butter

Asian stir-fry made with 4 oz chicken or shrimp and 2 cups fresh vegetables such as spinach or broccoli with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Dessert of 1/2 cup frozen yogurt mixed with 1 cup fresh berries

Nutritional analysis:
1,815 calories, 59 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 227 g carbo- hydrates, 94 g protein, 35 g fiber

Beware these 4 unsatisfying eats

Pretzels may be lowfat, but swap them for air-popped popcorn or the lowfat microwave type. For the same calories you can munch on lots more of the filling fluffed-up kernels.

Pasta Alfredo sounds satisfying, but whole-wheat pasta primavera is better-it’s higher in hunger-walloping fiber.

Sugary beverages slip down, adding calories without triggering fullness alerts. Choose lowfat milk, which has nutrients (protein and carbs) that take the edge off hunger.

Ice cream is rich but low in complex carbs. Try whipping up a hunger-slaking shake with fiber-rich fruit and yogurt.

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