You just did a 30 minute spin class and you are sweaty. You have a serious case of the munchies. What will it be?
The banana you bunged in your gym bag is starting to smell as bad as you, and now looks a little bit worse for wear.
That big slice of chocolate fudge cake is giving you so much pleasure in the gym cafe?
It is all about the cake. Right?
You might think twice about making that choice in the future if you look at these statistics.
Wait for it, a 450g chocolate fudge cake from the supermarket.
I know you are not going to go down the whole cake. Divide that into the recommended serving of 6 slices and you have the same amount of calories.
The banana comes out at 89 calories, so you could save yourself 200 calories by having a word with yourself.
There is more...
If we looked at how long it would take to work those calories off, what would we do?
To burn off the calories in that slice of chocolate fudge cake. 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is required to do the rich sugar laden double chocolate frosting.
Let's think about it for a second, the 30 minute spin class has all been for nothing. 30 minutes of pure torture was destroyed.
Why do we do that?
There are many different reasons, but perhaps one of the most common is.
I’m guilty of it myself and I’m sure many of you out there are also guilty of it too, but using food as a reward is simply not healthy and it is a habit that needs to stop if you are serious about leading a healthy lifestyle.
There are two different types of ‘rewarders’ and if you’re really unlucky you might even find you’re a little bit of both:
The Promiser – To motivate yourself to do exercise in the first place, you feel you need to promise yourself a treat at the end. For example, ‘If I go for a run I’ll be allowed some choccy biscuits with my morning cuppa’.
The Deserver – You’re pretty good at getting out there and doing the exercise, but afterwards you are overcome with the feeling that you’ve earnt a treat and that you deserve to eat something a little bit naughty because, well, you’ve just burnt a load of calories off, haven’t you!?
So, what can you do to snap yourself out of this reward mentality?
Top Tips to Break the Reward Habit
It is important to stop viewing food as a reward. The simple answer is that it is fuel. The better the fuel, the better food is for the body. Think about what your body needs to eat in order to be the best it can be.
It’s certainly not that slice of chocolate fudge cake is it?
Quality not Quantity
Don’t feel as though you’re settling for second best by only having an apple as a snack. If you’re having an apple, make it the very best apple you can buy – I personally LOVE a Pink Lady! Or why not mix it up a bit and have some berries instead of an apple; berries somehow feel more exotic than an apple and may feel more mentally satisfying. No matter how hungry you feel post-workout, just remember that you don’t need to eat lots, you just need to eat well!
When you think you are hungry, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Our brains confuse the early signs of dehydration with feelings of hunger, meaning we all often sigh when we don't actually need to.
If you feel hungry after exercising, try drinking lots of water and waiting 20 minutes before asking yourself if you're hungry. If you still feel hungry, then grab something healthy to eat from your gym bag.
Don't skip meals.
Some people believe that if they skip meals and exercise on an empty stomach, they will burn more calories and lose weight.
Stop trying to figure it out.
When you exercise, focus on how you feel. Did you have fun? Was it a challenge? Do you feel better? Were you quicker? How do you feel after?
You should switch your routine.
One way to break a bad habit is to play around with the structure of your daily routine.
Before you work out, make sure you eat something that will give you enough time to digest it. It shouldn't be too big, a banana is good, but you need to make sure you have enough fuel inside you to power through your workout and this should help to reign in some of those hunger pangs afterwards as well!
What should I eat?
Some foods are better than others when it comes to deciding what to eat after a workout. For a more detailed look at these foods have a read of our article, "The Best Pre and Post Workout Snacks".
It's great for repairing and growing muscles. Chicken and fish are ideal.
Who doesn't love an avo?
We love the best nuts.
If you're a peanut butter fan, then hands up.
Oats are great at restoring energy. Why not make a bunch of flapjacks? If you think you have the best recipe ever, then please share it with us in our #FlapjackFriday feature on our recipe page. Email your recipe and photo to [email protected] We will share it on our site.
Energy balls. They are not called that for nothing.
Both are Hummus and Oatcakes.
The Advent calendar has chocolate. There is a small dark chocolate disc behind the doors of this calendar from MyProtein. It is the perfect size for a pick me up after a workout and will keep you going until your next meal.
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