Maybe You Should Wait
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. To a certain extent, meal and exercise timing is a personal preference. It also depends on key factors, including:
- What you eat: Certain foods –– including those high in fat, protein, and fiber –– take longer to digest. So what you eat can help determine how long you should wait to start exercising.
- How much you eat: Meal size will also affect your wait time before a workout. The more you eat, the longer it takes to digest. So you might have to wait longer to start your training if you eat a full meal instead of a snack.
- Exercise type: When you exercise, more blood flows to your working muscles to support movement. This shift reduces blood flow to your gut, which may disrupt the digestive process. And research indicates that high-intensity exercise may be more likely to cause gastrointestinal problems such as runner’s stomach.
- Individual physiology: Everyone’s digestive system is different. Age, gender, pre-existing health conditions, and other factors can influence how quickly your body digests food and how sensitive it is to activity during the digestive process.
One study found that women digest food more slowly than men. And, as you age, your digestion slows, which might mean you need to wait longer. Additionally, if you have a gastrointestinal disorder, like irritable bowel syndrome, you may digest foods faster or slower than others. There are so many variables because digestion is a complex process. It involves breaking down macronutrients — carbs, fats, and proteins — into smaller parts. Your body absorbs those small parts and uses them for energy, growth, and cell repair.
Get your stomach and brain in sync by listening closely to your body
“It’s recognizing that when we feel hungry, particularly after we’ve been eating to capacity for a period of time, that our hunger signals might not be calibrated in the [usual] way,” Dr Fiona Willer says. To put this into practice, she says you need to envision what an “enjoyable” day of eating would look like for you, including nutritional foods that make you feel energized, and eat like this for a few days.
Dr Willer says it’s important to include “core foods”, which are essentially less-processed food items that are high in nutrients. These include meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy. “The body needs the core foods to function properly … and if you’re eating a lot of non-core foods, you don’t have room in your day for [nutritional meals],” she says.
Simply eating slower and chewing more often may help you eat less
The pace at which you eat influences how much you eat, as well as how likely you are to gain weight. In fact, studies comparing different eating speeds show that fast eaters are much more likely to eat more and have a higher body mass index (BMI) than slow eaters.
Your appetite, how much you eat, and how full you get are all controlled by hormones. Hormones signal to your brain whether you’re hungry or full. However, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive these messages. That’s why eating more slowly may give your brain the time it needs to perceive that you’re full. Studies have confirmed this, showing that eating slowly may reduce the number of calories you consume at meals and help you lose weight (4Trusted Source). Eating slowly is also linked to more thorough chewing, which has also been linked to improved weight control.
Taste food before you salt it
Break the autopilot habit of reaching for the salt shaker to help you eat healthy.
How: For two days, don’t put any salt on your food at all. A short break can help reset your taste buds. Then, leave the salt shaker in the cabinet, so it becomes a bit of an effort to reach for it. Make a ritual out of truly tasting your food before you decide if it needs tweaking.
Intuitive Eating Principle #3
Make peace with food. Call a truce in the war with food. Get rid of ideas about what you should or shouldn’t eat.Source