There is an important relationship between body weight, body composition and running performance. Runners perform best when they are light and lean. While runners tend to be lighter and leaner than non-runners, most runners are at least a few pounds above their optimal racing weight.
Runners struggle to achieve their optimal racing weight for the same reason non-runners struggle to achieve a healthy weight: their appetite is being subverted and sabotaged by our modern "food environment." The human appetite was not designed to deal with the super-calorie-dense foods we live on today, nor the incredible abundance of cheap food that is both a blessing and a curse of our time.
To reach your optimal racing weight, you must practice effective means of combating these appetite-subverting factors of the modern food environment. Here are four appetite management methods that will enable you to prevent a rumbling stomach from sabotaging your efforts to reach and maintain your optimal racing weight.
Eat a Big Breakfast
Research shows that individuals who eat the most calories before noon actually eat the fewest total calories over the course of the day. It seems that eating a hearty breakfast reduces appetite in the afternoon and evening. In a recent Brazilian study, obese women who ate a large, 610-calorie breakfast every morning lost 21 percent of their body weight over an eight-month period, while obese women on a low-carb small breakfast diet lost only 4.5 percent of their body weight. The women on the big breakfast diet reported less hunger and fewer cravings throughout the day.
As a general rule, try to consume eat least 25 percent of your total calories for the day within an hour of waking up.
Naturally, the longer you go without eating, the hungrier you become. Eating frequently throughout the day is an effective way to prevent your hunger from becoming extreme. Of course, while eating frequently will certainly control your appetite, it will not help you manage your body weight if you end up eating more. However, scientific evidence suggests that people naturally tend to eat less when they eat often.
For example, in a 1999 study by South African researchers, a group of obese men were given 33 percent of their normal daily caloric intake on two occasions: once as a single meal and once as six small snacks eaten at hourly intervals. Five and a half hours after the initial feeding, the men were then allowed to sit down and eat as much as they chose. They consumed 27 percent fewer calories in that meal, on average, after having eaten the six small snacks.