The two months of no running is officially over as I have my repeat cardiac MRI today. I am looking forward to getting back to running, but I’ll be honest, except for the first two weeks, I enjoyed my time off. The awful winter weather may have played a role in this. There are two interesting things related to hunger and weight that I noticed during this time period. Read on to find out more.
I was surprised at my increase in hunger during this time. I knew that my calorie requirements were lower given my drastic reduction in exercise, so I anticipated that I would feel less hungry. However, I found the opposite to be true, especially in the morning. This likely has to do with the hormonal changes that occur with exercise as I outlined in last week’s blog (click here for more info). As I was no longer running in the morning, I no longer had the suppressed appetite that occurs with exercise. I did notice that I wasn’t as hungry later on in the day, compared to often feeling famished in afternoons and evenings when I was exercising.
I don’t count calories, so I’m not really sure how much my calorie intake changed during these two month. My gut response is that my calorie intake didn’t decrease significantly as I didn’t find that my day to day eating habits really changed. However, my weight, much to my surprise, stayed the same. Here is my best rationalization for this:
-Increase in non-planned physical activity: This means increased movement during the day. Many athletes unconsciously become more sedentary outside of training, such as driving instead of walking, finding the closest parking spot, laying on the couch after training etc. I think that I was less sedentary during these two months. I had a hard time just laying on the couch or relaxing, which I did thoroughly enjoy during training. Perhaps, with the increased non-planned physical activity during the day, my calorie requirements did not change substantially.
-Metabolic efficiency: With chronic inadequate calorie intake, energy requirements may decrease because of a decrease in metabolism. This results in a stable weight despite inadequate calorie intake. Perhaps, I was under fuelling while training resulting in metabolic efficiency. Consequently, if my calorie needs were being more adequately met, my metabolism would increase. Again, this is just speculation as I don’t calorie count.
While I was originally not happy about this forced running break, retrospectively, I’m not extremely grateful for it, regardless of the cardiac MRI outcomes. It’s reinforced the importance of having balance in all areas of life and not being dependent on exercise. I’m looking forward to experiencing the runner’s high again, but I have no intention of running to the same extent that I did before.
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