Here’s something I never thought I would say: I’m not hungry.
I’ve always been a good eater. I have a bit of a reputation with my friends, family, and co-workers for being a bottomless pit. I eat three meals, two snacks, and a dessert like clockwork everyday. And when I skip a snack or one of my meals is pushed back? You better watch out – you’re guaranteed to have a hangry Meghann on your hands.
During Ironman training it got worse. I was HUNGRY. all. the. time. I was eating anything and everything, and would still be hungry again five minutes later. It was insane the amount of food I ate. The never-ending hunger eventually grew on me and I just got used to eating all the time.
After I crossed the finish line at Ironman Florida, I cut way back on training. I went from working out sixteen hours a week, to three. I was so used to always being hungry – and eating as much as I wanted – that I thought going back to my semi-regular eating habits would be tough. If I was no longer training for an Ironman, would I still feel the need to eat like I was training for one? I’d heard stories of other Ironmen who couldn’t break the habit and I was pretty much prepared to be in the same boat (especially considering my love for food).
I decided a long time ago that I would listen to my body when it comes to food. I hate feeling hungry or deprived, so ignoring that hungry feeling was never an option. It’s more about snacking smart and trusting my body knows what it needs.
For the first couple of weeks after the Ironman, my hunger levels stayed pretty high. Eventually that began to change. I was still piling my plate high with food, just as I would during training, but I realized I didn’t feel the need to finish the plates as I had before. So my portions went down and eventually my need for additional snacks subsided as well. I wasn’t constantly thinking about my next meal or the stash of emergency snacks in my desk.
Our bodies are fascinating machines. They know exactly what they need to subside and they’re pretty good at letting us know it as long as we listen. During Ironman training my body went into overdrive. It needed more fuel, so I listened. Granted, I didn’t go overboard – I may have gone back for an another serving of chili, but I didn’t eat the whole tray of cornbread – there’s still something to be said for healthy moderation. When I stopped training my body needed time to adjust, but eventually it realized it didn’t need the extra fuel anymore. My hunger dropped back and second servings didn’t seem desirable anymore.
So there you have it. I’m back to normal. Well… my version of normal.
Do you see differences in your hunger while training and not training?