We all need food to survive and live comfortably. How much you eat could depend on so many things from your wellness, past trauma, how busy or bored you are, where you live, and what you can afford. Oh, and what time of year it is! *ahem* THE HOLIDAYS… You need to find out what works best for you, because everybody is completely different; and what you need will differ day to day.
My basal metabolic rate is around 1600 calories per day, which means that without even batting an eyelash (before any of my yoga classes, hikes or weight sessions) my body burns that many calories. How many calories you will burn daily (your BMR) depends on gender, age, weight or body fat composition and internal and external temperatures.
Here are some things I keep in mind that really make a difference in how much I need to eat on a daily basis:
1) Long days or short days. Whether you’re traveling time zones, or up literally at the crack of dawn, will make have a huge impact on my food intake. If I’m up longer than 12 hours I need extra energy (think eating every 3-4 hours).
2) Exercise: I need to fuel myself accordingly. On the days I work out a little harder I will definitely be hungrier, this does not however, mean that I’m reckless in terms of what I’m putting in my mouth.
3) At home or on the go: At home it is easy to snack, because we have free range of the kitchen. My pantry is stocked accordingly. I only keep stuff I’m cool with eating like rice cakes, dried fruits and some nuts. All the high sugary, salty, diet foods, or whatever else you find in the middle isles of the grocery store don’t have a place in my home. When I’m on the go and busy running from client to meeting, I bring only what I need.
4) Alcohol: Once in a while I will have a couple glasses with a nice dinner. If I drink too much before my food arrives I might feel my hunger bug kicking a bit, and sometimes if I’ve overdone it- the next day can be ugly. If you are trying to manage your weight carefully, avoid the sauce, because it brings on uncontrollable hunger (which is exhausting to battle with). That after-bar junk food isn’t going to help you either.
5) Vacations: If it’s up to you, try to vacate to places that include healthy food options, and either a gym or a place to workout. Plan active vacations with a purpose like snowboarding, or go to places that have fun things to do when you get there. Spending time eating and drinking is not my idea of a vacation. I don’t like to come home feeling like I need to “get back” into my routine.
6) Work related travels: Being on someone else’s schedule, and perhaps a different time zone means I might be a little more tired and less energized than usual. Hunger is often confused with exhaustion. Stay motivated to exercise in these circumstances, because when you do get some exercise, you’ll feel much better and won’t be prone to eating so much extra. Poor food choices are offered everywhere along your travels, from the airport to when you arrive. Pack your own healthy options!
7) Stress: My life isn’t all that stressful these days, but I know I’ve been through my fair share. Stress affects us in more ways than we know and eating too much or not eating enough is common. I’ve become in tune enough with my body to know that when things come up, I need to keep stress levels at bay with my yoga practice. I take the time to hit the mat for instant relief, however I also apply the same principals learned on the mat to the rest of my life.
Whatever the case, be good to your body – Don’t abuse it by overstuffing it, or starving it. Your body is a temple! Fuel it with nutrient dense food, so you will have the energy to take over the world!
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