If you have ever skipped a meal (or snack), you've probably noticed extreme hunger later in the day with a good chance of overeating late into the evening hours. Overeating (and undereating) contributes to low energy and low motivation - neither of which make it easy to reach performance, health or body composition goals.
As it relates to training, anytime you overeat, there's a chance that you will feel uncomfortable and tired - you may even feel guilt or shame. None of the mental and physical effects of overeating will help you perform well in your upcoming workouts, especially if you don't do what you know you should do as it relates to pre and during fueling and adhering to your workout prescription. As an example, skipping meals during the day can lead to low energy before your evening workout, possibly forcing you to skip the workout due to low motivation or trying to perform the workout with no energy in the tank. Eating too much late at night before a long morning workout the next day may cause you to intentionally underfuel (or not eat) before and during the workout because you feel "too full" or you think that not eating will help you burn off the calories you consumed the night before. You may even find yourself working out a bit harder than planned which can lead into poor recovery from an underfueled body trying to work out intensely or for a long duration. Furthermore, overeating contributes to lethargy, sleep disturbances and disrupts a healthy eating regime which can all affect your consistency with training. It's very difficult to meet your energy needs and perform well in workouts when meals or snacks are skipped or overeating takes place at some point in the day.
Yesterday, I came across a great article about overeating and gave a lot of great tips and suggestions on how to prevent and manage overeating. Although it's not geared toward athletes, I find it effective enough to shine light on a topic that affects many athletes: Here's the full article if you are interested in reading it. To summarize the article:
How to deal if you overeat
- Don't fast or skip your next meal.
Do make your next meal healthy and satisfying.
- Don't exercise really hard to "make up for it."
Do take a walk.
- Don't try to "detox".
Do drink a reasonable amount of water.
- Don't say "screw it!"
Do think about your next meal.
How to prevent overeating
- Don't label foods as good vs. bad.
Do remember that there's room for indulgences in a healthy diet.
- Don't undereat during the day.
Do spread your food intake out.
- Don't suffer in silence if you are struggling.
Do understand your triggers.