Free Expert Tips To Train For A Marathon Need advice to run a marathon? Or maybe you want to complete your 42km in a faster time? Check out these free expert tips and nutritional advice to assist your training.
Breakfast was two strawberry-filled doughnuts. I needed something quick, so I downed the pastries in my car on the way to work. Feeling full and high on sugar, I tackled my inbox with gusto. But by 10am, my gut was grumbling again – and lunch was hours away.
It was nothing like the previous morning, when I made an egg and cheese sandwich on wholewheat toast. Even though that had about 200 fewer calories than my doughnut binge, it kept me full till 1pm. Both breakfasts were satisfying – at the time.
What was the difference? The answer, fellow hungry men, lies in your brain’s dual perceptions of fullness. “Satiation” is the feeling of fullness at the end of a meal. “Satiety”, on the other hand, is a measure of how long it takes before you’re hungry again. Of course, food companies don’t want you to stay satisfied.
Fifteen years ago, Susanna Holt, PhD, an Australian researcher who ranked foods according to their satiety power, approached a number of food companies for funding to continue her work. She’s still waiting: The companies were motivated to decrease the
satiety of their foods – so people would buy more.
Take control. Master satiation and you can keep portion sizes in check. Boost satiety and you can prevent needless snacking. Read on and you’ll be able to fill your gut – and then lose it.
1. Know What (and When) To Drink
Think of your stomach as a balloon. As you eat, it stretches. And once it expands to its maximum capacity, the sensors throughout your digestive system tell your brain’s amygdala that it’s time to stop chowing down – regardless of what you’ve filled your belly with. As nutrition advisor Alan Aragon tells it: “Eating half a roll of toilet paper would make you feel full.”
To stretch your stomach without stuffing it with calories (or paper products), you need water. Aragon recommends drinking a glass 30 minutes before a meal and sipping frequently while eating. Water-rich foods – soups, salad, fruits, and vegetables – will also fill your belly without contributing excessive calories.
2. Fill Up With Fibre
Fibre draws water from your body and the food you’ve eaten, and transports it to your intestinal tract, helping to deliver that meal-ending satiation, according to a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Washington. Fibre may boost satiety, too. Since it passes through the body undigested, fibre slows the absorption of nutrients and makes you feel fuller longer, according to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota in the US.
A 2009 study in the Journal Of The American Dietetic Association found that adding 6g of soluble fibre (such as ground flaxseed) to yogurt provided the satiating power of an additional 260 calories. To reap the satiating benefits of fibre, aim for 25g to 35g daily. Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand – like in those doughnuts – are satiety killers. When participants in a 2008 British study drank a high-carb beverage for breakfast, they reported feeling hungrier at lunch than when they drank a beverage high in protein. Here’s why: Too much sugar brings on a rapid spike in insulin, which causes a sugar crash later and triggers a craving for more food.
3. Pack In The Protein
Protein, your muscle-growing fuel, also has the power to raise levels of peptides – synthesised amino acids – in your stomach. “These peptides initiate crosstalk with the brain on a molecular level to send out satiety signals,” says Aragon. He recommends aiming for 20g to 40g of protein at each meal.
4. Savour The Flavours
Your belly is rumbling, and a waiter sets a juicy burger in front of you. Resist the urge to unhinge your jaws and swallow it whole. Thoroughly chewing your food increases what researchers call “oro-sensory factors”, which send satiation signals to your brain, helping you feel full on less food, according to a 2009 study by Dutch researchers.
Study participants who chewed each bite for an extra three seconds ended up consuming less. And skip those meal-replacement shakes and calorie-clogged smoothies from the juice joint.
5. Trick Your Belly Full
You can’t trust your gut. Maybe you’ve heard about the Cornell University study with the trick bowls: People who ate soup from bowls that continuously refilled ate 73 per cent more than those who ate from ordinary bowls. The kicker: They rated themselves as feeling no more full. Scientists call this use of sensory cues to assess fullness “learned satiation”.
Try this: Dole out a portion of food onto a smaller plate and immediately place the rest in the refrigerator. Once you eat, the visual cue of a clean plate will signal that you’ve had enough – and the leftovers will stay out of sight and out of mind in the fridge.
6. Avoid Distraction At Dinner
What you’re doing while you eat might be as important as what you’re eating. You’re likely to consume much more food and eat for longer periods of time when you’re distracted by television, music or a computer, according to a 2009 review of studies published in Trends In Food Science And Technology.
Eating while distracted interrupts brain-to-stomach satiation signals, making it harder to monitor your food intake. Also, distraction raises the risk of overeating the wrong types of foods (think popcorn at the movies). The takeaway from all this is simple: When you eat, actually eat. Grab a seat. Focus on your meal. Don’t check your e-mail or watch television. Pay attention to your first plate of food and you might find that you don’t need to go back for seconds.
7. Downsize Your Snacks
As long as you’re eating satiety-inducing nutrients at every meal, you’ll reduce your urge for food between meals, says Aragon. But if your gut’s growling and your next meal is far away, a snack can help prevent you from bulldozing though dinner.
Grab food that’s high in protein or fibre, like beef jerky, nuts or cottage cheese, and keep your consumption under 200 calories, says Aragon. That way, you’ll keep gut-gurgling at bay without packing in a mini-meal. Whatever you do, skip the processed snacks that prime your gut for more, more, more. It’s how a doughnut leads to a growling stomach before lunch. And it’s how you can eat all day and never feel full.