Conscious Consuming Advantages For Athletes


by Megan Meyer, PhD, IFIC

Coaching and racing have all the time been an enormous a part of my life. After greater than 20 years of coaching for extra races than I can depend, I feel I’ve finessed my race day execution – and, extra importantly, the pre-race preparation.

My love of racing started when, in my teenagers and twenties, I used to be a aggressive swimmer. After school, I made a decision to modify issues up and take a look at operating, which led me to enroll in my first half marathon. Naturally, quickly after, I mixed my operating and swimming expertise to turn out to be a triathlon junkie.

Someplace between my evolution from triathlete to full marathon runner, I spotted one thing. Not solely had been the issues I used to be consuming throughout race season affecting my race day efficiency, however they had been additionally fueling a year-round meals obsession and never a wholesome one.

After listening to about aware consuming, a follow that embodies many intuitive consuming ideas, like consuming while you’re hungry and never observing meals restrictions, I made a decision to strive it. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I observed my vitality ranges enhance and my power improve. Extra importantly, my thoughts was free from counting macros and daydreaming about meals.

When you’re in search of a approach out of the restrictive consuming habits that always accompany aggressive sports activities, you are in the correct place. On this article, we’ll discover aware consuming in additional element, together with the advantages of aware consuming and how one can get began.


Whereas the idea of aware consuming might be troublesome to know, in follow, it is comparatively straightforward. Mindfulness is, fairly merely, the follow of repeatedly drawing your consideration to the current second, versus operating by way of life on autopilot.

Working towards mindfulness can embody extra than simply your consuming habits. However aware consuming for me seems to be like consuming after I really feel hungry, deliberately chewing my meals, and permitting myself to eat meals I take pleasure in as an alternative of aiming for a perpetual calorie deficit.


Along with the physiological well being advantages of aware consuming – like improved HDL ldl cholesterol and decrease BMI, practising aware consuming has been proven to affect psychological well-being positively.

The diets and different restrictive consuming practices that athletes generally use to enhance their bodily look and efficiency can result in obsessive ideas about meals.

I can not inform you what number of occasions I’ve met up with different athletes, and all we do is discuss in regards to the meals we are going to eat as soon as we full our exercise. Meals is the principle subject of our conversations 99.99% of the time.

Conscious consuming may also help reasonable meals obsession and the unfavourable impacts it will possibly have in your psyche. A number of research present the effectiveness of aware consuming in enhancing depressive signs, low vanity, physique dissatisfaction, and disordered consuming.(1)(2)


In an effort to reduce weight, many individuals flip to restrictive weight-reduction plan practices like limiting energy or operating on an empty abdomen. Whereas these strategies would possibly work for some, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for weight reduction, and in some instances, they do extra hurt than good.

Since aware eaters are inspired to not monitor energy, eat each time they’re hungry, and deal with themselves to ‘unhealthy’ meals like pizza, you’d assume they’d achieve weight. However research are proving this faculty of considered unfaithful.

Analysis exhibits that athletes who observe aware or intuitive consuming ideas like consuming when hungry and never adhering to meals restrictions have decrease BMIs than those that follow restrictive weight-reduction plan. Better of all, these weight-related aware consuming advantages include the addition of improved psychological well being. (3)


Realizing what an instance of aware consuming is might be important if you wish to begin adopting these ideas in your personal life. On this subsequent part, you will discover some easy steps you’ll be able to take to eat extra mindfully.


Once I’m targeted on coaching, I discover myself lacking meals or skipping snacks. Though I really feel hungry, I ignore necessary inner cues, which results in extra binge consuming afterward within the day. My physique desperately seeks energy and vitamins to replenish itself after my exercise.

A change so simple as consuming after I’m hungry has helped me handle my binge consuming behavior, with research supporting the efficacy of aware consuming in treating binge consuming dysfunction. (4)


After a coaching session, I usually discover myself speeding to work with meals in my hand or consuming a fast snack standing in my kitchen. Different occasions, I crash laborious on the sofa and watch TV whereas I devour no matter meals is close by. Each of those habits lead me to eat mindlessly, with out recognizing the meals – and the way a lot of them – I am placing in my physique.

When you’ve adopted an identical consuming sample, getting intentional about the place you eat is a straightforward technique to develop a extra acutely aware consuming type. Get within the behavior of portioning your meals on a bowl or plate and sit down at your eating room desk to eat.


It may possibly take the mind as much as 20 minutes to obtain the sign that the abdomen is full. Consuming too rapidly or beginning with too giant a portion are two methods you set your self as much as overeat.

As an alternative, begin with a smaller portion dimension than you’d normally take, possibly 60% of your common serving. After consuming this primary portion, you are able to do a aware consuming meditation or just take a couple of minutes to permit your mind to meet up with your stomach.

After listening to your physique, you will higher know whether or not you want the remaining 40% of your serving. You will possible be stunned by how usually you do not!


Earlier than turning into a aware eater, I used the time I took to eat as a chance to look at TV or compensate for emails. This disconnection from meals is without doubt one of the principal causes of overeating, as we now not take note of our fullness ranges.

Slowing down and utilizing my senses when consuming helped me turn out to be a extra aware eater. I used listening to the scent, texture, temperature, and style of my meals as a technique to be extra current whereas I ate. This stage of presence allowed me to be extra in tune with my physique and helped me handle my binge consuming behavior.


When you concentrate on digestion, you may think the method that goes on in your stomach after you eat. However chewing your meals is an underrated however important a part of the digestion course of.

For a very long time, particularly after I was beneath a time constraint or consuming whereas standing, I wasn’t chewing my meals completely. Little did I do know that chewing your meals extra completely can enhance nutrient absorption and reduce starvation between meals, making it simpler to really feel fuller for longer after consuming. (5)

Some consultants advocate chewing your meals 32 occasions, whereas others counsel aiming to your meals to realize an oatmeal-like consistency earlier than swallowing. Adopting one among these strategies, or creating your personal, is an effective way to impact large change with out a lot effort.


Whenever you come from a background of monitoring macros and energy out and in, it may be straightforward to fall into disordered consuming habits. Most typical is feeling like you need to earn your meals by way of bodily exercise.

One of many largest shifts I observed by way of practising aware consuming was now not feeling the necessity to use train as a punishment for the meals I might eaten. I started treating meals as a type of self-care, and after I did that, it was straightforward for my bodily exercise to observe.


In case your obsession with meals is getting uncontrolled, undertake aware or intuitive consuming practices may also help. Not solely are they helpful in enhancing your efficiency on race day, however they make on a regular basis life in between races extra satisfying.

On this article, I shared with you my favourite aware consuming practices, like eliminating distractions and consuming after I really feel hungry. However they do not cease there! With loads of books and different on-line sources, you will discover all the data you might want to begin your personal aware consuming journey.

Creating a brand new relationship with meals utilizing these guiding ideas would possibly take a while, and it is necessary to recollect there is not any rush. However bringing pleasure again into consuming as the top purpose is a good goal.

About Megan:

Megan Meyer, PhD is the Program Supervisor of Well being and Wellness Communications on the Worldwide Meals Data Council (IFIC). At IFIC, she is dedicated to speaking science-based data to the media, well being professionals, outdoors organizations, and shoppers on matters associated to vitamin and well being.



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