I Monitored My Food Intake and Macros
Intense hour-long CrossFit workouts made me incredibly hungry, but I figured since I was working out, I could eat a little extra. I found myself reaching for big handfuls of almonds throughout the day, bananas with peanut butter, and extra servings of dinner. Even though I was eating healthy foods, ACE-certfied trainer and weight-loss health coach Rachel MacPherson agreed — I was just eating too much.
Registered dietitian Jennifer Hanes, MS, RDN added, "Intense exercise increases the appetite, sometimes to the point that you eat more calories than you burned." She said that some people experience appetite suppression when they exercise, but that generally happens after intense cardio sessions, not strength training, like I was doing.
"I cannot stress enough how easy it is to out-eat a workout. This is one reason that people gain weight when starting a new workout regimen," Jennifer said. Rachel explained, "Calories matter, and if you are taking in more than you burn, then you will gain or stay the same weight despite your exercise. Luckily, you will still gain muscle mass, which does help you lose fat over time."
As a vegan, I was also eating a carb-heavy diet. So I focused on decreasing my carbs a little and focused on getting at least 70 to 90 grams of protein a day. I also included more healthy fats (yeah, an avocado every day!) and that helped me feel more satiated, so I didn't need to eat as much.