I have been exercising more lately. Surely my workouts have earned me the ability to eat some extra calories, right?
Answer courtesy of Kerry Cameron, R.D., L.D.N., Sodexo Campus Services—Merrimack College
The number of calories you should eat each day depends on a number of factors, including your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. Your personal health goals are also important to consider, because the number of calories you should consume each day is different depending on whether you’re looking to lose, gain, or maintain your current weight.
Tools like My Fitness Pal and Fitbit can help take the guesswork out of figuring out your daily calorie needs, and this can help you reach your goals. When you log your food consumption and activity into the My Fitness Pal website or app, it calculates the number of calories you are consuming and the number of calories you are burning. This can help you determine whether or not you’ve “earned” those extra calories.
Fitbit is a wonderful gadget you can use to track your activity level throughout the day. This simple wristband can be used alone to measure how much you’re moving each day, or you can sync it up with My Fitness Pal to automatically record your daily activity.
If you are consuming your calorie target but still feel hungry, try eating more foods that are rich in protein and fiber. Both of these nutrients help fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. And remember, exercising does not give you a free pass to eat whatever you want. Instead of rewarding your healthy behavior with sweets or other indulgences, fuel your body with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.