Soccer players commonly tell me “I’m hungry all the time.” They just don’t understand why they are hungry all the time, even after having eaten meals. Is this a personality quirk? Are their bodies different from everyone else’s?
The answer is plain and simple. Hunger is a request for fuel. If we did not get hungry, we would waste away to nothing. These athletes feel hungry all the time because their bodies ARE hungry. Soccer burns a LOT of calories and sometimes players fail to make the time to eat enough, or they are weight-conscious and are afraid to eat more. In either event, hungry soccer players have not eaten enough food to accommodate their needs.
To live hungry is abusive … would you withhold food from a crying, hungry baby? No. That would be called child abuse. Please, do not abuse your body by withholding food from yourself and living hungry all day.
“But if I eat more, I’ll get fat…” is the common fearful response to my suggestion to enjoy double portions at breakfast and lunch. These hungry athletes fail to understand they are more likely to “get fat” from skimping at breakfast and lunch, because they will later undoubtedly succumb to too much dinner or evening snacking. Excess evening calories are indeed fattening.
You will be better able to manage your weight if you fuel adequately by day, and feel fed and satiated. You can then lose weight, if desired, at the end of the day by chipping off 100 to 300 calories from dinner and evening snacks.
Eat wisely and feel great,
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD
For more information on how to lose weight and maintain energy to exercise, enjoy Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros.
For personalized advice, consult with a sports dietitian. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org and can help you find a local expert.