Starving at Night

Question: I am successfully working toward my goal racing weight (I’m a cyclist), but I find that I am starving before bed.  It sometimes makes it hard to sleep and leaves me feeling nauseous.  Any suggestions that will help without derailing my fat loss progress?

Kelli’s Answer:

This is a common issue for any athlete who’s training hard and trying to lose fat.  It’s very easy to give in, overeat, and sabotage everything you’re working toward.  Although you may not be able to completely eliminate hunger as you lose weight, you can certainly reduce it. Here’s how:

1) Recover well after your workouts.  Don’t skimp on training nutrition and recovery.  Following a hard workout, I recommend that most athlete eat ~30 grams carbs, 20 grams protein, and healthy fats from 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil.  Try this recovery smoothie to get in needed nutrients.

2) Keep recovering with a “light” dinner.  Emphasize healthy protein sources and lots of vegetables.  While you don’t need as much carbs at this time of day, your body can continue to use the protein well.  Something like a full-plate salad with salmon is a great dinner.  The extra vegetables will also help you add volume (keeps you full) without too many calories.  Remember, since you’ve recovered well, you don’t “owe it to yourself” to overeat at meals (unless the training was epic!).

3) Instead of a regular dessert, end the day with a protein-shake @ ~150 calories and 20 grams protein.  This further aids in recovery by promoting muscle retention.  For a chocolate-covered-cherry shake try: 1 scoop chocolate whey or other protein such as soy or whey+casein, 3/4 cup frozen cherries, ice/water as needed for the right consistency.  The volume of this “dessert” will go a long way to keep you feeling good, and not “hollow,” through the night.

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Starry/100000742238449 Tim Starry

    perhaps we also need to ask the question why you have a “goal” racing weight…

    • Kelli, RD

      Hi Tim,
      Thanks for your comment.  With this particular question, you’re right, a full assessment of health/nutrition/cycling goals and eating habits would be a great idea – and something I would do with any client.  Usually, I provide guidance with weight goals as it is sometimes just not healthy or necessary to drop weight.  And, I find that many times, going too low doesn’t really provide a strength:weight benefit as overall health, strength, power, stamina, and even quality of life can decrease.  Risk of over-training and fatigue can increase.  On the other hand, many high level competitive clients and pro clients simply benefit from getting to a light weight as long as they stay healthy and strong.  And, lastly, I think all weight goals should be “moving targets” and adjusted as necessary.  Thanks again!  Kelli, RD

    • Kelli, RD

      Hi Tim,
      Thanks for your comment.  With this particular question, you’re right, a full assessment of health/nutrition/cycling goals and eating habits would be a great idea – and something I would do with any client.  Usually, I provide guidance with weight goals as it is sometimes just not healthy or necessary to drop weight.  And, I find that many times, going too low doesn’t really provide a strength:weight benefit as overall health, strength, power, stamina, and even quality of life can decrease.  Risk of over-training and fatigue can increase.  On the other hand, many high level competitive clients and pro clients simply benefit from getting to a light weight as long as they stay healthy and strong.  And, lastly, I think all weight goals should be “moving targets” and adjusted as necessary.  Thanks again!  Kelli, RD