When it comes to our diet and what we consume, as runners we usually centre our food intake around our runs. We think about what we should eat before we go for a run and what we should eat after a run. We also usually adapt our diet to how much and how far we run. However at some stage, most runners take a break from running due to pregnancy, illness, injury or some other reason. With this break in running, comes a decreased expenditure of energy. We need to make sure the energy we consume equals the energy we expend to avoid gaining weight. Here are my tips to help you avoid gaining weight when taking a break from running.

Eat a balanced diet.
When we are running on a regular basis we sometimes get into a routine with our diet and food, just like we do with our runs. We may tend to eat the same foods. A change in routine (in terms of exercise and energy in, versus energy burnt) is a good time to reassess our diets and introduce foods that may be missing to incorporate a healthy and balanced diet.

Eat quality foods.
This tip follows on from the first tip, of eating a balanced diet. When introducing new and different foods to consume a more balanced diet it is important to make sure the foods are good quality. This means eating nutritious foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar, and also minimising consumption of refined carbohydrates.

Avoid dehydration.
It is easy to drink enough water when we are constantly training. However when we stop exercising, we may not always remember to drink enough water. Having a bottle of water with you wherever you go will act as a constant reminder to continuously take sips throughout the day, reducing the chance of dehydration.

Recognise your hunger cues.
When in full swing of training we usually train and eat following a routine at which our bodies just adapt to. However when we stop training our eating regime will need to change too. We are creatures of habit so when we first stop training we may continue to eat the same foods, the same amounts and at the same time as we did while training. But learning to listen to our body cues of hunger, thirst and feeling full can help prevent weight gain.

For whatever reason you are taking a break from running, take this chance to reassess and reshape your diet. It is a great time to try new foods as well as learning to recognise your body cues. Overall, these tips should help you to reduce your energy intake, to match your new level of activity.

Article by: Tammy Mond - Nutritionist