Updated: Sep 14, 2018
By: Stephanie Voytek
Did you get home two weeks ago, step on the scale and realize you lost weight this summer - a SCARY amount of weight??
Many of us on tour lose weight, but some of us lose a significant amount of weight. Those of us who do reach this incredibly low weight tend to try to maintain it, too. However, if this isn’t your first rodeo with drum corps and you lost a significant amount of weight it may not be a healthy weight for you to maintain. You may try to eat well and exercise post-tour yet ended up gaining just as much (or even more) weight than you originally lost.
We've got information and tips to help you get rid of the frustration of post-tour weight gain and maintain your ideal weight long-term!
What happens to your body on tour?
Our bodies are designed with natural weight regulating responses and hormones. More specifically, it’s designed to prevent you as much as possible from starving.
If you lose a significant amount of weight in three short months your body thinks it’s starving and will do anything it can to prevent you from starving again.
Ever come home from tour feeling more lethargic and hungrier than usual? That is your body’s way of trying to restore you energy and nutrient stores, often resulting in seemingly uncontrollable weight gain.
Some of this weight gain is actually good as your body is simply restoring itself from the starvation. Fat and lean body mass are your body's energy stores. When you’re not consuming enough calories, your body uses up these stores, resulting in weight loss. But if you feel like you’re gaining weight fast and uncontrollably, your body may truly think you’re ‘starving’ and is restoring your energy stores as fast and greatly a possible so that you never ‘starve’ again. Ultimately causing fast and excessive weight gain.
If you want to make sure you gain a healthy and maintain a healthy weight post-tour, follow these tips!
1. Eat Balanced Meals
Every meal should have carbs, protein, and fats. Despite popular fad diets, all of these macronutrients are important to maintain proper energy. Carbs tend to get a bad rep in the U.S. but only because we over consume them. Carbs are actually your bodys first energy source! But all three macronutrients have different roles, which is why it’s so important to eat all of them.
Carbs give you fast energy for “right now”, which is why you crave them when you’re super hungry. Carbs on your plate helps satisfy your immediate energy needs. 45-65% of your daily calories should be from carbs.
Protein gives you sustained energy for later. It helps fill you up at a meal and keep you full throughout the day. 10-35% of your daily calories should be from protein.
Fat gives you energy for much later. Yes, even fat gives you energy! Make sure you’re always choosing plant-based fats such as olive oil or avocado as they’re healthier than meat-based fats. 20-35% of your daily calories should be from fat.
2. Always be Prepared
When you reach extreme hunger your body craves high carb, high calorie foods such as cake, ice cream, and other sugar to give you It’s important to prevent these crazy cravings by eating small, frequent meals every 2-3 hours. Packing lunches and snacks are an important way to fuel your body when you need to!
Making sure you eat breakfast and fuel up on healthy snacks is also important to prevent binging later in the day. If you go somewhere for more than 2 hours, always pack a balanced snack and/or meal so you don’t end up buying unhealthier options.
3. Don't Drink Your Calories
Sugar-sweetened beverages are any beverages that use sugar to sweeten them such as sugary coffee drinks, energy drinks, sodas, smoothies, and more. These drinks spike your blood sugar, leaving you super hungry when you finish them. They’re also high in calories which add up fast when you drink them regularly.
If you’re addicted to sugar sweetened beverages, try an alternative such as flavored seltzers or infused waters.
4. Drink Plenty of Water!
Believe it or not, water gives you energy, preventing you from relying on sugar sweetened beverages for energy. Sometimes, we even confused for Make sure you stay adequately hydrated so that when you fell hungry, you know it’s hunger.
5. Add Fiber to Your Diet
Fiber is filling and fueling. Fiber helps slow digestion and balance your blood sugar keeping you fuller longer. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble, both of which you need. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, beans, peas, lentils, and more. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat brain, vegetables, and whole grains.
If you really want to be successful in maintaining a healthy weight, you must always listen to your hunger levels. Being extremely hungry can lead to binging on high calorie foods. Eating until you are extremely full is a result of consuming more calories than you actually need.
Your hunger is one way that your body regulates its weight. When you need to gain more weight (such as pregnancy) your body makes you hungry. When you consume more food than you need (such as a thanksgiving dinner) you feel full signaling you to stop. Learn to listen to your hunger and maintain a healthy weight by following the scale below!
7. Exercise regularly, and enjoy it!
It’s important to exercise at least 3-5 days a week to help maintain your strength and endurance. But it’s equally important to find exercises you enjoy! Whether that be dancing, lifting, Zumba, swimming, running, or a combination of different things, following a plan that you look forward to will help you be more consistent and sustainable with your exercise.
Your “birth weight” isn’t always healthy. Sometimes it’s actually really unhealthy, especially if the last time you were that weight was pre-puberty. Everyone’s ‘healthy weight’ can vary based on your genetics and frame. Aiming for a healthy BMI on the chart below can help you determine your healthy weight range.
9. Limit Fast Food and Beverages
Fast food tends to lead to weight gain because it’s typically high in fat, calories, and carbohydrates but is not very filling. Plus, “healthy options” at fast food restaurants typically aren’t very filling either, only leaving you hungry. Eating fast food weekly, especially multiple times a week, can lead to weight gain and lethargy.
It’s okay to enjoy some of your favorite treats once in a while, but fast food should not be part of your routine.
When a lot of people are trying to “diet” they end up depriving themselves of important nutrients and calories. It’s very important to make sure your eating enough of nutrient-dense foods. That means eating a variety of grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and plant-based fats. Giving your body the nutrients and calories it needs gives you energy and helps curve cravings. It’s also important to maintain the proper amount of calories.
Despite popular fad diets, body needs a variety of nutrients to function properly, meaning you need to eat food from all food groups. If you’ve ever tried cutting out a food group, you may have found that you experienced crazy cravings. That’s your bodys way of telling you that it needs those nutrients! Choose MyPlate is a great reliable resource to help you determine how much of each food group your body needs.
Many of our plates in Western culture are very disproportional. Meat and grains tend to make up the majority of the meal, when really 50% of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide you with so many nutrients and also help fill you.
Whole grains are full of fiber, which fuels you and keeps you fuller longer. Refined grains such as white bread, pasta, white rice give you immediate energy but don’t keep you full. Instead, try whole grain breads, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and farro. It’s recommended to make at least 50% of your grain sources whole grains.
About the Author:
Stephanie is a Dietetic Intern with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Connecticut. Steph also is a DCI World Class Finalist marching for the Boston Crusaders in 2013 and Carolina Crown in 2015.
Since graduating from UConn, she worked as a Farm Apprentice learning about food production from start to finish, as well as a nutritionist counseling mothers and young families on nutrition and lactation.
Stephanie is passionate to educate others on sustainable healthy eating habits to improve the overall health of our society. Most importantly, her goal is to make eating healthy easy and fun to help get rid of the ‘dieting’ mentality. She firmly believes that all foods fit, and that good nutrition looks different for every person.