Ask Darya: How can I exercise harder without overeating?

by | Feb 23, 2016

Ask Darya exercise hunger

This week our Ask Darya question is from Leslie:

Hey Darya, I have a question for you about that sentence you inserted regarding your exercise regimen.

I’m a healthy person who just wants to stay where I am weight-wise, but I’m working on going from mild to moderate/high exercise in order to increase my endurance and strength. My current challenge is balancing enough exercise so that I’m making progress, but not so much that by body thinks I’m hungry all the time (hello, Hunger Tiger). I know that I’ve read on your site that you are familiar with this phenomenon, that too much exercise can throw your hunger off balance, leading you to overeat. However, I read your weekly exercise description–4x strength training, 2x HIIT, 1x pilates–and when I workout that amount, I get so, so hungry. I know everyone is different, but do you have any advice for how someone can discover a balance between the right amount of food and exercise?

This is a great question because she’s asking about a specific behavior she’s struggling with in her healthstyle. In this video I clarify my own workout habits (I’m not crazy, I swear) and offer some advice on how to modify your snacking habits so you don’t overeat on intense exercise days.

Want me to answer your question? Submit it on the Ask Darya page.




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9 Responses to “Ask Darya: How can I exercise harder without overeating?”

  1. Leslie says:

    Hi Darya,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question so thoughtfully! You really addressed the core of what I want to better understand. I’m not trying to resist my body’s natural hunger response–I just want have rational control over my eating behaviors in order to give my body what it needs without unconsciously eating too much.

    It’s really encouraging to hear that you think I have the right approach. I have loved making exercise a more significant part of my healthstyle, so thank you for providing me with a new strategy to maintain it. I was starting to think I might have to curb my workouts in order to keep the urge to overeat in check, but it makes much more sense to incorporate more healthy snacks, eat around exercise, and not freak out if I eat 1 (…or 50) too many grapes.

    I love your blog, you talk about health in a way that resonates so loudly with me. Keep up the excellent work and thanks again!

    PS, On an unrelated note, I’m a neuroscientist as well–my work is in episodic memory.

  2. Pam says:

    You mention snacking … I wonder what is your position on snacking vs. proper leptin cycles and chronically elevated insulin levels? There are those who say that snacking is causing leptin resistance due to chronically elevated insulin and that snacking is a significant player in difficultly maintaining proper weight.

    • Darya Rose says:

      Generally I only recommend snacking around workouts or in exceptionally long intervals between meals (e.g. multi-hour travel). 3 meals a day w/maybe one snack is ideal for most people.

  3. Jason Harrison says:

    Eat fruits and vegetables foods! Their energy density is low, their fiber density is high. Both contribute to satiety without weight gain. See more at

  4. hi darya
    thank you for your great blog, it give us alot useful tips. I notice u did talk about snacking. although i’m snacking alot i still stay in shape, so i just keep on snacking like a habit. Do you think snacking alot like that is bad for my health
    thank your

  5. Wendy Laubach says:

    I tend to avoid snacking, only because it leads me to a frame of mind in which a bit of food entertains when I can’t think of what else to do. I already enjoy food so much that I get plenty of it during regular meals. That means my challenge is to expand my horizons for satisfying activity to include all the non-food options: ergo, “no snacking” is best.

    If it weren’t for this personality trait, I’d say that different people do well with everything from tiny meals 20x a day to intermittent fasting with all the food jammed into a single 6-hour window. Our bodies are very adaptable. It’s our psyches that usually present the challenge.

  6. Kassie Lesco says:

    I’m trying to figure this out, I seem to overeat if I don’t track (I am training for triathlons and doing C.F. 3x/week) My overall training volume is down but, since February I have gained 10# and 3# in the last 6 weeks. I started weighing myself again but, I seem to get so hungry on heavy training days or the day after.

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