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by Sarah Koszyk RDN

March 20, 2020

If you're unable to swim, you should modify your diet

This article originally appeared in the July-August 2019 issue of SWIMMER.

When you’re training, you need to stay fueled, which can be accomplished by eating additional snacks or heartier meals. But what happens when you take a break? If you eat the same way you were when you were training hard, you’ll most likely gain weight.

To maintain your weight when you’re not training, you’ll need to adjust your diet. Here are five tips on how you can make those modifications.

Modify Snack Intake

When you’re training, you might consume a pre- and post-workout snack and perhaps another snack during the day, depending on how hungry you are between meals. But when you’re taking a break, you should reduce how much food you consume.

A simple way to do this is to cut down on how many snacks you have each day. Most people should eat every three to four hours to control ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger levels. However, if you’re not working out, you can skip that pre- and post-workout snack. Instead of eating two to four snacks a day, consume just one or two.

Reduce Portion Sizes

Training hard might make you hungrier, and that can mean bigger portion sizes at mealtime or refilling your plate. When reducing how much you exercise, reduce your portion sizes. Skip going for the second round.

When eating your meal, put your utensil down between bites. This will slow down how fast you eat. Your body takes about 20 minutes to recognize fullness from when you start to eat until your stomach tells your brain that you’re full. Taking your time when eating a meal can result in feeling full after only one plate.

Choose Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber fills you up and helps you feel full. Consume fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, beans/legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds in your daily diet, so that you’re getting the most bang for your buck with your food choices.

For example, non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, bell peppers, celery, and carrots are rich in fiber and low in calories. You can consume a bigger portion of veggies without gaining a lot of weight. Ideally, fill half your plate with vegetables.

Fiber-rich foods will also help control hunger levels longer to keep you going strong.

Don’t Skip Meals

You might be tempted to skip meals when you skip workouts. The problem with that thinking is that when you finally eat, you’ll be much hungrier. This can result in eating faster, choosing unhealthy food options, and eating bigger portions.

Instead, stick to a regular meal routine. Always enjoy a fiber-filled, protein-rich breakfast. Seventy-eight percent of people who lost weight and kept it off eat breakfast daily, according to the National Weight Registry. You should also eat a normal lunch and stick to a moderate dinner loaded with vegetables of a variety of colors.

Stay Hydrated

Sometimes you might think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty. Additionally, when you work out less, you might forget to drink water. Focus on water intake and skip soda, juice, sugar drinks, and other calorie-heavy drinks. If you’re not working out, you don’t need an electrolyte drink. Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight to 10 glasses (64 to 80 ounces) of water each day.


  • Health and Nutrition


  • Health
  • Diets