Food. Glorious Food.
Updated: Dec 5, 2017
They say, "You are what you eat". You know what? They're right.
IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am an aging mid-pack, age-group runner who wants to hold on to whatever fitness I have for as long as I can. During training I have to negotiate family, work, errands and travel. At my age (51) I’m never going to be the “Fast Guy” so I’ve decided to be the “Crazy Distance Guy”. I’m always looking for the next event, the next distance, the next “Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done”.
A lot of what I can do, is possible because of the fuel I put in my body. I try to always eat well and take care of my body. I came to the endurance world later in life. I want to keep doing Marathons, Ultramarathons, Obstacle Course Races and Triathlons for as long as possible. To that end, I take good care of the machine that is me. Nutrition is critical. When it comes to taking care of the athlete’s body, this adage really applies: Garbage in, garbage out.
Here are just a few random thoughts about what I’m doing about nutrition…
1 – Eat for FUEL, not for FUN. One of my biggest problems is that I love to eat food because it tastes good or I’m in a social situation and not because I’m hungry. I try to eat until I’m mostly full and then push away. This is very difficult, especially around the holidays. During the rest of the year it seems like someone’s birthday or another special occasion is coming up. Discipline!
2 – PORTION CONTROL. Eat reasonable size portions and try not to get seconds. Your eyes really are bigger than your stomach! It takes a little while for your stomach to “feel” full. Keep that in mind and leave some room. You don’t need that third helping. When we go out to dinner I try to share an entrée with one of the kids or my wife.
3 – LAY OFF THE SHIT. During the day especially, we tend to eat what’s available. Most of what’s available is carbs. We’re all busy and life does get in the way. We travel for business, take long road trips and drive our kids all over creation. A handful of pretzels is not a bad idea…half a bag is. If you shop wisely and have healthy food close at hand (beef jerky, fruit, protein bars) then you’ll munch on that instead of chips and such.
4 – WAIT. Wait to eat until you feel hungry. I have the hardest time with this because I tend to eat “because its time”. This is especially difficult when you have to feed your kids before soccer practice or play rehearsal. Keep your own schedule, keep your training and goals in mind. Eat when you’re hungry, not when it’s convenient.
5 – EAT BREAKFAST. Something small with complex carbs that will sit on you and last a while. A smoothie or some oatmeal. We all have time for that much.
6 – NO DAIRY. I’m pretty sure you’re already doing this but, get on the Soy Milk or Almond Milk. Silk makes a great Dark Chocolate Almond Milk that’s great in smoothies, recovery drinks, oatmeal or whatever. It also satisfies that sweet tooth when the need arises.
7 – THE BIG ONE…AT LEAST FOR ME. Don’t eat after dinner. This is REALLY hard to do but once you get used to it, it gets easier. I am a HUGE ice cream fan. I love sitting down to watch a game, TV show or movie at night with a bowl of ice cream. Discipline is boring but worth it.
8 – DON’T DENY YOURSELF. Don’t make it “diet”, make it a lifestyle. Drink a beer, have some wine. If you do the things above you can afford it. Plus, if you starve or deny yourself you’ll end up bingeing and eating a whole pizza. Trust me, I know of what I speak!
TRY SOME OF WHAT I’M DOING
Breakfast – I have a smoothie (Greek yogurt, strawberries, banana, chocolate almond milk). If I have more time I’ll eat steel-cut oatmeal or eggs (2 whites and one whole egg). With the eggs, I’ll throw in some ham or turkey bacon if it’s around.
Lunch – Turkey on rye with humus or guacamole. When that gets boring I’ll add roasted red peppers, tomatoes or something. I’ll allow a few pretzels or goldfish. I like something sweet after my lunch (habit) so I usually eat a Clif Bar or Nature Valley Granola Bar.
Dinner – We’re eating tons of fish in my house. Fish with rice, fish with pasta. Train your kids to be adventurous eaters so you can mix it up. BROWN rice and WHOLE WHEAT pasta for everything. We also do a lot of chicken thighs (with bone and skin makes a great dish). Satisfying and healthy are not mutually exclusive.
Stock Up – Usually on Sunday I’ll make a bunch of brown rice in the rice cooker and keep in around to eat on all week. Same with pasta. That way for lunch I can mix whatever we had for dinner the night before with the rice or pasta and eat it for lunch. Again, if there’s healthy stuff in your pantry and fridge all this is a lot easier.
As always, I want to know what you think. Comment or email me!
Work Hard, Eat Well, Stay Fit.