TOPIC – I am hungry all the time
This topic has come up on many of the on-line threads over the last week, and I’m sure those of you who aren’t on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, have also wondered why your appetite has increased so much since you started training for distance running or walking, and what can be done to tame the hangry, rungry, eating machine you have become.
I have always said, training for distance is not the time to diet as you are setting yourself up for conflicting priorities. Most diets require caloric and or food restrictions. When you are not training for distance, you are better able to restrict calories and foods because your muscles do not have the same food and nutrient requirements. If you are a dieting athlete, you are asking your body to do even more, with even less, and then you wonder why you feel so crappy and sluggish much of the time?
As athletes, your muscles require carbohydrates which convert to glucose, which is burned as fuel when you are out on the trail. Your muscles also require protein to repair and rebuild muscles that are worn down with each workout. For many dieters, carbs are the first thing that is restricted or eliminated and then, the amount of protein taken in is reduced. Instead, athletes need to feed the machine, and this is more than what you have before, during and immediately after each run. It is about what you are eating all week.
You need to take in carbs and protein at every meal along with water. Most people think of pasta, potatoes and bread when we say carbs but there are smarter carbs out there that will fill and fuel you without adding to your waistline. Think about beans or legumes like chick peas or hummus, black beans, lentils and split peas to name a few. Also, your oats which can be eaten hot, or add a quarter cup to your protein and fruit smoothie, barley, faro and wheatberries are good carb choices that are filling and many will also give you a good shot of protein. And while we are on protein, learn to enjoy quinoa, which is a quick cooking protein that is a complete protein all by itself. The really nice thing about many of the carb and protein sources listed is that they can be served as a sweet or savory dish. Just change up the spices or light sauces you drizzle and you have changed the whole dish. Quinoa makes a great base for pilaf, or if you toast a quarter cup each of slivered nuts and soaked, chopped dried fruit and add to 1 cup of cooked quinoa drizzled with a tablespoon of agave or honey, you have a really nice dessert.
You have to remember that you are an athlete and every mouthful should fuel your body for movement, repair or recovery. If you are taking in calories that are not fueling you, you are wasting your time. As an example, Liza makes 60 ounces of a fruit, veggie and protein smoothie with a quarter cup of oats. That is a lot of smoothie, but she starts sipping on it around 8 am and finishes it around 11:30, eliminating the traditional mid morning snack. Lunch is around 12:30 and is usually a very big salad including kale and spinach, chick peas, black beans, corn, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes a serving of protein and a sprinkle of quinoa or brown rice and homemade vinaigrette. She eats about two thirds of the salad at lunch and the final third is the mid afternoon snack. There is almost always an apple in there somewhere and a veggie stir fry for dinner with a serving of protein along with a quarter cup of a grain or brown rice. To make each salad or dinner different, get creative with light, tasty sauces and vinegars. Ah Love Oil and vinegar shop has fantastic balsamic vinegars that are the viscosity of honey. The fig balsamic is a personal favorite and a little goes a very long way.
I’m sure you are thinking that you cannot eat like this all the time, and the nice thing is, you don’t have to. A recent article seen via PopSugar pointed out, if you eat three meals a day, that’s 21 meals in a week. Of those 21 meals, you can have three cheat meals in a week, and you will still lose weight each week. You will find that these 18 healthy meals give you more energy to get through your day, and your scheduled workouts. These meals will also help to keep from looking at your coworkers as if they were chicken legs.
Side note – Liza changed her eating in June and to date, she has lost 10 pounds and her running has improved.