Well, you know what they say: better late than never! This is my recap about the topic of nutrition/weight-loss from last week’s running club. I am by no means a doctor or a registered dietician so what I am sharing below is a combination of what I have been reading and what works for me 🙂
Last week we talked about setting goals for running. Upon asking yourself why you run many of you will probably say to lose weight/maintain weight loss. And, it is true: running burns about 100 calories per mile (based on a 150lb person) which makes it a great choice of cardio for weight loss. To lose 1 lb of fat you must burn/cut about 3,500 calories from your diet. This can be done with a combination of exercise and changing your eating. Changing eating habits and losing weight will ultimately help you become a better runner because you will have less weight to carry around and strain your body.
So how do you start eating healthy?
- Keeping a food journal: this blog has been a great way to document most of the food that I eat. I am very honest and will admit when I ate three pieces of pizza or a bag of Doritos. I also have a black journal that I write down what my meals are/will be.
- Planning Meals and Snacks: I try to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and when I go food shopping on the weekends I make sure that I know what I will be eating for meals and snacks throughout the week. Now this isn’t to say that my plans don’t change, because they do, and being flexible is important because then you don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking that you are “cheating”. Planning also prevents me from the mindless snacking that I do when the hungry horrors hit me mid-afternoon and during certain weeks during the month.
- Start each day with BREAKFAST: Eating breakfast sets the tone for your eating throughout the day. By beginning your day with a meal made of a mixture of protein and a complex carb, you are energizing your metabolism and replenishing your body’s energy levels. Breakfast “skippers” tend to believe that it helps them “save calories” but they are more likely to overeat later in the day because they are more likely to munch on snacks to stave of hunger until lunch.
- Choose foods that are filling. Complex carbohydrates (such as vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa) and fruits (which are simple carbs but are important because they contain fiber which slows their digestion) keep you satisfied longer and keep your blood sugar levels stable and eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes to realize when you are full.
- Read food labels. The shorter the list of ingredients the better! The foods should contain ingredients as close to their natural state and have a minimal amount (if any) of refined sugar.
- Increase your physical activity! The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is. The more muscle have, the tighter and more toned your body will become. Muscle takes up less space than fat so you will appear more slender. Remember, no matter how much strength training you do, women can not naturally look like body builders!
- Stay hydrated I am still working on this one! Dehydration leads to less effective work outs (amongst other things). You should drink fluids throughout the day and when exercising, drink to replace sweat.
In terms of running, here are some tips I took away from the articles and discussion last week:
- Hydrate with at least 2 cups of fluid 2-3 hours before training
- Fuel your body with a lean protein/complex carb snack 2 to 3 hours before training.
- Eat within 30 minutes post exercise to boost energy
What is your favorite pre-workout/post-workout snack? Some of my favorites are (in no particular order):
- Larabar (any flavor)
- Cliff Bar (a new fav.)
- Yogurt and fruit
- Kashi bars: chocolate coconut/ pumpkin flaxseed
- Apple with 2 tblsp of peanut butter
- a bowl of Trader Joes’ Twigs and Clusters cereal, yum!