How has eating and running been going? Honestly, some days are better than others. Lately, I have found myself craving more fresh fruit and vegetables, but have not have enough variety on hand. Furthermore, I have been going out a lot with friends for food and/or drinks which equates to consuming more pizza :) There's also a few glasses of wine here and there after some really long days at school or work (I love wine).
My goal lately is to assess how I have been doing in regards to properly fueling my body for the increased miles that I have been running. I ran 45 miles last week! This week I have fewer miles planned, but am hoping for a PR at my half marathon on Saturday.
Goal 1: Assess how I am doing meeting my nutrient needs.
As a runner I know that I have higher calorie and carbohydrate needs based on the increase in mileage that I have been seeing. On the other hand, since I am short (5'2") I know that I need to continue to eat nutrient dense foods rather than simply increasing my carbohydrate intake. Let me break it down.
- As you increase your exercise your body needs more calories to compensate.
- Most of those calories come in the form of carbohydrates, aka the quick fuel for your body. The body cannot store a lot of carbohydrates which is why you need to replenish them. Carbohydrates are found in dairy, grains, fruit, and vegetables for the most part.
- When you are shorter your calorie and carbohydrate needs increase just like anyone else, however there is less wiggle room because your body needs a smaller amount of calories to function on a daily basis. Therefore, if you were to simply consume a greater amount of carbohydrates you would likely reach the amount of calories that your body needs without getting the other necessary nutrients (because you would be consuming the majority of your calories from carbohydrates which only provide some of what your body needs to function). Therefore, it's advised to eat carbohydrates that also contain fat and protein (the other two macronutrients). As important as carbohydrates are when training, all nutrients are needed by the body in one way or another.
- Currently the evidence suggests that you should not aim for a percentage of carbohydrates, but rather fuel your body before, during, and after events with the necessary carbohydrates and focus on whole grain, nutrient dense foods when able. Obviously you don't want to eat whole grains right before a marathon, though (hello GI discomfort...) (AND, 2016)
Today I am tracking what I eat just for a ballpark idea. I will reflect on it sometime this week.
Goal 2: Stock my refrigerator with more fruits and vegetables as well as easy to access snacks.
I was talking to my friend and fellow dietetic intern last night for some insight into my situation. Some days I can identify hunger very clearly. Other days I want to eat something, but cannot tell if it's boredom, loneliness, emotions, actual hunger, etc. Some days my hunger cues are much more subtle than I would prefer. I also have been noticing more hunger (or maybe it's not actual hunger) in the evening when I normally don't snack then. This is why I want to have a variety of snacks on hand.
Snack ideas (usually for mid-afternoon or in the evening)
- Nuts and fruit. Right now I have Trader Joe's Cocoa Roasted Almonds (omg so good) and roasted almonds and peanuts. Sometimes I make trail mix with raisins and dried cranberries or sometimes I just bring some nuts and a piece of fruit.
- Energy balls. Right now I don't have any made up, but had previously been loving Maple Peanut Butter Chia Energy Balls.
- Yogurt (I am on a Siggi's kick lately) and cereal (right now I have corn flakes).
- Banana bread. See recipe below! I have made this Maple Cornmeal Banana Bread twice this week! (Natalie, 2015). I first made it with gluten free flour and this week made it with whole wheat flour and I am loving it.
- Peanut butter and jelly (actually jam) toast. Or peanut butter and yogurt toast. Because I cannot get enough peanut butter.
Goal 3: Relax about food.
I have been allowing myself maple syrup and chocolate pretty much whenever I want it these days and I feel much more relaxed. It's a refreshing feeling. However, there is still a ways to go. I want to be more relaxed about every eating experience, treating it as just that: an experience. Or rather a learning opportunity about my body. The human body is amazing and can teach you a lot.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetic, dietitians of Canada, and the American college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116:1501-1528.
- Natalie. Maple cornmeal banana bread. Feasting on Fruit. http://www.feastingonfruit.com/maple-cornmeal-banana-bread/. Published December 4, 2015. Accessed April 2, 2017.