Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thoughts on Nutrition


This week was a recovery week for me, and so that made it the perfect week to hone in on my nutrition.  I eat a pretty clean diet, and that is something I am very proud of.  I have worked hard to turn myself into a healthy eater, but I am still constantly seeking out improvements to the way I eat.

Sometimes I relax the vigilance with which I watch what I eat, and inevitably, my weight starts to creep up.  For a long time I felt like I needed to be better at balancing treats and healthy foods, but what I have begun to understand is that I really have to watch what I eat.  All.     The.      Time.  That doesn't mean I can't indulge now and then, it just means I really can't relax that vigilance I mentioned.

One of my goals this year is to decrease my body fat percentage.  I decided to go this route, because I can sometimes be a little obsessive about the number on the scale.  I would really like to move away from that, so instead I'm focusing on body composition.  My good friend, M., pinched me up good the other day with the fat calipers, so I have a starting body fat %.  I have chosen to keep this number to myself for the time being. :)  I emailed Coach Mary and told her I needed some tough love...I really want to do this.  So she had me write down everything I ate for three days, and then she analyzed if for me according to the macronutrients I was taking in - fat, carbs, and protein.

What she found is that, just as I expected, I eat a very healthy diet, BUT there are improvements I can make.  To start, I can be much better about my protein intake.  She suggested that I try to get some protein with every meal and snack.  Sometimes I will just eat veggies for lunch and fruit for a snack, so I go hours with no protein.  She also encouraged me to make sure I'm getting enough fat, although with my intake of chocolate almond butter lately (so good and no sugar!!), I'm already pretty good about that.  The hardest part for me is trying to come up with good snacks that have protein.  Today (and twice yesterday and once the day before that) I had plain Greek yogurt with half a chopped apple, cinnamon and a squirt of agave nectar.  Today I threw a few walnuts in the mix, and it was delicious!  I could eat that for breakfast or dessert even!! (For those of you who don't know what agave nectar is, you can check it out here.  I love it, and you just need a teeny-tiny squirt to add a lot of sweetness.)  She also told me to try to keep my blood sugar more level throughout the day, by trying to eat every couple of hours or so.

Another area I really need to work on is pre- and post-workout nutrition.  I think I have the less is more mentality in that I'm burning a ton of calories, so if I don't take in as many I will be better off.  Now I'm going for the more during, less in between mode...for a calorie-conscious girl like me, this will probably be one of the hardest things.  The good news is, one of my sponsors this year is First Endurance nutrition, so I will have a lot of new nutrition options to explore!!  I can't wait to get started.

After the first day, I tweaked my eating here and there according to what Coach Mary recommended which really wasn't hard at all.  I basically just added more protein in and made sure I didn't go too long without eating something.  What I've noticed is that I definitely don't feel as hungry throughout the day (duh - seems so  logical, but it was a pleasant surprise to me!).  My workouts have been great, although since it was a recovery week, they were short and sweet, and, quite frankly, I love eating throughout the day instead of just 3 big meals.  Next week I get back into some longer stuff, so it will be nice to really attack the nutrition along with the workouts and see out it goes.

The main thing I've realized, though, is that people are not fit and healthy by accident.  They work hard at it!  They think about what they are putting into their bodies.  They weigh options when it comes to indulging.  Food is our fuel, not a reward and definitely not a way to punish ourselves, and health is definitely a continuum.  I want my direction to be upward!!

If you guys have any great snack ideas, I'd love to hear them.  Have a great night!!

7 comments :

  1. I love to nuke a half a whole wheat wrap, with a couple of slices of cheddar inside, then top it with salsa....protein, grain, and veg all in one.

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  2. Thanks for the post...I've been thinking that I should work on that area myself...and I hate the obsession with the scale, but like the more efficient approach of body comp. Thanks for stopping by my blog as well! :)

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  3. Those calipers are the worst! During the workweek I always have an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter for a snack. Low fat cheese sticks are a good source of protein as well. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  4. Great recap! You might be the team star with your nutriiton!!!

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  5. I really need to work on honing in my nutrition as well, so this was a nice post to read! Pre and post workout snacks are the hardest for me too, but I'm getting the hang of it. Have you read the book, "Thrive?" He has some great food ideas that I've been able to incorporate into my eating...you should check it out!

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  6. Kelly, if you haven't already, you may want to check out last months issue of Inside Triathlon. I am not a subscriber, but a friend passed along an issue regarding nutrition that was pretty enlightening. I'll try to find it and get you the exact V&I number.

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  7. To analyze what you ate for three days is such a good idea! I like yogurt with fruit, too, or unsalted peanuts, walnuts or pecans with raisins for a snack.

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Woo-hoo!! I want to hear from you!

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