I'd like to think I'm a healthy eater. I like fresh, colourful food and (unless full of beer) greasy make me queasy. I'm not a must-have-chocolate-everyday kind of girl and crips just don't cut. My downfall is sweets. And picking. BC (before Cairn) I was out most evenings, generally training, but now I spend most evenings at home - too close to the fridge. It's not usually out of hunger or boredom, more just because it's there. If it wasn't for the fact that I work full-time, you could probably run reps round me!
I make more of an effort with food, but I know I'm not a healthy drinker. And that's not including the wine. I hydrate on coffee, tea and Pepsi Max. I very rarely drink water. Not because I don't like it, I just don't get to the "oh I could murder a glass of water" stage.
When it comes to eating and drinking during training and races, that's where I really suffer. I could probably list from memory exactly what I ate during the four ultras I did last year. For example, during the 53 mile Highland Fling, I ate the grand total of four jelly babies. I overcompensate with Lucozade and Coke, which generally leaves my bagged-up. You know I don't do toilet chat, so that's as graphic as it's going to get.
So in a vain attempt to start the year's training/races on the right foot, I went to see dietitian Nathalie Jones, who's based at Achilles Heel on Sundays.
There's just so much conflicting advice out there: You need carbs for energy, but carbs make you fat. You need protein for recovery, but runners eat too much protein. Sugar's bad for you, but sports drinks will make you run longer/faster/better. Runners need dairy to fend off osteoporosis, but milk gives you runner's trots. Run on empty to train you body not to hit the wall, don't run on empty or you'll risk muscle breakdown and long term fatigue. It's a mindfield out there. And that's before you take into account fad diets and bogus supplements.
Prior to the appointment I had to submit a training plan and food diary. Basically everything I ate over four (average) days. It's amazing seeing what you consume in black and white. And more so, I was very conscious of how much I pick and eat mindlessly. And that was me "randomly selecting" the good days :-)
The one-hour appointment with Nathalie was very insightful. The plan essentially goes back to basics and seems relatively easy to follow. OK, I've only been doing it for three days. No calorie counting or weighing, thankfully. It's all based on portion sizes. Upping my carbs and dairy and using protein for after exercise.
I'll actually be (well, consciously) eating more than I'm used to and should keep my weight steady, without having to have really good days to compensate for the really bad days. Losing 5/6 lbs would be a bonus though.