Thursday 13 January 2011

The Nutrition Transition

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.


John Kynaston said...

Interesting post Debs.

I'm having a chat with a Dietician tomorrow night who is a member of our club so it would be good to compare notes!

I'm convinced it's a big part of how well we can do in ultras so well worth some research and planning.

PS ... we have actually got 'Colin' yet but yes I will post a picture!!??!!

Katrina pushed it the other day and said why don't we have two but I did say an emphatic NO to that one!!

Unknown said...

god i am so with you on water and worse on hydration - depends on how you perceive irn bru coke etc as i just don't drink! at all!! neither during running or very much after! will watch with interest your progress... btw on the need to lose weight point - are you kidding?? lose any weight and i'll be super hero renaming you from supergirl to invisible woman!

neets next mara said...

ps last comment was from me but i think i signed in under andrew! lol neet

Robert Soutar said...

Why not try an alternative to water, i am drinking Powershot energy it is a mineral water and comes in three flavours,i have only tried two of them,White tea and Ginseng which contains cherry and acai juice or green tea and ginseng which has pomegranate and acai juice,and if you google it,it retails between £1.28 and £2.27 it tastes fine,keep it to yourself but if you go to the shop home bargains which is in the Bishopbriggs retail park it costs just 19 pence, where else can you find a bargain thats cheaper that plain water, you can let me know what you think. also they do a great tasting milk shake called full of carbs for 80 pence again a great before during and after a run

robert soutar said...

try a great alternative to water powershot organic energy, its a mineral water and comes in three flavours, i am currently using two of them White tea and ginseng which contains cherry and acai juice the other is green tea and ginseng which contains pomegrante and acai juice, they retail on google between £1.30 and £2.28, if you go to a shop in the Bishopbriggs retail park called home bargains they sell for 19 pence, where else can you get get a cheaper alternative to just plain water, let me know what you think.

Santababy said...

not sure where you'll lose weight from, agree with poster above! i dont eat much at all during races either and i'm also terrible for picking at stuff just cause it's there.. made a concious decision this week to go back to my lunchtime staple of soup and sandwich though instead of chips, lasagne, anything else readily available! good luck :)

Anonymous said...

Certainly colourful, but I reckon it would be even more interesting to see a pie chart thingy dividing up the proportions of tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and (Scotch) pies ;-)

Murdo t M

Silke said...

Hi Debs. You know what happens in our house to fight the picking, don't you?!:-)

Anonymous said...

Hi debs, re your comment on my post; I was thinking about you a lot going up conic on Sunday! I was very glad Neal came up the other side to meet me!

And for your post; I'm the same if I'm in the house and there is food about I'll eat it for no reason. Luckily though with no-one else in the house I just keep the absolutely bare minimum in the house. My problem is avoiding a detour to the shop on the way home!

Need to catch up soon!


Ps my 'efforts' were a bit faster this week!

ianbeattie1 said...

Hi Debs, I think nutrition is an area where we could all learn a lot and which I'm sure would improve performance. We've arranged for the Head of Nutrition at the Institute of Sport to talk at the WHW Training and Inspiration night. Should be interesting to hear her. Ian x

N.D. said...

I feel like everything is conflicting. I try to stay with the natural food that I know is good and wholesome. I totally know what you mean about being home and picking and sweets. My downfalls too. I can't believe the boys are going to be2!