(I do not claim to be a nutritionist or expert on the diet. I will share some of the things that have worked for me over the years. An endurance athletes diet can always be altered for improvement so maybe some of these methods may work for you.)
This was me eating a bacon and potato wrap on mile 55 of the Destin 100 mile race this past February. I took it to go and grabbed another on my way back through.
In my day to day life, I am gluten free. I do not have a gluten allergy but stay away from foods with gluten simply because a lot of it is not that good for me. I had a hard time with self-control when it came to pizza, pasta, bread, and all around junk. About three years ago I realized that I was very active and working so hard with various activities yet my weight never changed. I decided to make a change in my diet and went gluten free cold turkey. Since that day I lost 30 lbs and my endurance really improved! I was not aiming to lose a certain amount of weight. As I started living a healthier food choice life the lbs fell off and my energy level significantly increased. So much so that Matt and Mark both struggle to keep up with my activity desire on a daily basis. Another reason having two men is a great benefit.
In my daily diet, I try to eat organic fruits, veggies, and meat/fish. I try to reduce processed food as much as I can. Salads when possible. I do eat pizza, pasta and “junk food” on occasion but try to keep it at a minimum and gluten-free as much as possible. My weakness is organic popcorn that I cook on the stove in organic coconut oil and put a cheese powder on. I will have popcorn as a meal in a pinch.
During a race, I try to bump up the carbs. I don’t worry as much about being gluten free but do attempt to somewhat keep it out. As you have read in my race report, I have had some pizza when it was available but do feel it was too heavy in my stomach and may try to avoid it in the future. I’ll eat extra rice before a race typically. I tried a spinach, kiwi, and water drink we blend in a blender during the last race and it worked very well. During a race, I avoid the aid station candy and cookies. I try to save the sugar for the last 10 or so miles as an extra boost when I may need it. GU seems to really upset my stomach so I avoid that. When I get hot I have a harder time wanting to eat so I try to stick to mainly fruits and soup when I can get it. Watermelon, oranges, and tomato soup are good. I’ll have some kettle chips when I need some salt. I do not take salt tablets simply because my body does not react well to them. I don’t have a high salt diet so taking the capsules. I do take a sodium bicarb tablet once-twice a race and that seems to really help with cramping. You can buy a bottle on Amazon for $11.00.
The cleaner you eat the better you will feel of course. Here are some tips I have discovered while I was losing weight and getting into much better physical shape:
-First off get a journal….write down your food intake, workouts, and how you feel each day about both. This helped me realize I had bad habit patterns which I never knew or realized. Like eating at night in my room with the TV on….changed to the kitchen only with no TV (we turned our cable off so that made it easy to avoid it). Eating between classes (UNCC Student) even when not hungry…changed to eating nuts (almonds) during class if/when I got hungry.
-Eat when you are actually hungry, not because everyone else is or because it’s dinner time. I will skip dinner or have dinner when I am hungry at 4 pm or whatever…..but be sure you are hungry and want it.
-Get the crap out of the house. give away all the chips, crackers, ice cream, and such out. If you have to have it in the house for other ppl (we did when we had a roommate) keep it separate. Keep your healthy food in YOUR section of the pantry or fridge and when you open the door only go to and eat YOUR food. Reduce the temptations which are very much visual.
-Pack your food. I have a little lunch bag that I pack up every single day with everything from nuts, fruit, yogurt (Greek only), turkey, cheese sometimes, and leftover health food I made for dinner. Keep cold packs in it to keep it cold. Snack on it all day when you need to. This prevents the binge eating when you are starving. We all know that those choices are not healthy when the hunger hits after doing errands all day.
-Eat healthy food….Nuts, deli turkey, all fruits and veggies, water only (alcohol on weekend only for reward and in moderating), beans, salads…vinaigrette dressing only. Stay away at all cost from gluten…bread, pasta, crackers, pretzels, and such unless it says gluten-free. That was when the weight just melted off…getting rid of gluten. Minimal to no sweets. Try to stay away from processed foods in general. If I do want something I will have it though (not gluten) like gummy bears and popcorn which are my weakness! All this is the hard part and the first two weeks were REALLY hard but I promise you that the longer you go the easier it becomes. Now I have no desire at all for pasta or bread of any kind, even if everyone at work is pigging out on it.
-Use fruit as a desert….mango and strawberries are my sweet fix’s currently.
-Plan your after partying and dancing meal crash. After I go to a club and dance all night I come home and want to eat the house. I am ready and have a meal ready….beans, fruit, shrimp, whatever but have it ready and waiting. No late night stops at a fast food restaurant.
-Work out….walk, run, jump rope, strength train, yoga. Work out in groups, alone, do crunches while watching tv, anything and all of it. But try to out do yourself each week. My challenge in the treadmill. I run at 5.3 to 5.4 pace. Sometimes I run at 5.4 with a 1 incline. Sometimes I run 5.5 for 45 min and then the last 15 min at 5.6 and write it all in my journal and feel proud. Only increase each week…not every day. You will hurt yourself…trust me. You are competing against yourself and the journal is the score keeper so use it.
-Positive motivation….accept and remember compliments people give you.
-No food for rewards. For my birthday last June, we did not go out to dinner. Sexy and hot things are your new rewards for accomplishments, not food. Buy that sexy bikini and wear it proudly because when you feel better your happier and happiness is contagious. You don’t have to go to a big dinner for a special occasion.
-I avoid restaurants whenever possible. Too hard to smell that good (bad) for you food. Let the family go and you clean house or go for a power walk and have dinner when you’re hungry.
This is all really hard but it does work and gets easier as you do it. I have never felt stronger and better in my whole entire life. It just clicked in my head one day when I was driving home from pole fitness class. I realized I work out and run so much and never lose a lb….I work too hard for that so I quit all the bad cold turkey and just started pushing my workout limits.
It was after losing some weight and getting healthier that I entered the endurance ultra world. The energy increase was significant and I just wanted to keep pushing myself. Now I have some races under my belt:
1-50 mile beach run
3-100 mile races (one completely on the beach and two on trails)
1-Ironamn 140.6 (Wilmington MD)
I have two more 100-mile races this year and 8 ultra’s scheduled for next year (7-100’s and 1-51 miler)
If you have any questions at all or need any clarification, feel free to ask.