Finding the right balance of nutrition in training is tricky, especially when you’re an endurance athlete. One minute you’re carbing it up, eating pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, and then, then next minute you’re back in base training, where the calories aren’t quite disappearing as fast as they used to.
The doc slid that antiquated scale to read five more pounds than I had weighed a month ago, when I’d weighed myself at a friend’s place. I don’t normally keep a scale around because, if I did, I’d be on that thing every day. Instead, I use a measuring tape. When I got home I realized that my waistline had scootched up about a half of an inch. Not cool.
I allowed my mind to have a momentary freak out about ballooning back up to my highest weight in no time unless I cut my meals to a pitifully restrictive 1200 calories a day, and, about how I would possibly maintain that given that I would be starving after every practice. Then, I stopped myself and thought, “Patience.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned about weight loss, it’s to be patient with yourself and not to go to extremes in order to drop pounds. Besides, calories can be your friend while you’re training. They’re just a very clingy friend that doesn’t want to let go when you’re not.
My first plan of action was to assess what I was actually eating. Did I really need to have a cookie after lunch? Should I have impulse bought that box of Cheese Nips last week? How many calories was I realistically burning?
Next, I worked to cut out the obvious things, the extras that I didn’t really need, the snacks that I ate when I was bored rather than really hungry. Also, sadly, no more twice-daily cookies. Instead, I scored some diet hot cocoa and marshmallows, and consumed them for my daily “sweets fix.” Instead of a bagel and peanut butter for breakfast, I switched to oatmeal, which I could flavor with peanut butter, cocoa, or apple butter, for a calorie-saving and heartier meal. For fulfilling lunches and dinners, I got rid of the superfluous pasta, and stuck to veggies and egg scrambles, tofu scrambles, salad or hearty soup. If I must have a snack, it’s fruit, cottage cheese, coffee, tea or water.
Finally, the plan is to keep doing what I’m doing and quit worrying about the weight. I’ll pull the old tape measure out in a month and see if this plan has been successful. Until then, it’ll be no sweat (well, unless I’m training, of course).
How have you successfully battled the bulge in training? Do you have a formula for how many calories you consume at each stage? Leave your comments!