This time of year is when many in the triathlon world either put on weight or worry/struggle with weight gain. I don’t have that problem; I have lots of other problems in the sport- don’t worry, it’s just that weight gain isn’t one of them. And it’s not by luck, it’s by following a few simple rules.
I am in week 7 of recovery so I’m not doing a lot of training and as such the question of nutrition stays present in my mind as I don’t want to gain weight. It all starts with what you put in your mouth and really if you do things correctly you will either maintain the weight you were meant to have or if you need to lose weight you will start to move towards the weight you were meant to be. I love food. I am not someone who believes in self deprivation….life is too short. But then again I want the years that I’m on the planet to be quality ones so even still some discipline is required to have, well, anything worth having.
I am not a nutritionist but there is nothing that I’m going to say that is controversial nor radical, it’s just a different way to approach what you probably already know. As “depriving” ourselves is what comes to mind when we think of weight loss, I choose a different way to look things and that is I always have a choice and I can eat anything I want as long it follows my few guidelines. Telling yourself you can eat anything you what already eliminates the idea of restriction.
Here are the nutrition keys I follow:
1. Eat anything you want as long as it’s a whole food. Eat only non-transformed whole foods. This is the most important guideline. If you can do just that alone, outside of race day fueling, you will see a difference. If it comes in a package, a box or a bag with a list of ingredients on it, leave it. Yes it means actually cooking things from scratch. It will take longer at first but once you get into it the time shortens. If there is a food you crave which you’re certain is probably not the healthiest make it at home with fresh ingredients. Things like pizza, hamburgers….. Make it at home but at the same time explore other dishes. Most of my meals take about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare unless I’m using the oven.
2. Eat anything you want as long as there is no sugar. You literally don’t need sugar to live and it is making you fat and sick. If you stick to number 1, already you’re ahead on this because you would be eliminating hidden sugars. Now focus on sugar you are adding as well as sweets. Cakes, cookies, pies and for god sake, cola; slowly weed those things out and after about a month, you won’t even miss them anymore.
3. You can eat anything you want as long as it’s not fried. So french fries are my favorite vice food and I have them about once a month. And fine, a little more often when I’m training hard. But in general, weed it out. Once a whole food is fried,it then falls under the label “transformed” and has no nutritional value. I pulled it out from #1 however because it’s probably harder to give up when starting out so I’ve saved it for the end.
That’s it for me; so think of all the foods that you can still eat! That’s actually a lot! Start with number 1 and only focus on that until you are mostly comfortable doing it. Once that’s no longer a challenge move to #2 and so on.
Next post is “Staying Lean in the off season thru Training”, to lose or maintain weight, along with proper nutrition, you still have to move your body. Stay tuned…..