Yes….i’m a dietitian AND a runner. How did that EVER come to be because I definitely love donuts and pizza most. The way I eat, I hope, is the way no one eats. I think a lot of times we forget to eat for ourselves and start to take on other people’s diets because “that’s what works for them” or because “they lost weight doing it that way.” People….just eat for your body.
So back when I was in college at MU, after my first year, I decided it would be a smart idea to start losing some weight – ya know, after the worst break up of my life! Not my brightest moment to say the least! I dropped to a very serious low weight while exercising and no one was stopping me! At the time though, that was my goal. Ok – so then skip ahead and after restoring weight back (and don’t try this on your own – use a dietitian – otherwise you can really do some serious medical damage)…I was told, “you need to stop eating so many cookies” by another personal trainer I worked with. WTF – she doesnt know what i’m going through!!! Right?! I was mortified. So my relationship with food worsened and this was the same time I decided to run….and then keep running and start to get good…
I was training to break 3 hours in the marathon and winning regionally….6th in the state for the marathon and nationally deemed an “elite runner” in the half marathon. WHOA – that’s cool, but wait – it’s not just about the running. All in this time, I became an RD to help people who struggle with eating disorders, and yes, its my current job and I love it! I’m healthy and was able to get my eating where it needs to be. BUT at the time when I was trying to break the 3 hour mark I was still thinking….”how can i reduce my calories by fueling as little as possible and never recovering?????”
Well kids – that DOESN’T work. You have to fuel and recover. You simply can’t be excellent at any sport without nutrition. I didn’t get that. My road goals suffered because of this mentality. So skip ahead….now focusing on my trail goals….I have finally started to eat and hydrate for fuel and recovery. I literally don’t have 3 meals and snacks…I have fuel and I recover. Everything I put in is for my sport.
So them I’m asked…..so you just eat fruits, veggies, nuts, and some quinoa, right????
Nope. I eat what my body needs. Sometimes, yes, that is a couple of oreos, or a baguette with fresh raw milk cheese, or pizza! Seriously – no joke – its ok to eat crappy foods as an athlete. I promise you. BUT here’s the skinny on it…..what they say about moderation is true!!! Basically, eat 85% of your diet in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and some dairy. But that other 15% … keep your sanity and enjoy yourself! Your body likes to be treated well – do that, just keep it in perspective.
Nutrition is vital – and it has to be for you – every body is different with different needs – honor them. Assess your goals and don’t be crazy about it – just be focused and determined. The goals will hit from there.