Nutrition Experiment Week1 – Part 2

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Week 1 Control

Average nutrient breakdown per day:

Fat: 69g  Carbs: 198g  Protein: 95g

I am at the end of week 1 and it has been both interesting, and tough, to track my normal eating habits.  I never fully realized all the crap I ate until I started tracking things.  Not that I indulge in a lot of fast food, but I’m not one to go after salads, either.  I recommend tracking your intake to everyone at least for a few days just to get a real sense of how you eat.  You could even try a tool like the FitBit to help provide you with an easier place/system to track your diet and activity.  The results may surprise you.

I tend to eat three straight meals a day, and then snack at night or on days off.  Unfortunately, this sometimes forces me to go long periods of time without eating before I would go running, or, on the other hand, to go running fairly close to breakfast before the temperature begins to rise.

During the second half of week one, I had one shorter 5k run in which I started out feeling good, and then totally crashed after 3/4 of a mile.  Running became a struggle and I quickly lost energy, having to stop and walk a good stretch.  My overall mood was good, but I really wanted to throw in the towel. In the end, though, I pushed through. I did, however, have a much better run the next day after a good night’s rest, less initial stomach issues, and good energy, but even so, it still felt a bit labored.

Basic Nutrition

After my baseline week I realized that I eat way more carbs than anything else, which is about right if you remember the old food pyramid, that, thanks to public education, is irreversibly engrained in my brain.  I believe the reason for my carb lust is two-fold:

  1. Carbs are easier, and more readily available.
  2. Carbs are delicious.

I would much rather have some chips then a salad (and who wouldn’t, right?).

In recent years, the Food Pyramid has been replaced with My Plate, which is much more balanced, and also more colorful, which I really appreciate.  The major difference between the plate and the pyramid is that the plate suggests more fruits and veggies, and less carbs, versus the outdated information of the pyramid that focuses more on carbs.  The USDA also suggests avoiding sugary foods, and solid fats, and advocates drinking more water. These are all goals that people  should strive to achieve.

All in all, as I sit here, I think the key revelation from this week is that you really are what you eat.  I still think I am 18, can eat anything, and just up and go running without any preparation.  However, and this sounds so grown-up, running, like eating, is a lifestyle choice.  If you make constantly bad choices it will have negative results.   So, keeping all this in mind, I am excited about the next few weeks.  It could be great, or it could be awful.  I think, either way, there will be some interesting, possibly deep and introspective, possibly scary, but hopefully, fun revelations.

Week 1 Tips

1. It is ok to take a short break.  We all push ourselves to do our best, however, if you’re not feeling it, sometimes a short 30 second walk break can make all the difference.  It lets your body relax and can do wonders for your perspective.  Afterwords you will probably feel worlds better.

2. Slow it down.  So what if you don’t PR on every run?  Slowing your pace down, even for a half- or quarter-mile can help your body adjust and get into the groove.