Friday, March 24, 2006

More Diet Tales

Lot’s of interesting comments coming back on dieting. Rather than trying to answer several questions that came up individually I thought I would just write a new post.

Currently I am just starting a new training cycle, which means less overall mileage. This is typically the timeframe that I use to drop any weight that I put on during recovery and hopefully get a little closer to my “ideal weight”. I try to eat healthy, but less than normal.

I have tried keeping a log of what I eat, mostly to track my eating to see what the best fuel is for my running, but alas I am not disciplined enough to make daily entries. I don’t count calories, rather try to stay away from fatty or high-sugar type foods. This coupled with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables usually works for me.

I usually eat five times a day, twice being just a snack, and the largest meal being in the evening. I know that it would be better if I ate the larger meal at midday, but it doesn’t work for us as my wife's only chance for a warm meal during the week is at night.

When I was younger, e.g. 32 and still in the Army I could increase my exercise level and lose weight almost overnight. Now at 46 my daily caloric intake that I require is much lower, which means I have to exercise a lot more, reduce even more calories, or a combination of both to lose weight.

The other problem is that as my mileage increases, so does my appetite and usually twofold. You would think I would only need to increase my mileage, while keeping the calorie intake the same and I would automatically lose weight. In theory this is correct, but in all actuality this rarely works for me, I just get too hungry and end up pigging-out. I can at least maintain my weight if I increase my caloric intake proportionally to my mileage.

In any case I am most successful at weight loss when my running mileage stays under around 50K/30M a week and my long runs do not exceed 20K/12.5M. So this is where I am at in the moment.

Once I get up to running about 40-45 miles a week I don’t have to watch my calories so much, rather I concentrate on eating healthy and balanced meals.

The worst problem I have is sweets, especially cake. I have been known to polish off huge piles of cake and ice cream with Hersey's chocolate sauce later in the day following a long run. I would probably be better off eating a steak and some potatoes...but I know from experience that I would end up eating the steak and potatoes - and the cake and ice cream with Hersey's chocolate sauce ;-)

Last night was a rest night. We went to dinner with friends of ours from Ohio that were over here in Germany for a funeral. What did I eat? Steak and potatoes, a green salad and I even managed to skip the cake and ice cream. Progress, yes! In any case I woke up this morning full of energy and wishing that I could go do my long run rather than go to work :-) Tomorrow morning I want to get up early (6 a.m.) and do at least 20K/12.5M.

Comments:
Age does make a difference. I am struggling to take off the same 5 pounds from this winter. I do down and up, down and up. I like to snack, too, so I reallly have to watch my total intake for the day. Once the weather improves, I usually get a second workout of a long walk around town. That helps!
 
Good to know about the impending metabolic slowdown I'm facing. Maybe this one won't hit me as hard as the one in the mid 20's...

THe twofold increase in hunger at higher mileages is true and unfortunate. Which, with the ultras you're doing coming up, is going to be a real challenge. Love hearing about it.
 
Swimming is a real hunger builder, too, so even cross-training can do a number on the diet. *sigh* Welcome to my world, Jack! :)
 
man, i am feelin' ya big time on this one... i started running for many reasons, one big one was to lose weight. which... hasn't happened.

numbers wise, i've stayed the same. just replaced fat with muscle at an amazingly EXACT rate to keep me level... i'm in the middle of trying VERY VERY hard to keep my caloric intake at a minimum so that i can drop some pounds before my marathon..

its rough. keep at it, and know you're not alone in your quest!
 
Makes sense! Sounds like you have a good idea of what works for your body, that's awesome. I hear you on the eating dinner, plus cake and ice cream!!! (low-fat versions, for me, of course. It's still full of calories though!)
 
I'm the same way - during my high mileage training peaks I have to have some extra calories (of the healthy kind, usually) or I completely crash. I wish I could eat the same and run more but it just doesn't work!
 
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