Letter to Readers
Jun 24, 2009 |
Dear Lovely Readers,
Today’s post is serious business. I mean really. serious. business. Oh, who am I kidding? I can barely be serious at a business meeting about budget cuts. But I am going to try, because I need to get serious about nutrition.
I must confess that I lost 25 lbs about 3 years ago through a low-carb diet. I can hear you carbo-loading runners gasping right now. I went on the South Beach Diet. It was great for me* because I could eat a lot of foods I enjoy and saw results quickly. I followed this plan as much as I could but obviously snuck in chicken wings and the occasional french fry (or thirty). I was not a serious runner at the time, but did workout quite a bit. I was a total gym rat and seemed to do fine on the low-carb diet and still had enough energy.
*All diets are different for everyone. I am a hungry gal who likes her cheese.
But for whatever reason, this low-carb lifestyle has not been working for me as of late. Before running, I could eat low-carb and workout and feel fine. However, lately I have been feeling sluggish. I think my body may have had enough. (Well, my body and my taste buds.)
There are so many nutritional studies and articles out there right now that I am inundated with the carb/no-carb debate! I have dramatically increased my mileage and feel way too low on energy when I go low-carb. But I am so scared of gaining back the weight I worked
so fairly hard to lose. I feel that most of that weight was left over from typical college boozing (“Keg Stand!!!”) and late night poor eating (“Run for the border? Hell yeah!”).
Don’t get me wrong, I gel on my long runs and have done the pasta dinner thing before racing, but most of the time, I low-carb it. I guess for now I’ll just experiment with the scary carbs and go from there.
Anyone got any suggestions on this serious subject matter?
Pasta Challenged Pacer
I think that carbs are absolutely necessary for runners, it's how your body makes it's "fuel". But, that doesn't mean refined, simple carbs, white sugar, flour, pasta, etc. I mean whole grains, oatmeals. etc. Those are natuarally lower in fat and sugars, and when you eat them in moderation you shouldn't have to worry about weight gain. I absolutely can not survivie on a low carb diet, nevermind while running!
I agree with Heather above. Adding carbs through whole grains, fruits and veggies, and beans should not undermine your efforts, esp when increasing mileage. I also used Monique Ryan's book "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" to better figure out my nutrition. Us runners need a lot of carbs!
I may offer a different approach. I have read a lot about this topic whether it be journals or books. This is more of a blood sugar issue. The whole grains are definitely better carbs but what are you eating with the carbs? If you have lean protein with a healthy fat, plenty of veggies (especially the green kind), and very little whole grain carbs you will be able to lose weight. Did you know that veggies ARE carbs? After all your body must convinced that it is not in trouble. It has to feel nourished. You must eat to lose weight. Try this blog for more info fuel4manceblog.blogspot.com…..SWEET! Happy eating!
i eat lots of veggies and lean meats. i will allow myself sweets in moderation and i absolutely adore warm freshly baked bread but all in moderation. after college i had make myself lose 15 lb and that weight had stayed off since then. i feel i can eat anything as long as i do so in moderation.
In the simplest manner of thinking you need to add in sufficient carbs to fuel your runs. No more, no less and you should be okay.
HELLOOOOO—thats the reason most of us run–excuse to eat up the carbs…but on a serious note I tried cutting calories (and a lot of carbs went with it) and I was getting beat down this past winter. Went to the dr. with my food journal (yep, I'm that girl) and running journal. Her 189 dollar analysis? I needed to fuel more or run less–guess which one I picked?
sorry gmail again–its me.
This is indeed serious. Umm…if i had a vote, I'd have to go yay with the carbs and ney with the no-carbs because muscles in training can't use fat as efficiently as glycogen. That is why you'd feel burnt out if you are doing any harder type workout if you're low-carbing it. Besides, I think it's already been proven that in the long term, the South Beach diet isn't so healthy for you. Didn't the author suffer a heart attack at a rather young age…
Just my two cents on your oh-so-serious topic!
I think fueling your body properly is one of the hardest things to learn, especially as you increase mileage. My opinion is to increase carbs, but to also make sure you are eating a balanced diet. Check the times you eat, you may need to toss in some healthy snacks before and after workouts to help. It really is trial and error.
Wow! You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the great input!
I'm suffering from the same issues trying to balance running hard with losing/maintaining weight.
But when I start to worry myself into a tissy … I remember that about 10 years ago, I ran hard (and was even getting pretty fast) and I was so focused on my training (both running and Judo) that I ended up at my goal weight without giving it any real thought … I was eating healthy (cheating occasionally) and just focused on getting to my workout goals.
So this is the approach I am taking now. Eat healthy, workout strong and your body will take care of getting itself into the right shape 🙂
Hope that helps,