I love food. It makes me happy to enjoy an amazing meal made of high quality ingredients that enhance each other and create an amazing blend of flavors and textures. That being said, I don’t always make the best food decisions, especially when it comes to portioning correctly. But one thing I have noticed in my cycling journey is the way that it effects your diet. Not just what, but when and how.
Treating my body like a living machine that needs to be maintained, strengthened and and trained has made me more aware of what I eat. Especially since I’m working on finding and reaching my “race weight.”
At first I didn’t really notice how training was changing what I wanted to eat. But slowly that the desire to chow down on a big hamburger after a hardcore workout sesh was going away. Not to say that I still don’t crave a huge slab of red meat after some workouts, but I know that eating that or really anything greasy is going to make me feel sick, slow, and heavy. Instead I started wanting balanced meals that gave me protein and veggies.
Probably the biggest challenge to overcome when it came to my diet was breakfast. I’ve never really been a fan. Eating heavy, hearty food first thing in the morning was not something that appealed to me. Instead, an apple or yogurt was enough! Ha. Thankfully I’ve been able to start eating something that looks like a real meal in the mornings. I want to fuel correctly in the mornings (oatmeal all the way!) so that my metabolism knows it’s time to start firing, I stay full until it’s time for a snack (love me some snacks like Raw Rev bars, fruit, carrots, or corn chips) or lunch and feel more energized all day! That is so important not just as an athlete but as a student. I actually miss my morning oatmeal breakfast if I can’t get it! I noticed this while traveling to cx nats. Next time, I’m packing my breakfast!
Currently my eating focus has been on making sure I eat when I need to, not starving myself, and not eating too late in the evening. I hate going to bed on an empty tummy, so I have to be careful and think about when and what I eat in the evening.
Probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to diet and eating habits, is that appetite follows your body. If you’re taking the time and effort to workout, make active choices for your body, the food part of it will follow. It’s counter-intuitive to spend time and energy on the treadmill or on the bike only to go home and eat potato chips, hamburgers and mac & cheese. I still love all those things, but I love filling my body with healthy food that aids and enhances the time I spend training.
I also recently discovered MyPlate on Livestrong.com. It’s awesome! It helps track what you’ve eaten and the exercise you’ve done, as well as tracking the amounts of protein, fat, fiber, and more!
So, train well, eat well, be well!