How I'm Eating Through My Injury

>> Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pancakes, pizzas, and pale ales, oh my! I've received several emails related to how I'm eating now that I've decreased my training intensity. Looking through my recent recipes on this site, I see why. Everything is bread with cheese. Or bread with peanut butter. Or bread with butter. Or beer. Woah. I assure you: I have been eating my veggies, and this week's recipes (chickpea mash and orange-glazed tempeh) serve as proof of that.

Please note: My answer to the nutrition question is in development at the moment. In the spirit of the non-expert-ness of this blog, I thought I'd share what I'm doing right now -- as I learn. I've always had trouble knowing what and how much to eat. Always.

Mind you, I seldom calculate exact calories and percentages of carbs, fats, etc. OK. More like . . . never. I covered what we think of calorie counting in this post -- in other words: DISLIKE. I did, however, write a food diary of sorts a while back with some calorie information attached. It was an exercise I would consider doing again, so we'll see. But not with counts, just with the foods I ate. The counting drove me insane.
Anyway, while I was jogging in the pool yesterday, I decided it'd be nice to know approximately how much I need to eat to fuel my life and activity level. During marathon training, I never lose weight. I mean, that's not why I train. I train to get stronger and faster -- which typically means putting on a few pounds of muscle. I'm happy at my current weight, and my BMI is in the healthy range (20.2).

During marathon training, though, I eat like a growing teenage boy. I love every juicy minute, too.

Thankfully, the number of calories I require to maintain my weight in a day isn't a mystery. There are calculators online which allow you to plug in your current weight, height, age, and activity level. Then they do all the work for you.

To maintain my weight, I need a little over 2,300 calories per day. It's a simple fact. Calories in/calories out. The appetite of a horse doesn't compute with my new routine, though. If I plug in extremely active in this calculator (which is what I'm estimate was my marathon training activity level), I would need 500 more calories per day. This all makes a lot of sense to me.

Tell me stomach that, and it will growl at you. But a slight -- keyword: slight -- reduction in my diet doesn't have to be a bad thing. There's a world of amazing low-calorie food out there. And skipping that third serving of dessert will surely help, too!

Questions you may have: Now that I know the "magic number," do I now have a calculator strapped to my wrist? No. Am I really counting my calories and just not telling you all? Also no. What this number gives me is a gauge. I've watched enough Biggest Loser episodes to have a relatively good handle on serving size. Too, I know the general caloric totals for some of my favorite foods. Armed with this information, I can make informed decisions about my meals.

My current goals . . .
  1. Maintain my happy weight.
  2. Heal my injury.
  3. And have fun doing both.
In my next post, I'll offer some less black-and-white tips I'm following to keep myself in check. But my question to you is this: Do you know how many calories you need in a day? Do you think you eat too many or too little? I was surprised how my day-to-day intake fluctuated when I did my food diary. But what I always tried to pay attention to was what my insides were telling me.

Ultimately, if I'm hungry, I always eat. Now, it's just a matter of being smart with choices. Of if I reach for a brownie or a green smoothie, really. I'm slowly getting into a rhythm. And I'll share with you my progress as it happens!

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