Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Daily Grind

A friend and I were recently talking about eating patterns and working out. She told me that since increasing her workouts she has been hungry all the time. She asked me how I cope with hunger and workouts. Honestly, I am hungry A LOT. I try to combat that by eating ALL DAY LONG. My general rule is to wait an hour between snacks. But besides that, I have learned that if I am hungry, I should eat. Plus, I love to eat!

This conversation made me realize I never posted how I try to stay on track with eating properly and working out. Please realize that this is what works for me. I have no formal education in fitness or nutrition. I have inherited my mother's genes, meaning I can eat a lot without gaining weight (Thanks Mom!!), plus I do workout anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours a day. I tried to generalize, but I also do not eat the same way everyday.

Another important thing to realize is that it is OK to splurge!! I love chocolate, so I try to have small servings throughout the day, but if I cave and have a large brownie with ice cream, it is OK. I just try not to do it multiple times in one week ;)

My "meals":

And I say meal loosely, more recently with my increase in training and mileage, I have cut back from traditional meals and onto many many snacks.

Breakfast (between 7 and 8 a.m.): Oatmeal and Coffee

In my mix:
1/3 cup of Oatmeal
2/3 cups Water or Milk
1/4 cup Flax Seed Meal
1/4 cup Peanut Flour

Microwave for 2 minutes. Top with Chocolate Chips and Granola. Yes, I eat Chocolate in the morning. I know this is probably not nutritionally sound and that my mother is probably cringing. But, I have found, for me, that if I have a little Chocolate in the morning, I am less likely to splurge throughout the day.

Serve with a piping hot cup of Coffee. I do not take sugar in my coffee, instead I use a decent amount of flavored creamer (probably close to 1/8 cup).

Tomorrow, Jay and I do have a morning run planned. That being said, I have a few heavier snacks. I will note below what I would have instead if it were a rest day.

Snack 1 (between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.): A piece of fruit

Due to seasonality, I have been enjoying clementines. I prefer a banana or apple so that I can add a scoop of peanut butter (this is key when I had a long morning run).

Snack 2 (11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.): Yogurt

The timing depends on the work out and when I had breakfast. If I did a hard morning workout and ate at 7 a.m. I usually need two snacks before lunch. If I did not work out, went to Yoga or slept in I usually only need one snack before lunch. Therefore my yogurt can be a snack or post lunch dessert. Have I mentioned how much I love sweets?

Lunch (anytime between noon and 1 p.m.)

I almost always have a salad. If I do not have a salad, then I am enjoying leftovers of some kind, usually on top of a salad. You get the point.

I always try to have some type of lean protein on my salad. Some days, like tomorrow, I will not have protein on my salad because I will have it at another snack interval. Also depending on hunger I may eat the chicken first, at around noon, and eat the salad around 1 p.m. (notice the 1 hour interval).

Snack 3 (around 2 p.m.)

The 2 o'clock slump has always been an issue for me. Lately, I have been filing this time with baby carrots. And, if I worked out or am planning on working out in the evening, I will also have some type of carb. Tomorrows carb choice is leftover cornbread from the weekend. Other favorites include graham crackers and pretzels.

Dinner around 7 p.m.

Dinner is never the same in our apartment. Sometimes I cook for Jay and I, sometimes I cook for everyone, sometimes Mary cooks for everyone and on rare occasions Jay cooks. Regardless of our chef, we always try to have a protein source from either beans or meat, veggies and a small portion of carbs. More recently, we have become a fan of one item dinners. Similar to what Jay made on Monday or the Shepard's Pie I plan to make tomorrow. Aren't you excited?

As you can see I tried to generalize. I do not eat the same things at the same times everyday. Lately, especially with the increased intensity of my workouts, I have let my body tell me when to eat. Again, I am not a professional, and this works for me and is from my own personal experience. But, I have found that when working behind a desk all day, snacks are the way to go.

Here is another example of my guidelines for packing lunch AND 1st half of dinner for work. You know for those days when you want to go to a 6:30 p.m. gym class. Notice, the multiple snacks, fruit, yogurt and chocolate!!

Do you eat the same things everyday?

What is your favorite meal of the day and why?

My favorite meal of the day is definitely breakfast. While I love the variety of lunch and dinner, there is something that is nice about the consistency of my breakfast. I add a little variation here and there, but I love that I can be half asleep and still enjoy this meal. It gets me going and prepares me for the rest of my day. I strongly believe the breakfast is the most important meal of the day! What do you think?

Are you a snacker or a meal eater?

Obviously, I am more of a snacker. As I mentioned above, it is hard to work at a desk all day and not get bored. Having snacks prevents me from over eating and allows me to realize when I become full.

I do appreciate a nice meal at the end of the day. Dinner has always been family time. I love that in my current apartment, we all try to sit down together for dinner about 3-5 days a week.

Do you eat dinner as a family? (roommates count as "family")