Me, running and my food... RunThrough Running Club London

Me, running and my food…

I have never liked food or eating much but that doesn’t mean that I have been super slim throughout my life. My vice was sugar – cakes, chocolate, biscuits and liquorice. For the past years, I have tried to go without any sugar. However, a couple of times a year it has happened that I ‘lose’ myself, and slowly get into a habit again, but then I’m able to stop. I’m lucky, because this wasn’t the case in the past – it used to be extremely difficult to stop eating sweets once I had started.

I got more control over my body and mind when I stopped drinking alcohol five years ago, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I keep thinking that maybe alcohol just didn’t suit me, I have been wondering is it possible to be allergic to alcohol … hmm? I didn’t feel particularly bad whilst I was drinking but much better when I stopped: now I have better sleep at night, I seem to have more willpower and more control over my body and mind, and I just feel somehow cleaner and fresher than before!

Well, needless to say that after I skipped alcohol and sugar from my diet I have never had any worries about my weight. It has been quite stable, around 63-64kg, and I am 1.70cm tall. Well, until this month, when I suddenly put on three kilos!!

The reason is that since January I’ve been running a bit more than last year. 3-4 times a week instead of 2-3 times a week, and I’m trying to include one long and one fast run in my weekly training. I have lined up a couple of half marathons over spring and summer and a full marathon in September.

Well, I was two weeks into training, when I noticed that I constantly felt hungry, no matter how much I ate. The hunger kicked in as soon as an hour after a meal, and I almost got obsessed with my food – I planned my daily activities around food and meal times.

I just continued with three meals a day, but never missed one, and when I was about to go out, I made sure that I had something to eat before.  My portions got bigger, though and I tried to add some extra calories. Like peanut butter on the top of honey with my morning yoghurt and more nuts. I just love to add pine nuts to any meal I’m having. I felt justified to have some chocolate now and then, but with chocolate – if I’m not conscious about it, then I would have a piece more and more often, and the number of pieces increases seamlessly.

I went on to feel free to have pizza, maybe once a week, plus smaller snacks in between the meals. It all happened quite slowly not overnight, and it didn’t cross my mind that maybe I need to adjust my diet wisely, not according to my training load. I just felt happy to have a good appetite and I was happy that I liked food and eating.

Now, I haven’t checked whether the weight gain is mainly fat or possible muscle growth. By visual observation I’d say 2:1, to fat. I can’t say I am worried about my weight gain.  It’s more about the fact that I could have managed my increasing appetite with more care by being conscious of what I’m eating. Luckily, my enormous appetite stopped on the 6th week of training, it was also the time I realised I have to plan what and how much I’m eating.

Well, after some research on the internet and my previous knowledge about nutrition and my personal experiences, I came up with a solution, or diet plan if you wish, that suits me. I understand that we are different, our bodies and tastes, some people are more into carbohydrates and some into protein, but this works for me.

For example:

Divide breakfast into smaller portions and two parts. Breakfast is a very important meal for me as I am usually quite hungry in mornings.

  • Me, running and my food... RunThrough Running Club LondonAt 8am: Greek yoghurt and blueberries, nuts, almond flakes, honey, peanut butter
  • Before midday: Oatmeal porridge with berries, nuts, coconut oil.

Divide lunch into two parts as well: hot food and cold food. Again, the portions are much smaller than what I used to have before.

  • Between 2-3pm: steamed vegetables with butter and chicken/salmon
  • Around 4-5pm: salad/quinoa/dark rice with cheese and tomatoes

For dinner, I usually have something small that has left over from my lunch or I happily repeat my first meal of the day again – Greek yoghurt and fruit/berries/nuts.

During the winter months, it’s so easy to forget to drink enough water, so I got into the habit that I have my water bottle always with me, as I have my mobile phone and glasses. Also, I always say yes to a cup of tea as it helps me stay hydrated.

I will try to avoid chocolate now for some time, maybe until next Christmas?…