A few have asked me about my diet and how I stay so damned skinny slim and make it look easy while still maintaining my energy levels. Of course my first response is IT IS EASY…if you are active, making it so that there is no real need for dieting in the first place. However, I realize for many it is not that easy to understand HOW they should be eating regardless of activity level. In the United States, the land of fast food and prosperity, we as a society don’t want to eat right. (At first one could say we forgot how, but that is a bunch of bull. We learn it in school, see it on TV, read it in advertisements, etc. So the main reason is simply because we don’t want to, or because we feel it is not easy. It is easier to get fat and sue fast food companies for our own stupidity.) Ahem, OK I will get off of the soap box.
Disclaimers: First, I am not claiming that eating the way I do will work for everyone. We are all slightly different, and you may need to tweak my diet to fit your lifestyle and activity level. Second, genetics do play a small part and I am naturally thin to begin with. However, I think this type of diet would be a good starting point for almost anyone. Third, I am not a physician or trainer and do not claim to know what I am talking about. (my wife is nodding her head) So please take anything I say and analyze it for your own usage, and BE SMART. You may also want to consult your real doctors prior to doing anything.
Let’s get rid of some unhealthy thinking in most dieters minds right away, before moving forward. One is starvation, another is weight loss supplements or energy drinks simulating a high metabolism, and yet a third is eliminating a food group, thus making our diet less rounded. While all of these may appear to work, in the short term, they do not work for any length of time and in some cases result in terrible long term health problems. These three notions should be gone from our minds so we can look at a healthy reality.
Before you switch to any diet you should really have a clear picture of what your current diet is like. I recommend that you closely track your diet for a week or two before doing anything new. I use a FREE program called Cron-O-Meter to track my calories and nutrition. There are many more out there, but I prefer this one. After you have a good benchmark of your current habits you can make changes in an educated manner.
As for activity and diet I have found my body naturally craves healthier food as a direct result of my activity. You will find I do not eat much “junk”. This was not really a concious decision for me, and happened quite naturally. You will also notice I make no mention of fast food in my daily diet, but yet I do eat out once a week normally. However, I try to ensure that it is NOT on a day before a long run. (I learned a painful lesson about energy by eating chicken nuggets for dinner on the day prior to a 20 mile run…ONCE. Never again!)
I am a pretty consistent person when it comes to my diet. I usually start my day around 5:00am with a bowl of good balanced cereal, and a 7 oz glass of orange juice, followed by a multi-vitamin. (This past year I have been eating an organic raisin bran that also has nuts and other grains mixed in.) Following breakfast I run my miles for the day, which can be viewed on my blogs “My Calendar” page.
Around 7:00’ish I drink a sports drink (2 scoops of Hammer Nutrition HEED) and a protein shake (MHP Probolic SR) to replenish from the run. At this point my calories are around 700 for the day so far.
At 10:00 I am usually pretty hungry and eat two natural peanut butter sandwiches with a cup of English Breakfast tea and a tall glass of water. This brings my calories up to around 1,250.
12:00 brings lunch which is usually a 1.5 cups of brown rice with 2.5 cups of steamed veggies sprinkled over it with some sort of seasoning sauce (l love these Tai Pei Entrees). A cup of diced peaches, a cup of yoghurt, a package of crackers w/cheese, and some juice drink. (Capri Sun, just like your kids get in their lunch boxes.) Usually I follow that with a tall glass of water. My calories are now around 2,250.
I usually have a banana, and possibly a Clif Bar if my miles are high, around 3:30 as a snack to hold me over until dinner, and a small glass of water. Move the calories up to 2,600 with both.
Usually dinner is around 6:30 or 7:00 and consists of 4 to 6 ounce steak (very lean from Omaha Steaks), one cup of steamed veggies (usually corn or peas), and some pasta (usually the Asian Knorr sides because they are low in cholesterol). I chase this all down with some ginger ale, my favorite, or perhaps a Heineken. Also, I have another multi-vitamin. (I also eat either salmon or tilapia once or twice per week.) This will take my calories up to around 3,360.
Around 8:30 I have another protein shake. This closes my calories out for the day around 3,500. (Unless I have some cookies and milk which add another 420 calories. Yup, almost 4,000 calories for the day.)
Eating like this keeps me around 175 lbs at my current activity level, but once I start hitting 50 miles per week or more this may need to change. Also, for those that are wondering the balance of this diet is 60% carbs, 16% protein, and 25% fats. Non-runner people should be closer to 40-50 carbs, 25-35 protein, and 20-30 fats.
Normal people who are not as active as I am do not need 4,000 calories each day, or they would look like a balloon. Most women who are not active only need to intake around 1,700 calories and most men who are not active really only need 1,900 to 2,000 each day. So in these cases you can simply cut down the amounts that I eat, and take out the snacks if you are able. For instance, you may only need 1 cup of rice and 1 cup of steamed veggies at lunch, and may not need the crackers. Also, if you are not active you do not need the two protein shakes each day and the HEED which make up around 500 of these calories.
You will also find that my diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, as well as high in omega 3. This is because I have inherited the high cholesterol curse. Yes, even with all of my activity and eating healthy I still have to watch it. My multi-vitamin of choice is Centrum Cardio, which also helps lower bad cholesterol.
If anyone has any tips or input on how I may be doing something better please feel free to speak up. I am always open to new ideas, and my diet is the result of my experience. I am sure we all have our own interesting parts.