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Cheat Days

August 9, 2010 1 comment

Cheat days are often recommended for people who are dieting. The idea is that for one day a week the dieter is allowed to treat themselves to a favourite food that they have cut out of their regular eating. There is good evidence to show that incorporating a cheat day into a diet helps people to stick to it and achieve their goals.

However if you are incorporating a cheat day into your eating plan I recommend caution! Its all too easy to go a bit mad – eating a huge pizza, a three course curry or a kebab and 6 pints of beer. Do that and you’ll have undone most of the gains you made in the week.

The way round this is to plan your treat just as you’d plan any other meal. Fit it into your eating plan and understand the damage its going to do. Personally I prefer to fast a little during the day and ensure I don’t exceed my maintenance eating target.

I also prefer to refer to it as a treat day. After all if you’re planning it you’re not cheating are you?

And my own treat? Cheese and biscuits and wine.

Categories: fitness, food

Low Carbing

To help in my leanness goal I’ve switched round my diet a bit – going low carb for the first time and thought I’d give some feedback on how its going.

For the moment I’m eating around 2700 calories a day (which is about a 18% reduction from my 3300 maintenance target) and very roughly as there are slight variations about a 150g of that is coming from carbs, 250g from protein and 110g from fats. I eat most of my carbs in the morning and immediately after training. I’m going to keep an eye on my weight and shift the calorie goal depending on progress.

Looking at the above some may say thats not a low carb diet – about 22% of my calories are coming from carbohydrates but I’m not a big fan of taking things to extremes when it comes to diet, as opposed to the 35% I’ve been running at normally. I also want to ensure I’ve got enough fuel to support aggressive training. Again depending on how things go I may increase or decrease this percentage.

I’ve been eating this way for 5 days now (this is my 6th). For the first 3 days I felt a little run down and low on energy but that seems to be passing as my body adapts. The hardest thing so far has been giving up my evening snack of porridge which I’ve replaced with a mug of warm milk.

The other big difference I’m noticing is that I’m sleeping like a log, and I’m someone who usually has sleep problems. For the last 4 nights its been head hit the pillow and then get woken up by the alarm. Can’t remember the last time I’ve managed such a consistently good few nights of sleep.

So weight and leanness wise hows it going?

I weighed myself this morning and had lost 2.1kg (4.4lbs). Initially I was a little alarmed by this but then I realised that I’ve started this low carb diet off the back of a weekend drinking and unhealthy eating (I was at the Womad music festival and behaved rather indulgently) so figure most of that is diminished water retention and I gather that a big dip is the norm in the first week or two on a low carb eating plan (water and glycogen storage).

With a visual inspection I would say I’ve lost the weight I gained over the last weekend and perhaps a little more. Again that could be water retention.

Today I just hopped on the scales out of curiosity but I’m doing weekly weigh ins and thats due on Tuesday. The following week I’m expecting to be a more realistic indication of sustainable change. I’m also measuring body fat using Tanita scales but these damn things are so unreliable and there is so much variance even at the same time of day that I take little notice of the numbers it gives me and am relying more on eyeballs.

As well as shifting the diet I’ve also added interval training back into my workouts. I’d dropped this in the last few months and focussed purely on weights but am now doing this 3 times per week after my weights session.

Update: I adjusted the figures above as I’d given the wrong ones!

Categories: fitness, food

Recipe: Oatmeal Pancakes

These are quick to make and quite healthy and have a decent amount of protein in them. Its a modification of a recipe I found with Google – less egg, added blueberry.

40g oatmeal
30g cottage cheese
3 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla
25 (or so) blueberries
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and, errr, blend to a batter. I like to blend half the blueberries and add the other half whole after I’ve got the batter.

Heat a non-stick omelette pan with a medium heat and pour the batter in. If your pan isn’t that great you might need to grease the pan with a bit of olive oil or oil spray to stop it sticking. Cook each side until golden brown. You want to make sure it heats through properly so it doesn’t have a mushy centre.

Job done.

It stores nicely in the fridge and tastes good after a brief reheat in a microwave.

Categories: food

Quick Quinoa Meal

I’ve found this to be a quick and tasty meal to make, perfect when you’re in a bit of a rush. Its nice cold too. I’m always looking for things I can prepare while making my breakfast that I can take into work for lunch and this fits the bill perfectly. Anyway:

Bring 3/4 pint of water to the boil and add 75g of Quinoa. Simmer until the water is absorbed (normally about 15 minutes) and then add a spoon or two of spicy pesto and some mixed veg (I normally quickly heat some frozen vegetables in the microwave). Just stir and heat for another minute or two and you’re done.

If you’re watching the calories then depending on the amount of veg and pesto you use it should come out at between 300 – 350 kcal. And of course you can always make a smaller portion.

Categories: food

Quick Berry Boost

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

A favourite quick snack / drink of mine is to throw a banana, a couple of handfuls of mixed berries, and about 300ml of soy milk into a blender and blend into a delicious smoothie. If I’m short on protein for the day then I also add a couple of scoops of protein powder.

Frozen berries are fine as is dairy milk, though I find if I’m putting it in a flask then soy milk travels better.

Give it a try – it’s very tasty!

Categories: food