Well, I think we’ve pretty much established that eating less and exercising more definitely isn’t the way to go. You’re all such smart cookies, and deserve a cookie of your very own…
… which, I would have given you, except I already eated it…
How about a cookie dough ball instead?
… which I may have already taken a bite of…
Gotta be quick if you wanna eat while I’m around. I’m an only child which means that I’ve never had to fight a sibling over the best/last piece of food, so I have no idea where my food snatching tendencies come from… other than to say that I do not enjoy the Hangry Monster’s company, so I go out of my way to ensure that he doesn’t decide to drop by for a chat – which has been easier said than done lately…
I [heart] food…
Ever since I started taking strength training a little more seriously, my appetite has been off. the. charts; and since we know we have to eat more, the next question becomes: eat more what, exactly?
And the answer to that, my dear friends, is… one that I’m still working on.
I’m not a sport nutritionist or a dietician, so I’m not gonna throw some rules at you claiming that following them will give you the energy you need for a kick butt workout while supplying you with the proper nutritional profile to make you a lean, mean exercising machine…
… especially because everyone is so different…
… and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another…
But I will tell you that it helps to experiment and try different things to see which ones work for you. I’ve been fiddling with my diet for quite some time now, and I guess I can share some of what I do to give you a general idea if you need some basic ground rules…
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I eat [at least] 6 times a day…
Breakfast (always), morning snack (usually my pre-workout snack), lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, bedtime snack. I can’t go more than a few hours without food, or I start getting the shakes, and I often nibble between meals/snacks as well. I do my best to honor my hunger, and if I finish a meal and feel like I need a little bit more, I take it. I’m not too fussy with the nutritional content of my meals, but I do try and pay more attention to what I eat before and after my workouts.
One of my favorite pre-workout snacks is a banana with almond butter, some dark chocolate, and a bowl of cottage cheese with cinnamon.
I listen to my cravings…
I do my best to include a carb, protein, and fat with every meal/snack, but if I’m not feeling it, I won’t force it. If one of my meals is mostly carbs, that’s fine… high in fat, that’s fine… it’ll all balance itself out in the end. I try to get a good amount of protein in, especially now that I’m lifting, but I don’t protein load or cut down on carbs and fats. The body needs an adequate amount of everything to function properly, and that’s my main goal.
Mish-mash dinner bowl: Kasha, broccoli, grilled mushrooms, pumpkin, hummus, hemp seeds.
I always drink a protein shake after my workout…
This is actually one of those more common workout rules that I try to adhere to. I finish my workouts right around lunch time, so I sip on a shake as the first half of my lunch while I go about making the second half. The recipe I’ve been using lately is the one for my vanilla tofu protein pudding.
I drink a lot of water…
8 cups a day, at least. Annoying, but necessary – dehydration sucks… even mild forms of it.
Balance, balance, balance…
I enjoy eating healthy foods because they make my body feel good, but I also enjoy eating not-so-healthy foods because they make my mind feel good. I do my best to make sure that I have a lot of fresh, whole foods in my diet, but I also make sure to treat myself every. single. day. This way, I can be healthy without ever feeling deprived. And I refuse to feel guilty for enjoying any type of food.
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I should probably end by saying that none of this is forced – my body just kind of does it naturally. I don’t try and adhere to a specific style of eating, I just go with the flow and this is what I end up with.
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What kinds of things work for you?
Favorite pre and post workout snacks?
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
Please forgive me for JUST NOW getting caught up on your posts! Where did the time go? I feel like I haven’t “seen” you in forever! Lol!
“I enjoy eating healthy foods because they make my body feel good, but I also enjoy eating not-so-healthy foods because they make my mind feel good.” <- AMEN!
I usually eat 3 meals a day with 1-2 snacks. A lot of times when I'm working during the week, I'll skip snacks just because I'm too busy to even think about food, but I always keep a "stash" just in case I DO get hungry. It may not be ideal, but if I have to scarf down a bar in 0.08 seconds, so be it! I refuse to go hungry! I've been experimenting with pre-workout snacks and it looks like the only thing that works for me is a date with some kind of nut butter…sunflower seed butter and peanut butter are at the top of that list! I tried coconut butter today, but it was way too rich! Whew…felt like a sugar high! Haha!
I loved your post about eating less/exercising more. I couldn't agree with you more! There is so much misleading information out there and I really feel sorry for those you haven't "seen the light" yet. I used to think the only way I would lose weight was to just kick my own a$$ to burn off all the "bad" food I ate. My life was filled with guilt…I was tired…I was depressed…and I was flippin HUNGRY! Now, I try my best to listen to my body when it comes to eating. I still have the occasional food label (good vs bad) thought pop into my head, but I just try to look at the bigger picture. It all balances out in the end!
Still trying to figure all that out, as you know. 🙂
What I’ve been really interested in lately is the whole IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) philosophy… the idea is that no matter what you eat and no matter what time of day you eat it, none of it matters as long as you hit your target number of grams of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats.) Obviously, you want to make sure that you get the necessary micronutrients from fruits and veggies and all that… but the idea is the rest of it doesn’t matter. Meal timing is irrevelant–you can eat all your food in one meal (if you wanted to…?) You don’t have to have pre- or post-workout nutrition if you don’t want to, because the body’s a smart machine and as long as you hit your totals at the end of the day it will figure out how to use them. “Balanced meals” and “clean eats” are irrevelant. You could eat all your veggies in one sitting and not eat another all day. Or eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s (lol…) if you can “fit it in your macros”.
Maybe its not the best philosophy for me right now… but its interesting all the same, no? Makes a lot of sense. I’ve been thinking lately that a lot of the healthy living blog world “babies” their bodies too much–emphasizing eating “clean” foods to stay lean, making sure to eat carbs before a workout and protein after, demonizing sugar, all those old conventional myths that recent science has proven wrong…
I like your routine 🙂
I always, always have a snack pre-workout, regardless of how hungry I am – my worst nightmare would be getting hungry and weak halfway through a run! I also alwaaaays have dessert, cos it makes me feel good mentally 🙂 I can be full, but it’s just…lovely, to have dessert 🙂
I absolutely love your blog. I’ve read and subscribe to so many “healthy living” blogs, but after discovering your site it truly opened up my eyes. running with spoons is healthy for your mind, body and soul. I am now in the process of unsubscribing to all those “healthy living” blogs because I can now see for myself that they are so far from living a healthy lifestyle. After reading your post from other day I went out and bought The New Rules of Lifting on my lunch break. I’ve just recently been starting to lift some weights at the gym so this couldn’t have come at a better time! Thank you for being such an inspiration.
Sara @ Nourish and Flourish
oh p.s. you won my giveaway!
Sara @ Nourish and Flourish
Love this. Especially that Christmas plate, which I own as well. How come cookies always taste better on holiday dishware? 🙂
When I began lifting, my appetite began roaring as well. Initially I was confused, because I’d cut back my cardio tremendously, and figured that I was burning far less energy. However, when I began losing muscle mass instead of gaining, I realized that was not the case! Over time, I gave myself permission to eat more, honor my hunger and my cravings. Now my body is happy and healthy!
I love your vanilla tofu pudding recipe! Definitely giving that a try when I get home!
Mary @ Bites and Bliss
I’ve actually been eating a lot more fat than I’m used to recently. I used to not eat ANY until I realized our muscles feed off fat first, then carbs, then protein when recovering. Which seems strange, but it’s good since the protein should be in our bodies long enough to rebuild our muscles rather than feed them while they’re working. So having adequate fat in the diet’s really important for weight loss. Who knew!
Amanda @ Running with Spoons
Truth! I definitely noticed myself getting leaner when I upped my fat intake. The whole idea that “fat makes you fat” is such a load of garbage.
I eat at least six times a day (sometimes more like 8) and don’t even think about taking my protein shakes away from me:)
What a great post!
i only eat twice a day, 3 if theres a social function. i seem to work just fine, and love short heavy lifting. i agree, balance is key because in the end it does not matter one flying ____ what you add in or eat more of, your body will do with it what it needs to regardless of what source it comes from! took me a long time to grasp that one 🙂
Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers
I too am a huge snacker. I like to eat, so I eat. 😉 My current pre-workout snack is just a rice cake since I workout at 5:30 a.m., but I love protein oats after a good workouts, especially if I sneak fruit in there too!
Great post! Eating less and exercising more is never the way to go!
I love that you’re so intune with your body! I hope I can achieve that sooner rather than later :). I’m starting to learn what’s making my body happy. I always always have to have breakfast or something before I work out. PB and banana is usually the go to for me. And I’ve also been eating 6 times a day… not including all of the grazing that goes on in between those 6 meals.
My favorite post workout snack is usually a meal. I try to time my workouts by either having a pre workout snack, exercise, then breakfast. or Breakfast, exercise, pre-morning snack.
It’s definitely taken some time for me to figure out what works for me, but whatever it is, it’s WORKIN! It’s something like this: coffee, tea and water all day; no to low soy consumption (killlls my stomach); grains at every meal; fresh fruit and vegetables every day; Greek yogurt is one of the few dairies I can tolerate, along with cheese (thank goodness); roll with the punches, go with what I want in that moment and be happy with it. Also, don’t overthink it. That’s what gets people in trouble!
Amanda @ Running with Spoons
Yes! Overthinking is definitely a big no-no.
How many cups of water a day do I drink? I have no idea. I measure my water intake in bottles. I usually refill my bottle 4 times while I’m in the university and I can’t even imagine how much more I add to the equation with all the water I drink directly from the tap. I have always been like that. I never leave the house without a without a water bottle if i go out for more than 15 minutes. Dehydration is out of the question 😀 .
Foodwise… I don’t put much thought into compensating all the energy I burn during a workout. I’m just trying to give my body what it wants. Even when it wants pure junk.