How to eat well
To be fit and healthy requires a combination of good food as well as regular exercise so it seems the saying you are what you eat is quite literally true.
While I like my food and eat well, I have never had much knowledge beyond the basics about maintaining a healthy balanced diet. So when my training stepped up a notch and my desire to eat more did as well, I did not think this would be a problem, assuming I would burn off so much I could pretty much eat what I wanted in whatever quantity.
“However the scales quickly told me a different story and while I consoled myself in thinking muscle is denser than fat a bit of research on weight to height ratios of professional athletes suggested I was going in the wrong direction"
The trouble is with so much advice out there about good and bad “dieting” it’s hard to work out what is factually accurate and I was not really looking for a diet. I wanted to know more about nutrition and specifically how to find and maintain my healthy weight as well as understand how to fuel my body better for training and recover it faster afterwards.
So I took the plunge and enrolled on a nutrition course to find out more. Well let me tell you it is a huge and complex subject. In terms of what to eat it is all about balance. Public Health England have created Eatwell plate. It is a useful starting point if you really don’t know how what proportions of what food stuffs to eat. There is a picture below.
The BHF website has a healthy eating toolkit with plenty of useful tips too on this subject portion guides, recipes and so much more. Go here for more information https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/healthy-living/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-toolkit
One of the best tips I have for you if you are struggling to keep your weight at a level you are happy with or trying to reach a particular goal is to track your calories and the proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat you consume daily, alongside the calories you burn from exercise. Don’t be tempted to exclude carbs or fat from your diet, your body needs elements of them to work efficiently particularly if you are exercising hard regularly.
If counting calories sounds onerous then make it simple by using myfitnesspal.com which is a free calorie counter. Bear in mind that this is a guide not an absolute but it is helpful to see how much you have eaten.
Tracking calories burnt from exercise is not as simple as this little app may have you thinking and others that I have used also have a tendency to overinflate the calories burned. So don’t be tempted to eat all the calories you have burned post exercise unless of course you are trying to keep weight on.
For specific information on what to eat, I recommend the “10 mins to change your life - Time to eat well” booklet which is downloadable from the British Heart Foundation website.