From the May 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Want to lose weight, get in shape, and run your best ever? Here are 6 ways to get there
By Dimity McDowell
We've all been there: despite exercising and watching what you eat, the elastic in your running shorts seems to be as tight as your hamstrings. “Ninety-five percent of the runners I work with want to lose some weight,” says Cassie Dimmick, a sports dietitian and running coach. “For good reason: the leaner you are, within reason, the faster you go.” Getting lean requires the same trait that makes you get up at 5am for a 5K: discipline. You need to be vigilant about your diet and consistent with exercise so that you maximise kilojoule burn, increase muscle mass, and decrease body fat. Luckily, it’s easier than it sounds when you employ these tactics from dietitians and coaches. Get ready to lose!
1 Plan Ahead
“Know when you’re going to eat and what you’re going to eat,” says Suzanne Girard Eberle, author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. “Plan it out at the beginning of the day and the week so that you’re not scrambling when you’re hungry.” This helps you resist the temptation of fast-food restaurants or coffee scrolls in the lunchroom.
2 Eat Often
Aim for three healthy meals and two small snacks a day, which means you’re eating something around every three hours. A 2010 Swedish study involving more than 3000 people found that those who ate more than three times a day had a lower body mass index and waist circumference; consumed more fibre and less fat; and drank less alcohol than those who limited their eating sessions to three or less. Eating more often keeps your metabolism humming, and prevents you from getting super hungry.
3 Repeat Yourself
The National Weight Control Registry is a compendium of more than 10,000 people who have maintained a weight loss of at least 13 kilograms for at least one year. These successful losers “limit their exposure to temptations,” says J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D., a co-investigator on the Swedish study, “and have a repertoire of healthy foods they pull from regularly.”
4 Veg – and Fruit – Up
Aim to have fruits and vegetables make up half of each meal. “Your breakfast should be half fruit, and your lunch and dinner, half veggies,” says Dimmick, who adds that snacks should have the same 50/50 ratio: think carrots and a yoghurt, or string cheese and an apple.
5 Go Off the Sauce
Beware of the hidden kilojoules in sauces. Use tomato sauce instead of alfredo on pasta; substitute hummus or mustard for mayo on a sandwich; and make your own salad dressing: Add a little ranch seasoning to plain Greek yoghurt, or a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
6 Take It Easy on Nut Butter
Runners love peanut and almond butters, and for good reason: they offer protein, healthy fats, and fibre in a convenient package. But a serving size is two level tablespoons. “People often end up eating three tablespoons,” says Dimmick. “That’s an awful lot of kilojoules.”
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