Eat Like a Cyclist
Be smart about food to consolidate your gains on the bike. Here's how.
Written by Selene Yeager with Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, courtesy of Bicycling Magazine
So you want to get fit and fast, and feel great? The riding is the key to reaching that goal, but your eating habits might need to change, too. Accounting for the food you take in is the necessary first step. Too often people want to overhaul their eating but don't have a clue about what they are currently doing. They don't think about how many times a day they eat, or where, or how fast they plow through lunch, and so on. The answer: Write down what you consume.
Several kinds of food journals are available; you can find them online and in the book we're excerpting here. Keep a log daily if possible, to identify patterns then pick the areas you want to work on.
The more detail you provide, the more you'll get out of this. Just writing "sandwich" is not nearly as revealing as "turkey and cheese on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato" or "meatball hero." And that goes for amounts, too. A glass could be a vat, and a handful could be a small jar. Use measuring cups and spoons. Often when people try to lose weight, portion control is the biggest barrier. After three days, use the log to adjust your eating habits going into the following week.
Time of Day
Are your calories spread evenly through the day? If so, good. If not, it's probably true that like many people, you're eating most of your food at night. Think about how you can redistribute those calories for energy all day long, starting with your morning meal.
Location is more of a factor than you might think. If you always eat in front of your computer and find yourself snacking soon after your meal, that's a flag that you're not registering that you just ate because you're distracted. Eating should be an event in and of itself.
Winning the award for grab, gulp, and go? The "prize" is generally excess pounds. If it takes you less than 20 minutes to finish a meal, work on slowing down to prevent overeating.
Your plate should be filled with reasonable portions. Three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Grains, potatoes, pasta, and rice should be about the size of one tightly balled fist. The correct portions are probably a little smaller than you think they should be because we, as a society, have been supersizing for more than a decade. Start cutting down to the right sizes. You won't miss the excess.