Eating is an important aspect of life so I thought I would share some of my philosophies, experiences and maybe a few recipes. I have to admit that I am a foodie… I love to cook and really enjoy eating. Probably a bit too much! But I believe in a balanced diet that provides the proper nutrition needed for good health and any physical activity. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat fatty or sugary food, it’s just that I limit the frequency and when I do, I compensate afterwards. For example, if I go for beer and chicken wings with guys after hockey, I will offset it eat soup or a chicken salad the following day. I also work out to burn any extra calories. Normally I only eat home-made food too, so that I know what’s in it and how much.
So how do you know how many calories you’ve consumed and how much you’re burning? I recommend using an App or web site to record and analyze your diet and workouts. Tracking what you eat and how much you exercise is critical in my opinion. If you are honest, you will be surprised how quickly the calories can add up. Tracking what you eat also shows you how much exercise you need to do to in order to burn off any excess calories. I use the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone. It’s amazing… and it’s completely FREE! You can scan bar codes from food packages to acquire the nutritional info, or enter your own recipes. You can track your workouts too, and the calories burned are deducted from your intake for a net result. Just be careful with the default calorie credits for many exercises as they are significantly overestimated in my opinion. The only way to accurately track energy burned is by using a heart rate monitor, which I recommend.
My wife is a clinical Registered Dietitian and I soundly believe in her philosophy… “Everything in moderation, and eat real, unprocessed food”
… so that’s my motto.
The problem for many people is that they don’t know what moderation is. That’s why I recommend My Fitness Pal. If you’re honest with your records, it will become pretty obvious.
I’m not a fan of selective diets like low carb, low fat, vegan etc. I prefer balanced intake and I believe that you can still indulge. When I’m riding, I fuel up with carbs. After a strenuous workout, I replenish with carbs and protein. I try to tailor my nutrition to the amount of activity I’m doing. Rides under 90 minutes, I only drink water. Rides more than 2 hours, I consume about 250 – 300 calories per hour. I also believe in eating “clean” as much as possible. Limit your processed foods and try eat home-made meals with natural ingredients as much as possible. I know that there are millions of health nuts who eat super clean and are super healthy, but in my opinion, if you like to eat McDonalds… or donuts… go for it once in a while. As long as you limit it to no more than once a week, and balance it with nutritious food and exercise, your body can handle it. Ideally, I would always go for the home-made whenever possible. I have never been a fan of fast food burgers and fries, but I regularly make home made burgers, and occasionally make my own fries or onion rings… and fry them… in oil! We bake cookies all the time too… good ol’ butter and sugar with chocolate chips and oatmeal…none of those “healthy” alternatives. Our bodies need fat and carbs. Just don’t overdo it all the time and monitor the amount.
I think the most important thing is being aware of what you are eating, and how much you are eating. Make healthy choices overall and it will compensate for occasional indulgence. If you eat a variety of essential foods to maintain good health, then regular exercise allows you to indulge in my opinion. Ride 8 hours a week and you can suck back a couple of bottles of wine, a few beers and a dozen cookies. I know that from experience. I’ve been tracking my weight for at least a year, and it hasn’t fluctuated more than 2 kgs regardless of what I eat. Why? Because I pay attention and I’m active.
Overall, I would suspect that most experts will disagree with my philosophy on eating, but I’m just speaking from experience and relating that you can enjoy life with plenty of good food and drink.