February 10, 2011

Learning how to eat. A session with a nutritionist

On Tuesday I had a one hour session with a nutritionist. This is the first time I'd ever seen someone professional about how to eat. Seems rather simple, you take some food and put it in your mouth. If you want to lose weight you put less food into said mouth. But, no, it's so much more complex. The nutritionist told me that I basically had to throw out much of the common wisdom about regular nutrition because I should be focusing more on sport or athletic nutrition which is somewhat different from what the average couch potato's diet should be. This surprised me slightly because I never really thought of myself as an athlete. Just some guy who likes to go run, bike, and swim.

What follows is a summary of how things went during the session, more or less:
Nutritionist: Let's start by reviewing your goals.
Joe: I don't want to be fat and I want to stay safe when logging long miles.
Nutritionist: I see, lets go over your eating log for the last three days.
Joe: ok.
Nutritionist: Looks like you probably get hungry around 9am and 8pm, right?
Joe: ummmm, yes, how did you know?
Nutritionist: It's what I do. Looks like you're using caffeine as a crutch during those times to suppress your appetite. See, here you drank a soda, here a coffee, and another soda here...
Joe: ummmm, yes, looks like it. Wow, you're smart. So, what do I do?
Nutritionist: You need to eat more food.
Joe: wait, what?
Nutritionist: You should start planning to eat at least two or three snacks per day. And this spring and summer when you're logging all those miles you'll basically not stop eating all day.
Joe: wait, what?
Nutritionist: Right now you're only getting about 1,800 calories a day and I calculate that right now you should be getting more like 2,500 at a minimum. And that would also give you room to lose weight.
Joe: wait, what?
Nutritionist: you seem confused.
Joe: I need to eat more to lose weight?
Nutritionist: Right now you're putting your body into starvation mode so it's hanging on to everything you put in it. So, yes, you need to eat more food to have a chance at losing more weight.
Joe: awesome.
Nutritionist: yes, but here's the list of food types you should be eating. You can't just go out and eat big macs.
Joe: bummer.

So, the nutritionist handed me a sheet of paper that said I should eat 8 ounces of grains, 3 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruits, 3 servings of dairy, and 6.5 ounces of meat and beans (protein) PER DAY. I've been trying to follow this for the last one and a half days and so far I've noticed a big increase in energy.

The nutritionist also recommended I read "The Sports Nutrition Guidebook" by Nancy Clark.

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