weight

Peanut Butter: Why it’s an excellent sports foods

Peanut Butter: Why it’s an excellent sports foods

Peanut butter (PB) is a popular sports food that is not only yummy but also health-promoting.  I routinely choose to enjoy two (!) PB sandwiches a day: one for lunch and the other to curb late-afternoon hunger.

If you try to stay away from peanut butter because it is fattening or too fatty, think again and keep reading (as long as you are not allergic to peanuts, that is). The purpose of this article is to educate you about the value of PB in a diet for sports-active people of ages and athletic abilities—as well as their parents and grandparents. Continue Reading

Females, Food & Infertility

Females, Food & Infertility

 

“Yea, I stopped getting my period!!! That means I’m training really hard and am finally thin enough. “

“Yea, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that monthly hassle any more.”

“Yea, now I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant!”

     Freedom from monthly menstrual periods has historically brought pride and pleasure to many female athletes. That is, until they experience infertility when they do want to get pregnant. To their misfortune, many of the same women who were very content having abnormally functioning bodies are now in a state of grief. Continue Reading

How much should I eat on a rest day?

How much should I eat on a rest day?

Nancy,

When we met for our nutrition appointment, you said that I need about 2,400 calories a day — including exercise — to maintain my weight. If I burn off about 400 calories a day with exercise, does that mean I should eat 2,000 calories on days I do not exercise? Continue Reading

Artificial Sweeteners, Diet Soda & You: Yes or No?

Artificial Sweeteners, Diet Soda & You: Yes or No?

Is diet soda really bad for me? … Do artificial sweeteners cause cancer? … Which is healthier: to put sugar or Sweet ‘n Low in my iced tea?

Many athletes ask me many questions about diet soda and artificial sweeteners. They feel guilty about eating sugar, but they love sweet foods. If that sounds familiar, you can stop the guilt! We are born with an innate preference for sweet foods (including all-natural breast milk). All living species —apart from cats— are attracted to sweets. (Yes, my dog loves blueberries!) Hungry athletes, in particular, tend to enjoy sweet stuff a lot! While little is wrong with 100 to 200 calories of sugar a day, some athletes enjoy way too many sugar-laden foods, including soda. Continue Reading

For athletes who just can’t seem to eat normally….

Many of my clients come to me, wishing they could just eat normally. They see their chaotic or restrictive  eating as being a problem that creates issues with their weight, energy, and performance. Weight issues tend to be “I’m not good enough” issues. Feeling imperfect or out of control is an unhappy place to live. An athlete might distract himself from feeling that discomfort by keeping himself busy tracking calories, exercising to burn fat, and obsessing about what, when and how much to eat. Food-thoughts can occupy 99% of the day, leaving little time or energy to deal with the real issue: poor self-esteem and why he doesn’t feel good about himself.

To every athlete’s detriment, dieting/restricting food can hurt the body’s ability to function normally (as commonly noted by feeling cold and tired all the time, and in women, ceasing to have regular menstrual periods). Bones become weakened, stress fractures occur, and osteoporosis appears too young. Future infertility can be a sad consequence.

If any of this sounds familiar, please stop procrastinating and get some help! Seeing a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in sports nutritionist is a good place to start on your journey to find peace with food and your body. To find a local sports RD, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.

Another resource is the section on weight management in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Whatever you do – meet with an RD or read a self-help book, do something so you can stop struggling and have more fun. Don’t let shame or embarrassment block you from getting the help you need so you can reach your performance goals.

Quick Weight Quiz for Athletes

True or False: If you want to lose weight, you need to go on a diet.

False: Diets do not work. If diets did work, then everyone who has ever been on a diet would be lean. Not the case. Rather than going on a diet, try to make just a few basic changes, such as 1) choose fewer processed snacks in wrappers and instead enjoy more fruit (fresh or dried) and nuts, and 2) get more sleep. Lack of sleep can contribute to not only weight gain but also reduced performance.

Continue Reading

Info for women who restrict their eating

In the January 2014 issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, there is an interesting (to me, at least!) study on 16-17 year-old elite swimmers who were monitored for 12 weeks of a training program. The researchers divided data about the young women into two groups: 1) those who had regular menstrual periods and 2) those who had irregular periods (but were not amenorrheic).

The women with irregular periods:

• Had more body fat then the women with regular menses (22% vs. 19% body fat)
• Had a higher BMI (24 vs. 20)
• Ate 700 calories less than the women with regular menses (1,800 vs. 2,500 calories). They consumed only 12 cal/kg/Fat-Free Mass (body weight without bady fat) as compared to 30 cal/kg FFM in the women with regular menses.
• Did not lose body fat over the 12 weeks.
• Swam 10% slower in a 400-meter race after 12 weeks of training compared to the start of the training season. In comparison, the swimmers with regular menses who ate more calories swam 8% better than at the start of the season — likely because they were better fueled.

My message to you—if you restrict your eating,  feel hungry all the time, are not losing weight, and feel frustrated with the number on the scale—is to take a look at your genetics. If you are significantly leaner than others in your family, you might be lean for your genetics. (The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.) The cost of losing weight to be even leaner might be costing you the ability to perform at your best? Perhaps you want to be grateful for all the good things you body does for you, rather than punish it by eating too little fuel?

If you need help finding peace with food and peace with your body, you might want to meet with a sports dietitian for personalized advice. To find a local professional, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org. The chapters on weight management in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook have also helped many dieters.

Be wise, eat well, feel strong, and be well,

Nancy

 

I invite you to be as nice to your body as you are to your car: keep it well fueled so it can perform well!

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