It’s nearly 2 months since early June when I made a commitment to improve my overall nutrition, with the goals of living a healthier life, feeling better and being able to perform better. I started well, as we all do, full of enthusiasm and bright ideas on changing the world. I shared 2 quick blog updates on progress and then silence.
Did I fall off the tightrope of LCHF at the first hurdle and order a take away pizza with garlic dips and Ben & Jerry’s? No, but I stopped sharing updates as I did find it harder and didn’t achieve all the goals I set. I did write a few diary entries, intended for my blog but haven’t shared them until now. Read on below.
To be honest, I went into denial a bit and made excuses.
- I’m on holidays so I have to enjoy the local food: a week in France at the Euros did mean lots of tempting patisseries with cakes, butter croissants and of course cold beer and Bordeaux wine in the evenings. Barry said “enjoy your holidays”, so I tried to be good and generally had good lunches and dinners. I also got fruit/veg from the local markets which helped.
- I’m away racing at the weekend so need to reward myself. I was away racing in Dingle, Kilkee, Carlow, Longford and Kinsale, so did well on pre-race build up: healthy LCHF breakfasts & minimal nutrition during the race, but definitely over compensated after with snacks, desserts and whatever was on offer. Free food is very hard to resist!
- Sure I’ll burn it off – I’m training every day. I did use this excuse to justify having a scones & a cookie at our Friday coffee session at work. I thought I’d have the willpower to say no and just have a coffee and fruit, but when there’s a plate of pastries there, it’s really hard to resist. I’ve also gone back for dessert in the canteen. Even though I eat 3 freshly made meals each day, by putting myself in front to sweet desserts, I jump in and buy them. I need to stop walking by them in the canteen and the urge will pass. Or have my Greek yoghurt and fruit ready at my desk.
However, being more positive, 7 weeks in I do feel I’ve made progress:
- My 3 main meals are meeting LCHF principles, which I prepare myself (I enjoy doing it and have lots of variety).
- I’ve no problems training on empty, even for longer 3-4hr bike rides or 2hr+ runs. I feel fine during races too without gels/bananas – just a small protein date ball or brownie maybe.
- I’ve tried intermittent fasting, I just need to plan the week ahead and clearly identify a day so I don’t forget and make excuses.
- I’m getting to bed early enough and getting 7 hours sleep a night. I meditate some days, even if it’s just focused breathing while walking. I’m up early – the alarm goes at 6am now, whether I’m going training or getting to work early and training later in the day.
- I’m getting outside more. Ok it’s summer with long days but I’ve adjusted my work hours. Taking long lunch breaks – last week, I started at 7am, then twice went for a sea swim & run from 11am to 2pm and finished my afternoon calls with the US. It feels good to enjoy the summer sunshine.
- I’ve adjusted the timing and quantity of carbs I eat. Not scientifically measured but more conscious of getting carbs after training for recovery. Also got lots of fats in my diet. Trying to up protein intake – lots of lentils, chickpeas, veg – still a bit more chicken and red meat required. I started adding whey protein as a supplement to some drinks and shakes.
- Magnesium spray: Barry recommended it for the bedroom before sleep. I’ve tried it and not sure it makes a difference but my sleep quality is good, although I still wake sometimes for toilet breaks or just because I’m restless. Ideally this shouldn’t happen and I should sleep straight through.
To keep up progress I’m going to start my daily goal check-in, ticking off if I hit these goals:
- Training on empty or intermittent fasting – 3 times per week
- Healthy snacks/desserts – 6 days then no limits one day
- 9pm digital detox – turn off phone/laptop screens
- Meditate daily, even for 5mins
- Stretch & do flexibility work twice a week – toega, posture squats, crawling, hip flexors