Half of the clients that I see come in for sports nutrition and for weight loss, or losing body fat ideally. Athletes want to be lean. They train hard, they eat what they think is healthy but most have one thing in common when they want to ‘lean out’…..they skip meals. This may be one of the reasons that despite the hard efforts riding, running and swimming, they seem to retain the belly fat.
When I work with my clients, one of the first things we discuss is balancing blood sugar. To balance the blood sugar throughout the day, you need to eat regularly spaced meals with the right proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fats- in each meal. You eat mini-meals throughout the day rather than a huge breakfast, little snack, big lunch, little snack, big dinner. Or for some, it tends to be no snacks and just really large meals, where you over-stuff yourself as you try to satisfy the insane hunger. You feel like the bottomless pit inhaling food. And then you really are not hungry for anything for another 6 hours. This is what we call the sumo wrestler diet. You gain a ton of weight with too many calories in too few meals.
Think of your body as a wood-burning stove. You need to put the right kind of logs into your stove to keep the fire burning well throughout the day. if you skip a meal, it is like running on embers – not much heat coming off that! if you over stuff it with too many longs, like a huge meal, it takes awhile for that fire to get going. If you throw stick, twigs and newspapers into the fire, you get a quick burn but nothing long sustaining. Sticks and twigs are like your pretzels, crackers or candy – the simple ‘carb’ meals that spike the blood sugar but do not last. Then you are hungry again 90 minutes later and again crave more simple sugars like cookies, soft pretzels or crackers. Sometimes you will also drink coffee as you feel tired. You may be in fact tired, but this is just a sign of low blood sugar, not true fatigue.
The trick to burning fat and building lean body mass is to balance the blood sugar. Eat balanced meals every 3 hours or so with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, fiber and fat, and you will find that your muffin top will slowly shrink and disappear. And it didn’t take you being on a diet to do so!
For more information about balancing your blood sugar and how to lose body fat and other sports nutrition related topics, please visit www.nutrition-in-motion.net for sports nutrition programs, lectures and upcoming events. Joanna K Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH is a sports nutrition coaching helping athletes improve their performance, reaction time and faster recovery using real foods. She provides realistic options to ameliorate their already busy lives. As an athlete herself, she understands the needs athletes have including planning meals She does called Nutrition Response Testing to test whether supplements or foods are aiding in athletic performance or creating weakness and malabsorption. Joanna helps make healthy eating
realistic and a part of every athlete’s nutrition program.