By Monique Ryan
Monique Ryan is the nutrition columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlonmagazines and is founder of Personal Nutrition Designs, a consulting companybased in the Chicago area. Ryan will try to answer selected questions eachWednesday in her regular on-line question-and-answer column.
Readers are welcome to send questions directly to Ryan.
I plan to stay on track with my training for the upcoming race season. However, I would like to enjoy the upcoming holiday season without overindulging or, on the other hand, coming across like a food Nazi at parties. Do you have any suggestions for a Masters competitor that does not have quite the leeway with calorie burning as he used to? PC
Thank you for your timely question. Below are some suggestions for staying healthy and lean during the holidays.
1. Keep the big picture and your goals in mind. Controlling food intake around the holidays can be challenging in that the immediate effects of eating plenty of food and consuming alcohol are enjoyable, while the negative effects of overindulging are delayed and easily pushed aside. Changing habits can also produce immediate unpleasant effects, which we want to avoid. You body does balance out your caloric intake with your training, each week, not daily. So what you do during regular eating and training days can balance out holiday meals and parties, if you don’t overdo it too much. On days that you are not entertaining or being entertained, eat relatively lightly. Make sure that you stick to your training program and eat healthy and reasonably whenever possible.
2. Plan ahead when going to parties and holiday dinners, and be conscious of your thoughts and behaviors. Train/exercise that day if possible, as this often enhances motivation to eat well. Before eating, discern how hungry you are and decide if you really want a food or dish that is offered, don’t eat it just because it is there. Don’t arrive to parties or dinners hungry, have lighter meals that day that emphasize lean proteins, whole grains, salads, fruits, and vegetables. Make every other drink one that is non-caloric and non-alcoholic. Besides the risks associated with driving, alcohol is a potent source of calories and can stimulate the drive to eat. Remind yourself that food and drink are always around, there is no need to eat everything or drink it all now.
3. Give thanks without gaining weight. You can try everything you want, just don’t have too much of it. Savor each bite and enjoy. Pay attention to how full you are getting, and leave room for dessert. Some strategies for saving calories are:
• Eat white turkey meat without the skin.
• Drink calorie-free beverages.
• For before-dinner snacks try raw vegetables, slicedraw fruits, and low fat crackers. Mexican salsa is an excellent fat-free dip, and you can make low fat dips form yogurt or cottage cheese.
• Go easy on added fats like gravy, margarine, and butter.
• Have plain sweet potatoes, rather than candied.
• Steam vegetables such a green beans, asparagus, or broccoli and use seasonings to flavor.
• Keep portions of high sugar items and sweets such as cranberry sauce and desserts small.
• Search the Internet for low-fat holiday recipes.
Response to Q and A posted on 11/20/02 regarding nausea during an Ironman
Have you experienced nausea during an Ironman? If so, please share your successful strategies with our readers.
I read your column and answer regarding nausea during an Ironman. For Ironman and Half-Ironman races I have been taking one pretzel nugget every 20 minutes on the bike and run. I found that this keeps away nausea and counters the sweetness that comes from consuming so much Gatorade, GU’s, and Power Barsetc. DL
Thank you for sharing your strategy. Eating small amounts of solid foods at the right times can be very useful for controlling nausea. We would like any other readers who have experienced the same problem and found a solution that works for them to share it, so that we can post it on our Web site. Send your comments directly to me and put “Ironman nausea” in the title. — MR
Monique Ryan, MS, RD is author of the “Complete Guide to SportsNutrition,” and “SportsNutrition for Endurance Athletes” from VeloPress. She is a regular columnistfor VeloNews and Inside Triathlon magazines and is founderof Personal Nutrition Designs, a nutrition consulting company based in theChicago area. Ryan regularly counsels athletes on performance and healthrelated nutrition concerns. She has consulted with the Saturn Cycling Teamsince 1994, and has also worked with Volvo-Cannondale, Trek-Volkswagen, andUSA Cycling. Ryan offers answers to reader’s questions each Wednesday inthis weekly column. Readers are welcome to send questions directly to Ryan.