I said in my last recap how I’m following the Racing Weight guidelines for how many carbs I should eat. The book bases its guidelines on how long (in time) you are training a week based on this chart:
Body weight should be your ideal racing weight, not your current weight. Figuring out your racing weight is a whole process that involves body fat measurement and analysis and then comparing your weight based on your performance during races. I skipped all that and just used my goal weight that I have used for Weight Watchers for the past 5 years, though I would like to do the actual racing weight exercises at some point. At my goal weight and training 8 hours a week, I should be eating 471- 543 grams of carbs a day. At the low end, that’s the equivalent of more than 9 bagels or cups of rice a day, so, it’s A LOT. Even trying to increase my carbs, I’m not even coming close to that much. I’ve been somewhere in the 300 range and get up to about 375 grams of carbs max on the days of my hard workouts. It does make me wonder if my racing weight is actually much less than the goal weight I used. And the book does note that if you are eating less than the guidelines and performing well, you’re fine and don’t need to eat more.
I tried to follow the guidelines early in the year when I was training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon at a higher mileage and do think that all the carbs helped make me feel strong and perform well on my runs. Unfortunately, I gained weight. I do believe that it’s not because I was eating more carbs but because I was eating more of everything. When you’re trying to eat more of one thing, it’s hard to stop that mindset from sneaking into to all things, at least for me. I was also not tracking my Weight Watchers points, and I tend to gain weight when I don’t track.
So here I am again, now just slightly above my goal weight and looking to maintain my weight while following the guidelines. Since I changed my focus to maintaining my weight at the beginning of August, I’ve been really anxious about gaining weight. I typically ate about 30 points of food when I was losing, and my daily points is now around 50! And yet I’ve maintained. The first two weeks I had slight losses, and this past week I had a slight gain but overall I’m down a half-pound from when I switched to maintenance and started increasing my carbs. I feel like I’m eating so much, so this is just crazy to me.
Racing Weight recommends all your carbs be high-quality carbs like
- whole-wheat bread, bagels, pasta
- whole grains (brown rice, barley, oats)
- spaghetti sauce
- orange juice
My challenge is that I’m used to eating a lot of fruits and veggies. Yet most of them aren’t high in carbs, with the exception of potatoes, bananas, and apples. So when I try to eat more carbs, my belly just doesn’t have room for all the fruits and veggies. My daily servings of fruits and veggies have dropped from 10-15 to about 8-12 now. It makes me a little sad.
While I have no problem eating fruits and veggies, whole grains have always been a bit of a struggle for me. I love white bread of course (it’s on my last meal menu for the meal before I die), but brown rice, barley, quinoa…eh. It’s okay. I don’t hate it or anything. But it’s no plate of fresh, sliced tomatoes, ha ha (my husband thinks I might unofficially hold the world record for amount of tomatoes eaten on a daily basis; because of him I had to look up whether all acid from the tomatoes would rot my teeth [I could not find anything definitive one way or the other on that.]) And finding recipes for grain dishes and cooking them just isn’t very exciting for me.
So I found some quicker options at the store.
Normally I would turn my nose at things like this. It drives me crazy when my husband buys packaged foods like this because I know they’re so much cheaper to cook from scratch. But I’m giving in and taking a helping hand to get my whole grains in.
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I’m happy that I don’t seem to have to worry about gaining weight in this training cycle. But this way of eating–with the focus on carbs instead of veggies and fruits–is just alien to me.
The other thing is that it’s kind of taken the fun out of eating. One time I said to my husband, “I love food more than you.” Of course I meant, “I love food more than you love food” but he answered, “I always suspected!” I’ve always thought I love food more than other people. I love to find new recipes and cook and bake, and I usually really look forward to my meals. Now it’s like, “Oh, great…more brown rice.”
But I’ll only be eating this way through this training cycle and will then go back to normal. I still plan to track my Weight Watcher points to make sure I don’t overdo things, but I honestly don’t think I could overdo it if I want to because I’m already eating so much. Now I can see why pro runners are so skinny!
If anyone has any quick meal suggestions that are a little more exciting than a burrito or pasta or a baked potato, please send them my way! In the meantime I think I’m going to try to go through all my cookbooks and try some new lentil recipes since I can get more excited about lentils than whole grains.