Recovery and balancing treats

Posted by Tom Shand on 10 November 2013 | 11498 Comments

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Blog 4. Recovery and finding the balance of unhealthy treats.

The aim of stating my goals for all to see was that it would help me achieve them. So let’s see how I am going. I am going to run through one goal at a time and go into a bit of detail, rather than skimming over them.

Goal 1: Be more diligent with recovery meals. Check this article for why this is important.

I am nailing this one. To be fair, it is a pretty easy one to be good at, but I have achieved quality over quantity. As I am trying to get leaner, I don’t want to do my usual trick of get back from training, scoff food, wait, then scoff again.

I know how much carbs and protein I need for a good recovery, so I am sticking to this. On my shorter (<1hr) runs, I time them so I eat my breaky or lunch after them, and ensure that I include the right amount of protein and carbs. These meals are pretty easy, for breakfast it is cereal, milk, fruit, and a honey on toast.

An alternative would be eggs on two toast, fruit, backed up with more honey on toast. If bread is low then I use beans as my carb.

For lunch I often have left overs, I get the protein from meat or lentils, and the carbs are usually rice or pasta.

I often make an egg fried rice with Sophie to take in if there are no leftovers, or of course some trusty sandwiches.

I now know how many cups of rice/pasta/cereal, or pieces of bread I need for optimal recovery, so eating the right amount takes very little extra effort.

Goal 2 was more about getting leaner, and I delve into some ideas to help with weight loss for those looking to do that.

Goal 2: Cut down on sugar – office treats just once per week, less honey sandwiches, avoid desserts.

I would have to give myself a 4/10 for this.

I still eat office treats whenever they are on offer, and I still eat at least my fair share. Considering that my other job is in a children’ weight management service we probably have less naughty foods than some offices, but we would have something in at least once a week, often twice, and I am generally in the thick of it.

This is a great example of “external triggers” which I talk a lot about with my weight loss clients.

External triggers are something in the environment that cause you to behave in a certain way.

In this example, the office cake/biscuits are an external trigger, and my behaviour is to casually wander past the cake and innocently take a slice, as though it is my first of the day.

Prior to this behaviour though, this trigger causes a thought – in my case a craving. If that cake wasn’t there, I could easily go through the day without any thought of anything sweet, and I do most days. But put the cake on the bench, and I can barely focus on my work until I have had just enough to make me feel a little sick, and guilty about going to counsel children on having less cake.

I have painted a bad picture of myself here, but it is worth noting that this is the only time I have this type of “junk” food. And this is what is important.

I know that every week, someone will bring something sweet and unhealthy to the office, so I never have anything sweet or unhealthy at home. This means that even though the cake may be weekly, it is still my only “treat” of the week.

For those wanting to lose weight this is an important lesson, it is knowing when your environment may get the better of you, and making sure that when you can control your environment, you do. Your home environment is one that you can control, so make it a junk food free zone.  If it’s not there you won’t eat it. If it’s not there, you won’t even want it.

How to improve: I am going to take some nuts along to work and have these as an alternative. I will also be better with fruit so they are accessible and another option.

What are your secrets to warding off cravings?

What are your favourite recovery meals?