The everyday improvements

Posted by Tom Shand on 2 October 2013 | 0 Comments

Tags: , , , ,

As I stated last blog, I am starting on a journey to getting my nutrition bang on so that I can achieve my London marathon goals.

And given that Starship Hospital have given me a place on their team, I am now pretty excited about that!

The first thing that I need to worry about, and the basis of any good endurance nutrition programme, is sorting out my everyday diet.

Success in the marathon is a lot about power to weight, so shedding unnecessary weight (fat) can take minutes off your time. A nutritious diet is also essential for tolerating the physical demands of a high training load. I’ll need to provide enough overall energy, carbohydrates, and protein to not only maximise the adaptations I get from training, but ensure that my immune system is not compromised.

I have done a 4 day food diary and critically examined my diet, I also had a colleague to take a diet history and make recommendations of her own. This exercise was very interesting, while I have a pretty good diet for an everyday bloke, it is not an athletes diet, so I will have to be stricter on myself. I realised that because I am fairly active, and eat well most of the time, I can get away with some poor habits. These are what I want to fix to shed a couple of kilos.

From this exercise we have set the following goals:

  • Cut down on sugar – office treats just once per week, less honey sandwiches, avoid desserts
  • Have two pieces of fruit everyday
  • Restrict the portions sizes of my evening meal on rest and light training days
  • Be diligent with recovery meals


I’ll keep you updated on how this goes. To help track this process I have taken some baseline measures:

Weight: 78.1kg

Height: 181cm (I used to think I was 182, I hope I haven’t started shrinking already. Either way, I am short of 6ft damn it.)

BMI: 23.8

Fat %: 14.1%

Fat mass: 11.0kg

Fat free mass: 67.1kg

Muscle mass: 63.8g

Total body water: 46.6kg

The Tanita scales I used also gave me an ideal body weight of 72.1kg, and a degree of obesity of 8%. I have no idea how it came up with these numbers but I will keep track of them also, and I guess I’ll have to do some homework as to what they mean.

So there it is, a bit of an outline of the next few months, my dietary goals laid bare, and my anthropometry for the world to see.

Examining my diet so closely was an interesting experience, and one that a dietitian probably should do more often.

So what are your naughty food habits- ones that you get away with (or maybe don’t), and should change to be a healthier person or better athlete?