So obviously warmer weather = more riding.
The thing is, like I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m not ready for all this sun. The riding’s whipping my legs into shape, but there’s the other half of the equation: what I’m eating.
That cyclists are constantly famished is old news. But caught in a power-to-weight ratio sport, we’re still clearly obsessed with food, nutrition, health, and how that all translates to speed [or not]. So even if you’re bored of hearing about it, if Bicycling can do a full feature on food, well, SO CAN I.
Okay so we all know that calories in < calories out = weight loss. The thing is, when you don’t really qualify as an endurance athlete but do more with your body than lie on the couch and eat chips all day, what the hell are you supposed to eat? A good ride might make you want to inhale your refrigerator once you get home, but the simple truth is that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. On the other hand, if you’re constantly hungry, you’re not going to want to ride or ride well.
I’ve been watching what I eat [I’ve mostly succeeded in banning processed food from my kitchen], but a lot of the time, I’m famished an hour or two after meals. I would predictably lurk near my kitchen, nibbling on this and that; small wonder I haven’t lost a pound since I got my wisdom teeth pulled in, oh....2007.
Enter Mike’s mom, who is a legitimately awesome lady, as well as an unrivaled resource when it comes to health and nutrition. She suggested trying the Zone to get rid of the crazy cravings.
I was skeptical. Just like Atkins, it seemed like there were too many celebrities involved for it to actually work for real people. But Mike’s mom swears by it, so out of curiosity, I checked out their website. The basic premise is that depending on your gender, height, and weight, you’re allocated a certain number of “protein blocks.” For each block of protein, you’re supposed to eat a block each of fat and carbs. This is supposed to balance out your meals and keep you from getting hungry within 3-4 hours after a meal. Oh, and you’re not limited to one block of protein, carbs, and fat per meal; it depends on what you’re allocated [for me, it’s 11 blocks], but you’re supposed to divide the blocks up into 3 meals and 2 snacks [that would be 3 blocks per meal for me and 1 block each for my snacks]. A chart converting measurements of proteins, carbs, and fats into block is available here.
Okay so this is where it gets slightly complicated. 1 block of protein is about 1oz. But the serving size for 1 block of carbs or fat depends; 1 block of carbs can be either ½ a slice of bread or 4 cups of raw spinach. See where this is going? It essentially encourages you to eat more vegetables and fruits with your protein, as opposed to bread or super simple carbs that will send your blood sugar crashing. For example, in the above picture, for lunch I had a giant bed of lettuce, half a tomato [carbs], plus 2oz of sardines [2 blocks of protein], ¼ of an avocado [fat], and ½ a grapefruit [more carbs].
Still with me? No?
I didn’t think so. Which is why I’ve been playing guinea pig for you all since Sunday. Okay, not really, but I’m giving it a shot. It’s an interesting way to combine and eat food; and it’s a change that you can actually stick to for the rest of your life. I don’t have to eat massive quantities of meat all the time [3oz is about the size of your palm or a deck of cards] and lots of vegetables are involved. I am changing it up a bit, like eating 6 smaller meals a day as opposed to 5 [I like to eat, okay?], and I'm not following it to a T. But, I am documenting it all on flickr. No guarantees that there won’t be repetition [there already is abundant repetition], but if you’re interested, at the very least it’ll give you an idea on how to eat/GET IN THE ZOONNNEEEE.
And the best part? It’s keeping me full. As in not starving by 10am, even when I’m riding.
Now here’s to hoping I can shed some pounds while I’m at this...