I am experiencing an eating problem. Not an eating disorder, not a food issue, but a problem with eating. It’s been developing these past few months and is now getting to be troublesome. There seems to be a growing disconnection between eating habits, hunger, exercise and diet. This is a multi-dimensional problem, but if I had to state is as a tension or dilemma, then it would be something like
How did it come to this? It’s a story of arts of listening and techniques of calculation, like others on this blog.
About three years ago, after noting that I was starting to gain weight just by looking at food (hello perimenopause!), I started logging my calorie intake using an app (Myfitnesspas). A few weeks of logging revealed (!) that 1200 calories a day was the baseline intake to maintain my weight. A run or swim meant I could throw in the occasional beer or chocolate chip cookie or indulge in that match made in heaven: a piece of chocolate and a well-parided whisky. So far so good.
But since end of November 2016, when I joined the local triathlon club GVAV Triathlon, I’ve increased the number of training sessions in my week, and these sessions have a much more intensive character. For example: 1.5 hour training on the track in the Stadspark mean 535 calories expended, not counting the bike ride there and back. This represents a whopping 45% of my regular calorie intake. So it’s not a question of enjoying an additional snack.
So how to deal with this? Should I compensate intake according to effort and have an additional 3 course meal on days with intensive training? This path involves putting quite a bit of thought and attention to eating, to keep the extra intake nutritious and well-timed. And frankly, I’m already spending a lot of time on this triathlon business. Or should I keep to a more stable, consistent baseline and simply increase my daily intake, so that it all comes up in the wash and intake and output balance out over the course of the week? This approach takes less effort and is easier to transform into a new eating pattern, with simply more calories in my diet. But this then carries the risks of piling on the weight if for some reason I’m training less that week and of having energy dips because of large efforts on some days and not others.
So what is the best approach? I’ll be looking for sources these coming weeks, and perhaps even asking around. Though feeling like the ubernewb at GVAV, I’m not too keen to exhibit my ignorance there.