Last week I had my second visit with Danielle, my nutritionist. In our first visit, she recommended I get my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR tested) which I did. So this visit was to review the results and talk about the proper methods of nutrition I should follow, specifically for my immediate goals of training for a marathon and getting back to my happy weight. The night before my appointment, I emailed Danielle my RMR results, as well as a month's worth of Daily Burn reports.
Daily Burn is an online tool that allows you to:
* monitor your diet * track your workouts * find motivation from others * join challenges and set goals * track your progress and achieve your goals
I like it because there's a free option that works very well, and there's also a PRO option, where for a nominal monthly fee, you can have additional services, like reporting. The reports were very useful to Danielle. She was able to study my diet over a 4-week period and get an idea of what foods I normally eat and what eating patterns are. Using this data, along with my RMR report, she was able to make solid recommendations with regard to my nutrition.
The first thing she did was clarify that my actual RMR is 1759 calories. This is a combination of the calories I burn doing nothing (1354) + the calories I burn just doing "lifestyle activities" (405). What this means is that without any exercise, I burn 1759 calories per day.
But since I'm in the middle of marathon training, and doing a lot of cross-training as well, I burn a lot more calories - anywhere from 300-500+ a day.
Based upon this, she made the following caloric recommendations:
* To maintain my current weight, my caloric intake should be 2274
* For weight loss, my calorie intake should be 2024
I'm so happy to finally have these guidelines to work with. Previous to this I was working on a guessing game and would limit myself to about 1800 calories gross, then workout on top of that. Danielle was right, I wasn't eating enough food and my body was struggling to keep up with the burn.
Next, she analyzed the nutrient breakdown of my diet. She said that my fiber, sugar, sodium, etc., was all very good. I was doing a good job with keeping my diet at 50% carbs, 20% protein, but the fat was a little high. She noted that I eat a lot of nuts, avocado and peanut butter; and while they are good fats, they are still fat. So I need to cut back on this and keep my fat intake at 30% or less of my total daily calories.
One glaring nutrient she said I absolutely need more of is potassium. I always have 1 banana a day in my smoothie, and one after I finish a run, but I guess its not enough. She sent me this article on potassium which I found very interesting.
Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate fluid and mineral balance and is needed for muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses. It also helps regulate blood pressure; an important role considering one in three American adults is living with hypertension2.
Potassium plays such an important role in blood pressure regulation and stroke prevention that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the health claim "diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke," for foods that are naturally low in sodium, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and provide at least 350 mg of potassium per serving, such as fat-free milk and some yogurts.
So how do I get more potassium and how much more of it do I need:
In the past week I've been making a conscious effort to eat the foods on this list. Its hard, but something that I need to work into my daily routine.
Here's some of the additional questions I asked her:
Q. I try to stay away from processed foods, but sometimes a nutrition bar is the most convenient snack available to me. Which ones are the better ones to eat? A. The ones she recommended are: Luna, Cliff and Kashi bars. I was happy to hear this because those are the ones I already like.
Q. Normal practice is to carb-load before a race, but I don't normally eat that much carbs, especially in one meal, and it sometimes make me sick. A. She said not to carb-load before a race for that exact reason; it will throw off your system which is the last thing you need before a long race. Instead, she says to make sure my carb intake is about 60% of my diet for about a week leading up to the race.
Q. I have some family and friends who don't eat red meat. I'm not a huge red meat eater, but I appreciate a good burger. How bad is it for you? A. Red meat is okay when eaten in moderation. Try not to eat it more than 3x's / week.
Q. I eat oatmeal for breakfast, but have to sweeten it up a little. I add a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey, which I know has a lot of sugar. Is this good or bad? A. If I'm going to add sugar, those are the best kinds to add. Just one tablespoon is fine, just don't overdo it. She also recommended a product called Sun Crystals which is made up of raw sugar and stevia. She'd recently started using it and seemed to like it. I'm not sure if I'll give it a try because I also add the agave or honey to change up the texture of the oatmeal. Not sure the powdery Sun Crystals would do that for me.
Q. Is cheese ok to eat? If so, what kinds? A. As with everything else, cheese in moderation is fine. The softer the cheese, the better it is for you. She recommended I stick with cottage cheese (which I've never had before) and low-fat mozzarella.
I love having Danielle as a resource that I can go to, to ask these kinds of questions and know that the answers are coming from a licensed, certified professional! I go back in 4 weeks for my next check-in to see how I'm doing. This is definitely motivation for me to keep recording my diet and exercise in the Daily Burn. She liked the my reports so much that she's added the Daily Burn to her list of recommended programs for her clients!
Are there any other questions you would like me to ask her in my next visit?
In my next post, I'll be sharing about the Fitness Assessment I recently went through. It was an eye-opening experience! Stay tuned!