Monday, October 15, 2018

Meal Planning with a Marathoner-in-Training

For the first time in a long time, Jeff and I are not coordinated with our food.  Back when I was actively dieting, he was happy to eat whatever I made because he liked eating lighter - and if he was still hungry after dinner, he'd grab some fruit for dessert, along with a couple of Dove dark chocolate Promises.  It made my life easy and I didn't face the challenges that other dieting bloggers did with a husband and/or family who weren't quite on board for making the switch to healthier meals.

But now, we are at different places when it comes to meal planning - mostly dinners, because that's when we eat together most often.  He's already running a lot and as a result, he's hungry.  I get it, I do - I remember that hunger toward the end of my half marathon training.  For perspective, he'll be running a half marathon on Sunday...and his mileage will continue to increase from there.  He's trying to figure out fueling for his long runs and that includes what he's eating in the days leading up to them.   For the last month I've made spaghetti with meat sauce for Thursday night's dinner, and he takes those leftovers to work for Friday's lunch, and then we'll do some sort of meat and potatoes for Friday's dinner (usually a burger and fries but we've also tried steak and baked potatoes which was yummy, too) - and he's felt strong during his Saturday long runs, which is great - that's the goal.

For me, this is a lot of heavier food.  I wanted to get better about having more fruit and vegetables in my diet and over the summer I started making my fruit/kale/yogurt smoothies.  I also ate a lot of salads either at Salata or using those premixed salad kits that have different ingredients - I have no shame in admitting that I'm all about the easy factor when it comes to making a quick, healthy meal.

Couple this with me starting to do my group workouts again, and I was more onboard the healthy eating train than ever because if I'm going to work that hard, I don't want to undermine everything by eating less-than-optimal food too often (Blue Baker on Saturdays excepted).  So at the same time when I'm trying to make good choices, Jeff is foraging for food after dinner - it's not unusual for him to have a bowl of cereal, maybe some yogurt and an apple, plus the Dove Promises after dinner.  I'm not hungry, but it's hard to be around someone who is continually eating - I want to join in!

To combat this and save me from myself, I bought some bagged popcorn - Boom Chicka Pop in sea salt flavor, which is 35 calories a cup.  I can pour myself a bowl of it, get that wanting to eat sensation out of my system, and I've only had 70 calories.  I'm also drinking a lot of water so I'm overly full because that also will stop me from joining in with Jeff on his marathon eating.

I got some encouragement in that I was still doing OK with this when I had a body scan at BCS Fitness recently - while I haven't weighed myself in years and don't care what I weigh as long as I feel healthy and strong, they recommended doing a scan at the beginning of your workouts and then another about a month later to see if you're making changes where you want.  I keep my eyes closed while doing the scans and let Brad tell me if I've made progress.  After five weeks I had my second scan and while I hadn't gained any muscle (drat, but I was a little less hydrated than my original scan and Brad said that was probably the reason), I had gained strength in my arms and torso, so I was happy about that - my goal is to become a stronger runner through this, so any progress is good, especially considering I was dealing with a calf tear and not doing a whole lot of work with my legs.  And I'd surprisingly lost weight which is not bad for someone my age, my height, and with my sloooow metabolism. 

Meal plan for this week:

Monday - Korean beef bowl with rice and steamed broccoli
Tuesday - Beef stew (it's supposed to be nice and chilly so that sounded good)
Wednesday - Leftovers from Monday or Tuesday
Thursday - Bagged salads with deli turkey, garlic bread (concession to Jeff who needs more food)
Friday - Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread
Saturday - Boboli pizza with ground beef and onions plus more carbs for Jeff
Sunday - Half marathon for Jeff so who knows what he'll want for dinner

I suspect this won't be the only post from now until mid-January regarding the challenges with this.  I'm trying to stay on my course while supporting my hungry marathoner at the same time.  Now more than ever, I need to be deliberate about portion control with these heavier meals.  I can't eat like I'm the one who's training for a marathon!

19 comments:

  1. " I'm not hungry, but it's hard to be around someone who is continually eating..." That sentence describes my entire marriage - up until last December when Bobby broke his leg. He told me over the weekend that his reduced mobility and exercise totally affected his appetite, which I had noticed. He actually pretty much stopped asking me to buy chips and ice cream and other snack food. Honestly, it has been a relief.

    I say you're right on track with the meals. Here's what I did both as a marathoner in training and someone who wanted to eat less: plan a basic meal, then add for Bobby/subtract for me or vice-versa. You can give Jeff bread or rolls with every meal, make more sides, etc. Plan for him to eat dessert, even if that means fruit and yogurt. I ate a lot of pudding with a dollop of cool whip or whipped cream.

    Congratulations on your progress so far with your new workout regime! Good luck to you both figuring it out!

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    1. Also I meant to say GMTA: I'm making Damn Delicious' Crockpot Korean Beef for dinner tonight :)

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    2. Too funny on the similar dinner plans!

      I just started realizing that I could add some bread for Jeff to a lot of these meals - it's not something we usually do, but it would help him. Now to remember no bread for me! Well, one slice maybe. :)

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  2. I definitely understand this, but on the flip side of the coin - when I was HM training this winter and needed to eat ALL.THE.CARBS, Terry decided he wanted to cut down on carbs. It's definitely hard when you want to eat together and not have to each make individual meals, etc. Right now I'm working on a high-protein/low-fat diet and tracking macros, but still needing/wanting to eat more carbs simply because I do more cardio-based workouts.

    For dinners we'll typically have meat and veggies, and just like Helen suggested, I'll add in some bread when I need it. Another thought would be for you to swap things like rice for cauliflower rice (I buy the pre-riced stuff and just saute it in a little oil for 5 minutes or so), zoodles (which I think you can buy pre-made too) for spaghetti, add a side salad in place of some of the pizza, etc.

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    1. Funny you should mention cauliflower rice - we picked up a bag to try with dinner tonight. I might still make a little regular rice, just in case...

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    2. Jeff should definitely eat the regular rice. You could do half and half thus reducing your carb load a bit.

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    3. Good point on Jeff needing the regular rice.

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  3. I have this issue with my husband as well. Since my diagnosis with RA, I've gradually changed my diet to healthier and less inflammatory. My husband has gone the other way--gorging on simple carbs and shunning salads and veggies. I'm not sure why this is happening--I don't think he's doing it to spite me. I think this is what he is craving. Now he has gout and he is going to have to make changes, including giving up beer. Should be interesting...

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    1. Oy, poor husband...and poor you for getting to live with him while he's making some pretty drastic dietary changes!

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  4. Good post! I deal with trying to feed two hungry teens (one of whom is a year round distance runner) and it's hard to keep my eating in check while making sure the runner gets enough food. Added into that is the fact that we deal with a dairy allergy (my son) and a soy allergy (my husband). I like to make a base meal and then hungrier people can add on more food if needed. It's an ongoing challenge for me because I've always had a big appetite, but I do find that I'm more satisfied and less snacky at night (when they're all looking for more food) if I make it a point to eat well during the day.

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    1. I like that wording - base meal - that's an excellent way to get everyone fed to their needs.

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  5. I love these kinds of posts so I look forward to more. I am in the opposite situation where I was the one who was always hungry from running ( or just hungry) but tried to make healthy choices for my husband who struggled. I have not done much long distance running yet I am eating the same and have gained a significant amount of weight. I need to plan out healthy meals and I like seeing what others are making. I just discovered those Dove dark chocolates and am hooked. Those and the Girhadeli sea salt ones are my go to snacks. ( perhaps that has contributed to the significant weight gain..lol)

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    1. I've seen your pictures, you look fantastic! But I hear you on wanting to reign things in a bit.

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  6. Popcorn! I buy the big bags of Skinny Pop or Popcornopolis Nearly Naked, usually when they are on sale at Costco. I just find I am happier slowly snacking on popcorn after dinner.

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    1. I'll have to check Sam's to see what they carry - it makes a good snacky snack, if that makes sense.

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  7. I struggle with social eating. It is hard to stay the course and eat healthy when someone around me is indulging (either because they don’t care...or for a reason like Jeff...it doesn’t matter, it’s hard for me!). On some nights when Jason is eating something sweet I have grabbed a banana and drizzled chocolate over it...or strawberries with a little cool whip.. .but at least a it’s is mostly nutritious versus all dead useless sweet treat calories.

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    1. But, but...I LIKE those dead useless sweet treat calories! LOL - within reason, of course.

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  8. It is really tough to have lopsided food. It sounds like you have a plan. We are having a bit of trouble now scaling back as biking is becoming more infrequent with the progression of colder/rainier weather. I don't want to not eat all the things! Popcorn is a great snack, although probably not including my preferred caramel corn :D

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    1. I don't dare buy my first bag of caramel corn...that would be very hard to stop eating!

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