In Part 1 we talked about how as cyclists we tend to think we can eat anything we want. In part that is true, but there comes a time in most serious cyclists life when they have plateaued in their fitness and in their weight loss. It can be a frustrating time as you try to increase the miles in the saddle to increase weight loss, but life only allows so much saddle time, right?. I found that looking towards my diet, dangit there is that word again, was the key in cycling nutrition to losing those last few pounds that i really wanted off. I hate the word diet, as it usually implies calorie deprivation, so lets just use the term eating method as it describes the process in a better light anyway.
As cyclists, we think that we need to pound down lots of carbohydrates. Actually, if you look at a typical American diet it is already hyper-loaded with carbs. That is why we see so many folks walking around with 60 inch waistlines. Also, most of the carbs that are being consumed are empty carbs with little to no nutritional value, leaving you more hungry than you were before you ate, after the sugar rush wears off. The truth is even cyclists don’t need as many carbs as we are consuming except during a century ride or similar. In addition, the type of carbs we are consuming are usually just adding more weight gain as they have little nutritional value so your body doesn’t know what to do with it except store it on your left hip.
Adopting good eating habits will allow your body to use the food that you give it, and will make you less hungry. Your body is very smart. It knows what it needs to maintain a balance. But if you are always reaching for processed foods that are heavy in salt and sugar, you are not giving your body what it needs, and your body will react by increasing hunger pangs.
So, how do you develop good eating habits? Its really pretty simple. Give your body what it was designed to consume. Before the age of industrialization and before our agricultural geniuses figured out how to genetically modify our food so that insects wouldn’t eat it so they could yield ten times the amount of food per acre than before, before all that we just had real food. I guess the insects are smarter than we are. Then the food geniuses figured out how to take out all the nutritional value of the food, and add back in loads of sugar and salt, and that would increase shelf life ten fold, so they could put food in a box. So, how do you get through all the non-food to get to the stuff your body really needs? One word. Paleo.
Paleo is an eating method that is natural to your bodies digestive system. It will help with weight loss and it stabilizes your blood sugar so that you are not always looking for more snacks. It wont leave you hungry as most diets do because you will be giving your body what it needs and what it knows what to do with. What is paleo? Really simple. Meat, fruit and vegetables. Thats it. Pretty simple. If it is meat, eat it. That includes beef, pork, fish and poultry. If it is a fruit, eat it. That includes apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, any and all fruits. If it is a vegetable, eat it. That includes broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus and anything that looks like a vegetable, eat it. By the way, corn is not a vegetable, it is a grain and as such not designed for human consumption in its natural state. Also potatoes, although some claim them to be a vegetable, there is debate over that, are also not designed for human consumption without processing. A real vegetable can be eaten in its natural state, without processing. So, pretty much everything else is fairly straight forward. Meat, fruit and vegetables. One more clarification, eggs are considered meat. Paleo is an eating method that is easy to figure out as it only has those three main components. Everything else, is not paleo and hence not originally designed for human consumption. Yes that includes all diary and all grains. We were not designed to consume these things and we have all types of health maladies because we insist on eating them.
Paleo has many health benefits, not the least of which is weight loss without being hungry. I wont go into great detail here as there are many websites out there that have tons of great information on the subject, but suffice it to say that my weight lose journey started to work again once i decided that my eating methods needing work also. Here is a great paleo site if you need a place to start