By Laurel-Lea Shannon
The transition from cycling 6 to 8 hours or more each week in the summer to cycling a lot less in the fall can be tricky. As the outside cycling season winds down, the pounds can ramp up. Continue eating the same amounts you did in the summer, and you could be in for a nasty surprise the next time you step on the scales. Follow these 6 stay-lean tips to help with the transition.
Start at the Grocery Store
Snack before going to the grocery store. If you shop when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to throw high-carb, calorie-dense and nutritionally deficient food (like potato chips, cookies or desserts) into your cart. Once that food makes it into your kitchen cupboard, you’ll be dipping into it until the whole bag is gone. Yup, been there.
Have treats but eat them sparingly—preferably on special occasions outside your home.
Keep Healthy Snacks Within Easy Reach
When you’re hungry, there’s a tendency to grab whatever is easily available. Keep healthy snacks with you at all times. A small bag of nuts and dried fruit can easily fit in your purse or desk at work. A couple of handfuls is a satisfying and nutritious snack. Larabars are another healthy option.
Eat Like Your Granny Did
Take the time to prepare real food like your grandmother did. Packaged food is full of fat, salt and unhealthy additives. It packs a wallop of calories and wimps out on nutritional value.
Shop on the outside aisles of your grocery store. That’s where you’ll find real food—fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat, and poultry and fish. With a little planning, start-from-scratch meals are quick, easy and healthy.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A calorie is a calorie is a calorie? Well, not exactly. A calorie measures the energy of food but where you get the calories from impacts your health, and your energy. You need to eat a balanced diet to get the nutrients your body needs for optimum health and fitness.
A balanced diet generally consists of 50–55% carbs (vegetables, fruits and grains—but remember to eat more vegetables than fruit and grains, and stick to whole grains), 25–30% fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado) and 15–20% protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy and poultry). This balance can vary depending how active you are and on your personal requirements. If you’re a natural carb burner, you may do better with slightly more carbs and less fat and protein.
If you have problems managing your weight, try reducing the amount of wheat-based carbs you eat and eat a bit more healthy fat and protein. You’ll eat less, stay full longer and lose weight.
Eat Frequent Small Meals
When you’re hungry, eat. Eating small meals and healthy snacks keeps your blood sugar balanced, which brightens up your mood and keeps your energy high. By eating small meals, you use the nutrients and calories you’ve consumed before they get stored as fat.
Watch Your Portions
In our “super-size me,” world, it’s helpful to remember what an appropriate portion looks like. Use these estimates when you’re serving food. The good news is you can go heavy on the vegetables.
- tennis ball = 1 fruit serving
- deck of cards = 1 meat, poultry, or fish serving
- 9 volt battery = 1 hard cheese serving
- palm of your hand = 1 grain serving
- half a baseball = 1 vegetable serving
- 1 tablespoon = 1 fat serving
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