Sunday, 31 October 2010

I get to binge-eat afterwards

At 5’9 and 10 stone 10, I am not a big bloke. But I burn between 2500 and 3000 calories a week running, which is slightly more than an entire day’s recommended intake for an average man. Unfortunately I’m not able to schedule 8 ½ day weeks to catch up with the deficit, so I end up eating rather more than most people my size. Most people in general, come to think of it.

On a normal day when I plan to run in the evening, I’ll start the day with a cup of coffee and breakfast at 8ish (4 slices of toast and orange juice). I have long been a follower of the doctrine of the second breakfast (usually porridge around 10.30 at my desk), but recently I’ve been exploring the previously uncharted territory of third breakfast (a couple of pastries from the bakery, at 11.30), and to be honest I may soon get to the point of testing fourth breakfast too. Naturally I put similar effort into consuming lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner before doing the same again the following day. Sometimes, despite having eaten a delicious and substantial dinner, I’ll go to bed looking forward to breakfast.

In restaurants I’ll often greedily demolish my own dinner before my hungry eyes roam to other people’s plates. If you give me any amount of food, I will almost always finish it, however monstrous a portion you may have served me. Some people, usually motherly types, are equally determined to feed people until they’re full and the only acceptable indicator of their fullness is a plate with leftovers. It is dangerous for everyone when I am invited to dinner by a ‘feeder’...

When I get home from a really long run (like the 18 miler), I normally pounce on whatever’s available. I usually drink a recovery shake - I prefer For Goodness Shakes, the chocolate one – and wolf down a banana to keep me going during the arduous 90 seconds it takes to cook a pack of tortellini designed to serve two people, which I’ll then slather with tomato sauce, cheese and butter and eat by myself.  A couple of pieces of fruit and a slice or two of the nearest available cake normally pays off my calorie debt.

This insatiable and constantly renewed calorie debt is broadening my food horizons. I used to be quite a fussy eater, but these days I’m sometimes so hungry that I’ll eat things I might have refused a few years ago. I also eat more healthy foods – though this is not to say that I am a healthy eater – but I’ve noticed that my appetite for chocolate and sweets is almost zero whilst I can feel my body craving vitamins and general goodness.

I also tend to choose water over other drinks, as I can feel the benefits of being adequately hydrated at all times, not just during a run. My caffeine intake is lower than it used to be (though I still get through 4-5 cups a day of strong black coffee – whilst a student I used to drink more like 10) and my attitude to alcohol has changed slightly. I still enjoy a good drink, and rather like being drunk on the right occasions, but I always know that it will impede the following day’s running, and in some cases I regret drinking alcohol simply because I could have been running instead.

So it looks like I’ve reached my first solid answer: I run because I get to binge-eat afterwards. (I hope I come up with some more answers soon, this one isn’t very impressive...)

Happy eating!


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