Sometimes, we aren't as successful as we want to be because we just pick a day and start this all-or-nothing approach. Try phasing in slowly, just like you would do with a physical program that works on increasing loads and stress over time.
The Drip System
Just like a drip system in a garden versus dumping large amounts of water and causing a flood, there has been a lot written supporting eating smaller amounts and spacing your meals out during the day versus the traditional three-meal system. The major benefits of this approach are preventing food overload and that heavy, bloated feeling as well as preventing a large insulin response or spike which as been shown to increase fat stores and decrease fat utilization.
Slow It Down
Contrary to what we are trying to do on the bike, which is go faster, learn to eat more slowly and savor your food. The food isn't going anywhere! It takes the brain about 20 minutes to signal it is full, so by eating quickly you can easily overdose on the calories.
Moderation and Common Sense
Bottom line: Don't deny yourself the foods you love. A balanced nutritious diet that allows you some flexibility will still result in good weight control without driving yourself crazy.
One suggestion might be to be control your diet more during the work week and give yourself more leeway on the weekends when you may be more active. By Monday, you are motivated and ready to jump back into the program again.
Alternate Aerobic Activity
Educating yourself and learning about nutrition in general, as well as your unique food requirements, are the primary components for weight control. By doing this, you are taking a major step towards both weight control and a healthier lifestyle. The key word here is "lifestyle." For a lot of athletes, you are trying to change your eating habits in general, which requires attention most of the time.
Make It a Priority
Just like the physical training activities you perform during both the season and non-race season; make weight control and nutrition a primary goal. Take it seriously, just like you take your physical training on the bike seriously.
We've written time and time again that a complete fitness program requires athletes to do so much more than just train on the bike. Weight control and nutrition are components that require attention year-around and not for just one week.
Make no mistake about it, proper nutrition and weight control are very difficult tasks. But the more time you spend working on it, the more educated you become and in turn the more success you have.
I would also like to recommend a couple books recently written that I have found useful:
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
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