The Restrictive Eater
You want to stay lean to run your best, so you look for ways to trim calories and choose low-fat foods. The problem is that restrictive eaters often don't eat enough, or they cut out too much fat out of fear of gaining weight, says Alison Ozgur, R.D. This is a big mistake, as fats help reduce injury risk. Another drawback? A recent study in Psychosomatic Medicine found that closely monitoring calories raises stress levels.
Once a week, forgo restrictions, says Coleman. Eat when you're hungry and what you crave; then take note of how you feel. You may realize foods you avoided actually energize you during workouts. This can help you start to think of eating in a positive light, as a way to fuel your running and reduce feelings of stress.
Make healthy fats part of most meals, says Ozgur, since they improve vitamin absorption. Try mixing walnuts in your oatmeal and adding avocado to wraps. If you're still worried, follow these 50 quick rules to help you stay on track.
The Habitual Eater
As a creature of habit, you never miss a meal. That's good, because a study conducted by researchers in Sweden in 2008 found that eating meals regularly lowers your risk of developing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome (a condition that can lead to the onset of diabetes and heart disease). But if you don't change up the foods you eat, says Coleman, you could develop a nutrient deficiency.
A few times a week, substitute similar but different foods, says Monique Ryan, R.D., author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. If you normally eat corn flakes and a banana for breakfast, try a hot multigrain cereal (for a fiber boost) topped with antioxidant-rich berries. In a grilled-chicken rut? Make a lean flank steak, which contains more iron. Try a new recipe every other week to liven up your taste buds.