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Fitness/Diet Question

I need some exercise/eating advice and I know that lots of folks on my flist are dedicated to health and fitness improvement, so I thought I'd run my question by you all.

I'm working towards specific fitness goals, including both certain run distances and strength building workouts. Most of the research I've done emphasizes the fact that diet is 80% of the real work -- if you get that right, you can reach the goals you set. It also says that, to really gain strength and muscle, you need to increase your calories and make sure you're getting enough protein.

I've been tracking my overall calories and my protein for a while now. Both are way under what most sites recommend for my activity goals and basic BMR. So to combat that I'm trying to increase my calories and protein throughout the day.

It's hard to do consistently. My "normal" calories (when I'm not paying attention), leave me feeling full. My "goal" calories leave me feeling overfull. I have to really think about what I'm eating in order to get all that protein too (I'm mostly vegetarian, with some fish thrown in the mix -- I don't cook it at home, but I will order it if we go out).

I think I need to learn about some more calorie-dense foods - stuff that will help me hit my calorie and protein goals, without making me feel so overfull all the time. Weight gain or loss is not an issue -- I'm fine with gaining some weight, and really since I've become so active I don't think it'll be a problem.

And I really really need to work on this. I'm tired all the time and I don't have the energy to get through my runs or workouts sometimes. I am trying to get plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water, and limiting my caffeine intake. I think it's really that I'm just not getting enough good calories. I just don't have the actual energy to do things.

Does anyone have any suggestions for calorie-dense foods I could try? I've been eating a lot of eggs and I'm kindof sick of them. I do drink a protein shake every morning post workout (with almond milk and frozen strawberries) -- I could see drinking another one in the afternoon maybe (they never make me feel full). Does anyone have any other suggestions for a mostly vegetarian? Any help appreciated.

LiveJournal runs on rubberbands and plastic-jug vodka. Cross-posted from http://sleepymaggie.dreamwidth.org/458447.html.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
A good person to put to this question is Calista (lj user="cerisceline">). She is pesco, egg, vegan and does a lot of exercise.
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
Nuts are very helpful in this kind of situation, as I'm sure you know. I've homemade nut bars before. They're stupid high calorie and protein. If I weren't moving I'd send you the recipe, but it's in a box in storage.
Jul. 6th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
I was going to suggest nuts as well -- lots of them. And it sounds like you could also use an increase in high-quality sugars, by which I mostly mean honey.* Try adding it to everything you can think of, and that needn't just be sweet stuff. There's a glaze I'm fond of for fish, which would be good on vegetables, too, which is honey mixed with soy sauce and a bit of sesame oil. Other natural, less processed/refined sugars will also help, as long as you balance them with other stuff so you don't just end up on a see-sawing sugar spike/crash cycle. Molasses. Maple syrup.

*But only mostly. Quality fruit juices and whole fruit will add a ton of sugar-based calories, while not being terribly filling most of the time, and you'll get an extra shot of various vitamins and such at the same time.

Fat is twice as dense, calorie-wise, as other calorie sources, so anything that adds fat in a healthy way will help. Extra butter (yes, I said healthy -- turns out saturated fat is our friend, not our enemy). Cream, if you're doing dairy. Cheese is also pretty high, calorie-wise, but tends to be filling in large quantities. Coconut oil (best saturated fat in the world). Olive oil, assuming you've got decent olive oil and not a bottle full of corporate lies.

Quality complex carbs are likely what's mostly filling you up, so more of those probably won't help much. You can only eat so many beans, y'know? :-)

And just think: this is an ideal excuse to up your intake of high-grade chocolate. >:-)
Jul. 6th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
For calories, how do you feel about avocados? They're packed with both healthy fats and calories (not to mention flavor).

For additional protein, have you tried hemp milk? Almond milk may be delicious but it has barely any protein; hemp milk is a lot closer to regular milk in terms of protein content.

If you'd like a calculation of what your calorie, fluid and protein intake should be using the tools actual RDs use (rather than whatever websites may now be using to calculate them), just email me your wt, height and give me an idea of your activity level (intensity -- low/med/high -- as well as hours/day). Optimum protein intake -- even for an athlete building muscle -- is actually a lot lower than a lot of people think it is, so yours might be okay after all. My email is username at gmail.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )