Diet advice for a complete beginner

Hi there.

Just signed up to these forums with the sole purpose of grabbing any and all advice related to the contradictory-packed world of diets.

Few things that may be important: I'm 20, 5"10 and about 11 and a half stone. I'm looking to lose another half stone or so I think.

I have been running just over a year now and have completed 3 Half Marathons. I think it's about time that I got my diet on track. Seems like I'm maybe not getting as much benefit as I could from running because the food I eat is unvaried and probably not terribly beneficial. Basically - I want to go all in.

At the moment I live off about 3 pieces of fruit a day, sandwiches, cereals and tomato soup. With little variation to that setup.

I'm looking for someone to give me advice that's as detailed as you can/can be bothered to make it. I'm quite a fussy eater in all honestly but I'm going to try to throw that out of the window.

Ideally I'd love a weekly meal plan that I can stick to each day and then it repeats each week. This will be doubly helpful by the time my university course rolls around and I have to buy all of this stuff for myself and keep the motivation to run and all of that side of things. The last time I was at uni I put on a lot of weight.

Thanks in advance for all of your help guys. I need to get myself into the habit of eating good food and hopefully actually cooking simple things for myself.


  • Seeing as we're almost the same in terms of height, age, running experience and weight (11 stone, was 12 stone about 2 months ago and that weight gain was due to inactivty being injured) I might as well tell you whats worked for me, but I'm no expert.

    If you're looking to lose weight, it can be as simple as easting 500kcal under your daily maintance, so you're looking somewhere around 1500-1800kcal a day depending on how active you are. Judging from what you eat, you seem to lack meat, which you would need as it contains protein (or subsistutes if you are a vegeterian). Make sure you get enough protein, about 1 gram per pound of your weight to maintain lean muscle mass as you want to lose fat, not muscle. I know it sounds vague as 'eat what you want as long as it's balanced', but thats the jist of it without being too technical. Make sure you get enough carbs (complex if possible, think wholegrains and not sugars) for energy, protein to maintain muscle, and some natural fats (40/40/20 ratio). Try to avoid processed foods and sodas too as they're don't fit in with your goals of running or weightloss. I would say avoid alchohol...but I never followed that advice when I was an undergrad!

    At uni I had a George Forman grill, so cooking fresh meat such as chicken or beef was very quick (and got rid of the fat too). Stir-frys were also a stapple. And pasta, like any student, but I swapped to brown pasta. Cooking more than one portion (eg chilli, pasta bake etc.) and then keepign the rest in the fridge and the freezer is also good as if you don't have the motivation to cook one day, you don't have to reach for a frozen pizza as you've got something pre-prepared.

    And seeing as you're at uni; sign up with your cross country/running club, that'll help keep you running regularly and thus help with your motivation.

  • Firstly, thanks for the reply mate.

    Yeah I'm definitely gonna sign up to the running club. Would be useful to meet people that way too.

    I don't suppose you know a place I can look to get some really detailed advice on diet.
    Something like:

    Monday  - Breakfast - 30g *Whatever*, 10g *whatever*
                 - Lunch etc etc
    Tuesday - ...

    Etc etc. I appreciate this is probably too detailed for most people but that's the sort of level I'm looking for.

    I also know everyone has their own preferences of what to eat.

    Maybe if i just got an idea of what types of food to eat in what quantities.

    Sorry guys. Only just started to bother to REALLY think about what I'm eating.


  • Most packages have 'suggested' serving sizes on them and fruit and veg is usually a hand full of smaller somethings or a medium sized whole something.

    When I first switched to a healthier diet I obsessed over weighing everything into exact amounts. Since reaching a healthier weight last year I've relaxed and worked on measuring portions by eye alone (using a smaller plate can help too).

    Breakfast I typically have 30-40g 'Alpen on added sugar' with about 2 tablespoons of fat free yogurt, a drizzle of honey plus 1 of my 5 a day in the form of fruit mixed in (usually a chopped banana)

    Also good is porridge 30-40g with around 100-150ml skimmed milk (depending on what consistency you like), warmed in the microwave to which you can again add fruit (a hand full of blueberries is my favourite) and again a drizzle of honey or even a teaspoon of jam (tiptree's blueberry is really good)

    Lunch usually consists of wholegrain something be it pasta (75g is norm according to most packs), rice (about 125g which is 1/2 a microwave pack if your feeling lazy), bread (couple slices), bagel (1), pita (1), jacket spud (1) or any other you can think of filled (or as a side too) a decent source of protein; salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, get the idea! (A portion of about 100g is a good rough guide for most fish or meat) and of course you cant forget your 5 a day! 1-2 portions made up of veggies (any kind you like) baked beans, peppers, cucumber, lettuce, shredded raw carrots, etcetera.

    Dinner has about the same make up as lunch normally but with more protein and slightly less carbs, also it's more likely for the whole thing to be cooked. Focus on the healthier cooking methods, steaming, grilling even stir fry's can be a healthier option done right (using lower fat oils and an actual wok for starters!) some good examples would be; a salmon fillet with new potatoes and broccoli, a chicken stir-fry with rice, steak with mash (home made so you control how much butter goes in) or jacket spud and salad.

    If your craving a sweet dessert after dinner then go for fresh or even dried fruit.

    Also if your feeling too hungry in between meals try snacking on nuts. Almonds are good but weigh out small portions (25g or so) into separate little tubs to avoid over eating things like nuts as they are still high in fat.

  • post lunch cravings kill me. i find drinking a herbal tea helps take my mind off the vending machine......sometimes!

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