Do you eat enough?

I run in the mornings and burn 600-1400 worth of calories off.  I tend to eat healthily and don't have a huge appetite so it can often be tea time before I am actually is positive calories for the day.  The only trouble being that I get very tired at points during the day as I feel my body needing energy as it struggle with being in "negative calories".

Surely this must be a common problem with runners, it can't just be me?  The obvious solution is to eat when you feel the dip and this isn't always possible and even when it is, the only easy options often seem to be junk food (which I simply don't do).  Anyone come up with high calorie but healthy snacks to combat this (seeds are good but useless when in the car - I drive a fair bit for my job)?





  • Why should junk food be the only choice when you hit the dip?  Plenty of handy portable healthy bits such as fruit or nuts

    I have to say if you are waiting until the evening before you have a reasonable meal then you know where the issue lies

    A healthy 'balanced' diet means balancing the right times as well as the right types

    Eat well & perform well

  • I eat plenty of fruit but it's not high in calories.

    Think about it.  A 12 mile run burns 1200 calories, roughly.

    My breakfast - Porridge or Granola - 300-400 calories (I use skimmed milk)

    So in negative calories after breakfast.

    Lunch - A sandwhich or maybe baked beans on a spud + an apple.  That will fill me but still unlikely to top 600 calories.  I'm still yet to surpass the 1200 calories that i've burned yet have enjoyed a balanced diet so far (don't get much from drink as I drink water or tea with skimmed milk)

    Even if I ate more fruit in between, i'd be struggling to get past what I've burnt off before tea.  I have tried nuts but seem to struggle to eat them after 5 or 6.  Seeds I can and do eat a lot of when I can.

  • Why kittenkat, that is somewhere in the middle of what my treadmill, Garmin and various guides seem to suggest.  Maybe they are over-egging the cake?  Do you know different?

  • Sorry, this was based on between 6-14 miles.  Probably more 500-1400

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    How about a bigger bowl of porridge, add some nuts and dried fruit to it. 2 sandwiches for lunch instead of one? Nuts are very easy to snack on whilst on the move.
  • My calorie bank account is 12.5 miles in the red for today. Luckily I deposited a load of calories into the account last night so I'm still in the black. Will be making another huge deposit into my calorie account as soon as the chicken is cooked.
  • image  Two bacon butties for brunch after my 14 miles but still almost certainly in negative today.  Sure the roast beef and yorkshires will soon sort that out!

    Millsy, the difficulty is appetite.  The answer of just eat larger portions isn't as easy as it sounds!  I do add dried fruit though. 

    Guess this must be more unique than I thought.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Sorry cant help with appetite. I find it easy to eat / drink myself back into the black. Even after a 20 miler.
  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭
    Not quite sure what you're saying your problem is. If it's that you feel tried during the day then really, look at what you're eating and when as people have said. If you've got this bee in your bonnet about being in negative calories for part of the day, then get over it. That's how our bodies work. Your glycogen and fat stores have got plenty of energy stored up for you, ready for times like this. You might want to look at more protein and fat at lunchtime. Are you drinking enough?
  • Sometimes eating too much carbohydrate can make you feel tired and hungry! Eating protein and fat (as Womble says) is sometimes a good move. Have a look at the Optimum Nutrition 4 Sport website; lots of good advice and it works for me!

  • Adding extra calories is pretty straightforward.  In times of dire need I am prepared to adopt the 2 dessert strategy: 1 with lunch and 1 with dinner.  It's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make to fuel my running.

    For a start, use full-fat milk to make the porridge, increase the portion in general and add some nuts, seeds and dried fruit or have a piece of toast and honey with the porridge.

    Have snacks between meals.  Have nuts/seeds/biscuits - anything with more calories than a piece of fruit.  Or if you're worried about not hitting your 5 a day, have something in addition to the fruit.

    Eat more than just a sandwich and an apple at lunch.  Add some crisps or chocolate.  If your exercise is really burning 1000kcal/day, you have to start eating energy dense meals.

    Make sure you have a decent sized dinner.

  • You are having difficulty ingesting enough calories during the day?

    As the old Jewish saying goes - I should have your problem.

  • I don't get the problem either!!

    Maybe I just have an incredibly efficient appetite but I have never lost weight through exercise despite several marathons, cycling, swimming, hill walking etc etc or gained weight during spells of injury....

    My appetite seems to more or less match my outputs, and meeting requirements is easy enough...

    As others have said - bigger portions and calorie dense snacks to hand at all times, as well as fruit and lower calorie stuff. Just get used to it.

    Are you actually losing weight?
  • I have recently signed up to 'my fitness pal'. It's free to use, easy to add food intake and exercise to your daily log and if you fall into the negative calorie trap you can soon work out what to snack on while making sure you get the right amount of protein and fat in your diet. It may not be the best but it's free, i'm definitely eating healthier, as well as more often and losing weight.

  • Your calorie account, or whatever you want to call it, doesn't reset overnight you know.

    "New miracle diet. Stuff your face with cake then have a nap. Instant weightloss GUARANTEED!"
  • Yeah, you want to drop this concept of ''negative calories''.  You're not running on anti-matter.  I managed 16 miles before breakfast this morning, partly because I ate a frankly rude amount of home-made ginger cake last night whilst watching the fireworks.

    The only problem here appears to be eating the right things at the right times to avoid dips during the day.  Re-fuel with carbs and protein after a run, and eat healthy snacks between meals.  Being on the road is no real excuse, healthy snacks are easily prepared in advance.

    BTW, I dread to think how many calories I can get through at breakfast. I'll eat fruit 'n nut muesli till the cows come home.

  • I think the fix here is sooooo obvious it's unreal. I'm 10st 4ish pounds and absolutely stuff my face with whatever I find suitable (not un healthy) and do not drop a pound or gain.

    If you eat small amounts and often you should be fine for the whole day. Like many have said its easy to eat on the go with something simple and healthy. Why not pre prepare a healthy wrap the night before (just an example)

    You shouldn't have these dips? When you've consumed enough during the morning. Don't forget your still burning calories after the run, so you should have something to top up the energy levels
  • +1 to Muttley  Bonus of running 12 miles is guilt free eating at the endimage

  • Try ensuring each meal has some carb, protein and fat.  Full fat milk with your porridge, or add a tablespoon of ground flax / linseed.

    If you struggle with whole nuts, try adding almond butter or sliced avocado to your lunchtime sandwich.  It will add some healthy fats and raise the calories, without the trans fats that come with butter, crisps or biscuits!

    Try adding some spinach or other leafy greens in your sandwich to add some extra iron (..and calcium and other micro-nutrients.)


  • As for snacks for in the car, try some wholefood bars.. l like Raw Revolution.  It can be difficult to navigate between the bars that use whole and healthy foods, and those that do not.  Unfortunately, they can be quite dense which may be a problem with your low appetite, but def worth a try!


  • Some good ideas here, thanks, especially from MacRun.  Never heard of Raw Revolution so I may sniff them out.

    Full-fat milk is out of the question though.  I was brought up on skimmed milk (Mum's fault) and even semi-skimmed makes me want to throw up!  That's half my trouble, i'm used to eating very healthily as a default setting and that means a low calorie intake more often than not.  Low calories + 50 miles a week = problems.

    Think the thing i'm realising is that I need to be purposeful about when and how I eat and realise that if I have burnt 1000 calories then i'm going to need to find a way to have at least 3000 calories just to get the right balanc.

  • I think you're over-analysing this. Calorie-counting in and out is one of those signs of a potentially unhealthy fixation or worse on weight and body image.

    Low calorie intake does not necessarily mean eating healthily.

    Go for a run. Burn up lots of energy. Eat. Getting thinner? Eat more pies. Getting fatter? Eat fewer pies.

  • Joolska wrote (see)

    Adding extra calories is pretty straightforward.  In times of dire need I am prepared to adopt the 2 dessert strategy: 1 with lunch and 1 with dinner.  It's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make to fuel my running.

    You're taking the piss!? I thought you were going to say two desserts as snacks or with each meal?

  • Muttley - Two reasons that prompted the post.  One, I have been a skinny fecker since I was a kid and have got even more skinny since upping my mileage recently.  My 28" jeans are now baggy around the waist.  I've tried eating more to remedy this but just get too full before I can make a dent in the weight loss.  I am getting stick from my lovely lady about looking too thin (I also suffer from Chron's disease so it's not a great idea for me to be too thin as you can lose weight during flare-ups).

    Second reason is that i've started experiencing big energy luls that I didn't get during the lower mileage and these go away when i've eaten a meal.  So want to nip this in the bud sharpish.

    It's not that i'm unable to sort this stuff out on my own but just thought it worth seeing a variety of perspectives and also the interest in seeing if it is a common issue. 


  • cough*anorexic*cough

  • Unfair, Lardarse. Crohn's is no fun and I now understand a little of where the OP is coming from.

    I haven't had 28 waist jeans since I was a teenager image

    Not much else I can say other to wish you luck managing the Crohn's.

  • Muttley - Thanks mate.  I am really, really lucky with the Chron's.  I was diagnosed 13 years ago now and have had just one mild flare-up since the early episode.  It barely affects my life at all but i'm also aware that it's a condition which can rear it's (pretty ugly) head at any time at the drop of a hat so having some extra weight on me for those occurances is advisable.

    Lardarse - Good job i'm a thick skinned man!  Strangley, you actually couldn't be further from the truth.  I'm a massive foodie and huge chunks of life are dedicated to eating out, going to food festivals and cooking and preparing food from scratch.  I just never put weight on, never have put weight on and am now watching as it tumbles off, even though I didn't think I had any more to lose.  I have, what I believe to be, the healthiest of relationships with food.  All I wish is that I could comfortably eat more of the stuff.

  • lardarse - that comment is totally uncalled for.. 

    Hope you find a solution strangelybrown.  My weight tends to drop into the 'unhealthy' bracket when I up the workouts too, and I find it difficult to put the weight back on while keeping a clean diet.  I know others that are the same too. 

    Another thing I've found to help with the energy dips is a green smoothie with protein powder after a long run.  Because of your crohns, I dont know whether this is an option without checking it out with your gp , but I find its made a big difference for me in recovery time and not being wiped out for the rest of the day after a long run.  A glass of milk, couple portions fruit, a handful spinach, a scoop of protein powder, tbsp honey, blend it up, works a charm. 



  • Glad it's not just me Mac, I had assumed this was a fairly routine issue for long distance runners but it seems not.

    I've not established any firm link between food groups and Chron's but I do suspect that staying away from junk/processed foods has kept it nicely in remission all these years.  Don't think protein drinks should prove too much a problem and something I hadn't thought about.  Maybe one of these boys after a long run could be the answer.

    I'll look into it - cheers!

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