Something I used to, and still do at times, worry about, is whether my portion sizes are ‘too big‘. I frequently get told my portions are massive, or told I eat a lot for a little person. This used to really get to me, and I am guilty of letting it still get to me now from time to time, but does it really mean? If I am eating a lot, it is because I am hungry, as I should eat enough to fill me up… who cares what size this looks like on a plate. Should I listen to the voices of people telling me I’m eating too much? No! So, why is this?
Firstly, I believe there is no such thing as ‘too big’. Your portion size is what you feel you need to eat. Portion size is completely individual and depends on your own unique metabolism as well as your activity level. What might seem a lot to one person, may be small to another. Next time you feel tempted to comment on what someone is eating or the size of it, think again, as it may affect them and cause them to subsequently reduce their intake.
We need fuel.
As athletes, we constantly need to fuel ourselves. Whether that’s because we are preparing for a training session ahead of us, refuelling after one, or simply to fuel the recovery process. Therefore, we need to provide our bodies with plenty of fuel in order to aid these processes. Without enough fuel, something will suffer. We likely won’t have enough energy to complete the session ahead of us to our full potential, and we also won’t have enough fuel to support the recovery process after we have been training. Ultimately, this means we have to eat enough to support these functions. To some people this may appear to be a lot, but if our body needs it, we shouldn’t feel bad for providing it with it.
We do a lot!
Additionally, as runners, we tend to do a lot of exercise, whereas other people might not do quite so much. Sometimes we are training multiple times a day, and we can be guilty of comparing ourselves and how much we eat to someone who may have a completely different lifestyle to ourselves. Therefore, the amount of food you need cannot be compared to someone else. I don’t know about you, but I am hungry when it comes to mealtimes, and there is nothing worse than a disappointingly small plate of food.
If your body is asking, it probably needs it.
If I want to eat a lot, it’s because I’m hungry and I know my body need to be sufficiently fuelled. Therefore, I should eat until I’m no longer hungry, why does it matter what size this looks like on a plate. If my body is telling me it is hungry, chances are it is because it is. If I don’t listen to eat and reduce the amount of food I am eating at meals because I worry I look ‘greedy’, this could have a detrimental impact on my body.
I have learnt from past mistakes, where I worried too much about eating ‘too much’, and as a result, I significantly under fuelled my body. Others may have believed I was eating enough, but my body was getting nowhere near as much as it needed. This only resulted in injury and upset. It can be surprising to ourselves and others how much we need to eat as extremely active athletes.
I know I am a healthy individual with a healthy weight. I do lots of exercise, therefore, I feel I can eat what I want and enjoy it without worrying how much I have on my plate. Others shouldn’t make you worry. Fuel your own body, not the body people make you believe you have.
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!