Sports editor’s weekly food intake under scrutiny

A simple graph that shows how body weight will continue to increase over time if no action is taken to eat healthily or exercise
A simple graph that shows how body weight will continue to increase over time if no action is taken to eat healthily or exercise
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SPORTS editor Graham Smyth got some advice on his diet, as he continues a health and fitness drive at Apple Fitness in Worksop.

In this week’s blog he details his food diary for a week, and how the experts at ‘Annurca’ advised him to tweak it for better performance in the gym and recovery afterwards.

You can follow his progress on our website through weekly blogs or on Twitter @GrahamSmyth or @Applegymworksop, or by using the hashtag #getgrahamfit

I LOVE my food.

That, previously, has been a problem for me.

I haven’t ever been what you’d call dangerously overweight, but my waistline did expand by 10cm in the last three years – and lack of exercise wasn’t the only cause.

If I’d continued on that path, a simple age and weight prediction chart would show a constant incline, and decline in my health.

What I’ve found, however, is that working out at the gym has helped motivate me to keep my diet in check. And I’ve levelled out that weight predictor.

As you can see, in the diary below, I’m not the strictest with my food but I am eating what the health experts at ‘Annurca’ (the health and nutrition wing of Apple Fitness) describe as a good diet.

I eat breakfast nice and early to get my metabolism going, then try to keep it up during the day, eating more often than I used to. The body uses up calories through the digestion process.

Three meals and two snacks per day mean that I maintain blood sugar levels, and energy, and stop my body from going into ‘starvation’ mode, which means that it stores things that it doesn’t really need, because it doesn’t know where the next meal is coming from.

It’s all very clever and scientific stuff, but you can take a simple approach to it.

My mid-morning snack, before getting advice from Dave Maiden at Annurca, was mostly fruit based.

But he suggested adding more carbs at that time, to give me more energy for the lunchtime gym sessions – so flapjack, or a small portion of pasta, has become the norm for me at snack o’clock.

Lunch is eaten after the gym, and that’s where I get protein to help my body recover, to help my muscles repair after being torn to shreds by lifting weights.

Previously I was eating half a grilled chicken breast, typically, but again Dave and his colleague James have suggested eating a whole chicken breast.

Midafternoon is fruit, or more flapjack (which releases energy slowly because it’s made mostly of oats, which are good) and then I’ll have a decent meal in the evening – but nothing strange or tremendously health conscious.

We eat quite well in my house, there’s normally salad or veg with the meal and almost always some sort of meat. But we eat things we like.

If I really wanted to cut down fat I could strip a few things out – like the mayo I put on my salad, or sugar I put on my weetabix.

But those little strategies are helping to keep me on track – they make the meals interesting and stop me from getting bored or losing control and simply binging on unhealthy food.

On top of all the food I drink water. Lots and lots of water.

In a morning, before the gym, I probably consume around 1.5 to 2 litres of water. And the same again if not more between the gym and bedtime.

This food diary isn’t meant to act as an instruction manual for you to lose weight, it’s not the Graham Smyth Diet Guide, it’s simply a list of everything I ate for a week to allow Annurca to analyse my nutritional habits.

It’s obviously very important to have a healthy attitude towards food – becoming obsessed with calorie counting isn’t something I’d allow myself to slip into.

I’m watching what I eat, trying to eat good things that taste nice and I’m still eating lots.

Generally I have enough energy to get through the strenuous sessions put together by the personal trainers at Apple, for example Wednesday’s continuous abs blast and cardio session with Joe Smith, and I’m not getting overly tired in the evenings.

The abundance of fruit and veg helps this, I’m giving my body what it needs – ‘five a day’ isn’t impossible and doesn’t have to be a chore.

And I haven’t been suffering from the usual sniffles and colds that have been floating around recently.

My blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are all excellent – so I’m doing something right.

Final tips – make your lunch the night before and take it to work, which stops you heading to the high street and buying lots of things that look nice, taste nice but might not be the healthiest. The temptation to head to the chip shop is removed when you have a pre-prepared meal brought from home and if you struggle with the office vending machine don’t take cash to work in your pocket!

Friday

7am: two weetabix, banana, third of a tablespoon of sugar, with milk.

11am: apple, 11.30 pear.

12.15pm: satsuma.

2pm: four lettuce leaves, six cherry tomatoes, two slices of cucumber, slice of ham, half a grilled chicken breast, pesto mayo.

3.30pm: apple.

6pm: three potato ‘smiley faces’ - oven cooked.

8pm: four slices of ham and pineapple pizza, 12” and a small portion of chips. Glass of orange squash.

9pm - bottle of beer, mini chocolate biscuit.

Saturday

7am: one weetabix, small portion of shreddies, banana, milk.

12pm: three lettuce leaves, four cherry tomatoes, half a grilled chicken breast, slice of ham, mayo.

3.30pm: piece of flapjack, five small pieces of dried mango, apple.

6pm: three cherry tomatoes, lettuce leaf, three slices cucumber, homemade beef lasagne. Six strawberries.

9pm - chocolate popcorn.

Sunday

8am: bowl of shreddies, milk. Two strawberries.

11am: pear.

11.25am: yorkie bar.

3pm: pint of bitter. Two slices roast beef, one roast potato, mashed potato, leek, red cabbage, courgette, carrots, yorkshire pudding, gravy. Chicken gougon, bbq sauce.

5pm: ice cream, flake, smarties, chocolate sauce.

Monday

7.20am: bowl of shreddies, milk.

9.30am: two handfuls fruit, nut and seed mix

10.45am: five table spoons natural yoghurt, two teaspoons honey, two handfuls fruit, nut and seed mix.

2pm: portion lasagne, two lettuce leaves, red pepper, pesto mayo.

4pm: banana.

6.30pm: oven baked battered cod, two small baked potatoes, butter, mayo, six table spoons of beans.

Tuesday

7.30am: two weetabix, banana, milk.

11.15am: seven table spoons natural yoghurt, two teaspoons honey, two handfuls fruit, nut and seed mix, three grapes.

12.30pm: two chinese lettuce leaves, one lettuce leaf, six cherry tomatoes, three slices cucumber, one slice ham, one slice roast chicken. Apple. Pear.

4.30pm: several grapes, apple .

6.30pm: three slices oven pizza, chinese lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, garlic bread, mayo.

Wednesday

7am: two weetabix, banana, two teaspoons sugar, milk.

8am: two soft mints.

11.20am: eight tablespoons natural yoghurt, seven strawberrys, two teaspoons honey.

2pm: two chinese lettuce leaves, one lettuce leaf, six cherry tomatoes, three slices cucumber, one slice ham, 100g cooked chicken.

4pm: four pieces dried mango, six grapes.

7pm: three pork sausages, mashed potato, two small yorkshire puddings, carrots.

Thursday

7am: two weetabix, banana, two teaspoons sugar, milk.

10.50am: seven tablespoons natural yoghurt, two teaspoons honey, handful fruit, nut and seed mix, six small pieces dried mango.

12.20: nectarine

2.45pm: three chinese lettuce leaves, five cherry tomatoes, four slices cucumber, half slice ham, one thin slice roast chicken, pesto mayo.

3pm: pear.