When it comes to nutrition and diet, there is a lot of information available suggesting what to eat and what not to eat, the quantity to be followed while eating a particular food, etc. In the last few years, a new trend has emerged as per nutrition and diet is concerned. Intuitive eating is a way to get back to how people learned to eat before they had any food rules, and again learn to listen to their body clues what to eat when and how much to eat. It seems the best way to eat for many, but for runners, is it the best way?
Megan Kuikman, runner and dietitian, believes intuitive eating can be one of the best ways for runners to fuel their training. According to her, the body is good at knowing the fuel it needs, but most of the time, instead of listening to the body, people often make food decisions based on external factors, like diet rules. This, she says, can lead to a cycle of restricting intake, followed by overeating. She further says we all are born as intuitive eaters, but people often lose these abilities over time. “Most people are only able to feel extreme hunger and extreme fullness but not the in-between,” she says. “These skills can be built back with practice.”
Stephanie MacNeill, fellow runner, and dietitian say if runners are more tune-in with their bodies, they can benefit greatly and develop a more positive relationship with food, learning to choose food that promotes happiness and that help enhance performance.
Racheal Hannah runner and dietitian are different because some athletes may find it difficult to know whether they are eating enough. MacNeill and Kuikman both agree that sometimes listening to the body clues when to eat and how much quantity is not a good idea. There are many times when runners need to ignore the feeling of fullness and eat.
Runners have a different need than the general public. To get the most out of our training, sometimes the runners need to eat when they are hungry, says MacNeill. It is entirely normal not to have much of an appetite before or after some hard training. But understanding when to eat and will impact training can make or break the success and longevity in the sports.