What I Don’t Eat Wednesdays

In the blogging world (at least among healthy living and running blogs), Wednesday posts are populated with WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday). If you want to know how I feel about a majority of those posts, you can read the discussion in Helly’s WIAW post here. Ever since Helly wrote that post over a year ago, I wanted to write about what I don’t eat and here I am finally doing it.

There are lots of things I don’t eat (such as mayonnaise, *shudder*), but I’m really here to talk about breakfast.

I don’t eat breakfast.

Usually.

I used to be a habitual breakfast eater, but about six years ago I tried intermittent fasting, which is the idea that you eat during a certain 8-hour period and fast the rest of the time when I was experimenting with weight training and diet. Although there’s no rule that says you have to skip breakfast, most people do because that’s the easiest meal to skip. After the first few initials days of hunger, I quickly got used to not eating breakfast and realized that I liked not eating breakfast.

Not eating breakfast gave me more time in the morning because I no longer had to prepare and eat food. It made my mornings less hectic and gave me more time to savor my coffee.

I found it easier to regulate my body weight. Since I was eating one fewer meal, I was consuming fewer calories. The fears of being absolutely famished for lunch and unable to control myself were unfounded. Yes, I was hungry at lunchtime, but no more so than when I ate breakfast.

Of course, I do occasionally eat breakfast. If I’m hungry, I eat. Period. If I eat a lighter than usual dinner, I may wake up hungry the next day. If so, I have breakfast. If I know I’m going to do something strenuous later, then I’ll also eat breakfast. Going out for long hikes, long runs of 10+ miles, or any other activity that will keep me busy, on my feet, and go, go, go make me seek food in the morning. If I’m on vacation and the hotel offers a lovely breakfast buffet, you bet I eat breakfast.

Since I do most of my runs in the morning, this means that nearly all of my runs are fasted runs. I can easily run, regardless of the type of run (speed, tempo, or easy), with nothing more than water and a pre-run coffee for distances of 10 miles or fewer. Anything longer than 10 miles, I need to eat a little something or I get really hungry during the run.

I have a slow digesting stomach so I’ve learned that I need to eat lightly right before a long run. This means refined carbs and sugar. Cakes, muffins, croissants, and cookies are good pre-run fuel options for me. If I eat anything heavier than that, I get heartburn during my run. Did you know that bananas can give you heartburn? It happened to me twice.

Because of my slow digestion, this makes racing in the evening interesting. I need to stop eating at least six hours prior to running. Anything less than that and I cramp up or get heartburn. In addition, I also need to make sure that lunch is not too heavy. Meals rich in protein require longer digestion time. I tried to race once after I ate a steak burrito for lunch. Despite the fact that there were almost 7 hours between lunch time and race time, I almost threw up while running. Ben likes to tease me by saying, “Oh, you’re racing in the evening, so you need to starve all day.”

Slow digestion works rather well for me when it comes to early morning races. I eat a HUGE meal for dinner. Sleep. Have a slice of cake and coffee for breakfast. And I’m good to go. I’m completely fueled up. I don’t need to try to choke down a bagel in the early morning in order to ensure that I have sufficient calories in me for race day.

Not eating breakfast works for me.

What do you not eat?

Be sure to check out this article, What These Runners Eat, written by my great PPTC teammate, Amy Sowder. The article features some of my fabulous PPTC teammates and the food runs that they go on (FYI, I went on the Women’s Day Run to Butter & Scotch and the dim sum run). So while I don’t eat before runs, I definitely eat (a lot!) after runs. 

23 thoughts on “What I Don’t Eat Wednesdays

  1. I have stopped eating red meat. I was getting heart burn on almost every run until I cut out red meat and tomato based foods. I’ve been able to get away with spaghetti sauce here and there as long as my next run is short mileage and many hours away, but no red meat has stuck.

    • No carbing on spaghetti before races for you. I’m glad you figured out what was giving you heartburn. It’s the worst. I hate it when I get and I’m so glad that it rarely happens to me.

  2. I don’t eat…..uhhh……celery? I guess? Seriously, if I don’t eat something substantial every 3-4 hours I get so rampantly hungry I’m not functional. Skipping breakfast might actually be the death of me (and I usually need 2nd breakfast as it is!). On the other hand, I don’t eat before runs, and I don’t fuel on runs, no matter how long, just for the adaptation, and that seems to work okay.

    • I don’t eat celery either. It has a weird taste to me that other people don’t seem to notice. You’re like Ben when it comes to fueling for runs. He doesn’t take anything either. He’ll just drink a little Gatorade that’s out on the course.

  3. I also do not eat breakfast. I did try to eat breakfast for a time to try and speed up my metabolism, but I started gaining weight from the extra calories so I stopped. On race morning, I eat a spoonful of peanut butter and maybe a HoneyStinger waffle and I’m ready to go. 🙂

    • You know what else made me gain weight, snacking. I tried the whole eating small meals throughout the day, but I ended up eating more. Lunch and dinner are enough for me. I’ve done a little bit of peanut butter and Nutella on raisin bread as pre-race fuel before when I didn’t have cake at home. I bet HoneyStinger waffles would work for me too.

  4. I did not know about the “What I Ate Wednesday” thing. I guess that I am behind the times. I had a “fat boy” diet yesterday – a BK whopper Jr, fries, and ice cream, and they were DELICIOUS. Well . . . I do feel a little guilty eating all of that crap yesterday.

  5. I loved your WIAW thoughts – I love cooking, I love food, and I loathe most What I Ate posts. Anyway, I have the opposite problem – an overenthusiastic digestive system made of cast-iron. (Except for dairy. Milk is my kryptonite. Terrible things happen when I consume milk.) I once had breakfast (a bagel, half my son’s bagel, eggs, fruit), went out for a 4-mile run, and within 3 hours was so hungry I was nearly dizzy. It’s so fascinating how differently everyone’s body responds to food and timing of food.

    • Oh my goodness, if I ate all that I couldn’t run for HOURS! I’m really amazed by people (or actually their stomachs) that can handle all that. I’ve read race reports where people talk about waking up in the middle of the night to eat an early breakfast and then eat another breakfast when they get up for real. Fast digestion is your superpower.

  6. Interesting post. Like a couple of others that commented here, I also missed the boat on the WIAW posts. Didn’t know it was a thing. I do appreciate how everyone is different when it comes to nutrition and what works for them. For me, I don’t think there’s much I don’t eat, at least occasionally, and that works for me. My husband eats a mostly Paleo diet and sometimes fasts, but that’s just not for me.

    • I don’t see as much WIAW posts as I used to. I don’t know if they’re dying out or if I’m more conscientious about not following people who do those posts regularly. I used to like them in the very very beginning before they took off because people gave a more realistic view of what they ate. Back then it was fun to see what people did for meals and get new ideas of your own. Then it warped into this strange (and a bit sick) posts of restrictive non-healthy dieting disguised as healthy eating. There was a blogger who ate raw green beans. That’s fine, except she kept calling them green bean fries. She kept saying how they tasted just like French fries, but because they’re green beans, they’re healthier. That revealed to me a whole lot weird messed-up thinking.

  7. If you’re not careful there’s a whole disordered world of dysfunctional eating and thinking out there. Fortunately for me, I’ve never had an eating disorder so reading them was not triggering, but still, I didn’t like being associated with it even as a passive reader.

  8. Sadly, there is very little I don’t eat. I love food. I am ravenous when I wake up. And by 10:30am I am usually ready for lunch. Lately, all food gives me heart burn. But it still doesn’t stop me. This is why I am so grateful for running!

  9. I will not eat Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, hollandaise, capers, red meat, gravy, and dressing of any kind. I was a real pain as a kid. I’m just slightly less of a pain to eat with now. But I can eat a giant bowl of oatmeal with berries and hemp and chia and run 10 minutes later and even eat a banana on top of that. I wouldn’t want to race but I always eat a ton just before my typical long run.

  10. Pingback: Tracktown Summer Series 5K Race Report | A Fast Paced Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s