When I was young I've played a lot of sports. From judo to swimming and soccer I can say I was an active kid. However after swimming I always had a big ice cream or a croissant or after judo or during school time I was eating pizzas, hamburguers and chips. I could say my only proper meal was sometimes in the school canteen and my mom's dinner.
And yes it's true I can say I was fat.
But during my teenage years I've moved to Brussels and lived there for 3 years. I've moved to the country of chocolates and waffles but surprisingly I've grown up and with this my attitude towards food and exercise have changed. I wanted to change my body so I've started running and riding my bike 3 to 4 times a week. I had a dessert once in a while and decided to eat less and better quality food.
But I was just 15 years old. I didn't know how to cook and some foods affected better my health than others.
In 2008 I've started triathlon. I've started training regularly but soon I found I could improve some things in my life. One of them was the way I ate.
I've started reading a ton of material on the internet. (I will write my next post about the amount of information available on the internet). I've read books about nutrition and how it was related with training.
First the high-carbohydrate diet, the most common diet in sports. Then the low-fat diet with little to no fat.
Then ahead of the Tour de France in 2008 I've read some interviews with Dr. Allen Alim and how he introduced a gluten-free diet to the Garmin-Team riders. They have noticed a big difference in performance so I did the same. It was hard because I thought most carbohydrates came in form of bread or pasta.
After a while I decided that I needed to change my diet (again). So I've started to read on websites and found a diet that was manly focused on fats. Small amount of carbohydrates and a bigger amount of nuts, seeds and oils.
I've learnt a lot with these diets. Most of all how to eat and how to cook. And most of all to differentiate food eaten for performance and food for everyday life. Much different.
Now I am very really careful on what I put in my body. I eat fresh, more organic, I balance my carbohydrate intake with duration and intensity of workouts and I pay a lot of attention on recovery timing.
Now I don't like to call diet. I eat to stay healthy and time my food for pre, during and after workouts. Carbohydrates are not only pasta and bread but can be rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, sweet potato etc. Fats come from seeds and nuts and oils (incl coconut oil, olive oil etc.) but because they are very calloric I try to restrict the amount I eat. Proteins come from fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, sea bass, etc.) eggs and meat (horse, deer, venison, chicken, turkey, etc.) and dairy. Then the biggest amount of my daily food comes from vegetables.
Now I can cook my own food and I do it everytime I'm at home not that I don't like my mom's food but my mom's food continues to be just an high-glycemic bomb like in most of Portuguese houses with white bread, pasta and rice (only after training).
It's a balance of diets like that I can stay healthy and perform well everytime I would like to.
Like a coach said to me: "Nothing fancy, no shortcuts - simply lots of quality training balanced with appropriate recovery and high quality nutrition."