If you’re a runner looking to lose weight, refocusing your nutrition on the basics should help you reach the finish line, say fans of the popular Paleo Diet. The basic premise of the eating plan is to skip processed foods and focus only on lean, grass-fed meat, wild (non-farmed) fish, low-starch vegetables and heart-healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil).
The Paleo diet works for women trying to run off extra pounds for two reasons, says Austin, Texasbased sports nutritionist Amy Kubal, R.D., who works with many elite athletes. First, it may help minimize inflammation so you can run without pain or discomfort. “Processed foods can have an inflammatory effect on the body and running can also cause inflammation,” says Kubal. Second, eating “real” foods helps you eat less. “Fat and protein simply satiate you more than carbs,” she explains.
But this isn’t Atkins, and carbs aren’t the enemy—something that distance runners will appreciate. Kubal says the trick is to eat your carbs at the right time. On the Paleo plan, that means before a long run or after a workout. Besides timing, Paleo-ites advise combining your carbs with protein to avoid a blood sugar spike and slump. “Breakfast before a long run might include starchy carbs, like sweet potato hash browns or fruit paired with a hard-boiled egg.”
You should see results both in your races and your waistline. “You can maximize your recovery and performance by eating the right foods at the right times,” says Kubal. In other words? “You can’t out-train a sucky diet.” Want to dip your toe in ancestral waters? Give Paleo a shot for seven days to see if it’s right for you. . .