We talk about food a LOT in this group - I'd love a formal discussion of the topic.
Let's each share the following:
1) Do you follow a strict diet or nutrition plan?
2) What makes it work for you?
3) What are the hardest aspects of it for you?
4) How long have you followed it?
5) Do you use any tools to track adherence?
6) Would you recommend it to others?
7) What are your goals in following this plan (weight loss, muscle gain, dietary restrictions)?
8) Have you reached these goals and/or been able to maintain?
As I just recently started working with a nutritionist, I'll share. It would be fun to chat with others who use similar principles.
1) Trying to. Metabolic Efficiency Training (MET) which is promoted by Seeborhar. The basic idea is to manipulate your cellurlar processes to improve the body's ability to use macronutrients specifically fat. It is a balance of carbs, fats, and protein. The main idea is that the first thing on your plate should be a protein/fat and that should be followed with vegetables and fruits. Lastly, you add a small amount of carbs. The quantity of the carbs is periodized to where you are in your training cycle: base - none to small amount, competition: a bit more carb, etc. Pretty much the more intense your training, you may want to consider adding more carbs. The goal is to increase your body's ability to burn fat for fuel at all levels of exercise intensity and thus reducing the amount of calories you need during training and racing (less chance for GI stress). People have also had great success reducing body fat using MET.
2) Still figuring this out but so far it is pretty easy to follow with a small amount of planning.
3) Right now the hardest aspects is the integration of so much fat. All my life I have heard that fat is bad. MET encourages the addition of avocados, cheese, oils, salad dressing, etc. While all of these things taste amazing, it is a mental struggle to eat some at each meal.
4) I am in week 2. So very early stages. I am still in the carb-unloading stages. I think next week, I will be eating at the proper levels of protein/fat/carb recommended for base building. Although I have somewhat been following a low carb diet as I have been gluten free since April and instead of just substituting gluten free items for gluten items in my diet (breads, pasta, cookies, etc), I just stopped eating them. So I think my carb-unloading hasn't been as big of deal as it could be for some.
5) Since I am currently working directly with a nutritionist, I track using an excel food log. I email it to her and she gives me feedback on what I can do to improve my meals or if I am on track. With our approach, we are not tracking number of calories or g of carbs/protein/fats. We are focused more on the qualitative makeup of my meals and snacks. I eat until I am full and snack/eat when I am hungry. I have found that by adding more fats, my need to snack has gone way down.
6) Can't answer this yet.
7) I have two goals: Lower body fat and simplify my long course nutrition. People have had great success getting calories intake down to 50-100 calories an hour during IMs and ultras.
8) see 6
I am looking forward to reading more about what others do.