Nate Appleman, 32, started running four years ago for his newborn son, Oliver.
‘I was 113kg when he was born,’ says Appleman, who won the 2009 James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award. ‘I didn’t want to be the fat, lazy dad who couldn’t play with his son.’
Predictably, it was hard going.
‘I’d run 800m and be ready to drop,’ he says. ‘But each week I’d tack on an extra block.’ Week by week, he lost weight. As he did, he began to rethink the way he ate.
‘I used to skip meals because I was so busy. Then I’d get really hungry and head straight for sugary foods.’ Now that he was running, he began to think of food as fuel rather than simply something to satisfy hunger.
‘I wanted to make sure what I ate delivered energy and good nutrition.’ Appleman eventually lost 39 kilograms. Last year, he ran his first marathon – in 3:51 – and will run it again this year.
One key to his weight-loss success has been planning well ahead. ‘It can be tough to find healthy options when you are on the go, especially when you’ve made big diet changes,’ says Appleman.
‘I make a point of never going out of the house without something nutritious and satisfying in my bag,’ says Appleman.
Having healthy options with him at all times makes it easy to avoid that tray of doughnuts at a conference table or the vending machine down the hall. It also means he always has a pre- or post-workout snack on hand when he needs to fuel up before or after a run.
‘When work is hectic and you’re training for a big race, life can get pretty crazy,’ says Appleman. Stock your kitchen with basics such as pasta, rice, beans, fresh and frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, and a range of spices so you can quickly throw together satisfying meals on the spot.
It takes about the same amount of time to make a double batch of a favorite recipe like spaghetti sauce as it does to make just one. So make two, and freeze one. With a few great home-cooked meals in the freezer, putting together a healthy dinner is as easy as defrosting a jar of homemade sauce.
Keep a list of restaurants and take-out places where you can get a meal that’s not over the top on kilojoules, salt and fat. ‘Check the menu in advance,’ says Appleman, ‘which is a lot easier now that so many restaurants post their menus online. And don’t be afraid to ask to have it your way.’
One of Nate’s favourite on-the-go recipe’s is this hummus-like spread, ideal for breakfast, lunch or a snack!