Women's Health Australia - - NUTRITION - Lau­ren Wil­liamson, 27, As­sis­tant Dig­i­tal Con­tent Man­ager

“I’ve al­ways been fairly fit and healthy, but when I moved to Syd­ney from Bris­bane nearly five years ago, the stress of set­tling into a new city meant my body en­joyed more Tim Tams than TRX. A few ex­tra ki­los later, it was time to take ac­tion. I started work­ing out again (I now do F45, run­ning and yoga, with six ses­sions a week all up), be­came pesc­etar­ian and cut out most dairy (bar the odd cheese plat­ter). Slowly but surely I reached my OG weight. But, I also felt tired as hell, es­pe­cially af­ter a gym visit, and I also wasn’t build­ing the mus­cle I was slog­ging it out for.

En­ter di­eti­tian Amy Gian­notti who, dur­ing our con­sul­ta­tion, placed a big fo­cus on ex­actly what I was eat­ing. Much to my sur­prise, for a woman of my height, weight and ac­tiv­ity level, I was only hit­ting 56 per cent of the kilo­joules I needed. She was also trou­bled by my low-grain and dairy in­takes, as well as a peanut but­ter ob­ses­sion that meant my sat­u­rated fat quota was a lit­tle high. My new menu plan un­der Gian­notti’s watch? Triple my usual amount of car­bo­hy­drates, the re­turn of yo­ghurt and scale back on un­nec­es­sary fats. Over­all, I had to eat way more.

‘Just like putting petrol in the car, if you want more out of your body, you need to pro­vide more fuel,’ Gian­notti ex­plains. In par­tic­u­lar, not get­ting enough carbs re­sults in ‘a de­creased train­ing qual­ity, over­all per­for­mance, de­creased over­all en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture and also con­trib­utes to mus­cle break­down’. I’ll be hon­est, it took a bit of ed­u­ca­tion to get me com­fort­able with up­ping my in­take. ‘Carb-pho­bia coun­selling is al­most a daily job,’ ad­mits Gian­notti. ‘It sur­prises me the fear many peo­ple have when it comes to eat­ing car­bo­hy­drates. I have had many clients be­lieve that eat­ing a ba­nana will make them fat.’

Now, each of my meals in­volves a spe­cific com­bi­na­tion of low-gi carbs, pro­tein and ei­ther fruit (for break­fast) or non-starchy veg­eta­bles (for lunch and din­ner). A reg­u­lar day on a plate: a pre-train­ing ba­nana; half a cup of oats with 200 grams of Greek yo­ghurt, half-a-cup of berries and cin­na­mon for break­fast; salmon, half-a-cup of brown rice and loads of ve­g­ies for lunch; two dairyrich snacks such as tzatziki or a smoothie; and vege­tar­ian chilli with rice for din­ner.

The changes took a lit­tle get­ting used to (meal prep­ping helped enor­mously) but a few weeks down, I’m stoked with the re­sults. I can’t wait to see how my body and mus­cle changes over time but I have more con­sis­tent en­ergy, es­pe­cially dur­ing work­outs. Now, pass the bread, please.”

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