A few years ago, I went with my sister and a good friend on a three-day hike of the Grand Canyon. At the outset, our guide gave us each a bag of snacks – greasy stuff like Fritos and corn nuggets. We canvassed the snack bags with some apprehension over the sheer unhealthiness of the products inside.
Our guide, perhaps sensing our bafflement, paused and then said with a smile:
“Enjoy it. It’s the only time you’ll be able to eat this stuff without worrying.”
His point was clear. For the next three days, we would be scaling mountains, carrying backpacks, and burning massive amounts of calories. We wouldn’t just want those snacks, he was saying; we would need the empty carbs to stay nourished.
I thought about that conversation the other day in Rio as I stared at my dinner plate of fried fish, egg noodles, and French fries.
Surely, this isn’t healthy, I thought. But I need to stay nourished.
Such is the state of mind at the Olympics, where I have essentially hit the halfway point of a three-week assignment. Several days into Week 1, I noticed my belt felt a little looser than normal; I quickly realized I had already lost enough weight to drop a whole buckle. I also saw my daily step counts reaching the 15,000 mark and my daily sleep count dropping toward the five-hour mark.
I knew then I needed to eat more frequently – and more heftily – than I had for the first few days.