What do you eat out there?
You know when the weight loss adverts on telly show you footage of an impossibly happy lady, clearly high as a kite, stick thin and loudly proclaiming – “and I was able to eat anything I wanted…even cake!!!!” – before shovelling a massive ladle full of black forest gateaux down her gullet and grinning at the camera with absolutely no cake on her chemically whitened teeth? So then you order the meal plan and the ‘cake’ that was alluded to in the advert is a 2 mil thick flapjack rejected from the ASDA factory for being too shit, and then they’ll try and make up for your disappointment by putting on the packet that the oats were collected by vegan Nepalese Sherpa’s from the Himalayan Valleys and blessed by an ancient travelling goat, and it makes you die inside a bit and you come to the realisation that losing weight whilst eating cake is impossible. This blog may be for you…
Food aboard the rowing boat is incredibly important. With no engine or sails this is the boats fuel, so it’s imperative, just like regular fuel, to get the right amount and type.
We’ll be rowing in pairs 24 hours a day 7 days a week, that’s 12 hours of rowing per person per day to fuel. In order to do this we’ll be contravening all of the normal day-to-day rules that we know about eating (limit food to 2,000 kcal, don’t eat too much sugar, etc) and we’ll be consuming in the region of five to six thousand calories per day – that’s three times the recommended daily intake if we were on land.
The majority of this count will be from dehydrated rations, i.e. foil bags of food that you simply pour boiling water into and wait a few minutes for it to hydrate. There is quite a range of food available, pasta ‘dishes’, cottage pie, curries, ‘fried’ breakfasts, puddings – from my experience on board Patience during the Great Pacific Race, the macaroni cheese tastes exactly the same as the scrambled eggs, just some mush in a bag, but this time we’re using a company called Extreme Adventure Food to fuel us, and during the taste testing we did, these were actually very nice meals. Fit for a King you might say, as long as the King was happy bivvying down next to a campfire.
1,000Kcal of our daily intake will be purely sweets – that’s right, Haribo, Mars bars, Jelly babies, M&Ms. If it strikes fear into your dieticians heart, then we need to be eating it, just to keep the calories up. If we fail to eat our calorie target we will dehydrate and suffer the effects of starvation – hallucinations, sickness, and ultimately we’ll pop our clogs – and that’s not something we’ve put on the schedule.
Despite shovelling up to 6000Kcal into our faces each day, this does not actually replenish the calories we will have lost each day. We’ll be burning anything from 8-12,000 calories per day rowing so we will lose a large amount of weight during this row. We estimate a weight loss of between 8 and 12 stone across the crew of four in total. Weight watchers, take note, we will quite literally have our cake, and eat it.
You want evidence that you can eat what you like and still lose weight? Speak to an ocean rower. I mean obviously if you can get their attention between snacks…