Good morning everyone – and Happy Friday! I can’t believe that the May Long Weekend is upon us. It’s a really exciting weekend for all of you outdoor enthusiasts because it seems to be the official kick-off to camping season. We aren’t heading out camping this weekend, however…I feel like I’ve been on the road nonstop for the past month between San Diego and Kelowna and I’m actually really excited to just lay low and relax around the house, get a few good runs in, and maybe take a day trip out to the mountains!
I have a confession to make – when I returned from San Diego after a week of pure indulgence, I could no longer button up my jeans. True story. We had a wonderful time – exploring the city, checking out some really cool museums. and eating and drinking everything our little hearts desired – but even with running 5 out of the 7 days we were there and walking probably 10+ kilometres every day, we still managed to pack on a few extra pounds. Brutal! But – this may have actually been a blessing in disguise. You see, up until recently, I wholeheartedly believed that because I was a runner / active person, I could pretty much get away with eating whatever I wanted. My love of food, after all, is one of the main reasons I began running in the first place. (For a more inspiring list of reasons why I run, click here.) I started to get really excited about the prospect of eating all of the things I enjoy on a regular basis – especially when I got into running longer distances and torching more than 700 calories before breakfast.
But here’s the thing. Especially during my Recovery Program, I was hardly running enough distance to burn off a 200-calorie snack. I watched my weight begin to creep up and my confidence begin to slide down, which made me feel even more depressed and frustrated about my injury. And guess how I dealt with that? You got it – by eating more. Eventually I was up nearly 10 pounds from where I was in January when I got injured. So, upon returning from San Diego, I decided it was time to get serious about my nutrition.
If I’m being honest, nutrition is something that I’ve always been passionate about and interested in, but my willpower oftentimes fails me and I find myself binge-eating fast food in my car after a long shift or throwing an entire day into a pile of nutella just because of one little slip-up. I’ve tried it all – low carb, low fat, high fat, calorie counting, clean eating, intermittent fasting, juice cleansing, eating intuitively – you name it. Nothing seems to stick – although calorie counting is the one thing that I have found the most helpful throughout my years of weight struggle.
I am trying to find that delicate balance between eating whole, healthful, clean foods that help my body to be the best that it can be, and enjoying the delicious side of life where things like red wine, chocolate and burritos live. Why is it so hard?! I know people who truly eat to live – they don’t seem to care what their food tastes like – they just eat what they know is best for them and go on with their lives. But not me. I get so DAMN excited about food, it’s almost criminal. If I have the opportunity to go out to eat, I will spend hours (hours!) researching the best restaurants in the city and looking at the menus drooling over all of my choices. (Check out my profile on Zomato!) When we go on a vacation, we truly plan our activities around where we want to eat. On Sunday mornings, I usually lay in bed planning what I want to cook that week, and then proceed to spend the rest of the day grocery shopping, prepping, and getting excited about eating. I have been caught laying in my bed staring at pictures of noodles on Pinterest. None of this is really that bad, but it’s the ‘don’t-know-when-to-quit’ mentality that messes me up in the long run.
I could ramble on forever on this topic, but I think I will just leave it there for today. The compromise I have decided on (for now) is this;
-Try to remain within my calorie limit every day (I use MyFitnessPal to track) but don’t get all bent out of shape if I go over my limit a little bit here and there. Remind myself that I am human. I also have to be diligent with being authentic with my entries – not manipulating my food diary to reflect a better day than I actually had when it came to what I ate.
-Attempt to fill that daily calorie limit with 80 – 90% clean food. Again – I am human. You are human. We aren’t perfect. But I know as well as the next person that keeping my meals clean makes me feel like a million bucks. And I like to feel like a million bucks!
-Allow myself to enjoy treats / cheats, but then get back to eating well. For now, I’ve decided that allowing a set number of “treats” per week is better for my lifestyle than allowing myself one entire cheat day because I would likely just binge myself into deep-fried oblivion that way. I am hoping this will teach me that just because I had a treat at lunch does not mean that I have to have a shitty dinner and then go buy a pint of ice cream and eat the entire thing while watching Netflix. It’s all about balance.
I’ll be interested to see how this works for me. Right now, the way my body feels and performs is more important than weight loss, and that’s somewhere that I’ve never been before. It used to be all about 100-calorie snack packs and burning x-amount of calories on the elliptical at the gym. Now, I want to eat real, whole foods that will fuel my long runs and repair my muscles after an intense cross-training day. It feels like a little bit of a game changer to think this way. I suppose time will tell.
What are some of the ways that you stay accountable for what you’re eating?
Do you have a favourite healthy-living blog or website? A favourite recipe?
What are your plans for the May Long Weekend?