November 20, 2009

Diet Schmiet

Diet? Hell, NO.  When I first began to run seriously, I knew some changes were in order.  I love food, I love to munch.  I have a particular weakness for the mixture of sweet-n-salty.  I knew, however, from previous experience in working out, that there was going to need to be some serious changes in order for me to gain any success.  My feet hurt because of the extra weight!  I had also taken to snacking on nachos and other such salty delights at night with my honey of a wife.  Popcorn sprinkled with m and m's.
These habits, which I felt were treats had actually become staples in my diet~!  Birthdays in our family are many and very sugary as well.  Not partaking would be a social insult!
So I did not diet.  It was a change in overall investment into my health.  Actually an investment is exactly how I had to look at calories and fueling my body.  Its not that I would take all pleasures out, but that I would need to reset my body and mind around food expectations.
This is coming from me who recently indulged a little more than I should have on Indian food at a friends' house last month and sat in the bathroom groaning, ACTUALLY GROANING because I ate too much and felt sick!  Really couldn't get enough of a good thing.
What I needed to do was come off of carbs, my weakness as much as I was enjoying them.  I cleansed myself for a month, trying to not snack, picking low-cal and especially, especially looking at the portions I was having, going for only one helping of meals rather than returning over and over.  I snacked on fruits, yogurt,  milk and other filling but treat-ish foods when the moment seized me.
Calories in calories out.  This worked, but it was a painful resetting.  I was experiencing sugar lows, moodiness, and finding that my munchy times were actually fuelled by either comfort or boredom, both emotionally based.  Stress also kindled my munchy side.
When it came to social gatherings with the treats, I would literally tell myself in a mocking voice, that it wasnot my last meal here on earth, so DONT eat like it IS!!  Cake comes and goes.
My running became my understanding as to what investment I was making.  Calories in, Calories out. We got a Wii fit, which does weigh you and make a little version of your body type.  Mine looked like my actual BMI, pudgy!  It was around 24.5, which is near obesity.  My goal was to get down to a healthier BMI.    This was going to be my way of tracking.  I decided not to become obsessive about it, so not to measure every day, but to allow it to be a  gradual guage.  The weight really didn't change much for a while, infact after 5 months, I had lost only about 15 lbs.  But I felt fantastic!  I plateaued for a while, and then slowly as my runs got longer, my fitness increased and my calories were kept at a healthy reasonable intake, the weight slid off for another year.  I kept needing to tell myself why I needed to eat only small portions of those things I loved, let them become rewards for hard work, and indulged when I truly felt the need to celebrate!  I also realized that true treats aren't the cheap ones you see everyday, but that being picky is actually saying something about what you truly enjoy!
So as I approach this holiday season, I will be enjoying as I always do, in moderation and picking those things I truly feel worthy of my palate.  Eggnog lattes, caramel chocolates, no bakes, and of course, turkey are all going to be on my 'to consume list'.  Just not VATS, PALLETS, and WHOLE TURKEYS. :P
What changes did you have to make or are you making?  Are they achievable?  Are they healthy?  Give me your plan to a healthy you this season of your life.


Chad said...

Here's another interesting blog about a healthy way to enter the season of YULE. cheers.

Kenley said...

Great Post dude. My new diet is working out very good. I dont feel starved. I have tons of energy. I follow the example of birds. lol. JK. Seriously, you know what i am talking about. Food = Fuel. TOO much of a good thing is like putting rust in our gas tanks. Hey thanks for visiting my site. I just put up a new article on where I stand in mileage, etc. endurance. Check it out. Have a good one and ......................Keep Running. To Endure is the Essence of Running

Grellan said...

Hi Chad. Thanks for stopping by. I've been running for nearly 4 years and my BMI is about 24.5. While I have lost some weight I have mostly just replacd fat with muscle (which is heavier) so I look lighter than I weigh, as muscle is more compact than fat.

I never worried about diet much as calories in was always matched by calories out, when running good milage. However I have high cholesterol and now have to watch my diet more closely and have noticed that I actually eat a lot of crap (conveniently packaged as food that appears good for you). A good rule of thumb is to avoid eating food that was not around 30 years ago (e.g. processed foods).

I also know that a lighter body means faster race times so my latest challenge is to see if I can drop a few pounds without affectng engine capacity.

Chad said...

nice, thanks for the feedback! Wow, way to go on your goal achievements, and your prospects sound both reasonable and achievable!
I think I am also at that point where muscle is weighing a bit more, going to the gym to work out lately. Time will tell, though.

CewTwo said...

I have less than 14 days to the Vegas RnR Half (I'm running it as Elvis). Not the young, vibrant Elvis. The older and not so sleek Elvis.
Snacks are my downfall, as well!
I'm ready for the race but I have not lost that much weight during the process. Part of the reason for that is a case of Plantar Fasciitis of the right ankle. I did ride the bike during that period, but the return to running was slow but steady.
I do think that low cal is OK, but I refrain from manufactured foods as opposed to natural foods.
A conundrum for me.
It seems that you are good with the way that you are handling it. I'll pay attention and see how it goes for you!
I know that next time that I see my Doctor (middle of December) and he'll restrict my calorie intake!
Hang in there, you'll get there and feel better for it.

Chad said...

Thanks for that, and ELVIS LIVES!

Its not so much that I now do not snack, but I get to the cupboard now and try to think of a good alternative that will placate my munchiness.
For example, nachos, or a glass of milk with some cereal in it? Wierd, I know, but it seems to satisfy. If its salt, then pretzel sticks (small amount) over top of nachos covered in cheese. I still like my snack. :D

jamie said...

Similiar case with me compared to Grellan. Not sure of my actual body fat percentage, but I can guarantee you it is ridiculously low. Yet, I weigh around 180 at 6'1". It's the muscle, and plus I'm broad shouldered. Point being, BMI and all that jazz can be quite skewed and very misleading. I just try to eat healthy and listen to my body how much to eat, which works well for me but understandably isn't as easy for some folks. Bottom line, if you're burning more calories then you're putting in, the weight will come off (if it's fat). Good luck!

Chad said...

Great point! Another indicator to watch is the body type you have, which is genetically unalterable. For example, if your have a small frame, like myself, you can put your hand around your wrist and fingers overlap slightly. If your are medium build, your fingers may just touch, and if a larger frame, your would not be able to touch your fingers when wrapped around your wrist. So despite height, this may contribute to your height to weight ratio!
This settled a matter for me when I wondered about this. I have used calipers in the past to figure an approximate body fat percent, but this was not a great focus for me being a high achiever.
Thanks for the great pointer!