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.

November 17, 2009

Turtle or hare...

For the first 3 monthsor so of my running, I was intent on doing what I always did.   Push hard, never really getting that my changes were to be slow and steady.  My friend Jeremy was also running, he had started the fall before me.  I had no patience to do the run for 5 minutes, walk for 2 minutes program. But I saw that he was sticking to it.  So I begrudgingly tried this way.  This is coming from a guy who decided it would be fun to head all by himself to the lake at age 18, more than an hour on bike only to go until he threw up on the side of the road from overexertion.  Kept going, too.That was the old me though.  Slow and steady, eh?Trying this taught me a new patience.  This patience was with my desire to just be where I wanted to be, to see results immediately, and to boast about the extremities of my accomplishments.

Some days were so slow and not enjoyable, others truly liberating.  I needed to enjoy the process, not the goal.  This would help me to keep my attention on enjoying the run, not on how much weight I had lost.  But that is another blog to come.
What about you? What has been the thing that kept you going long term? Give me some fuel for the fire this winter!