January 20th, 2010
I believe the body is the Temple of the Lord, and therefore needs to be treated with respect. The best way to do that it by a clean diet and exercise. I strive to do that on a daily basis and want this blog to chronicle my journey. Well I write a lot about my exercise, but not as much about my diet. That’s because I’m an eating machine and it’s impossible for me to chronicle what I eat. I have no anal retentive bone in my body, in fact I’m the complete opposite. Spilled spaghetti is my nickname, remember?…so trying to write about what I eat? Well, that just requires too much concentration. So I decided to give you a little look into my mindset about food, since I doubt you’ll ever see exactly what I eat.
My opinion of food is that it is meant to fuel your body and also taste good, but it wasn’t until after my sophomore year of college that I wrapped my mind around that first bit.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve always had a sensitive stomach. Although I was never officially diagnosed, we were all pretty sure that I suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I prefer to call it “spastic colon” because it’s funnier). There were times in high school and early college when anything I ate would pass right through me and I would drop 5 pounds like it was hot. I’d change what I ate while I was sick, but as soon as my colon got its act together, I went right back to cafeteria foods.
When my brother was at his sickest in the summer of 2006, he and my parents decided to forego the doctors, they admitted they didn’t have all the answers, and head to the nutritionist. It was there that I was introduced to nutrition and proper fueling of your body. This was timely because I was also getting into running and had started losing weight, so I was looking for foods to build up my body. I became aware of the “garbage in, garbage out” mindset. If I ate gross foods, I felt gross. When I ate whole and healthy foods, I felt whole and healthy. Imagine that?
So since the summer of 2006, do you think I’ve had any issues with my IBS?
NOT AT ALL! The combination of running and clean(er) eating has stopped the issue and allowed me to lose 40ish pounds. Crazy, huh? What’s even crazier is that I can now occassionally eat the foods that used to make me really sick, and my stomach is healthy enough to take it. Except, of course, before a run. I had to let my body heal by giving it food that would encourage its healing.
I think that forbidding yourself food is a bad idea. It kind of glorifies the food you’re trying to avoid. The more you TRY to ignore something, the more you fixate on it. When you’re beginning to try to lose weight, I totally think it’s ok to count calories and make certain foods off-limits, as long as you realize that the food-world isn’t black and white. Cheesecake would be bad everyday, but for a treat, it’s totally acceptable! And having it once in a blue moon also means that I don’t need an extra-long workout afterwards. I never understood the mindset of having a splurge day if you were just going to torture yourself with a nutzo bootcamp afterwards. I want to ENJOY my food, not regret it. There’s that spilled spaghetti in me again: not wanting to keep a ledger. Some people may do better by being more restrictive, but not me. I hate rules. They suck the fun out of everything!
Anyhow, I’ve really learned that your body craves what you give it. When I’m standing in line at a grocery store, I rarely buy a candy bar. Junior Mints and Peanut MnMs sometimes make their way into my purchase. But there’s rarely a temptation. It’s because at one time I said “no” and then I realized that I didn’t miss it. And I felt better when I said “no”. And the cleaner your diet gets, the cleaner it wants to be. My body never handled meat well, so I cut out greasy fast food, and pretty soon I didn’t want any red meat. Soon after that, I didn’t want any meat at all. And now I’m thriving on my vegetarian diet. Same with dairy…I rarely ever sit here and think, “man, I could realllly go for ice cream”. But fruits and veggies? I love them! It’s not just that I eat them because I know they are good for me. I eat them because I want them. I think they are delicious! Green peppers are like chocolate to me… not even kidding.
But ask anyone around me, I love my sweets! On a daily basis I don’t eat too much, but if I’m around it, I will eat it. The key is that I don’t usually have it around (seriously, you should look at my shopping cart sometime, my husband has to make secret trips to the store to get junk food). So when I visit home, and the family is sitting around munching on junk food, I join. I’m not scared of food and it doesn’t control me. I know my diet is clean enough to allow for it. And there really is something about enjoying food with the people you love. But if I don’t want it, I don’t eat it, and I know I came to that point because my body got used to a cleaner diet.
Since I changed my perception of food, I have found that I’m not scared of food. Mainly because I think with my mind, and not my appetite (oh, Plato, aren’t you proud?). I trust the signs my body gives because at one time, I put my mind in charge over my stomach. If I’m craving something, I don’t deny myself. Since I retrained my thinking, I have retrained my appetite. There’s no longer a vicious battle for control being fought on my thighs. My mind is respectfully in charge but trusts that when my stomach says, “I want some potato chips,” it might actually need them. Now there are times when my mind has to say, “back away from the potato chips”, but my body doesn’t ever feel deprived, so it listens. Does this make sense?
Sorry I don’t have a list of “dieting how-to”s or nifty tricks on how to slim down and get your dream bikini-bod. I’m not that clever, nor that interested in anything other than being healthy and a strong runner. So I guess my food philosophy is to let your mind do the thinking and your stomach do the digesting, not the other way around. How Platonic!