Last year I gained over 5 pounds as I trained for my first marathon. That doesn't seem like a huge number, but if you are a Weight Watchers Lifetime member, that can put you back into the place where you have to pay each month rather than it being free. There are significant health issues in my family that makes maintaining a healthy weight essential for me. Add that to the recent Runner's World article stating that 5 pounds equals 5 minutes on marathon times makes me realize that controlling my weight is more than just health, vanity or frugality--I need it to run faster! This seems to motivate me more than the other reasons--probably because I see the impact rather quickly.
I know what to eat, I know about how much to eat--so why do I overeat? I think it is because after all these years I have forgotten how to listen to my own hunger signals. I think that I am being strong when I don't eat when I'm hungry and weak if I eat. I am afraid that if I give myself the freedom to eat, I will never stop eating and my diet will consist of pasta, peanut butter and M&MS. I also find that because I have let myself get so hungry in the past, that I am actually afraid of my own hunger and try to "eat prevenatively" to avoid hunger. None of these extremes are good for me.
But is it really this simple--Wait until you are hungry, make healthy choices, and stop right before you are full? Why is it that running 10 miles is easier than putting my fork down before my plate is empty?
So this is what I am trying:
- Ask myself if I am truly hungry before I eat--and wait to make sure I really am hungry rather than just thinking that I might be hungry.
- Allow myself to eat if I am hungry. If this means eating lunch at 10:30, this is okay too.
- Put down the fork and remind myself that food will be there later
- Make the healthy choice when eating--peanut butter, pasta and M&Ms all do have a place in a healthy diet!
- Eat the correct amount so that I am hungry in the morning, and before each meal.
I have learned to adjust my workouts for fatigue, sore muscles and my energy level. This involved listening to and trusting my body to tell me what it needed, but also knowing when to push a workout and when to back off. I can learn to trust my body for fuel as well. It will talk to me--I just need to stop and listen.