It wasn’t the realization of the added ten pounds on the doctor’s scale (at which I cried) or the 2 minute per mile slower running time; not the puffy face in recent photos nor the general feeling of blah. There’s no reason for jump starting the healthy eating plan (again) other than it is time.
For the past two days I ate things like this:
A piece of Millet bread with a quarter of an avocado spread like butter, topped with a scrambled egg (and two egg whites) and a spoonful of fresh salsa.
Juice made from carrots, celery, apple, ginger, kale, beets, and huge bunches of spinach.
Back to Nature’s Multi-Seed Crackers with half a piece of jalapeno cheese and a slice of uncured honey ham.
Whole wheat crusted chicken nuggets baked in the oven with green beans and tomatoes on the side.
Two days of healthy eating and a small dose of exercise (a three-mile run yesterday), and one would assume I was completely on track.
But there’s always a hitch when it comes to clean eating, this time it came in the form of tiny white-fudge-frosted gingerbread men (120 calories for three) nestled inside a pretty Christmas colored box.
If it weren’t for those sneaky gingerbread men I would have conquered two full days free from processed sugar.
Except their pull over me was too strong that I ate three. And then I ate three more. And the 240 calories I ingested happened faster than you can holler, “KALE!”
The good news is that I got a grip on the situation and stopped. I didn’t go back for more. But I thought about it a lot (a lot, a lot), before running far enough from the kitchen that I was no longer tempted.
One day at a time.
One day at a time.
Do you eat clean or do you struggle? What is it that makes you attack the gingerbread men?
With week one of my marathon training complete I know I should write an update.
But after injuring my right quad the day before week one was to begin, there’s not a whole lot to report. I managed to run fourteen miles even though I took off one of my mid week runs. After yesterday’s eight, whereupon I had to call my husband to come and pick me up (I miscalculated my route and the extra two miles home would have left me completely incapacitated), I’ve decided to take a rest.
My pulled thigh will not heal if I continue to push the plan, so I have committed instead to running zero miles this second week of training.
We will see how week three looks, but my goal right now is to listen to my body and be kind to my whole self.
On the food front, I’ve had my hand in the sugar bowl more than a few times recently, but I’m feeling really fine about my choices. I’ve even added back in some gluten and have not felt any ill effects.
No bingeing, no madness, better decisions are being made all the way around.
Julie Armer; young, long red hair, Birkenstock wearing, wise and able to call me on my chit.
We started meeting when I was on the tail end of a semi nervous breakdown. At twenty-eight and with my life far from where I wanted it, I needed help to sort stuff out.
My coping mechanism was food.
At night I’d curl into bed with a bag of Teddy Grahams. I’d watch t.v. and devour the bag until all that was left were bear legs and bodies; tiny body parts crumbled against the bottom of the metallic bag.
Julie and I had long talks about the Teddy Grahams. Why did I do this? What compelled me to keep eating?How did I feel once they were finished and expanding in my belly?
The conclusion we came to was that I was filling up my stomach in an effort to control something in this uncontrolable world. What I really needed was to fill up my heart, not my gut. I know it sounds sort of ridiculous, but she was onto something. Eating to the point of fullness left little room (body and mind) to dwell on the emptiness elsewhere.
Her solution? When being pushed toward a tryst with Teddy Grahams I was to go and hug my nephew who happened to be living upstairs from me at the time. Filling with love would quell the urge toward food as a love replacement.
There’s a lot of talk online and amongst friends about losing weight, calorie control, and diet management.
I very seldom read about the emotional aspect of food as a drug, as a coping skill, as a way to manage feelings.
On Wednesday I ran into Whole Foods with my girls and a short list.
Sophie had requested the organic Blueberry lollipops we like, Grace wanted some animal crackers and I needed apples and greens.
We left with our bags filled, but instead of traditional animal crackers chose two bags of 100% natural, made by Barbara’s since 1971, Snackimals Animal Cookies in vanilla and chocolate chip.
On Thursday, after a few really stellar days for me in the healthy eating department, I went searching the cabinets for a snack. I picked up the cookies and portioned them out in a pink plastic bowl. With them I poured a cup of milk.
My intentions were pure. I was still on the straight and narrow.
When my bowl was empty I stared at it feeling blue. They tasted just like Teddy Grahams, if not a little more crisp. They crunched the same, melted on my tongue the same, tasted just the same.
Without thinking, I started to eat them out of the bag until they were gone. And then the next bag. Gone.
As if something had triggered my good sense, my managed eating habits earlier in the week had vanished from my being.
Like an alcoholic might fall off the wagon after succumbing to the pull of a little sip, I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday in compulsive eating hell.
Unable to feel the food that I consumed, I ate more. My head knew what was happening, my alter ego (I need to name her) didn’t care. I was aware that I was spinning, but continued to find more to fill myself up.
When Brian came home with a huge lemon cake and chocolate covered Oreos it didn’t take long before I was going at the cake with a fork and eating the cookies without even checking the calorie content and fat grams on the back (130 for 2 and 13 per serving I now know).
My stomach hurt badly, so I’d give myself a break. And then start up again. A cycle of pleasure and pain and exhaustion and energy.
Why did it happen? What was I really searching for? Aren’t I happy? Don’t I have enough love, friends, health, family?
I have heard that food is the good girls’ drug. This is true. It’s not even about the food. It’s not about weight. It’s about control.
Teddy Grahams, those sweet little bears manufactured for children’s lunch boxes are as dangerous to me as crack or heroine or a bottle of pills to another person searching to fill whatever is missing inside them.
Last night after two pieces of pizza, a couple of bread sticks and three ranger cookies I fell into a “food coma” as I put the girls to sleep.
When I woke later in the evening, the mania was done, just like that. I drank a big bottle of water and settled back to sleep.
Today the food mania has stopped completely and I’ve woken up feeling better and able to see the light through the fog of the past few days.
I drank my coffee with skim milk and ate a lemon 0% Chiobani with some blackberries and half cup of Go Lean Crunch.
I sat down to write as I always do and this post came flowing out.
Since I try to speak the truth, though, I figured it might be helpful for anyone else going through a similar struggle. It also might be helpful to people who view over weight folks as food mongers and sloths. It isn’t about the food at all, so try not to judge.
In fact, a hug or a meaningful conversation about something other than food might snap them out of the cycle.
Most importantly, it is helpful to me to be able to recognize the triggers and the patterns and do what I can to avoid such occurrences in my future.
Total control will never be mine. It doesn’t exist. Not for me and not for you.
It’s a new day and I am off to yoga.
My solution. My church. I will Om with the group, get centered, and try not to judge myself or others.
But as they say in church, which will be my mantra for this Sunday, “Peace be with you. And also with you.”
I wish I could say I was a completely clean eater on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in the past few days I’ve found my hand in the Oreo bag more than I care to admit.
During my morning taper run I thought about the next thirteen days and what I must do to ensure that I give myself the best chance for race day success.
The easiest task is to clean up the diet. I say it’s the easiest because I know the rules.
Sticktoitiveness is a different story.
I went to Whole Foods yesterday to get back on track. Believe it or not, once I (or you) get going with this kind of venture, the non-processed foods begin to whisper sweet nothings much the same way that Oreos do at 3:30 in the afternoon, the witching hour in my house. Juices and smoothies require serious pre-planning, though, which can be difficult if a spinach and kale run didn’t happen the day before. Mommyland can be very unpredictable.
I have whipped up three lovely glasses of green juice and two nice sized smoothie servings that should keep me going until the end of the day tomorrow. I have planned steamed salmon and kale for dinner. Lunch will be light, but with plenty of carbs since they are still necessary to ensure proper racing energy.
My nineteen miler was the most successful run of them all, because I adhered to the rules of clean eating and restricted (most) carb consumption to earlier in the day.
Let’s hope for Wonderful Wednesday and Thriving Thursday!
In order to avert overzealousness, I’ll be taking baby steps to Fabulous Friday.
The past few weeks of running, including my nineteen miler, were done without audio books. I finished the last chapter of Dead Until Dark a few weeks back, while sitting in my car at Whole Foods, eating kale salad before going to pick up the kids. I knew how it was going to end, since I’d watched it play out on t.v., but even so I was sad to say, “Goodbye,” to the book version of Sookie.
Yesterday I downloaded the second book in the Hunger Games series; Catching Fire. It started little ahead of where the last book finished, but I was pulled right back in and excited to see where we would go. I feel a sort of kinship with Katniss, Girl on Fire. It isn’t logical, but she did get me through some of my very first long runs, while at the same time running for her own life in the games. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be channeling her with flaming fingernails on March 18th, so it was appropriate that she would be my choice for heroine du jour during these final weeks of training.
Those few weeks without stories made me realize that I’ve got to have one (or two) going at all times. I had checked out When Margaret was Young, by my favorite author Jane Hamilton, but could never figure out how to get it to import to my phone. In a way I was glad, though, because what if I didn’t like it? Could Jane Hamilton be my favorite author anymore if I couldn’t connect with her book? I returned it without listening, but will try to go back to it later, when I have less on my plate. I would hate to be disappointed by my book of choice at this juncture.
After my lunch date with Sookie, which turned out to be a surprisingly calm and enjoyable addition to my schedule, I decided that I needed a car read. While at the library, waiting for the girls to fill their “library purses,” I hunted down the audio book for Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
I’ve often wondered what it was about that book that kept me so entranced as a young girl in the sixth grade, reading it for the very first time. I figured that it would be good research as I ponder the kind of books I myself want to write, and at the same time, be my companion as I eat my lunch. It probably sounds like a pretty nerdy and isolationist thing to do, but it is very hard to get quiet these days, and it’s less sad than eating alone absolute silence.
As a side note, I have returned to the land of exhaustion. After writing about Sweet Sleep, where I felt recovered from the overwhelming tiredness that had been plaguing me, it took one night of a past eight p.m. bedtime to fall back into the realm of six p.m. crashing and burning.
I wonder if it’s this point of marathon training and part of recovery? Maybe I’m coming down with something?
With only twenty-nine days until the race, my most important goal is to stay healthy. Peach called me yesterday with another cold and cough, my girls have been blowing their own little noses, and I watched a coughing boy at pre-school wipe his hand down the entire banister as he descended the stairs, surely on his way to the doctor. Germs are everywhere!
It is my biggest fear that I’ll get sick within days of the race and be unable to compete. That scenario has occurred two other times in my racing history. There’s nothing worse than being ill with a deep lung cough and cold at the same time that hundreds of people are running your race.
Fear aside, books in place, continued rest, one more big run, and quiet car lunches are on the menu until tapering begins.
Tapering. The final stage of this journey. I can barely believe it’s almost here.
The UPS man usually comes to the door around three o’clock with his deliveries. When our door bell rang I was busy cutting up vegetables for the pasta sauce I was going to cook for the girls, so I figured I’d get it off the stoop once I’d finished my work.
As the ding donged, I said out loud, “It’s the man with a package for me,” which deterred the girls from a screeching run to see who it was.
It wasn’t the UPS guy, though. It was sweet Katie from down the street with her mom Lisa and I felt a little guilty for not getting to the door more quickly.
I scanned them to see if I could figure out the reason for their visit. Folded beneath Lisa’s arm was the Girl Scout cookie order list; the Girl Scout seal proudly emblazoned in green and the colorful scribble marks of eager customers’ names and addresses.
I was happy to see them as I do love a Girl Scout. I remember being one myself until I tired of the meetings and the camping. I much preferred being a Brownie; much less pressure for me to become wilderness savvy.
Lisa and Katie were not taking orders, but had a bag of leftovers that didn’t sell and they wanted them off their hands.
The irony that my last Mommyland post was in regard to healthy eating and semi-cleansing was not lost on me. With a big smile and a high-pitched “I’m so happy to see you” voice bought three boxes without question.
Thankfully they weren’t all of my favorites (Thin Mints and those coconut Somoas were missing), but that one box of Peanut Butter Patties could mean trouble and I realized I was tempting fate. The other two boxes were shortbread(ish), not as enticing, but easily scarfed down in one sitting if I’d had an especially long hard day with a couple crazy kids.
Just when I make the commitment to healthier eating, something happens (ding dong) and the idea of tossing that healthier lifestyle out the front door (in this case to writhe on the curb behind my Girl Scout) becomes incredibly appealing.
Rest easy friends, not a single one passed my lips.
Though tempting, I remained steadfast and feel better for it now, as I lace up my Muzinos for an easy six mile prep run. Feeling lighter as I tackle Saturday’s nineteen will be better than any cookie could possibly taste.
Still, there was an internal struggle that I thought should be recognized and noted.
The struggle between good and evil; between flax seeds and Tagalongs.
The stuff of ancient tragedies, made current thanks to the Girl Scouts.
The running I’ve been doing has made my legs strong, lean and muscley. I realized this last week when my closet, in need of a good straightening, prompted me to tidy up and try on things that I hadn’t worn in ages. I was surprised that my Genetic Denim Shanes, the most perfect skinny jean on the planet, were tight on the thighs.
This compelled me to try on my litmus pants, a pair of Joe’s; trouser jeans with very little stretch. If I fit into those I’d know where I stood in the weight department without ever getting on the scale.
Horrified, I couldn’t get close to buttoning them up. But they fit in the legs so I guessed that they shrunk or maybe the running has completely changed my body shape.
The excuses turned into sad truths (yesterday afternoon) as I turned around to check the straps on an adorable bra, while locked in a very small dressing room. My opinion of dressing rooms is that they are infamous for bad lighting and mirrors too close to the body, which don’t give a person enough space to properly visualize the yay or nay. Nordstrom and Saks come close (generally bigger in size), but the lighting kills it. I’ve yet to come across a single dressing room where the image of my reflection matches exactly how I feel inside.
What I saw yesterday was the truth as only a bad dressing room mirror can hand to you. A good friend or sales girl wouldn’t dare. Even my mother would resist.
It didn’t come out and say, “You are fat!” It was worse.
It was the image of back rolls separated by the cuteness of a good bra, and then more fat rolls beneath, that didn’t smooth out as I stretched to make them go away.
Without words it said this, “Wake up Sister! All the running in the world will not make you slim if you continue to eat entire grocery store cakes (on the platters from whence they came) with a fork and no plate!”
My race is six weeks away.
It’s crazy sounding, but as I stood in that mirror all I could think about were race day pictures; not my time, not my exhaustion from carrying too much weight, not the thrill of victory as I kick 26.2 to the ground and stomp it hard.
This has been the cycle that food has played in my life. Every once in a while I get a glimpse of the truth and decide to take control of my fork to mouth response.
It’s a nuisance and I hate it. I like food and want to be able to eat what I want when I want it.
Today I have no choice but reboot the cycle and take some accountability.
I’m going to take it slow and be thoughtful about what I stick in my mouth. I am going to try to log my food into the calorie count app on my phone and am going to follow the “diet” that was given to me last Spring when my blood work came back pre-diabetic.
There was no chocolate cake on that food plan; no handfuls of goldfish, huge bowls of night-time ice cream, uneaten leftovers of my children’s pink sprinkled donuts, extra bowls of cereal to fend off the weakness of starvation. There’s no mention of “eating what I want” because I ran so far.
Just boring old food accountability.
Weight loss will most certainly be attained but it’s not going to taste great.
Good race day pictures, however, will be delicious!