Road to 26.2
Sunday, January 5th- 5 weeks, 6 days until I get to become a marathoner
Food is love, love is food, am I right? I love to cook and it’s a way that I love to celebrate holidays, gatherings with friends and family, and just share good times with people I love.
Food is more than just a meal, it’s a social experience, and often has emotional ties, like with special holiday dishes. It can also take on powers that we bestow, using food to reward or punish ourselves. I ate in some form of disordered fashion for most of my life. I restricted food and overindulged, all based in how I was feeling about myself.
Last year when I changed my training and running habits, I also changed how I view food. I used to think about how I could earn my food with exercise, like x minutes of cardio meant I could eat x amount of ice cream. I used to think that when I had a bad day, or a bad moment that I dragged out all day, that I deserved to go through the fast food drive-thru and order extra amounts of fries. I used to think that I was being good if I stuck to whatever restrictive diet I had chosen that week. I used to think that I was bad if I went off plan, so then I would over indulge to really put the nail in the coffin of that diet.
The change in my mindset came when I learned how to properly fuel myself. My personal trainer recommended that I track and eat a certain amount of food based on macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) and caloric recommendations. When he said that, I honestly got teary. The thought of tracking my food made me freak out, like I was going to down a rabbit hole of restriction and calorie counting and nonsense. I had been working out with my trainer doing Crossfit for like six months at the time and we had a great relationship. He really understood me and we talked through all of my fears. He showed me all the numbers and that I was grossly undereating to be able to fuel my workouts and the rest of my big life. When he told me that he recommended me eating over 1800 calories a day, I again freaked out. “What if I get fat?” I told anxiously told him. He patiently walked me through why that wasn’t going to happen, and to trust him. He wanted me to hit the macronutrient gram goals each day, and we would reevaluate in one month.
I worked VERY hard that month to prepare that sheer amount of food that he wanted me to eat, track all of it in this cool app, and fight through the feelings I had always associated with food. A month later, I had incredible gains and losses in all of the ways that we were hoping for! I learned then what it means to truly fuel your life using nutrition. It wasn’t about losing weight or making me smaller or somehow less than, it was about giving my body the tools to be able to support not only my physical demands but the rest of my life with my friends, family, and work. I needed fuel to support my life and I finally understoond how to do that in a healthy manner.
Now that I am under six weeks until my first full marathon, I am again dialing my nutrition in to make sure that I have enough fuel to prepare for, run, and recover from the training demands. It does take some additional mental energy and preparation for me to be able to get in all the fuel I need, it is 100% worth it.
When I decided to run that first half marathon last year, I thought I would learn more about running. Instead, I ended up learning more about myself and healing some past unhealthy habits. It took me 38 years to love my body and respect its strength enough to fuel it properly. My hope for you this Sunday is that it doesn’t take you as long.