Diet. It’s a four letter word… but ultimately diet is what you put in your mouth. Properly defined: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. I’ve never had success with a strict diet of anything. Low-carb, low-fat, atkins, paleo, it’s just not me.
The word diet often has me flashing back to my pre-teen days when my parents were following the Susan Powter “Stop the Insanity” program. I can’t tell you much about it, except that everything was measured in baked potatoes with a strong focus on reducing fat intake. “Why eat a candy bar when you can have 34 baked potatoes instead?” It became a family joke that we still throw around today. “Are you sure you want that dessert? You could have 213 baked potatoes instead, you know” we tease.
Diet – in the ultimate definition of the word – isn’t something I can ignore, and when I am burning an upwards of 2000 calories a day, I need to spend time thinking of my food intake and be mindful of what I’m eating and if it’s enough to keep me kicking. A balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is key to my performance. I’m sure any athlete can attest to finishing a gruelling workout and when faced with the famish feeling reaches for something fast and, well, there. This can lead to poor choices without planning.
On October 12th, 2013 I made a serious shift in my diet.
NO MORE FAST FOOD!!
Confession time: I’d eat fast food 3 times a week. Yes, I’ll biggy size that. Yes, I’ll have fries with that. And yes, I’ll add McChicken Sauce. I’d eat in my car in secret because I knew it was WRONG. I am known as the sporty one with my colleagues, family and friends (except with my ironman friends, then I’m classified as lazy 😉 ), but I had a dirty secret. And it was what I was using for fuel, more times than I was willing to admit. And despite my workout regime, some of my pants were becoming rather tighter than when they were originally purchased.
After one particularly disgusting meal (Spicy chicken combo, biggy sized with a coke from Wendy’s, incase you were wondering) and urging from a wise friend to watch the popular documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, I knew I had to make a change if I wanted to put my best training foot forward for 2014. So I went cold turkey, I signed up for Home Grown Organic Food delivery and frig, why not? I bought a juicer. It was time to wake up and smell the vegetables.
I know the formula for eating right, I just needed the planning and motivation to accompany it. Here I am six months later, not perfect by any means (I made homemade poutine. Three times. And I eat bacon. And drink beer. I could go on….) but I don’t get my food through a window, avoid processed foods and I spend most Sunday’s planning my weekly meals and snacks.
The meal planning is going well, I eat out at restaurants less and physically, I’m feeling much better. It’s becoming more rare for me to eat a meal and feel that gross and guilty feeling, and I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for yummy and healthy recipes. Easter Sunday found me in a sea of some of my favourite recipe books planning this weeks meals:
I’m not saying I won’t be polishing off some chocolate, ham, cheese (and more) this holiday weekend (let’s get real), but on Monday it’s back to the plan of healthy fuel to keep my training on track and feeling energized and not lethargic.
As to be expected, I’ve had moments when all I can think about is chicken mcnuggets. I haven’t caved yet, the feeling passes and I choose real food and feel great about my decision. The cravings are fewer and far between and I find my tastes are shifting…cravings for sushi, pears and hummus have taken the place of fries, burgers and mcchicken sauce.
Eating healthy takes time, planning, investment and desire – I’m not perfect but I’m happy to be moving in the right direction.