Eating to Feel Good

TGITW (Thank Goodness It’s The Weekend)!

It’s been a totally exhausting week. I’ve been fighting off a cold all week, but thanks to some super strong 1,000mg Vitamin C, I’ve managed to stay in a reasonably healthy state.

I was a little frustrated on Thursday because I (once again) missed my 6am RPM class that I had on schedule. I don’t mind at all getting up to teach a class at 6am, but I find it really tough to drag myself out of bed for a workout or even to attend a class before work on my own. I struggled just the same way trying to fit in yoga classes while I was participating in this 40 day yoga challenge back in September, and ended up eventually falling off the yoga wagon.

So all was not lost on Thursday, I did do a 20 minute bike before my BodyStep class, but as one of my loyal participants was so kind to remind me with wide eyes (when I explained to her why I was biking before class) “Ohh…well this isn’t enough biking to train for an Ironman!”.

Sigh. 🙂

Anyways, lately I’ve been noticing that my eating has been a total hot mess a little bit all over the place. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been really busy, and nutrition has totally taken a back seat. I’ve missed meals, had meals of (sometimes raw) cookie dough, turned to fried or frozen foods in a total panic to get something in my mouth before I rush out the door to wherever I have to get to next, you name it, I’ve probably done it.

Don’t judge me about the cookie dough thing. Raw cookie dough is damn delicious.

Slutty Brownies – chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and brownie mix on top.

I (along with a lot of people) have a funny relationship with eating and with food. In the yoga challenge that I did back in September, the group leader often talked about how food is such a powerful part of our lives. People use it to push down emotions that they don’t want to feel. To fill themselves up with something other then whatever it is that they’re hiding from. People withhold it from themselves because they somehow feel like they’re not worth it, or they’re angry at themselves. We’ve given so much power to this totally inanimate part of our lives. Why?

The simple fact of the matter is that food is just that. It’s just food. It’s not “the enemy”, it’s not “out to get us”, it’s not trying to make us miserable and it can’t make us really happy if we’re not either.

It’s just food.

I’ve been reading this Triathlon book and got totally lost in the chapter about eating. It was aptly titled “Eating To Feel Good”. Amen to that.

Here were the “5 Commandments” of Eating to Feel Good from this chapter. I really loved them for their simplicity, and common sense approach.

Side Note: I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to know one darn thing about the science of eating! This info comes directly from my Triathlon Training book, and resonated with me 🙂

  1. You can choose two (totally valid) approaches when it comes to eating vs. training. Training to Eat (where you basically train hard to enjoy lots of your favourite foods and manage your weight), or Eating to Train (where you look at your body as a machine, and food as fuel to help your body perform as optimally as possible).

2.   Three building blocks provide energy to the body: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats.

Carbohydrates — converted to sugar once they hit your bloodstream, and stored in the muscles as something called “glycogen” to be used as fuel when you need it. Once there’s no more room for glycogen in the muscles, the excess sugars are turned to fat (these are called on from fat stores when there’s no more glycogen to be had).

Protein — important for repairing tissue damage sustained during hard workouts, as well as converting the carbs to glycogen (see above). Protein is the “building block” in the body in everything from muslces to hair.

Side note – does this mean if I eat more protein, my hair will grow thicker???? Will have to investigate.

Fats — DON’T RUN SCREAMING Fats are not the enemy. Fats also help to convert carbs to glycogen (are you picturing glycogen as this glowing, ethereal gold substance yet? I totally am), and also play an important role in cushioning our internal organs. There’s a big time difference between saturated fats (think fats that are solid at room temperature like butter, cheese, fat in milk, egg yolks etc) and unsaturated fats (think fats that are mainly found in plant sources like nuts, seeds, avocado etc). Clearly the unsaturated ones are the right types to be including on a regular basis. I don’t think cookie dough falls in this category….

3.  The book suggests 60 – 100 grams of carbohydrates between 1 – 3 hours before you workout, and choosing foods low in protein and fat.

4. Hydrate or die.

Okay – not so dramatic, but it’s totally a no-brainer to keep your body well hydrated all the time. The simple test is how clear your urine is. Did you know that urine should be very pale, hardly even yellow at all if you are well hydrated? Check yours out next time and see! 😉

5. Aim to eat a small amount of food within 15 minutes – half an hour following a workout. This meal should consist of carbs (to replace all that glycogen *insert ethereal image* you’ve just burned through) and protein as well to help repair your hard working muscles.  

I can do that….right?? It doesn’t seem so complicated??

Anyways – I’ll wrap this up with the goal to work on adopting an “eat to train” mindset over the next little while, and trying really hard to adopt some of these simple philosophies too.

Nutrition is definitely not my strong suit, but two of my very good friends Bailey and Angela (who also both happen to be certified Nutrition and Wellness Specialists through Can Fit Pro) have terrific blogs chock full of nutrition advice and delicious recipes! Check ’em out if you’ve got time!

Enjoy the rest of your weekends 🙂

At the Kingston Triathlon – Summer 2012
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