Eat Food and Don’t Think

Last week, I posted a couple shots of the cookies I was eating as an afternoon snack on Twitter. I have been loving the #restdaybrags threads as they help keep my focus on both recovering and resting but also ENJOYING the down time.

Let me preface this by saying that for some, eating big portions or without a reason (i.e. eating not out of hunger or to recover from a workout, but just because) can be hard. I won’t get into society’s standards for women nor the obesity crisis that is apparent in America today, but let’s just say if you focus on it too much it will make you question everything you put into your mouth.

Being in the vegan health scene can be like that too. There are a lot of detoxes, raw diets, low fat diets, fruitarian diets…the list goes on. I have gone down this rabbit hole a time or two in the past 5 years being vegan and at first you feel awesome and righteous…then the people in the movement really start to annoy you. You start to wonder why cooked rice is deemed “bad”. You start to hate having to pee every 30 minutes because of all the water in the fruit you are eating.

That’s not where I want to take this article, but it is a good reminder that there is a lot working against us when we want to enjoy food. So give yourself a break if you have anxiety sometimes over what you put into your mouth.

Anyway, I started getting involved in the #restdaybrags community really after I posted a picture of a large chocolate chip cookie I ate randomly during my shift at work. I had not worked out that day. I wasn’t hungry or starving. I didn’t think “I should have this because I am trying to gain energy for my next training cycle.” I simply was given an “older” cookie and so I started to eat it, and finished it.

I then did it again the next day. And the next. I also had them for dessert after dinner.

Yup, two in one day, for three days in a row. (there were about 12 old cookies…yup, I’m surprised too haha)

I was scrolling through Twitter and thought it would be a great thing to post to the feed. Even though I didn’t think about it then as part of my “resting”, it fit in with the group’s vibe. I got a lot of likes and retweets on it, which made me feel awesome.

I simply ate the cookie. I didn’t think about it besides how good it was. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t emotionally lacking anything that the cookie was giving me. It was there, so I ate it.

I enjoyed it. The end.

After about a week of my either 1 or 2 cookie per day habit (it’s now a habit that I’m trying to break only because since now I’m eating the new cookies I have to pay for them…sad!) I stepped on the scale.

To preface that, I bought a scale the day after getting my blood work to monitor progress in that area. Putting on a few pounds didn’t sound like a bad idea then (nor does it now) as I felt weak and broken. I had been weighing myself everyday, but forgot for about a week when life got busy.

Anyway, I got on the scale and had gained 6 pounds in the three weeks since I got blood work. 6 pounds!!! That’s amazing right?

Not only had I forgotten I was doing that (trying to put on some weight), but I was eating food normally without judgement or thinking too much about it. When I stepped on the scale, I was elated that I had gained weight while not thinking about it.

In those three weeks, I ate the same amount of food as when I was training. I never felt like I hadn’t eaten enough during the day and therefore tried to “make up” calories by eating more for dinner and dessert. I never felt uncomfortably full. I ate when I was hungry, when something was given to me or if I just felt like it.

A secret to gaining some weight: it’s easier to eat 4,000 calories spread out in the day and have tons of energy than like 1,000 before dinner and then stuff yourself with the rest.

That sucks.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned this month is that I have the ability to just let food be food. I have eaten great food, good food and food that was just “eh” and it all was enjoyed, but not thought about too much.

Nutrition is important, God I know that’s the truth. But sometimes, don’t think, just eat.

I know my body

I am a few weeks into “non-training” and prioritizing the information given to me by Inside Tracker. The first two weeks were spent completely off movement outside of work. Then this past Sunday, I jumped into a local small trail race.

Race recap: it was fun, felt amazing and scratched my itch to get on some trails.

I haven’t run since then, but if the urge comes, I’ll take it outside for a few miles. Not training for me does not mean not running or moving. Not training means listening to what I want to do, keeping my HR pretty manageable and stopping if I’m not feeling it.

No workouts, no heavy breathing, all enjoyable.

What I’ve learned so far in this process is that I know my own body. I can hear what it’s telling me. I do not always listen, but I know what it is saying.

I was not afraid to run on Sunday because my intentions were pure enjoyment, I knew I would walk if I wanted to and I missed this small town trail scene. That’s exactly how the race turned out.

If I decide to run from now on, I’m confident I can handle it. Of course, I’m not planning any workouts or anything specific. Simply if the urge to run comes, I’ll go with it.

My life has slowed down considerably at work with the students gone. That is both a blessing for my body, and a curse for my mind. I get bored easily, but am trying to embrace the slowness. Being the social media manager has given me a creative outlet, while also allowing me to rest my legs. Check out the Instagram @strongheartsonthehill to see my work. You can also follow us on Facebook (shameless plug).

Do I still consider myself an athlete in this period? Hmm, I think yes because it keeps my eye on the eventual goal of training again when I want to. It helps me remember to foam roll, do some hip mobility, wear my recovery gear and eat properly. It also gives me confidence that running will not hurt me. I’ll be fine if I jog a few easy miles. Just not everyday.

I think I really freaked out a few weeks ago. I was over tired, stressed and wondering how to manage it all. Then I got bloodwork confirming that. I hadn’t been listening to my body. Instead of going completely nuts and calling my sister in the middle of the night, I should have done what I’ve been doing, took enough time off to want to run again and adjusted racing goals.

My future plans have a few races, but they are not goal oriented events. I have zero planned training, am going to show up at the race and just run. Not fast or go anaerobic, but just have fun. That’s how I started racing, and that’s how I want to do it right now.

Racing as a social event, not an opportunity to test myself or compete.

That actually sounds lovely!

I know my body. I’m listening to it.

In-Season Off Season

After tomorrow (or today’s) race depending on when this gets published, I have decided to take an off season.

My body is telling me it’s time. I could push it and train for something, but I am not emotionally invested enough in a race to do so.

Two halfs, an ultra and a very busy job has done me in for now. I woke up this morning feeling like I ran a marathon yesterday, and it was just my job and a light training day.

This is not right nor safe for a racing schedule, at least not for me.

I will take this off season to rest and heal my body both mentally and physically, use the results from Inside Tracker to help with nutrition and just, enjoy the warm weather in Syracuse.

Rest, heal and explore.

When I first moved to Ithaca, I was not racing, just building a consistent running base. I allowed myself to explore, go on runs where I didn’t know the distance or pace, get lost.

When I moved to Syracuse, I started a training plan where I ran on the treadmill because the winter was awful and I had no idea where I was. Syracuse is a city, Ithaca is a crunchy town. Difference.

I built up, got niggles. Training for Caumsett 50K interrupted and I didn’t do it.

I built back up. Raced the Syracuse half and Naked Prussian, got a niggle and training was interrupted again. I’ve been on and off since then nursing an Achilles niggle.

Work has gotten extremely busy, but insanely satisfying as well. I enjoy the environment, my coworkers are great and it’s what I want to be doing. However, my 8-9 hour workday is a training session in itself. I did not account for this in my weekly mileage or attempt to recover more from this. I simply expected my body to adapt.

Stress upon stress does not lead to adaption.

Rest leads to adaption.

So that’s where I’m at. I am healing my Achilles. Allowing my body and mind to relax. Getting to know my city so when I decide to train again, I will be more familiar.

I am deciding to be more focused on recovering from my daily job stress than attempting to crank out 90 mile weeks.

I am deciding to take the advice from Inside Tracker and apply it as best I can, but not obsessively. Honestly I don’t want to think about that too much, about nutrition for myself right now, so I’m giving them the reigns and I will follow the instructions.

I may not have run Boston or Lake Sonoma or anything like that, but my body has the fatigue of a fast marathon or ultra and it is telling me to relax and enjoy May in whatever way I choose.

See you out there…eventually 🙂

Being Honest and Realistic

There are a few things I want to squawk about today and they all sort of revolve around being realistic or being honest.

The first is in regard to “reintroducing dairy” or any other animal product back into their diet.

[vegan milkshake from SHC]

Let’s get real because here is what I see and I wish people would be honest. Dairy is delicious. I remember how I was addicted to it and although I don’t really remember exactly how eating it tastes, I imagine it’s the same as sugar. Science says that is the case and people are addicted to dairy. It’s hard to break addictions. I get it. What I would appreciate is more honesty when people break their morals and veganism and reintroduce dairy for “health reasons”.


Just be honest. Dairy tastes good and you would rather eat it than find vegan alternatives. That’s your thing. Sure, I could lay some hate right now, but that’s just not my jam. If you want to eat dairy, you do you, just be honest as to why you’re doing it. People would rather eat a 300 calorie pint of Halo Top or arctic Zero rather than a 1000 calorie pint of So Delicious vegan ice cream. Just be honest.

It’s also easier. Yesterday I was driving home through really remote farm lands and there wasn’t really anything to eat. I was getting famished actually and pulled over at an ice cream shop (because why have a grocery store when you can have an ice cream shop right?) I was thinking about how if I was a new vegan and in this state, I would probably break my veganism and just get a cone. It’s easier. Life will go on. However, I’m not at that point anymore. The place had fries so I got those. Sure, it would have been easier and the vegan god would have forgiven me, but I can’t do it anymore.

[and why would I want to?]

In the spirit of earth day and knowing how terrible eating animal products is for your health, the planet and for the animals, I just want people to be honest about why they are eating that stuff. It’s not for your health. It’s because it’s easy and it tastes good. Be honest, be real.

The second is getting real about how moving has affected me and my training and how I plan to proceed.

It’s been a winter and early spring where I’ve been busy learning my new job. I’m not training optimally and oddly now, I’m at peace with it. There will be more time for running, more time for races and that’s exciting. Right now my focus is to enjoy running everyday. Not overdoing it or following a training plan. Just me and running, that’s still the goal.

So I’m not running as much, but it’s all good.

I’m happy. It’s spring.
Happy Earth Day!

It’s called BREAD.

Another one of my biggest pet peeves is when people break foods down and call them by a singular nutrient.

This irks me in a huge way majorly because I was guilty of this.

Now when I see it all over Instagram and other blogs, I just roll my eyes. This peeve of mine has helped in significantly reducing the amount of blogs I read. I simply get annoyed when a whole food is reduced to one of it’s elements.

I am studying nutrition to become a holistic health coach. Yes, I know that it is not a dietitian or nutritionist. I do not claim to be those things. Yet, I do not understand when these same dietitians and health “role models” continue to speak of foods in regard to what they consider the “most important” part of that food.

Just because you’re eating a baked potato does not mean that the only good thing about that potato is #carbsfordayz

A potato also has potassium, protein, fiber and tons of Vitamin C.

Also, by reducing a food to a singular nutrient, you take the love and comfort out of the food.

Think about it. Say you sit down to eat with your friend and ask what they’re eating and they say,

“I’m having a carb.”

What image comes to mind? Not too much right? Snore. Move on from that table and sit with someone else.

Instead, if they say,

“I’m having mashed potatoes and gravy.”

That image is a lot more relatable and fun right? Mashed potatoes sound delicious!

I also think that people want to confess to eating something like #carbz or #fatz yet brag about eating #proteinz because #gainz

I would need a few hundred hands to count the number of times the description of a meal has the hashtag #carbs when it is followed by the hashtag #legday or #gymsession

Why does this matter? Honestly I am guilty of doing this in the past too (but lets be real, my “gym session” is laughable). When describing a recipe of some sort, it makes sense to embellish it with a statement about the nutrition in the food, but for most of us, there is no need to explain your food choice.

Understand this: YOU, yes YOU, do not need to JUSTIFY your food choices to anyone.

There, you’re free. You can eat WHATEVER you want and NOT TELL ANYONE what is in it or WHY you chose to eat that.

You can leave the gym and eat apples, bread, cheese, cookies or GOD FORBID EAT NOTHING and it’s NO ONE’S BUSINESS but YOUR OWN!

Rant coming to a close:

It’s called bread.

It’s called banana.

It’s called avocado.

It’s called a cookie.

Food is more than #carbz, #protein and #fat.

Food is your own. Food is delicious. Food does not need to be justified.

Food is not CARBS or PROTEINS or FATS. Food does not need to be justified. Food is your own. #nutrition #holistichealth Click To Tweet

Have a macronutrient-free day, and enjoy your food.