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.
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.