Taper and nutrition

This is the first Sunday in a while I haven’t spent the majority of it running. I thought I’d miss it more, but to be honest, I’m ready for taper. It feels like I just got home from Texas, and yet here I am, another race is 6 days.

Many On The Genny was really fun last year, so I am looking forward to it again this year. The park is beautiful, the people are great and it’s a good day to be outside. I would like to better my time from last year. I am more trained, so if I rest appropriately this week, I should make it a good effort.

In other areas in life, I have a bit of interesting nutrition changes to delve into. A few weeks ago, my coach and I had a discussion about belly fat and the weight to power ratio in running. I had noticed personally that I have developed a gut. Not in a negative way, actually I don’t really mind the changes my body has gone through. I only asked him about it in regard to my running. I didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to change, or rather I felt like it was something I wanted to accept.

My friend Danielle and I often say, having a gut is worth it for food freedom. I whole-heartedly mean that. I also realize that having more meat on me is largely what keeps me injury free. I don’t mean if I fell off a cliff I’d bounce back, but in the overuse or repetitive sense, having some cushion for the pushing is a benefit.

I do not feel like I have let myself go or that I am getting fat. Not at all.

When talking with my coach, he said having my gut is not a hindrance to my training nor would not having it make me much faster at this point. I am training my body to go all day, not to set a PR in the marathon. Having more energy stores, wherever they are, helps in that area.

That said, I would be lying if I said it was easy to accept this all the time. I have moments where I wondered if I was going a bit hard on the bread (I was) or if I should pay a bit more attention to my nutrition (I do). Rather than just look at this negatively, I looked internally and intuitively. What does my body want right now? Am I listening to what it needs?

Intuitive eating is a struggle for me only in the sense that I eat what is automatic and what is available. I work at a sandwich and bread shop, so that is what satisfies both those requirements. I simply eat a lot of bread. That is what it is. When I looked at what my body was craving, to be honest, bread wasn’t it. Sure, a good sandwich seems nice, but I wasn’t making that choice because I wanted it, I ate it because it was there and it was automatic.

This past week, I decided to change it up a bit and see where my energy levels were and how my body responded. I traded peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at breakfast for yogurt with protein powder (controversial for me, but I am open to change) nuts and berries. I traded my lunch sandwich for a burrito or a wrap. I traded my third daily sandwich at dinner for oatmeal with banana, peanut butter and berries. My snacks changed from scones to Clif bars or smoothies.

All these things were dependent on what I actually wanted. I had to change from automatic to asking my body what it wanted. I did not cut out all bread or carbohydrates. I wouldn’t do that simply because it’s a lot of work and I don’t really think that’s appropriate for me. I simply changed my eating to what I thought my body wanted.

I don’t say I was craving these foods. I’ve worked hard and now it’s easier, to avoid the craving trap. I eat all types of foods, I don’t go too long without food and so therefore I feel lucky that insatiable cravings for things are not normal. I’ve allowed all foods into my daily diet, so I don’t think of one meal, snack or type of dessert at a cheat or satisfying a craving.

Actually, when I splurge on good tofu or veggies at Greenstar or a breakfast sandwich from Ten Forward, the only reason it’s a splurge is financial. I look forward to those things simply because they are out of the norm, I don’t make them for myself and it’s fun to treat myself to a meal out.

Anyway, this past week, I went with it, and here’s what I’ve found:

I enjoy it. My body has responded well as long as calorically I eat the same amount. I don’t crave bread or miss it, because if I want it, I’ll have it. Bread was automatic and it seemed like a daily staple, but I realized it didn’t have to be if my body didn’t want it.

I also did not go all or nothing. I still at my breakfast sandwich on a biscuit from Ten Forward yesterday. I still ate bread in the form of burritos and wraps. I still ate the same amount of calories, the macronutrients were just different.

And this is ok. I’m not changing much to be honest and it’s not really a big deal.

Bodily wise, I have the same amount of energy, actually I think my hydration is better because I’ve eaten more fruit and hydrating foods. My gut is still there, but I feel a bit more trim in the mid section. Who knows if that’s actually true as I don’t stare at my appearance in the mirror. I also do not weigh myself regularly, so this is purely based on feel.

My clothes fit the same. I was not going for extreme changes, I was simply trying to listen to my body a bit more.

Breakfast: yogurt with protein powder, berries, nuts and flaxseeds

Running: 60 minutes

2 thoughts on “Taper and nutrition”

  1. Thanks for being honest Ellie!

    I honestly LOVE bread a LOT too. I often think about whether I should experiment with other food choices but there is just something so comforting about a few slices of bread each day! 🙂

    I know you aren’t running this next event as a marathon race but do you have any set goals for this event?

  2. Its amazing what happens when we don’t tell our psyches a certain food is a “treat” food. We don’t feel crazy around it, or notice that we are constantly craving it.

    It’s great that you did this experiment. It sounds like you learned even more about your body, and will give you lots of “food for thought” as you go forward and assess what your body is actually *wanting* each day.

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