Eating for Fuel

I continue to struggle with the eating part of this whole lifestyle. It is one thing for a beer drinking s-Mirassou_2008_California_Merlot_750mllug to get her hiney up off the couch, it is quite another to actually put down the beer. On the whole, because I don’t think I could run hung over, or bike or go to the gym or hey get out of bed I don’t drink or I drink sparingly. And there are days when I miss kicking back with an unending flow and some good company. And of course the yummy snacks that come with beer or wine. I love, love, LOVE, good red wine, a wedge of brie, some crusty bread and some cut apples or grapes. A fall night, some good company and I am set to knock back a bottle. That’s only four glasses, by the way.

Unfortunately, that has a way of getting in the way of my other love, love, LOVE which is to push myself to see what I can do. It is an unending wealth of surprises to find out there is a whole host of activities I can enjoy and haven’t tried because I psyched myself out. I just never saw myself that way. So there is a never ending tension between the two. Both competing for my attention, sort of like my children. Right now, the healthier life style continues to win out, but fall is bearing down with more amazing weather, football and daily stress. Let the games begin.

In the meantime, I continue to tweak my diet. I have found some things that work for me, that I find satisfying and aren’t a ridiculous calorie load. I try to balance protein and fat as well as make sure that I am getting fiber. Add to this the need to include omega 3’s, lower salt intake and hey let us not forget those sneaky carbs – complex please not simple. There are times I think you need to be a bloody chemist to make it really work.  I use Myfitnesspal to help me keep track of all of this. It is free and works with the Runkeeper app I use to track my cardio progress. In the beginning, if I walked to the store, I turned on the Runkeeper to add to my calorie count. Now I only track my exercising. I never include weight training at the gym because it is too onerous.

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I have learned that eating vegetables with every meal isn’t as hard as I thought. I put spinach, about two large handfuls in my egg every morning. I eat whole wheat english muffins because they are only 120 calories. This saves me forty calories in bread, if I were to use two pieces of toast. I have recently discovered that grated asiago cheese is only thirty calories per tablespoon. Two tablespoons is almost half of what a quarter cup of shredded mozzarella would be- sounds like a lot, but it is easy to put a quarter cup of cheese without realizing it.  And it has a lot more flavor, so two tablespoons is enough. This is my find of the week.

Snacks are a piece of fruit, or a cup of grapes and an ounce of cheese. I have been eating the mini Babybels but I am not in love with them. I do like an ounce of cut cheese, like sharp cheddar but it has forty more calories. For me, it is worth it. I also will sometimes eat the Cliff bars. These tend to be high in calories around 240, so these are only for the days I plug in a huge calorie burn. Also, I love tortilla chips and salsa. Depending on the brand you can have fifteen chips and a bunch of salsa and still come in around 200 calories.

Lunch is the hardest thing for me. I come to it starving and want something that is really satisfying, like a chicken cheesesteak hoagie with mayo. What I have is tuna, with spinach and tomato on whole wheat bread. I use a lot of spinach and I sometimes add the grated asiago cheese – it’s not just for spaghetti anymore. Lunch is boring and I try to tell myself what a good job I am doing by eating so healthy but I really want something more interesting – maybe pizza.

And dinner is whatever the family is having. My attempt at being vegan taught me that when I eat differently from my family, I am setting myself up for failure. It just doesn’t work for me. I try to stash calories all day so that if I want a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day I can have it. Since I don’t have any in the house, it is easy not to have. And I’m not a big ice cream person so even when the rest of my family is digging into a bowl, it is easy for me to pass on.

Yes, I feel tons better since I have a pretty strict hold on my diet. I don’t feel deprived, I do feel energetic most days. If I want a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine, like when my sister came over unexpectedly, I absolutely have one. However, forcing myself to write it down does help me pause to think. And like everything else in this new life style thing, it wasn’t so easy in the beginning. Just like running and biking and getting my ass out of bed, not eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted was hard. I resisted it, the way my legs resisted running. But after awhile, not too long, cravings passed. And I mean within the moment not after days. I have realized that I can walk away from some thoughts for the moment and leave them be. Sometimes they go away.  And sometimes I just really want a BlueMoon. Oh yum!

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