Being a student athlete I realized I could eat whatever I want-within limits of course. When you are running 80+ miles a week, sometimes that called for huge sundaes or a second helping at dinner. Food was not something I could ever think I ate too much of, usually I did not eat enough (but we’ll save that for a different blog post). I always made sure I started my day with a healthy breakfast, a lunch, dinner, and always included some sort of peanut butter filled snack. Additionally, once a week our team would go down to Happy Valley Freez and to get my favorite: an oreo freeze with extra whipcream.
Fast forward to the present. I no longer run those 70-80+ miles a week, heck I am happy if I run over 40! A majority of my exercise counts for around 5 miles a day or an hour on the bike, and maybe once a week I will get in a body weight circuit (I still do not know my way in the gym, sorry Geoffrey- my strength and conditioning coach). Yes, I put on a lot of weight, some was needed in order to stop my amenorrhea and heal my fracture in my femur. But then with the stress of grad school and working, I realized that it was very quickly to gain weight when you are still want to eat like a Div I runner.
So, there you have it. Registered Dietitians can still have the problem of unwanted weight gain- for we are human. Instead of FAD diets, eliminating food groups or not enjoying my favorite foods, I am going back to basics, by restoring my instinctive eating cycle. For nutrition information should always be a tool, never a weapon. If you have the same issue ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I eat?
- When do I want to eat?
- What do I eat?
- How do I eat?
- How much do I eat?
- Where do I invest my energy?
These fall into the Mindful Eating Cycle. This is taking time out of your busy day to focus on your meal. Are you eating because of stress? Or it is noon and all of your friends are eating? When you become mindful of when you eat, your overall health as well as your enjoyment of eating will increase! This is because you are fully aware of your meal and the food in front of you instead of the voice in your head, the unfinished work at your desk, news on the television… etc. I tried this exercise and if you have 5 minutes I encourage you to do the same.
YES– There are days where mindful eating or any structure of eating is thrown out the window. However, it is how you bounce back to those events.
Are you eating in order to avoid something? When your craving is not coming from hunger, but more from an emotional event?
Eating will never satisfy or fix your problem. Eating only fixes hunger!
Therefore, try eating without a TV, computer, or iPhone. Take your time chewing your food and make the meal last at least 20 minutes. This will allow your brain and stomach to be attuned with each other. And those days where you eat till you’re stuffed will rabidly decrease! Try listening to your hunger cues and fuel your body with vitamin/mineral rich foods!
Your body will thank you!