Thursday, June 26, 2008

I hate diets

When I initially decided to become a marathon runner 2 years ago, my reasons were three-fold: 1. Pick up a daily athletic hobby that would help me focus, 2. Prove to myself that I could accomplish this seemingly insurmountable feat that a lot of my friends had already done, and 3. Finally drop the baby weight I'd been carrying all my life and show the new "me" at the wedding of my dear friends, Mayumi and Dave. Now if I wanted to actually achieve these goals, I couldn't just run until I dropped. I can run all I want, but if I eat pizza, beer, and ice cream at the end of the day, I won't really get the right results. Since, dropping the right kind of weight (fat), comes from both exercise and eating right, I had to go on a diet. And as Hamlet so aptly put it, "Ay, there's the rub".

Frankly, the word "diet" usually invokes a grimace on my face and an inward cringe from my gut. I'm sure the reaction harbors from my teen days when I was the "fat kid", and my mother put me on countless diets which hadn't produced any results. This time had to be different. If I wanted to show the new "me" at May's wedding, there had to be a new "me" to show.

I decided to make the committment to change myself, and become what I wanted to be: a runner. This meant I wasn't just going to go on a diet; I had to undergo a "lifestyle change", as Mayumi liked to call it. From then on I ate like a runner, trained as a runner, and slept like a runner, because I had made the choice to take myself seriously as a runner. With this sort of life change there's no such thing as half-assing it and half achieving your goals, at least not to me. So did it work? I'm happy to say that, Yes, boys and girls, it worked.

So how does a runner eat? Well, I try to follow a few rules that I've picked up from forums and magazines like Runner's World.

1. Know how many calories it takes to sustain the weight you are at: (your current weight in lbs. * 13) = total calories per day.

2. I don't count calories, but I need to know the general amount of calories each food is. Thus, websites like Calorie King are my friend.

3. If I'm trying to lose weight, then I create a slight deficit in my daily caloric intake. More or less, I like to target approximately 1500 calories per day as my intake.

4. Distribute your meals throughout the day, so you aren't hungry. In other words, 6 small meals a day. FYI, an apple and a small lowfat yogurt is a meal to me.

5. As a runner, I need to be properly fueled. In general, it's recommended to use the 50-25-25 rule. 50% of your calories should be carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 25% fats. Keep in mind, these are just guidelines. Vegetables and fruits are high in carbs, so you can get it from there. And when I say fat, I mean good fats such as nuts and peanut butter. I'm not talking about a tub of Ben and Jerry's, people..

6. Know when to eat what. If I'm doing a strength training workout, eat protein before it. If I'm doing a long run, be sure to have some carbs (an apple or something) an hour before and a bit afterwards for recovery.

7. Drink a LOT of water. Refer to my Water Post for more details.

Now, I would add in the extra rules I gave myself before Mayumi's wedding: only one glass of alcohol, 2 or 3 times a week; no processed sugar; and no beer, but I've actually dropped those rules. That stuff contributed more to weight loss, aka: a DIET, than it does to eating like a runner. And believe me, my friends whom I often dine with thank me for coming to my senses about that.


Mayumi said...

hee hee, i thank god for you dropping the alcohol rules.

i used to love tempting you back to the dark side.

alas, so much harder to torment you from across the country.


sidewalk monkey said...

Important Question:

What about a Ben and Jerry's flavor with peanut butter in it? For example, Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup? Does that balance it out enough so that it counts as a good fat?

PS: I think you have always looked beautiful, both the before and after, the new you and the old you and all the yous in between. I know you are just going to write back all "nah-nah-nah" but I am sticking to my guns on this one. So there.

SurfRunner said...

=) i like how everyone likes to torment me w/ my vices. alcohol and ice cream. Sure, Ben and Jerry's with peanut butter is fine...w/o the ice cream.

so to seriously answer that question, yes i think it's fine. all in moderation. any runner can splurge a little, every once in a while because they should be able to metabolize it. But, the next day just know how to do the recovery workout to work it off. I'll do another blog on recovery for recovery workouts.

P.S. "nah-nah-nah", I think I'm a work in progress. and i'm definitely not there yet. bleh.

sidewalk monkey said...

I wish ice cream counted as a good fat.


Don't argue with (or nah-nah-nah) your elders.