Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts on nutrition from a girl who likes to eat...

I know this may come as an utter shock to some of you, but I actually don't have a PHd in nutrition. Heck, I don't even have a masters in nutrition. And *gasp* I'm not a nutritionist at all!!! I merely have a very long history with food, and as I creep ever so slowly toward that magical age of 30, I have learned a few things about me and food along the way. (Side note, I only say 30 is magical because everyone keeps telling me I'll figure everything out by the time I'm 30. If I get it all down by 40, I'll call it a day and put a "W" in THAT column.)

I say that I have a long history with food because food and I have had our ups and downs. A lot of that has to do with who I am, and how I live my life. For a long time, when I felt like I couldn't control the events in my life, controlling the intake of food was a tool to help get me where I wanted. Then, years later, I began to change not the intake of my food, but what I was taking INto my body. I was able to see dramatic changes in my body and energy levels due to this, but as with so many people and weight loss, the good times just didn't last. I was left feeling diappointed in myself, angry that weight is such a struggle for me, and really emotionally beat down. I have realized that I am an emotional/stress eater, and that there is a LOT of that in my life. But learning that about myself didn't help me to solve the issue.

So, where does that leave me? According to some, but never to me I might add, I am someone to be "watched". I'm apparently someone who people look at on the board, try to match, try to beat. Having said that, sometimes I feel sort of like I should be a model CF'er, eating well, pushing hard everyday, and actually BEING a role model. But the bottom line is that, well, I simply can't. This is not to say I don't try hard or push myself, but I mean with regards to the eating. I have tried to eat Primal and Zone, and I mostly enjoy both programs, but the problem is, quite frankly, I don't have the time and energy to be as committed as CF or those programs would like.

To be a committed eater, honestly, takes a lot of time and energy. Two things that in my schedule, I am finally acknowledging, I rarely have. Some people will say I am flaunting this as an excuse. I say, it's reality. Most nights I don't have the energy to sit and take 20-40 minutes to cook something. Most nights, I don't have the energy or time to sit and prep meals for the next day. People say, buy ahead of time, cook on the weekends. Guess what. I CF Saturdays, work Saturday nights, and then have a window on Sunday in which to do anything that I want/need to do before going to work Sunday night. Call me crazy, but I don't want to spend all of my spare time cooking/preparing/buy food. I like to read, I enjoy movies. I WANT to do other things. It's just too much. So, now that I've admitted to being a horrible human being for not focusing on my diet, where does that leave me? Dangling in the wind and eating bon bons and ding dongs? Lord no.

It means I eat out a LOT. I eat a lot of salads. A LOT. It means that yeah, sometimes my meals are crap, but most of the time, I try to do what I can to make good choices. I don't eat McDonalds, but I'll eat Subway. Oh god! Not carbs!!! A sandwich?!!?! How DARE I? This or that folks. Subway and the meat is far better than fries and McNuggets. Are they perfect choices? No. Grilled chicken breast with fresh cooked veggies would be a Primal dream, but guess what. Quick and dirty sometimes is what it has to be. I also eat cereal! Oh God! Not carbs! Again, horrible I know, but fast and easy, and much more nutritious than the things in the vending machine or some take-out possibilities. I like to eat, I really and honestly do. I want to enjoy what I'm eating. So I try to enjoy what I'm eating, but keep it SENSIBLE. Chinese food and pasta everyday are NOT sensible. Eating yogurt, salad, and cereal I don't think will send me prematurely to my grave. And by cereal I mean the likes of things like Special K, although some Lucky Charms would be pretty kick ass right now.

Some people would argue that I'm doing myself a disservice. I should be focusing on my diet because that's the key to health. But you know what, they're not me. And aside from the whole schedule thing that you just read about, there are some other issues going on in my life right now, namely that I'm not happy with my work situation and it's causing a lot of stress. Again, I don't have a PHD and I'm not a nutritionist, but one of the things that I've learned about diet the hard way, is that if you're not ready or willing or able to commit full throttle, you're setting yourself up for failure. Right now, I'm not able to commit fully. I'll admit that. I've tried to do it under these circumstances and I waste a LOT of money on groceries that never get eaten. And for someone who has money issues, that is incredibly FRUSTRATING. Frustration with a diet due to $$ doesn't help you stay on track either, at least in my opinion. It just creates more animosity towards it which hurtles you towards derailment in the end.

I have realized that for ME, I need to calm my schedule down and get happy with some other things first BEFORE I can tackle my diet. It needs commitment, and I'm not able to do that right now. Not the way I should. Wise folks keep telling me to focus on one thing at a time. So, job and financial issues first. Then the diet. But in the meantime, I will continue to do my best and make the best choices I can. I will try to steer clear of the holiday cookies, eat more meat and salads, and steer clear of the pasta aisle. Do I think this makes me a horrible person? No. Not even close. Do I think that it makes me a horrible CF'er? No. I'm still trying to hit the box hard. Do I think I could do better? Yes. But when the time is right, it's going to come back on line for me. My first 9 months or so I never even THOUGHT about my diet, so honestly, it's time to just hit the box, and let the chips fall for a little bit longer. For now though, my yogurt and my cereal are going to have to do all right by me.

But now the question is, what do I think people should take away from this post? F Zone, Primal, and Paleo eating and bring on the yogurt and cereal? No. I want them to take away EXACTLY what they take away from a lot of my other posts.

You are an individual and the only person who can make you happy is YOU. YOU have to do what is right for YOU. If sticking to Paleo and Zone just isn't happening, don't frustrate yourself and waste your money on something you can't do right now. Make the best choices you can. If you eat sandwiches for lunch because you don't have time to block everything out and slaughter your own cow, don't feel bad. Exercise is important. Stick with the box, stick with the plan and when you're ready, board the diet train. Don't worry, it's not going to leave the station without you.


Justa said...

The past couple of months have been a bit of a struggle for me foodwise. I've fallen back into the "order in" habit on most nights, and although I try to make the best choices, they aren't ideal. I don't have the second job, but with two elementary school aged children at home the evenings are spent in a variety of activities from reviewing/helping with homework to baths to making lunches to a whole bunch of other things. It's rare that I get any time to sit down before 10pm, and the idea of cooking at that time is quite unappealing. But I know I need to address it, or I'll fall further and further into bad habits.

I'm just going to give you one thing to ponder:

If nutrition is responsible for, let's say, 50-80% of your performance, doesn't it make sense to miss a Saturday workout once or twice per month and spend some time cooking several meals that could be divided up and frozen and used as needed? I hate missing workouts probably even more than you do. But it is possible that putting a bit of that time into food prep might actually serve you better than the day or two you get a workout done instead. Just...ready for it?

Food for thought.

I'm so damned witty I could scream!

Tami said...

Good post Katie. Like you said, one thing at a time. I hear you on the stress and emotional eating thing too.

Have you read Monica Seles' last book? I think it was called "Getting A Grip" and it was about the same thing you were talking about: stress, emotional eating, etc. It was a well written book and kind of gave me hope that if a highly successful professional athlete with millions of dollars on the line struggles with the same issues, maybe I'm not so weak as I think I am.

Keep up the good work girl, just do the best you can each day!

Katie said...

Justa, I'm not big on the "freeze and reheat" type of meals which, if I was, would definitely be a helpful solution. But, be that as it may, I still need to get some other things right with my life, before I can go back to blocking and charting my eating everyday.

Tami, if she still struggles than maybe there is hope for me. Glad to see you around girl! I've missed catching up with you lately! :)