You Are What You Eat


By Megan Cox

I just had a great visit with one of my friends. We went out to the Cheesecake Factory, and the food was as good as I remembered. As a mama of two little ones, going out to eat usually involves whining, water spillage, and Teddy Graham crackers covering the restaurant floor.

I love my kiddos so, so much, but a peaceful dinner with JUST grownups can be a welcome respite.

Here’s the thing though—when it came time to order cheesecake, my conscience was kicking me. Yes, I may be training for a half-marathon, and yes, I am nursing a baby. These are good, calorie-busting endeavors.

However, as much as I feel like a bottomless pit, I am not one. And if I want to burn off those last few pregnancy pounds and really get back in tip top shape, it’s time to put my diet under a CSI-type investigation.

The result? I can only deduce that my love of sugar—namely ice cream, chocolate, and yes, the occasional piece of cheesecake—are not doing my physique any favors.

Now, as a runner and nursing mom, I certainly can get away with eating more calories than a 5-foot-barley-much-else woman usually can. But it’s time to bypass the sugar rush and give my body the nutrients and energy it needs to build me back into a serious runner.

I found an excellent article on Runnersworld.com about eating and losing weight while training. The recommended distribution goes like this: 50% of calories should come from carbohydrates, 25% from protein, and 25% from fat. But it’s not really that simple, as I discovered.

For example, just because 50% of your calories should come from carbs, this does mean I get to eat three bowls of spaghetti. No, carbs includes fruits and vegetables, so downing a loaf of bread really isn’t an option.

Protein is pretty straightforward—obviously lean meats are better choices than ice cream and hot dogs. And as for fats, avocado, almonds, and peanut butter are good picks. My cheesecake? Not so much.

But what I found really interesting was the planning process proposed by this article. Eating carbs before and after a run is a great strategy for giving my body a sufficient amount of fuel, whereas protein and fat help keep people satisfied during other, more sedentary parts of their days.

As a zealous planner of super busy days (naps, feedings, preschool dropoff/pickup, toddler gymnastics, short training runs, long training runs, book signings, etc.), I like this concept. The only problem is, I’m not sure which part of my day could be considered less active. Sitting still for more than fifteen minutes? That sounds like heaven.

So let me get back to you after I finish this cookie — I mean, apple…

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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