Friday, October 22, 2010

A New Challenge

I've finished my race, but I haven't finished with running. I'm going to do my best to fight the urge to stay indoors all winter long, and keep up with it. Rather than train for longer distances, though, I'm planning to just try and maintain the running ability I've already gained (though it would be nice if I could maybe run a smidgen faster). Instead, I'm going to try to focus on weight loss for a few months.

Back when I started training for the team relay in February, I was certain that by sheer virtue of being able to run 7 miles by October, I would naturally also lose several pounds and a couple of clothing sizes. Turns out, though, that you can run your ass off, but if you don't also restrict your calories, none of those extra pounds will budge. Go figure.

I did try dieting WHILE training, for a while, which for me means counting my calories. But I just got so darn HUNGRY! It's really hard to contemplate a 4 or 5 mile run when all you can think about is how much you'd like to have a third slice of pizza. So the dieting fell by the wayside in favor of training. Also, it's kind of a pain in the ass to count your calories (or WW points, if that's the method you use). I'm really good on weekdays, especially during the day. I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast for an entire week, and I eat a lot of frozen entrees and simple snacks. Sitting at my desk at work, I can easily pop online at any time to look up calorie information. It's the evenings and weekends that make calorie-tracking a real chore. I eat what I serve the kids and M. for dinner, which means home-cooked meals (usually). Figuring out amounts of each ingredient, the corresponding number of calories, and how much of the dish I actually eat can involve a lot of math and hunting down information. When I'd really like to be sitting on my rear end watching Modern Family and eating ice cream instead. Then there are the weekends, where we tend to do at least a couple of meals out. Sometimes I can find nutritional information before or after we go to a restaurant online, but that only works for major chains. Everything else requires total guesswork on my part. And you KNOW they are sneaking fat in to places where you would never expect it!

The tracking of calories is important for me. It's like a way of being accountable to myself for everything I eat. Even though I know by now what an appropriate portion size or a poor food choice is, I don't listen to that voice if I'm not in tracking/dieting mode. I know, I know, I shouldn't really be dieting. I should be making a lifestyle change. But for me, for now and probably periodically for the rest of my life, I need to diet. And dieting means a change, a concerted effort into doing something different, something time consuming/habit changing that's really all about me.

This puts me in a dilemma, because I really want my kids to have a healthy outlook on food and body image, to be accepting of all body types. I need to diet, but I don't want Finn and Lucy to KNOW that I'm dieting. I don't want to obsess about food in front of them, or remove all less-than-healthy food choices completely from our house (I try to provide healthy food, but we do allow treats). But it's hard to diet in secret. I think eventually they might start to notice that 5 minutes in to a meal, Mommy has already finished her dinner, but why is she staring fixedly at the uneaten food on our plates? Or that Mommy is sitting out the post-library trip ice cream run, even though she LOVES ice cream. Or that, oh look, it's almost dinner time and Mommy is super crabby, again. Maybe they won't realize that I'm denying myself, that I'm hungry, but maybe they will.

With Finn and Lucy, I emphasize the HEALTHY aspect of food and exercise. We do exercise because it's fun and it makes our bodies strong. We eat fruits and vegetables because they help us grow and keep us feeling good. We talk about how all foods are OK in moderation, but nothing is good for you if you eat a LOT of it. We don't talk about fat or thin, skinny or chubby. I want them to simultaneously pay absolutely no attention to the way other people look (in terms of opinions on what is good or bad), and to be self confident and content with the way they look, whatever that may be. Is that even possible? I hope so. Because I still struggle with my own body image issues, and I'd like to spare them that.

I'd like to not be chubby/overweight/fat/whatever adjective you prefer (see, I even have issues picking the right fat term!). I just don't really want to tell my kids that. Total hypocrite, right?

1 comment:

  1. I'm in the same boat where my age has caught up with me in terms of food and diet. I run a lot but still need to watch what I eat or I balloon up.

    The kids have never noticed me dieting because I eat 1-2 bites of their ice cream and they are so involved in their ice cream they don't notice I didn't order my own!

    Why can't I have my 20 year old metabolism back?!