Saturday, April 13, 2013

"wait... maybe I should have had breakfast."

“OK… Here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed.
One winner. 42 losers. I eat losers for breakfast.
Breakfast. Wait, maybe I should have had breakfast. ”

I’m going to start eating breakfast.

Fascinating, I know.

I am not a breakfast eater. I never have been. And some days, that has meant going for a run at noon on an empty stomach. And I’ve felt great before, during and after. In fact, my first half marathon distance training run was at 1 in the afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and I felt great.

So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Well, I didn’t start this whole journey to become a runner. I started it to become the “me” who had been missing for a while. The “me” who has always been there, but had been hanging back for a while, letting other things take center stage, as other things sometimes need to do. And it wasn’t about “getting happy,” because I’ve always been a pretty happy person. It was more about “getting intentional.” Doing things with purpose, rather than just continuing to do what I’ve always done.

To be honest, the reason I started working out with such purpose is because I knew I need to make some changes regarding my health, and dieting just wasn’t an option. I’ve come a long way since last April, and while I’ve never officially dieted, I have changed my diet in many ways for the better. Just simple changes like eating more fruit and vegetables, fewer simple carbs, and while I don’t call myself a “vegetarian” because I really have no moral or ethical stake in the matter, I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate meat. If the right meat presented itself, I’d be all over it in a heartbeat, but at least in the last couple of months I haven’t felt it, and haven’t missed it.

Signing up for this Dopey Challenge has been less about the actual running, and more about continuing my journey of learning about myself. As part of that, I’ve committed to really learning about proper nutrition, and, if I’m gonna do this, a runner’s diet. I spent a lot of time this week just scratching the surface—there is SO MUCH to learn about food and how it works to fuel your body! It’s kind of overwhelming. So I had to take a step back, or I’d never get started.
I decided to approach nutrition in kind of the same way I did fitness: one step at a time.

When I started working out, my entire training routine was this:

one hour on the elliptical.

That’s what I did. Every day. And I was really happy with that! It was something I could wrap my brain around, and I lost 30 pounds in 4 months without making myself crazy. It worked for me. Then I went for a run in Central Park, and got hooked. And then I had to learn about resting. I signed up for a 5K, then a half marathon, then a sprint triathlon, and had to learn all about different kinds of training. But it all started with just one simple thing.

I’ve read so many different things about nutrition and fueling long runs this week. My hero, Jeff Galloway, has told me it’s fine to skip breakfast or just have a cup of coffee and maybe a half a banana before a run. I’d sort of been hanging on to that. But when I’m faced with a bunch of different information from different sources, I’ve learned to look for the common threads—that’s usually where the truth lies. And with nutrition, other than drinking lots of water (which I already do!) the one thing that jumped out at me from every direction was “eat breakfast.” So I’m going to start with that.

I realised I have two stumbling blocks when it comes to thinking about breakfast: I love breakfast food, but don’t usually have time in the morning to cook what I’d want to have; and I’m always reluctant to “spend” all those calories first thing in the morning! But I’ve read a lot that says you don’t have to have a huge breakfast for it to be beneficial, so I’m going to try small and simple. Some protein and either fruit or even vegetables. I never feel like I can eat enough vegetables, so I’m going to experiment with getting a jump on that in the morning.

I’ve gotten along fine all these years not being a breakfast person. I’m more like Piglet here:
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  ”What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

I don’t wake up thinking about breakfast (some of my kids do!). I wake up thinking about what exciting things the day will have for me. And I’m hoping that incorporating breakfast will help me be better prepared for ALL the excitement. I bet Pooh’s right, it really IS the same thing.

How about you, do you eat breakfast? What’s your favorite meal that helps you “rise and shine”?

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