I do not run so that I can eat (TOL)


After my son’s Bar Mitzvah lesson last night, we stopped at Torta Fina (my chocolate fudge birthday cake was from this bakery) for a little something. I wasn’t that hungry so I chose this chocolate-covered strawberry which did not disappoint.

It was the only fruit I ate actually yesterday aside from a banana in the morning.

chocolate covered strawberry

So every now and again I take a look back at what I was saying and doing a year ago. I was peaking around my posts from September 2015 and found this awesome post that I shared exactly a year ago today for thinking out loud!

I hadn’t totally forgot about this post but it definitely deserves more exposure as the topic of running to eat vs. eating to run is a popular one.

Rather than just share the link to last year’s post I wanted to repost it almost in entirety as I still agree with everything I said!

thinking out loud

I am often asked if I RUN to EAT my favorite desserts, how I go about planning my miles around what I feel like eating and when tapering for a race, will I cut my calories since I am running less.

I can’t speak for all runners but if I am speaking for myself, my response is…

I do not run so that I can eat.

For sure everything tastes that much better after a good workout, a long run and most certainly a race. If we look at it from that perspective, yes, running hard so I can better taste and appreciate my food is a given.

But running so I can eat in order to not gain weight? Nah, that’s not why I run.

Eating dessert because I can just run it off in the morning? Nah, that’s not why I eat.

I have been a dessert lover all my life. Even when I dealt with amenorrhea, dessert was never what was lacking in my diet.

No matter the amount of miles I run, I enjoy a good, overloaded with chocolate dessert when I want it but I actually don’t want it or eat it every single day.

I think because I never deny my true cravings, I am more in touch with my appetite and what it is I want to eat, never feeling restricted. Nothing is off limits therefore I don’t feel denied.

Running a whole lot will certainly burn calories and give you some wiggle room in terms of eating more BUT —

You Can’t Out Run A Bad Diet.

You have heard this phrase before, right?

While I don’t agree with labeling foods good or bad, I also don’t believe in using running or any exercise regimen strictly to allow yourself to indulge under the assumption that you can burn it all off (you can’t by the way, it doesn’t work like that).

As you know by now, what I eat on a regular basis is plant-focused, carb-centered, meatless and pretty clean. I balance it all nicely with my love of dessert but overall, I fuel my body with nutrient dense foods.

I do not count calories in or calories out, I pay attention to nutrients instead. It took time over the years to understand this concept and switch from caring about calories to caring about the nutrients and quality of food.

I view food in terms of how it will benefit me. How what I am about to consume will make me feel, how it will help or hinder my ability to run.

My mindset is not on dieting.

It’s not on burning off what I take in or about tapering my diet to fit my mileage in order to stay slim.

The truth is, I don’t know what I weigh so how would I even receive an accurate calorie count on the treadmill?

Maybe I am making this whole diet and exercise thing sound simple but really, it can be that simple. I have learned what foods are both enjoyable and nutritious, I don’t rely on packaged snacks and I choose fresh fruits and vegetables over processed foods.

Keyword right there, CHOOSE. We all have the right to choose what we eat and it’s what we do with our choices on a consistent basis that count. Not one meal, not one dessert, not a hungry day or what you eat during a week’s vacation.

Am I a perfect eater? I don’t even know what a perfect eater means.

All I know is that I like the way I feel after eating freshly prepared unprocessed food. I do not want greasy foods (okay except some onion rings) but I also know how to dine out and enjoy myself and yes, I do enjoy chocolate and cake and cookies therefore I have some, satisfy my soul and move on.

So much is out there on dieting and quick fix approaches which all appear so restricting and limiting, it seems like torture. Same applies to those fitness programs which focus solely on the calorie burn rather than what exercise does for us overall.

I do understand that exercise can be an effective weight loss tool, just like dieting, and I do know that all of my miles combined with what I eat must keep my size in check, it’s just that I wish more people were able to figure out how to switch away from the dieting mindset in relation to their exercise program and enjoy the way fitness (running!) makes them feel.

I do not run so that I can eat #running #thinkingoutloud #health #tortafina #run #fitlfuential Click To Tweet

Favorite type of chocolate-covered fruit?

If you are a blogger, do you often go back to read old posts?

Run to eat or eat to run?


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  • Patricia @Sweet and Strong September 29, 2016, 7:19 am

    I would say I definitely used to eat a bit too much because I knew I would run if off in the morning. Now I have the same thoughts as you that my body feels so much better when I eat real food that I usually avoid anything processed or sugary treats. But I do treat myself about once a week so cravings don’t hit too hard.
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…Broccoli Slaw with Apples and Greek Yogurt DressingMy Profile

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes September 29, 2016, 8:42 am

    My MIL sent chocolate covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements for our wedding anniversary and I ate the strawberries and left half the chocolate to freeze and eat separately.
    I definitely agree! I eat for health, being able to run, and for enjoyment.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…September Goals Check InMy Profile

  • Suzy September 29, 2016, 9:07 am

    I’ve just recently given a lot more thought and care to the nutrients I am now (but hadn’t been before) putting into my body. I have never counted calories, rather, I’ve just eaten when I’m hungry and my body seems to take care of the rest. In fact, I end up losing weight when I’m not running probably because I’m so miserable that food just doesn’t seem appealing. Running gives me a good solid appetite, which feels really good to me.

    I have been reading all of my old posts while putting together my book! It’s been so neat to go back and read what I was up to back then!
    Suzy recently posted…Ride ItMy Profile

  • Lizzie Royer September 29, 2016, 9:16 am

    I love chocolate covered strawberries and bananas, but apples are good too! I haven’t had any of these in forever, but I always have fruit with chocolate.

    I would still run even if I could never eat dessert again. Yes, it tastes better and I feel less guilty because I run so much, but I truly LOVE RUNNING in itself.

  • Emily September 29, 2016, 10:11 am

    YES! Wow, this is so good, and I think I got into that mindset for a long time; I’m still getting out of this mindset of ‘exercising to eat’ because we need to eat to live. I don’t want to focus my life on food or on exercise and that it burns calories. If you LOVE exercise just cause it’s moving, you probably will continue to do it, but if it’s only for the reason of burning calories it becomes a burden.
    Emily recently posted…Strawberries n’ Cream Smoothies and More Summer Smoothies!My Profile

  • amanda -runtothefinish September 29, 2016, 10:12 am

    I may not run to eat, but I certainly feel more freedom to enjoy my desserts because of the miles I put in
    amanda -runtothefinish recently posted…Glute Activation Exercises: Don’t Be a Lazy AssMy Profile

  • Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday September 29, 2016, 10:43 am

    I run because I love it. I eat the food I love. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s not as healthy. Simple(ish). I also definitely make a concerted effort to eat a lot because I know that fuels good runs – and life.
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #67My Profile

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 29, 2016, 10:53 am

    Woop, woop! I definitely don’t run so that I can eat. If anything, it’s the total opposite. I love the way I feel when I’m active, and the mentality that I have to burn something off just turns exercise into a chore and makes life pretty miserable. I was stuck there for way too long, and it’s not something I ever want to revisit.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…down the rabbit hole & my tastebuds are broken (ToL#202)My Profile

  • michele @ paleorunningmomma September 29, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Totally agree. Love that you write these posts 🙂
    michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…One of Those Weeks {Thinking Out Loud}My Profile

  • Brea September 30, 2016, 2:46 am

    I love reading old posts on my blog. I’m often surprised by what I’ve written. Occasionally, I want to get back in there and rehash an idea to make it cleaner. Most of the time I win that fight.

    I enjoyed your post! I wrote my second TOL today, so it’s best to read content from bloggers who’ve been at it for a year or more. I wish my eating was cleaner than it currently is, but completely agree with your point about feeling nourished by healthy food choices; when I eat well, I feel well.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets September 30, 2016, 9:51 am

    I remember this post well and I love that you took it out for another spin. Fantastic message.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Currently: September 2016My Profile

  • Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine October 1, 2016, 7:44 am

    I totally agree with this. It took me a while to move away from the calorie mindset but now its all about eating what I want and focusing on nutrients. Most of all I just eat what makes me feel good.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Stuck In Another Season and Weekend RandomnessMy Profile

  • Erin October 3, 2016, 8:44 am

    Read your post this morning thanks to @eatrunpavement sharing your post! It was very helpful to read as this is something I have struggled with for years. I now see that my thoughts are shifting towards how I can best fuel my body so I can perform well, versus having to go out and run so I can then “allow” myself to eat. Glad you are still able to speak to your old post and feel good about the choices you are making!
    P.S. I noticed your profile pic, is that from the Hershey Half?! I’m doing it in 2 weeks and am really looking forward to it!


    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 3, 2016, 8:47 am

      omg yes! I loved the Hershey half! it was my first half ever – have the best time! I wish I could have run it this year but it’s the weekend of my son’s bar mitzvah. I hope to do it again next year! I wrote a recap of the Hershey half a few months ago if you want to read it – it’s under my race recaps page. have the best race!

  • Megan October 3, 2016, 9:32 pm

    Love this post! Having a mindset toward food that isn’t on dieting, but instead provides exactly what you need to feel your best (physically and mentally!) is so important. Such a great post!
    Megan recently posted…Welcome to Run Whole Nutrition!My Profile

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