I don’t actively consider what I’m eating in relation to my running and activity level anymore. There was a time when nutrition was more of a focus for me but these days, it’s not something I consciously think about.
Here’s why I don’t really think about what I eat:
I run much less. I don’t run half as much as I used to and I can sense the difference in my appetite, how I feel, and cravings. Running 40 miles a week definitely requires a different level of eating and focus on fuel, at least for me. 20 miles a week (and even less in winter!) gives me a mild appetite, less need for additional complex carbohydrates, and extremely limited cravings.
Winter is different. In the summer, I do need to add salt to my oatmeal before I run and fuel up on hydrating fruits like watermelon to ensure my electrolytes stay in balance. In the winter though? Even my hair survives an easy run because I’m just not sweating as much as I do in the summer. The reduced level of sweat changes my needs. Whatever I’m currently doing nutrition wise without thinking about it is working because I feel in balance.
Intuitive eating works for me. At this point, I do instinctively know how to eat. Nutrient dense foods are in full focus and always present in each of my meals, each day. It’s not something I have to plan out, it’s just how I’ve learned to eat over the years. It feels good, tastes good, and works for me. I don’t focus on it or think about it. I don’t need to measure my food or consider amounts, and I certainly don’t consider calories.
Am I a perfect eater? I don’t even know what that means. No one is perfect, I just know I do the best I can for me on any given day.
I never feel like my muscles are suffering or tired and even in the summer, when I do run more and put in more speed workouts, I know how to balance the activity with nutrition. My body lets me know if I’ve missed something because I will crave salt and watermelon or feel more tired than usual. Nutrition becomes a matter of listening to how I feel and adjusting my meals based upon my needs each day.
For the most part, I cruise along without considering my needs but there are some days when I’m slightly more hungry. On those particular days, I add extra oatmeal and fruit to my bowl, select larger sweet potatoes, add more avocado to my meals, or of course, pick up some pizza. Pizza always makes things better.
There’s nothing wrong with eating pizza. A nutrient dense diet as a focus is best, but balance is what it takes to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Whole wheat pizza or even regular crusted pizza, if you ask me, fits right in to a balanced diet. In fact, anything you like fits into a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Eliminating anything you truly want to eat is never the answer and will a some point lead you down an unhealthy path.
Sometimes I do find that I need to mix up what I eat though. While I can probably eat the same meals for days on end without getting bored, I do find I need a different flavor or item to keep things interesting.
I picked this three layer hummus from Trader Joe’s over the weekend. I’m not a huge fan of packaged hummus but I do think this three layer hummus is great! I’ve been adding it to salads and topping my potatoes with it ever since the weekend. Of course I have, because once I like something, I eat it several days in a row.
My lunch salads have looked a lot like this with a mix of romaine, roasted peal tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted asparagus, chick peas, feta cheese, and avocado. I add the three layer hummus on top and then mix it all together.
For dinners, I’ve been making a similar salad with a baked sweet potato. Topped with three layer hummus, it’s just so simple and delicious.
In pizza news, I was on my way home from the mall over the weekend and asked my son what he wanted for dinner. Sushi? Dirty Taco? Pizza? Something else? Without a clear answer from him suggesting that he wanted to do take out with me, I stopped at Monte for my own pizza. There are so many pizza choices at Monte and although I usually go the whole wheat vegetable slice route, I very quickly made a different decision.
One bruschetta slice and one pesto (?!) slice. I never go the pesto route but it just looked so good. This is intuitive eating at its finest. I really liked the pesto slice and had I not gotten it, I would have wondered about it for the next several days.
Another night, another whole wheat vegetable slice from Mario’s.
Remember a few weeks ago when I tried Duchess cookies? We had frozen a few of the cookies that were left over so we heated them up over the weekend. I love warmed cookies.
I heard that Whole Foods has Levain Bakery cookies now in the freezer section. You know I think Levain Bakery cookies are the best cookies! I really need to grab a box for the freezer. Of course it’s easy enough for me to get some fresh from Levain Bakery and freeze them, but I wouldn’t mind going to Whole Foods to try a box just to see if there’s a difference.