Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 190 of 365: Re-learning how to Refuel

The hardest part about giving up running distances until the world thaws out a bit was learning how to eat again.

When I was running 30 miles a week, life was a constant stream of eating. Nice big breakfast before the run, protein bar immediately after the run, huge lunch, lots of snacks, and a dinner that would make Michael Phelps blush. This, plus yoga and tai chi, resulted in a leanness that I had never experienced before. I felt like I could take on Jillian Michaels and only walk away feeling slightly pudgy (and incredibly pale -- have you seen how tan that lady is?)

But now, I'm off the roads. I kept getting minor injuries from running on not-fully-plowed roads (and let's not forget what happened when I tried running in -9* weather). I decided that it's just best to let winter happen and start up again in the spring (and maybe next year we'll have enough money for a treadmill...and a finished basement to put it in).

This meant that I was no longer burning a day's worth of calories in an hour and a half anymore. But no one told my stomach, who was still requiring a meal schedule fit for a hobbit.

Being a model is a double-edged sword. Since I'm so conscious of my weight, I recognized that I was starting to gain weight pretty early on. And, being tall, it was currently only noticeable to me. However, I knew that weight gain in the modeling world is a dangerous thing. I've been reprimanded before because my hips were an inch bigger than what my comp card. And I wasn't exactly going to email my director and say, "Hey, I'm an inch bigger in my waist right now because my brain still thinks I need second breakfast."

It's been an insanely weird transition, but a transition that has been working. I've been drinking lots of tea in between meals and I've been loading up said meals with the healthiest of healthy (ever had a quinoa and black bean burrito, with hot sauce and cheese? It is actually insanely delicious). I've been having fruit when all I want is ice cream and making sure my plate has more veggies than anything else.

This is something I need to get used to, even when I go back to distance running. My metabolism is on a tailspin. It has been ever since I was 18 and could no longer go to Wendy's twice a week (oh, that was a sad, sad day, when I realized that). And it's picked up speed ever since I hit 25. And what people forget is that a lower metabolism doesn't necessarily mean you are just going to get fat (barring any actual thyroid diseases). It just means that you don't need as much food -- a sentiment that your stomach takes a long @$%^ing while to accept.

This is a rocky road, because we're taught as kids to finish our plates, eat on schedule regardless of how hungry we are, etc, etc. And it can quickly manifest into something far, far, far too unhealthy, on either end of the spectrum. But I'm oddly okay with eating a banana over a gigantic bowl of Wheaties, a salad and tea instead of first and second lunch. The only thing that will never change is my coffee consumption, because my life revolves around Dunkin' and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

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