Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Food! and Training Tuesday

Hi friends!

It's Training Tuesday again! I'm using it to track my half marathon training, but if you have any goal you've been working on, feel free to join me and Tamara in the fun. We want to congratulate you!

Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Three miles inside. I had a stomach ache and it was a pretty yuck run.
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Two miles around campus! Love that its staying light out later now.
Friday: Four miles outside. I was SUPER happy with my pace on this one -- 10:06 overall. :)
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Crappy, crappy run. I ran three then walked the last mile home.
Monday: 3.11 miles -- a 5k. More in the "peaks"!

Pits of the week: 
I shoulda been able to pull out that run Sunday. Not sure what was up with it. I don't feel too guilty, I just have no excuse. I tweeted about it, though, just because I don't want anyone to think I only talk about the good runs. It was a route I'd run before, it wasn't bad weather. I'd slept a lot the night before. As if she knew, Shut Up And Run (I don't know her name... whoops!) posted this. Not sure why my run sucked. My head just wasn't in it, I think.

Also, as whiny as it will sound, I think I'm having a rough time adjusting back to warmer weather. It's only in the 70s and I'm already wearing the shirts I cut up for when I was running in the 90s last summer.

Peaks of the week:
Yesterday, I set out to run 3 miles. I'm not sure what happened -- maybe it was because my run the day before sucked or because me and Pat had dinner plans and I knew he was super hungry.

Whatever it was, I did my first mile in 9:47, which is really good for me, especially considering the first mile of this route has a decent hill. After I knew I ran the first mile that fast, I just decided to see what I could do, I guess. And then when I was getting close to three miles and was still under 30 minutes, I PUSHED it and took almost two whole minutes off my best 5k time! Granted this wasn't in a race, but still. Exciting. I was only two seconds short of being a full two minutes faster. Insane.

Changing the way I think about food

I've been mulling over this topic for weeks, not sure exactly how to write about it. I'm going to talk a little about watching what I eat and calories, so if that's a trigger for you, you might want to skip the rest of this post.

Starting last January, I counted my calories for nearly every meal. I was under my (pretty low) calorie goal almost every single day, by increasing my movement, by watching my portions, by the usual healthy methods.

But I didn't change what I was eating exactly. I was just eating less of it. When I got near the end of the night  and had a calorie deficit, I thought, cool. And then I scooped myself a heaping bowl of ice cream or ate more chocolate.

It was all about the calorie count. And for the purpose I was pursuing, it worked -- I weigh about 18 pounds less than I did January of 2012, and at one point I was down 20 pounds.

But I hadn't exactly developed healthy habits. I only cared that I was under that calorie goal.

When I started really training for my half, I tried to maintain my calorie counting habits, but it was difficult -- mentally and emotionally. Even when I estimated how many calories I'd burned and added that to my goal, I hesitated to eat back my exercise calories.

It looked and felt so good to see a 500 or 600 calorie deficit at the end of the night. I was scared I'd gain back the weight, scared it'd get out of control again.

At the same time, I knew that poor nutrition would negatively affect my running. When you don't eat well or don't eat enough, you get fatigued faster and are more prone to injuries.

So I had to mentally make a switch from a losing-weight perspective to a perspective focused on fueling myself for the amount of activity I'm pursuing.

I stopped counting calories. Since then, I haven't gained weight. I haven't lost, either. It was really difficult at first, but now I don't really think about calories at all. Which is what is healthy for me at this point in my training and in my life.

Lately, I've been looking a little bit more at what I'm actually eating. I'm trying to eat more whole foods -- fruits and veggies -- and more minimally processed foods -- looking at the ingredient list's contents (can I pronounce the ingredients?) and number of ingredients (fewer ingredients = better for you).

I'm not always perfect at it. I don't pass up free food and don't overthink what I order at restaurants, because it's so rare that I go out. I eat dessert. But I'm getting better.

My new goal is to take it the final step. When I'm hungry at the end of the day, I'm still telling myself, Oh, I have calories, why not? and filling up on ice cream or other treats. And I don't think I should be doing that. I don't have an exact goal yet -- I don't think I need to cut out desserts altogether, but I want to cut down drastically.

From now until my race, May 11th, I'm off all drinks except water and milk (empty calories that do nothing for me!) I'm also considering a dessert hiatus -- or cutting it down to one a week. (Maybe two...)

Just in case you're curious, here's some of what I have been eating! Keep in mind that I'm a vegetarian. :)
A typical lunch -- carrots, apples and cuties, yogurt with frozen berries and granola. 

Or sometimes a salad as one of the elements of my lunch -- this one with cheddar cheese and sunflower seeds!
One of my favorite snacks -- whole almonds and reduced-sugar craisins

Whole wheat pasta with tomatoes and yellow squash. Recipe here.

The beans part of my Hawaiian Beans and Rice -- recipe here.

One move I've made in my pursuit of healthy-ness is to switch to products made with whole grains. 

Whole grain products provide several benefits you won't get from products that use refined grains, like reducing blood cholesterol levels (possible reducing likelihood of heart disease) and feeling fuller longer on fewer calories.

Looking to add more whole grains to your diet? Look for this logo on the products you buy.

This label means that the product contains 51% or more whole grains by weight and that the product is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

You can also find whole grains by reading nutrition labels. If the first ingredient is whole wheat, graham flour, oatmeal, whole oats, brown rice, wild rice, whole-grain corn, popcorn, whole grain barley, whole-wheat bulgar or whole rye, then you know that you're getting more whole grains than anything else (they have to list the biggest ingredient first!).

Hope you're all doing well with your training! Can't wait to read all about it.


Sara said...

Great job Abbey!

I've heard so many benefits about switching to a more "whole food" diet, and I think it sounds great. It's a lot better than trying to keep track of counting all of those calories. Lots of great info in this post! :-)

Kate said...


You KILLED it with your time on that run! I would love to be running a 10 minute mile. And there you are at a 9! SO IMPRESSED!

And I really need to do a better job about what I eat. I KNOW I need to, but sometimes it's just hard. I feel like my life would be so much easier if I LIKED fruit. There's very little of it I'll eat, and I HATE that. But I just can't seem to like it. Sigh.

jaime said...

Great job with your Friday run and on your 5k!!

I've been watching my food lately. I need to blog about it, just to get it out of my head. I do so well with our meals and planning those out in advance, but snacks get me EVERY time.

Melissa said...

Great job!! And so true about eating... i completely agree about eating HEALTHY as opposed to just trying to stay under a certain number of calories. Go, girl! :)

Amy said...

i dont think i knew (or remembered lol) that you were a vegetarian, that's awesome!
I'm working on my view points with food as well...because honestly i haven't always had the best ones in the past.

Tamara said...

You are a running beast! That is so awesome.

I am exactly where you are with food. I'm trying to eat healthier instead of just counting calories - like I want to make them count so that it's an actual change and not something I'll fall back into.

It's been what like a month since we started the challenge? I can already tell a big difference in my energy levels by actually eating healthy and in my workouts. Also, my waistline is going down (slowly, but it is!)


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