Being Flexible

Things don't always go according to plan. This past week was a perfect example. For one, I was supposed to go into Boston on Tuesday and then a blizzard hit...in March. I ended up going into Boston on Thursday instead. I was supposed to drive back to Vermont Thursday evening, but my car had engine trouble. Luckily my parents are amazing and I made it home and my dad took over from there. I was able to return to Vermont on Friday...only a few days late. Saturday I woke up with a flat tire and had to speed walk up the icy hill to get to work on time...not fun. I was supposed to run 6 miles that day, but after a miracle (aka help from Rebecca and her husband, whom I am eternally grateful) I ended up getting a new tire and going grocery shopping instead. Moral of my spring break: Things happen. You can't control them. And life wasn't made to be planned and executed perfectly.  While life isn't perfect, neither is marathon training or marathon fueling. And it's not supposed to be perfect.

Marathon training: This week, while staying at Julie's I took a rest day (which was beautiful and sunny) simply because I wanted to taste test donuts with Julie and Greg instead...it happens. Then later in the week I was kicking myself for skipping a day with perfect running weather when Mother Nature decided to dump over a foot of snow creating very challenging running conditions. But would I give back that day of donut eating for the run that I had scheduled? No.

I made plans to reschedule the missed run on Saturday after work. I knew this would be a mental struggle since the gym was closed that weekend (Spring Break), but I also knew that with the time change the days are longer and the sun would {hopefully} inspire me. Unfortunately, I had one of the most challenging days at work, not to mention dealing with a flat tire, and all I could manage to do was grocery shop, cook dinner, and drink some (or 2 glasses) wine. It was all I could muster and I had to accept that.

Speed work also didn't happen this week without a gym to use and icy sidewalks and/or snow everywhere. My long run this past week was so much slower because of the uneven and icy terrain. The motivation was also lacking since I was not at home most of the week and was dealing with a lot of change, drastic weather, and challenging situations. If I have learned anything this past year (aka while in rotations) it's that when things are difficult in one area of your life you need to cut yourself some slack in other areas. 

Marathon fueling: This past week was Spring break and of course I found myself eating more high fat, high sugar foods than normal...and drinking much more wine. You saw the picture of the donuts...and I had more time to cook delicious food. I've also been noticing that my clothes fit differently. While this bothered me one morning when trying to find something to wear to a presentation, it didn't last long. My body has come so far since this time last year. Rotations limited my physical activity and now I am running at least 30 miles a week! Last week I ran 15 miles consecutively which is my longest run to date. I also value my newfound relationship with sweets. If I want them they are there and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Tonight Molly and I enjoyed some of Trader Joe's version of Oreos and I happily dipped mine in peanut butter. I can't tell you the last time I had an Oreo with peanut butter (actually yes I can, it was Easter of my Freshman year...when I had given up chocolate for Lent and proceeded to eat all of the tempting foods). Now I can enjoy these foods and not feel like I am going to overdo it. I had a few Oreos and felt satisfied. There is a huge difference, from what I have noticed, in the way that I am approaching food and I no longer feel controlled by it. It's freeing, but a daily process.

I continue to struggle with intuitive eating since I am a planner. I try to budget myself while grocery shopping and plan my meals to a "T". However, then I find I am highly unsatisfied with the food that I eat. I've noticed by having more snacks available and more options of things to cook for meals I am more creative in the kitchen and enjoy the food more. Determining how to balance having more options while also remaining true to my hunger levels and letting that drive my eating habits is a continual process. There is no perfect way to eat, though, and normal eating can mean under or overeating on occasion.

All I can do is continue to train day by day and continue to practice intuitive eating meal by meal. It won't be perfect, nor should it be.

Happy training and definitely happy eating everyone.

Treat Yourself

Public Notice: Valentine's Day candy is on sale! GO... GET... IT!

(I actually traded those two boxes for a big heart box of assorted chocolates soon after...)

I really wanted a heart of assorted chocolates. So I went out and bought myself one (begrudgingly because I wanted someone to buy it for me...oh well). And I did end up buying the wine that was in the same aisle because YOLO (for my mom, that means "you only live once"). It happened to be my favorite wine so I thought it was a sign. It was. Fate was calling me. Fate knows I like wine.

napa-mm2

(Take me back to my happy place...Napa)

I'm writing this to show that even as a future RD I still occasionally have disordered thoughts about eating. In high school and the first year of college I struggled a lot with disordered eating. I won't get into the details, but it wasn't easy and sometimes...actually more often than I like to admit...the thoughts come flooding back in. For example, today I did a lot of things that made me feel like I shouldn't go buy wine and chocolate (and then drink and eat said goods) even though I wanted to.

  1. I put off my run all day...and then decided it should be a rest day because I was just tired and the sidewalks were not looking good.
  2. I had chocolate for a snack today (usually I save chocolate for an evening snack).

  1. I have been very indulgent lately eating lots of cheese, chocolate, etc. and just eating more (hello, Megan, you are training for a marathon!)
  2. I have been a complete couch potato today (as you should since class was canceled...)

Why is it that these actions make me feel like I shouldn't have what my body (and mind!) really wants? Society. I am made to feel like I should restrict myself because diet culture preaches restriction. I am made to feel like I should alter my actions to reflect what I "should" do (whatever that means...) because society breeds comparison.

I struggle with comparison a lot because I am a twin. Imagine having someone who looks like you, but isn't you. It's impossible to not feel constantly judged. If others aren't comparing you to each other, you are comparing yourself. My parents always asked why my sister and I are so type-A and need to get straight As and be the best because they did not make us feel that way or foster that type of environment. The only explanation I have is being twins. We are set up to be competitive and to compare ourselves. Unfortunately I struggle with this more so I am usually the one comparing myself to Julie.

reunion-twins

In my mind she is taller (well this is true), she runs farther and faster (she also loves running way more than I do). She has a job, a boyfriend, and a dog. She has money and travels to exotic places. It's easy to get caught up and feel as if I am not enough. But I am just in a different chapter. I'm in graduate school. I'm still writing my future.

I "should" myself way too much. I feel that I should eat more fruit and vegetables. I feel that I should eat less chocolate (not possible as I sit here eating chocolate...). I feel that I should drink less wine (nope also drinking a glass right now). I feel that I should workout more. Blah blah blah. It never seems to end. But luckily I can filter these thoughts on good days. Other days I need a reality check and luckily my friends provide that.

We are all good enough. There is no perfect person. There is no equation of perfect actions. Be you. Be great. Be funny. Be smart. Be unique. Be you, whatever that means!

So even though I struggled with feelings of guilt today, I went out and I bought myself a discounted heart of assorted chocolates. I also bought myself that bottle of wine. Maybe I wasn't physiologically hungry, but emotionally I wanted the wine and chocolate. I wanted to treat myself. And even though I have been a bit more indulgent lately, I deserve to treat myself. It's not always chocolate and wine. Sometimes it's a new workout headband from Skida or a pink running watch(talking from recent purchases). Soon it will definitely be a new tea flavor from David's Tea.

Whatever it is, stop the "shoulds" and stop the guilt. Personally I know it's easier said than done, but it's a process. Intuitive eating is a process. Normal eating, especially after a period of disordered eating, is a process. Life is a process. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to friends. Talk to a professional. Journal. Whatever helps you.

You've got this. Don't beat yourself up. The world tries to do that enough. Be you. Love you. Because other people do too.

For me, I'm going to be aware of these emotions and let them float on by because I am happiest when I am content with myself. If the thoughts linger, I will journal or write here. I will also talk to my friends and ask for help. I also acknowledge that February is one gloomy, hard month and I deserve some slack...and extra vitamin D.

I'm off to bed without judgement. Tomorrow is a new day.