Friday, July 29, 2016

Cheat days: good or coping mechanism?

During the last month I’ve been meaning to blog much more often. However, due to a bad lingering cold and long days made longer by a once a week class on job hunting, then subsequent readying of related materials, both my mileage and my goal to write more have suffered more than a bare booty sitting on a cactus. 

Fast forward to last week. I decided that it would be immensely gratifying to stop by the growth store after work and pick up some sushi and a few brownie bites for a cheat meal. I was standing in line to check out, and got into a conversation with the man behind me. He was buying two bags of Oreos and 5 or 6 small bottles of soda. He laughed  easily as we both agreed how glad we were that it was Friday, and he pointed to his stash, letting me in on his dirty little secret–it was his cheat meal. He very quickly mentioned that he would be hitting the gym bright and early Saturday morning, but this evening it was ON. Suddenly I didn’t feel too bad about my sushi and brownie bites. 

This brings us to the question, have cheat days been given free reign based on our justification on eating some chicken or a salad the rest of the working week? When is enough junk food enough? 

It seems that we, perhaps as a culture, have taught ourselves that in order to eat healthy we must have a reward- that reward being food that is unhealthy. This logic, while used by many, myself included, is not so much logic as much as a form of justification to “cheat” on our diets. 

Eating healthy should be considered less of a diet and more of a lifestyle choice. While the end goal is to continue a healthy way of life, considering a cookie or a brownie bite “cheating” is not something I wish to do. The word cheat fills me with a sense of immense guilt and shame. It’s as if I’m in a relationship with my food, and the carrots and tomatoes  from my salad will leave me for taking a bite of that cookie. I don’t want to feel guilty about indulging every now and then. 

On the other hand, when did a so-termed cheat meal grant us permission to go on an all night binge? Until recently, I didn’t realize how much cheat days or cheat meals have become their own beast. 

From now on I am setting a new goal. I am no longer using the word “cheat” to describe what I choose to eat. I am going to continue to strive for a healthy diet, but I am not going to deprive myself to the point when I need to binge on cakes, or anything else for enjoyment. Let’s not even get into where binge eating can lead. 

We are not perfect, and social media can not even begin to describe who we are, or what we go through on a daily basis. I’m a work in progress, and personally, cheat meals don’t make me a happier person. What does make me happy is not feeling like crap the day after having a sugary greasy meal. From now on, cheat day is not in my vocabulary, although random indulgence will still be.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July: Maintaining A Training Schedule in the Summer Heat?

Good morning and Happy 4th of July! As I write this it’s only 9am and the sun’s already baking everything in sight-not that it’s going to put a damper on the fun today, it’s just a fact of south Texas life. Long runs have crept down from 12 miles to a whopping 4 or 5, necessitating hand held water bottles for what used to be an easy run in the fall and winter. A handful of laps around the BMX track in practice leaves one overheated,out of breath, and looking like you just doused yourself in a pool.
I took off Friday from work along with J, and we went to F’s place for a girls day at the pool. Apparently Friday was known as National Ditch Day, so yes we were glad to be a part of that! We made frozen wine slushies by blending moscato with various frozen fruit. They were so tasty and easy to make, and will surely be blended up again. Sometimes with the craziness of how fast a daily routine can go, it was a refreshing change of pace to lay at the pool with friends under the Palm trees. 

On Saturday at my hometrack, we had a drone filming our practice and the races for a spot on the local news. I absolutely love going to the track to practice. I still have a long way to go, but the goal is to get back to where I was. I got a bunch or practice, got to see some friends, and got a snowcone before I left. The flavor was called Panama Sunrise; it was the color of a sunrise, and sour. K’s baby tried some, and judging by the wrinkle of his little brow, I think he agreed. 

Lately I’ve been waiting for it to cool down outside before running. I cut my mileage almost in half in the summer, sometimes even leaving the Garmin at home if I know the route, and carrying water for anything over four miles. Running in 80 & 90 degree temps is rough,so I try to do things that keep running fun. I try a different route, and even listen to music, which I don’t normally like to do. To combat the mosquitos I found some bug spray by Avon that is also spf 30. Sunscreen and a hat are must haves!! Sunglasses as well if you have them. 

Runs have been so much tougher. However, when the sun is going down, leaving pink cotton candy clouds in a light blue sky, and a slight breeze comes through the moss covered trees, and the deafening sound of cicadas rings out over the newly waking streetlights, it’s actually alright. It seems to always be those little details that are remembered later.

Yesterday night, on the last mile of a training run, fireworks were popping in the sky. Blue, Pink, yellow, red, and green exploding a few blocks over in what I wish could happen everyday. I love fireworks. Not the little ones that litter up the streets and become an amalgam of burnt paper and crumbled wrapping, but the huge ones that fill up the sky with unending color. During the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, they have firework shows. I remember sitting there on the ground with friends just wishing it could last forever. That being said, I really love holidays that involve pyrotechnics. Haha. 

Off to the pool again with D to enjoy this beautiful and blessed day! (Raises water bottle with dissolved Nuun tablet in it) Cheers!