I’m so honored to be guest posting today and want to talk to you about two topics near to my heart: exercise and nutrition. Specifically, I’m going to tell you how running changed my eating.
Flash back to my senior year of college. I had recovered from a pretty severe eating disorder, but though I gained weight I never gained back a normal relationship with food. I actually found myself thirty pounds overweight because I didn’t understand my hunger cues. My response to the weight gain was similar to what many people do: I started eating diet foods and hopping on the elliptical more often.
The problem though is that diet foods don’t work. Purposely eating as little as possible during the day led me to binge eat at night. Plus I was putting a terrible about of chemicals and artificial sweetener into my body. And the elliptical? It’s a great exercise machine as long as you push yourself. I was just leisurely reading a magazine for thirty minutes and getting confused about why I wasn’t seeing any results!
Change in life
Then on the day before Thanksgiving of that year I made a change. I ran. It was good.
I was never a runner before. I hated it in fact. But I was so jealous of those that could go out for a daily jog, get in great cardiovascular activity, and enjoy the outdoors. I knew I needed to try something new so I drove to a park near my house and just ran.
Something inside me clicked that day. I found a new challenge. How much longer could I run for? How many miles could I do at one time? And the ultimate question: Could I run that half marathon in April?
I asked for a Garmin watch for Christmas and kept setting new mileage goals for myself. But having this new challenge for my body provided another challenge as well: running required fuel. I couldn’t get by on a 60 calorie yogurt and expect to go run five miles. I began to learn about how proper nutrition could benefit my running and ultimately my life.
Change in diet
The first step was a big breakfast. I started eating oatmeal with banana and almond butter which provided me with tons of energy to get through my mid-morning workouts. And since I started out on such a good foot I wanted to keep it up throughout the day. Lunches became nourishing, protein packed smoothies and dinners included complex carbs, a variety of vegetables, and healthy fats. I was satisfied and no longer found myself binging at night. Those extra thirty pounds slowly came off and my meals were more delicious than ever. This real food stuff works!
I’ve never looked back since that day I began running. I’ve now completed numerous races including two half marathons and my first full marathon a few weeks ago on April 11th.
I continue to notice how much better I feel both during my runs and just in general when I eat clean, whole foods and am thrilled that many of my eating disorder tendencies have disappeared.
I never predicted that going on a run that day would change my life so positively, but I’m extremely thankful that it did.