As you've probably guessed, I like tracking things. Tracking isn't just about being accountable - although, yes, I feel guilty when I see too many X's on the training chart. Tracking is also about seeing what you've accomplished.
I like seeing the miles add up and, hopefully, the paces get faster. I find writing things down - whether on my old-fashioned chart on my fridge or on a higher-tech interactive training log like Daily Mile - to be motivating and helpful.
To date, I've logged 460 miles of running and biking since January. Thanks to the stats page on Daily Mile, I know that translates to roughly:
- 211 doughnuts
- .02 times around the world
- 24.71 gallons of gas saved
- 839 televisions powered
- 55 hours of training
- ... or 11 pounds burned
I dropped a few pounds in the beginning - but really slumped off in my focus and in my weight tracking recently. I'm hovering now somewhere around my starting point - generally speaking, not where I wanted to be at the start of the spring training season.
Simple math would tell me to just cut out some calories and I'd drop those pounds. Have I really increased my caloric intake enough to maintain 11 pounds instead of shedding them?
Think about it. In essence, I've eaten the equivalent of 211 doughnuts.
Ultimately, it's basic math. Eat more calories than you burn and you'll gain weight. Burn more than you eat, you'll lose.
It's simple math that's not-so-simple.
I suppose this means I should focus a bit more on food - and not in a hyper-sensitive way that has me counting every gram of sugar or carb that passes through my lips. (Ah, the never-ending battle for balance - the quest to balance a view of food-as-fuel-only with the role that food plays in the lifestyle I enjoy.)
I had a conversation with a friend yesterday focused around this topic - the need for balance. We both have friends who are fanatic about counting calories, fat grams or not eating at all. We have friends that restrict themselves so much that they forget how to enjoy life. And enjoy eating.
I should note that, generally speaking, I eat good-for-you foods. I like fresh foods - and hardly ever eat fried stuff, canned or frozen foods, greasy burgers or other things I see as part of people's regular diet.
Even when eating out, TC and I tend to gravitate toward sushi and Indian restaurants, rather than fast food or chain establishments. We eat pizza with whole wheat crust and crave dinners consisting solely of farm-stand finds. It's not uncommon for us to just share an entree or a couple of appetizers as a meal.
And none of that feels restricting. It's just our preference.
I like eating. I like food. I like my glass(es) of wine with dinner. I like going out to eat - not only because it's a chance to experience dishes I wouldn't have at home, but because of the social aspect. I love the sounds of a restaurant - the overall murmur of patrons engaged in conversation, interrupted at times by loud, spontaneous laughter. People just enjoying life.
I eat out more than the typical person, I'd say, which is partly a function of my job and partly a function of the hectic lifestyle TC and I lead these days. Between work and our various activities, like running and cycling, sometimes it's a struggle to eat dinner any earlier than 9 p.m. We've been the ones closing down a restaurant more times than I can count.
Perhaps some of this will change when we live together - less than two short weeks away! - since we won't have to decide at whose place we're going to eat, discuss who has what for food in the fridge or spend time shuttling back and forth picking up dogs, packing overnight bags and making that same 5.5-mile commute.
More likely, though, our lifestyle won't change much. I think we'll enjoy more at-home dinners, but we certainly both like food too much to cut out our favorite eateries. And even our made-at-home dinners are not typical. We often remark that our every day, spur-of-the-moment creations would likely serve as someone else's special occasion meals.
And I like it that way.
So where does this leave me when it comes to food? Will that 11-pound stat - or whatever the next reminder is - ever stop bugging me?
Logically, I know I should cut down on calories. (I don't really feel the urge to increase my activity much more than I do now, except for the longer and more intense bike rides I see on the not-so-flat horizon.)
But I also refuse to fall back into my past when I restricted and cut back so much that it became the focus of my life. Events, eating out and even regular meals actually caused me more anxiety than I'd like to admit. What would I be able to eat? Would I gain a pound the next time I stepped on the scale?
I've considered consulting a nutritionist. Perhaps a personal trainer. Maybe even a few therapy sessions.
But am I going to pay for someone to tell me what I already know? I know what I should eat and what I shouldn't eat. It's just a matter of how much I want to change my lifestyle, my habits and, I guess, my body.
It's a matter of how much I'm "okay" with that 11-pound stat. Or the dreadful and nearly embarrassing way my new tri shorts look on me?
Could I possibly be more worried about the way the shorts look and fit than the challenge of a duathlon? Uh-huh. I think I just stumbled upon a future post...
Photo Credit: www.businessweek.com
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