Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Can Eat Anything I Want Today

That's what I have been telling myself ever since I started training for a half-marathon, back in early July. Twice a week I would put in reasonable distances, 5 miles or so. Never were those distances so grueling that I couldn't stay within the Weight Watchers points system. But, on Saturdays, at an ungodly early hour, my team and I would head out for a minimum of 7 miles, often more than 10. And each time, I would come home in need of coffee and lots of protein. Then, as the day wore on, I would eat both lunch and dinner with a laissez-faire attitude of "These calories don't count...I just ran X miles."

On the day of my half-marathon, my immediate post-race meal was a Philips' crabcake sandwich. Mmmm....yummy Baltimore goodness. Goodness that lasted about 5 seconds as I scarfed it down. Later that night, I enjoyed appetizers, salad, entrees, AND dessert with coffee at Big Bowl, part of the "Lettuce Entertain You" chain that is synonymous with large portions.

See, the problem comes in with the fact that these finely-tuned machines we call our bodies need fuel to run. When we operate at full capacity, we need more fuel, meaning we are hungrier, thirstier, need more electrolytes, you name it. When we take in the additional fuel to keep operating, this builds muscle. It take a whole lot of running to solely tone and not build muscle. In fact, for the first 8 weeks of my training or so, I actually continued to gain weight because I was building so much muscle (not to mention the fact that my butt may have stuck out further - yikes!). Now, that's not to say that my body is not in a lot better shape than when I started. It is. But, I guess that I never considered that getting to this point would mean I wouldn't lose massive amounts of weight. I mean, come on, I've put in hundreds of miles of training. Seriously, at least 5 pounds? No?

So, my love of food has placed my in a quandry. While I've always been able to enjoy everything I like and keep, adding the element of serious exercise (beyond just the recreational) seems to throw off the formula. A veritable foodies' dilemma has faced and continues to face me (still in training, just no longer for a half-marathon) - enjoyment or fuel. Can't a girl have both?

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