Saturday, May 30, 2009

Knowing what’s good for you

I’m a little behind, but I wanted to touch on Caitlin's post because she is one of the reasons why I’m blogging right now and I think this is an extremely important topic.

Blogging is definitely different than what many people are used to. Most of the people I’ve talked to about my blog think it’s a really cool thing and enjoy stopping by to check it out, while others think it’s plain old weird. I’ll admit that I still feel funny snapping pictures of my food but I’m slowly but surely getting over that.

But Caitlin brought up very many important positives and negatives about food blogging and I felt it was very important to pass on.

One of the reasons I started reading food blogs was because I needed balance in my life. I needed to find people out there who were like me and who understood the importance of health and fitness, but whom were also REAL about it. It's OK if you don't run one day; it’s OK to eat your much desired piece of other words, it's OK to be normal.

Obviously discipline is necessary but eating healthy and taking care of yourself physically is a lifestyle, not a prison, and reading blogs such as Caitlin’s has helped to remind me of that. I still struggle with wanting to be faster and thinking I should lose a little more weight (this is only during my bloated months because to be honest, I’m pretty happy with my progress) but becoming a part of this community has helped me in so many ways to realize that I am normal.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I played soccer all throughout my school years, in college, and still play now. However I’ve also always been one of the biggest girls on the teams and also, one of the slowest. I’m a pretty good player but my speed always held me back from being as good as I could really have been. Obviously this has played a role in my obsession to be faster.

Everyone else around me seemed to be naturally great at soccer—being fast was natural, being thin and lean was natural, but nothing I was learning working for me. I couldn’t get better, faster, leaner and stronger if I was doing the same things they were because, well, they didn’t need the same things I did.

But no one really saw that. And I got stuck being put in a pool of girls that didn’t need the same type of training I needed and I never really got better.

Now I’m realizing that there are ways to get better by doing what works for YOU individually. However, since I didn’t have the help I needed at hand, I turned to the trusty internet and found Kath’s blog. The fact that she “Eats Real Food” immediately caught my interest. Kath’s blog led me to Caitlin’s blog which lead me to others…and I honestly have to say I haven’t felt better about myself. I feel good because I eat well, I balance myself well, and I’ve honestly learned how to not become so obsessive over things like eating too many pretzels or not going to the gym one day.

I am still very conscious about everything I eat and drink, but in a good way….meaning, I know I enjoy eating something sweet after dinner, so I try to second guess that amazing looking cookie after my lunch. If I can’t fight the urge then I’ll try to find something smaller to snack on after dinner. Instead of that piece of cake I had planned, I’ll have some yogurt and strawberries instead. It’s that simple.

If I had oatmeal for breakfast and pasta for lunch, I make sure to have plenty of greens and protein with my dinner and/or snack to make up for my lack of balance in the first part of the day. Get it? So I’m not really being obsessive, I’m just trying to keep my balance.

Also, I’ve found that counting calories doesn’t work for me. I do calculate some things but I don’t make it a strict part of my day. I have an idea of how many calories are in each of my meals and I estimate that I eat close to 2000 calories a day: About 400 for breakfast, 400-500 for lunch, a 150 calorie snack, 450-600 for dinner, and maybe another 200-250 for dessert/snack. That seems like a lot but I’m pretty active, therefore I’m hungry every three to four hours or so. But it wasn’t until reading these blogs did I realize this was OK. I always was told to eat no more than 1600 calories or else I would never lose weight. I’ve read it, I’ve been told that by my coaches, I’ve talked to my doctor, and everyone seemed adamant about that. But I know this is not true. It’s been working for me for over a year now (along with weight training and cardio which is easy for me since I like to work out.)

Since reading (and writing) these blogs I’ve learned how to better train for my races, how to properly fuel, substitutions for protein other than meat, I’ve made TONS of new recipes and have tried so many different types of food I would never have thought to try before…and I’ve learned a lot about life, balance, and the amazing people behind these blogs. And for these things, I am grateful. And I hope I can provide these same positives for others out there who stumble across my blog too.

I feel these are all important things to remember because we are all human. We all enjoy our cake and cookies, we all have bad days, we all fight with our significant others, we all get pissed off at work—we’re human. We’re not here to do anything other than support each other and better ourselves. That’s what this is all about.

So with that, I’m wishing you a wonderful, peaceful, and happy day. I’m heading up to Gloucester with Dennis to hang out along the beach. LAYTAS!

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