I’ve mentioned my love of Runner’s World before, I believe. One of my favorite things about it is the Newbie Chronicles by Marc Parent. Mr. Parent gets it. He totally gets it. Every time I read it, I end up laughing because it is true. So true. The other night at dinner Micah read the first few paragraphs of the August issue’s column to me. I almost had to spit my food out to keep from choking on it. It reminded me of the time when we were dating and Micah made me laugh so hard chocolate milk came out of my nose. I think it was one of his proudest moments. But I digress. We were talking about the Newbie Chronicles. I’ll let you read it for yourself:
First, you go for a run, of course. Then what you do is go ahead and take a mess of red beans and let them spill across a big white plate so they just kiss the pile of dry-rub ribs. You go for a run (of course!) and then you roll a grilled cob of corn on a stick of butter until it’s good and gooey and shake some salt and hot pepper flakes on it. Actually, since you went for that run, just go on and do two cobs, but don’t forget to save room for the raspberry pie.
What you’ll want to do with the pie is take out a wedge about the size of a shovel blade and lob on a double dip of ice cream and eat it really fast and think how lucky it was that you got that run in.
Or here’s something else to try. Start with a run like I do and then go to the kid’s birthday party and rush the potato chip bowl with the rest of the children. Stuff a handful of chips into your mouth and laugh wildly over your shoulder at the nonrunning adults nibbling miserably on carrot sticks. Raise a can of orange soda in their direction and watch them tentatively lift their cans of diet. Then chug yours down in one swallow and slam the can on the table and wipe your mouth on your sleeve and let out a howl. Man, you don’t need no stinkin’ diet soda ’cause you ain’t on no stinkin’ diet, so pass the pepperoni, ’cause you just ran your fool head off and you’re hungry as a dog.
Something else I like to do is go for a run, do my normal cooldown followed by a short stretch and a shower, then go into the pantry and rip open a bag of chocolate chips and fill both cheeks. That’s a fun one.
The chocolate chips are indeed a fun one, but I usually reserve my cheek-fulls for the 30 seconds after I finally get both boys down for their naps, and not a moment too soon because I was about to turn into a witch. Those chocolate chips saved me just in time. Mr. Parent goes on about how if you actually want to lose weight, you still need to be careful about what you eat even if you got that run in. You know, the whole calories in/calories out equation.
I’m not really in the market for weight-loss at the moment, but I still find myself with the mindset that I can eat whatever I want whenever I want. Because I run. Or because I’m breastfeeding. Or because that bread is going to go bad if somebody doesn’t eat it and I’m the one who made it so it might as well be me. And if I’m going to eat that bread, then I sure as heck am going to load it up with Nutella. And then I realize that I probably didn’t need that bread and I feel bad and think I should probably go for a run to make myself feel better. It’s a vicious cycle. I think the trick to breaking it is to really learn to listen to my body.
It’s not so much a calories in/calories out equation for me as it is a mind/body equation. There is still a part of me that subscribes to the belief that, as long as I run, I eat I can eat whatever I want; but I know that if I do, I will not be healthy, I will not be happy, I will not be setting a good example for my children. But neither will I be happy, healthy, or a good example if I deprive myself of food — the celery sticks or the chocolate cream pie. As with everything it is a battle for balance: between needs and wants, between self-control and indulgence, between listening to what my body actually needs and just shoveling those chocolate chips in my mouth because my brain is so frazzled it can’t put two coherent thoughts together anymore.
I hope to someday find that balance to where it is an actual equation and Needs = Wants. If that’s even possible.