Thursday, March 15, 2012

Evolution: Food Logs

I've spent the last three years logging my food. When I first started, my M.O. was to lose weight, so I logged with diligence in my Calorie King food diary. I can count on one hand the few days that I didn't log and they were all special occasions. Despite my diligence, I never felt like I was restricting myself. If I wanted a piece of dark chocolate, I had a piece. There were no "bad" foods. Upon reaching maintenance, I slowly increased the amount of calories I was allotted each day.

I continued to log and I began to focus more on the quality of what I was eating. I watched my carbohydrate, saturated fat and protein intakes, ensuring that each was within their goal range on a regular basis. I worked on feeling less guilty for the days I wasn't perfect, be that not logging at all or just eating more than my target. My aim was to log 80% of the time, and let the other 20% go. It was certainly not easy, since I was afraid that eating more than my target would cause me to get fat again. My philosophy towards exercise (running included) was that while it was something I loved and would never give up, it's main purpose was to burn calories.

Over the course of the last year, my thoughts on the subject have grown and changed considerably.  During that time, I was having a hard time not snarfling every piece of food that came my way. I felt like I was constantly hungry.  I felt like my control was slipping. I wrote about that recently, so you all know that I finally came to the conclusion I simply was not eating enough for my activity level. And, unquestionably, my activity level has increased significantly.

I attribute this mostly to my desire to get faster. Running has changed from something I do to burn calories to something that I want to do better. I want to be faster. I want to finish every race quicker.  Good nutrition plays an enormous role in achieving this. It's not just making my macronutrient targets either. Focusing on micronutrients (e.g. iron, copper and vitamin K) is equally important. My body operates at its best when its been properly fueled.

I've always had a rather difficult relationship with food but I finally truly feel like I'm making progress.