I've arrived at yet another shift in my thinking regarding what goes into my body. For some this revelation may be obvious, or nothing new, and honestly, it really isn't anything new to me either. I'm going to continue to practice making decisions about what I eat based on what nutrients they provide to me, rather than focus on avoiding items that have proven to be detremental, or triggers to me. Semantics? Absolutely. However, as I learn more about myself, I find that I really need to have the correct mindset/way of thinking about something in order for it to really stick.
As I made the dietary shift away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to one of mostly real food (meat, vegetables, healthy fats, things with one ingredient...etc.), my choices were correct, however the reasoning behind them may not have always been in the right place. I was focused on avoiding grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. Items containing these ingredients were generally avoided sucessfully for chunks of time, mixed in with times of "relaxing" or "cheats" that could stretch into multiple week long periods. I was basing my dietary choices off what made me feel the best, and figured out that in order to feel my best, I need to stay away from grains and sugar. Dairy and legumes don't pose any ill effects from what I can tell, but they are things that I can just take or leave, so in general they stay out of my diet. I fell into a pattern of avoiding all the "bad" things for me for weeks at a time, feeling great, and then tripping up and falling down a wormhole for a few days/weeks/months. The wormholes certainly became fewer and farther inbetween, not to mention shorter, except for the one I'm currently crawling out of.
Hence the mightly epiphany. I'm looking to eliminate the wormholes in my diet. I need to find a way to continue to eat the foods that are right for me, and 'sheer willpower' is not the answer. I know what I should be eating. I know what I should not be eating. I know I feel better when I'm eating correctly for my body. When I was eating foods to avoid eating others, it wasn't necessarily well rounded. Sure, I was avoiding grains/sugar/dairy/etc. but, I was eating protein and fat and far too little vegetables (aka, nutrients). I would always tell myself I was going to eat more veggies, and some days I would, but really the only thing that could get me to incorporate them on a regular basis was having some sort of eating plan dictated to me. Left to my own devices to plan, I get lazy and just eat meat instead of eating meat and vegetables. So, my plan? Eat for nutrients. My day needs to be a well-rounded one. I need to ensure my vitamin D levels are up in the winter. I need to make sure I'm taking my fish oil everyday. I need to make sure I'm getting my calcium, my iron, B vitamins, etc. I know this shift may seem so miniscule to some, but for me its like a light bulb has gone off.
Because I love lists, I made a list of meals I can make that I enjoy and that are well balanced to make up my day. From the meal list, I made a shopping list. For information/research, I plugged days made up of my meals into a calorie counter app to make sure the nutrient levels are achieved. I'm not aiming for a specific calorie amount, but I am looking to get as much nutrition packed into 3 meals as I can get. I now see that this right here...this idea IS the whole point of ditching the SAD in the first place. I was guilty of not seeing the forest for the trees. I was focused on elimination, rather than nutrition. I feel that may have been making all the difference in my divergences from real foods. Instead of continuing to eat foods that fueled my body on a nutrient basis, I was obsessed with foods that I "couldn't" have, rather than thinking of them as foods that provided nothing towards my nutrient goals.
To further drill down the point, its the difference between staring at a brownie and training myself to refuse it because "I don't eat sugar" and staring at the brownie thinking what it does for my body and deciding that it is "nutrient void." In either scenario, I avoid the brownie, but I'm curious to see if this way of thinking about it leads to more consistent results.
In other news, I received the push I need to begin training for a 1/2 marathon in the spring. This time, there will be no half-assing. There will be an actual plan with milestones and boxes for me to check off. Not only do I want to run this whole 1/2 marathon without stopping, but I want to beat the crap out of my one and only previous 1/2 marathon time. In fact I guess the timing of this decision is even more perfect as for the next 3 months, I'm carless. Carless means the hubby dropping me off at the bus stop in the AM, riding the bus downtown to work (I got my NOOK all charged up and will be using bustime to read), running to and from the gym at lunch time, and walking over a mile home at the end of the day from the bus stop.
I found an iPhone app that lets me make checklists. Today I created a daily checklist and a weekly checklist. Each contain goals for the day, and goals for the week. I check them off as they are completed and I love that feeling. My current daily list involves taking vitamin D, fish oil, ensuring I get enough water (90oz min), 2 cups of green veggies (min) and moisturizing my face at night. These are the things I know I am capable of doing, but sometimes I just lose focus and don't fit them all in. The list outlines a routine, and I plan on falling into one. I may add things to the list as I see fit. My weekly list involves things I would like to accomplish over a week's time- getting all my training runs in, etc.