I have been thinking a lot about my diet. Here are the reasons why.
1. I’m reading Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run, and while it’s certainly not selling me on a vegan diet—the prep work! the tofu!—it is making me think that maybe I’d be a better runner if I would consistently put some thought into what I eat. Not winning-Western-States better. (Or even finishing-Western-States better. Or even thinking-about-ever-attempting-Western-States better. Just, better.)
2. I had some serious snaccidents* last week.
“Who eats an entire [nine-serving] bag of Smartfood in two days?!?” says astounded fiance. “You are forgetting that, before we dated, I was known to take down entire [same-size] bags of Jax [off-brand cheese doodles] in a single sitting,” says me.
Then, late Saturday night, I ate quite a bit of cheese, though I had help with that, at least.
This week, I felt less svelte. I don’t weigh myself often enough to know if that is mental or not, but surely, that much cheddar (on popcorn and straight-up) cannot be good for one’s svelteness.
3. This morning I was supposed to run a challenging but totally doable workout that included some time at roughly half-marathon pace and some hill sprints.
But last night I went to the Mercantile Club for Clam Night.
(“The Merc” = a mysterious members-only Emmaus institution I’ve always wanted to experience. You need to know a guy to get in. Literally—you must have a key card to open the door. Look at their effing website. When I got an invitation to go, I could not pass it up.)
At Clam Night, one orders a dozen clams, which come with brown butter, then saves the excess butter to pour over the crab cake sandwich, which comes with chips. And you’ll need some lager to wash it all down. (Yum!)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that did not sit so well, and a totally doable workout became an EPIC BATTLE. Meghan vs. Stomach! (Spoiler: I won. But Stomach racked up a few points along the way.)
Basically, I should probably try to eat better, consistently. I would run better. I would feel better. I don’t know that I would look better—I got pretty gaunt last year, somehow, like see-photos-of-yourself-and-say-“yikes” gaunt—but two out of three ain’t bad?
But here is the thing:
I LOVE FOOOOOD
So much of my identity is wrapped up in eating with reckless abandon. I founded The Ravenous Runner. My future in-laws tell people I’m a “good eater,” and they mean it as high praise. And I like not worrying much about what I eat.
I only have X amount of mental stamina per day. I can spend it on working out (which I am now sometimes doing TWICE a day, meaning run + soul-suckingly-boring PT exercises at the gym) or eating the right things. I’ve never managed to do both at the same time, at least not for long.
And I never want to be the person at the party who is like, “no dessert, please,” or “I’d like a Michelob Ultra, please, and just one.” BECAUSE THOSE PEOPLE ARE NO FUN. And because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to eat better for appearance reasons, because I wouldn’t be, but all the ladies would think I was, because assumptions and stereotypes.
And here is the other thing: There is a big difference between knowing how to eat well and actually doing it. I have the “knowing what I should be eating” part down. Just not the “actually doing it more than half of the time” part.
*My friend Rebecca deserves full credit for this term. I would link to her blog or her Twitter feed but she doesn’t really update either one so, oh well.