Don’t Make Food Your Enemy

Most of my posts are about me, my racing, and my training but this week I have been inspired to post something about the recent success I’ve had. It has nothing to do with training, my support network, and in fact it’s a pretty selfish thing, it’s about my great relationship with food.

positive thinkingGrowing up as a female middle distance runner is not easy. Like the guys we all come in different shapes and sizes, but unlike the guys there seems to be this added pressure as a female runner to look a certain way. And I think the same is true for other sports. Lanni Marchant spoke about this in her recent article in the Calgary Herold,

“If you look at what the top runners look like and you see these really, really skinny women out there, running really, really fast. A lot of female runners, I think, think they need to look that way to run fast. Which is unfortunate.”

Marchant goes on to add that is really important to recognize that most of the top runners now, look strong and not waif like. She says that one cannot be a waif, “our bodies break down.” And it’s true, the added stress of not having the right nutrients or enough calories stresses your body and it starts to break down.

This post was sparked because I was reminded again that sometimes people make food their enemy. The conversation came up with a suggestion that people try to eliminate refined sugars from their diet. This is being presented as a challenge to the alpine skiers I work with. Instead of looking at refined sugars as the enemy I have suggested that the challenge be made in a our positive way:

  • Making appropriate snack and meal size choices
  • Making smart snacking choices
  • Chose to make active transportaton part of your life; walk or bike to school instead of dropping off your child

What I think the challenge failed to capture was that it is ok to eat food, including refined sugars and sweets, but everything should be in moderation.

I am really fortunate that I’ve always had a positive relationship with food. I don’t look at as the enemy, food has always been my friend. Sometimes I look at food as fuel for my next workout, other times I sit down and take pleasure in what I’m consuming. The important thing I understand is that I need the nutrients and calories to power me through my day.

And I remember to eat and drink things in moderation. I never tell myself a food is bad for me; it can be harmful if I eat too much of one thing, but that is true with any food or drink.

Making better eating choices can become a habit. It is a matter of planning ahead, keeping healthy snacks around, and satisfying your cravings. It’s about choosing unprocessed, natural foods, choosing foods that satisfy your tastes and meet your daily energy and nutrient requirements, and about choosing the foods that tell your brain your doing something good.