As a librarian and writer, it’s safe to say that books are kind of my thing. I read a lot, y’all. Like, I can’t even. I also have a job where I get to listen to audiobooks while working so there’s even more books. (That said, I’m horrible about keeping track of what I read. That’s one of my goals for 2016.)
Lately, though, my book choices have been very deliberate:
For the past few weeks I’ve been looking at food through a much different lens. Instead of focusing so much on “good” foods versus “bad” foods, I’ve been trying to take a more…scientific approach, I guess. I mentioned a couple weeks ago I’m trying to stay away from “frakenfoods” and while I loathe the term “real food,” these books are part of that approach. If we are talking about things other than fruits and veggies, this can sometimes be a flaw in Weight Watchers points systems because things that are nutritionally sound or nutritionally dense, like good fats from avocado and peanut butter or whole grain bread, can be higher in points than their “light” counterparts which are often lacking in any real nutritional value.
Runner’s World Meals on the Run was a book that one of my guests mentioned on my podcast and I asked for it for Christmas and then I actually bought The Food Lab for my brother-in-law, only to have BC buy me my own copy!
So far, one of the most interesting things to come out of The Dorito Effect is the concept of nutritional wisdom. It’s seen in animals in the wild who are able to recognize what nutrients and vitamins their bodies need and eat the foods that will provide those nutrients in the amount needed, no more and no less. They use these foods to keep their body in check. They know what foods provide what nutrients so if they are low in some vitamin, they’ll seek food out that will provide it.
Reading about this provided a light bulb moment: sometimes after a couple days of poor eating I find myself really, really, really want a salad. Like a big, green dense salad packed full of veggies with some grilled chicken on top. Nutritional wisdom! That craving comes from my body wanting to balance out the prior food choices that were not nutritionally sound.
After having this light bulb moment, I was at brunch with BC and decided to listen to my body while looking at the menu. Sure, the carb heavy pancakes and French toast sounded good to my head, but what did my body think sounded good? I honestly wouldn’t have normally gone for steak and eggs, but my eyes kept wandering back and the little 3 oz steak with eggs on the side was just what I needed. Considering the holiday weekend was spent eating far more sweets and cookies than normal, I probably was lacking in protein.
I always say that when I over analyze foods I tend to make worse choices, whereas I tend to make better choices when I don’t think about it. But I don’t think that’s what it is — I don’t think it’s a matter of not thinking about it, I think it’s a matter of listening to my body versus listening to my head. It’s mindful eating in some ways, but that just seems to, I don’t know, leave so much to chance. Like, I understand the concept of mindful eating, but it’s hard to trust your body after a lifetime of weight struggles. Adding science! and research! to the mix makes it easier to wrap my head around.
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve been on and off different diet plans for, like, ten years now. Probably longer. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life counting calories or counting Weight Watchers points so if I can start making changes now that will stay with me, I can hopefully adopt this as a lifelong thing.
I also spent part of my time off catching up on my running magazines and in one I found out about publishing company Rodale U’s online courses. They have these upcoming 21 Day Challenges and I signed up for the 21 Day Challenge to Take Control Of Your Eating.
It seems like I always start the new year with an intention to gain a better relationship with food, but this year I feel prepared going in. Like, it’s not something I’m just going to wake up on January 1st and decide to do — I’m doing research and seeing it as some big personal project, rather than just something I’m going to magically figure out with sheer luck.
Love from the ashes,