Happy belated Thanksgiving and early Happy Holidays! It is such a great time of year. Not only are we all looking forward to a much-needed winter break, but also this is the best time of year for food. Food glorious food. I really love food, like I really love it. I take pride in the amount of food I can inhale in these wonderful weeks of holiday feasts. However, there’s always that little angel on my shoulder reminding me to calm down and not get that third plate of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Why you may ask? Because, racing. The holidays is not only a great time to take a breath and relax from school, but they are also a strong reminder that track season is right around the corner. While I would love to just sit back and see how many pieces of pie I can eat in one sitting, I have to remember that in just a few weeks I must be able to make it around an indoor track at a respectable pace.
Being a runner is difficult. Our diet plays a very large part in our performance. I would argue it affects us more than any other sport. Unfortunately, this pressure can often lead to drastic measures to lose or maintain a certain weight, particularly with female runners. In my 12 years of competing, I sadly have seen many girls do some very scary things because they believe it will help them on the track.
While I have never done anything too crazy myself, I have gone through times where my weight has taken a toll on my mental state. I’ve gone through periods of counting calories like a mad woman trying to figure out how to get to that perfect peak season size. I have gone through weeks of eating sad, bland, “clean” food only to blow it on a weekend full of sugary debauchery. Then it hit me. Am I actually happy doing this? Zero percent.
It was one of those Sundays where I was reeling in a dark hole of chocolate and regret that I realized it was not my weight that was making me unhappy, but my fixation on it that was making me unhappy. I don’t believe there was ever a time I though I was ever overweight, but I still thought that I should be trying to lose weight. I’m not even sure if that makes sense, which also adds to my point. I was never more stressed out than I was when I was constantly thinking of what to eat and how many calories it contained.
I thought back to high school Sydnee, where I weighed myself a grand total of maybe three times throughout those four years. I thought back to FSU Sydnee where I thought it was weird that my roommate owned a scale. I seldom thought about not being able to eat certain things. I would eat anything without a second thought. I thought about how I had absolutely no clue the weight I was when I dropped my 53 in high school or even my 2:04 sophomore year.
During those times I never cared about the number on a scale, I only cared about how I felt. Back then I could look at my body and know when I felt fit and in shape regardless of weight. Honestly, what does a number on a scale even matter?
Everybody is different. Chanelle Price is a big ball of muscle. Ajee Wilson is a tiny lean machine. Both of them run sub 2 minutes.
So my advice? Go eat those that piece of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream and a smile. Indulge occasionally. Now I wouldn’t go eating every last crump in the pan, but it’s seriously okay to treat yourself and feel good about doing it.
I love to say, “When you feel good, you run good.” I never felt good tallying every calorie I consumed and I’m sure that was reflected in my running. Enjoy your holiday dinners. Eat those carbs! Being healthy is so much more than the amount you weigh. So be full and be happy.