Eating is interesting, you know?
My philosophy has always been, if you're hungry, eat. I paid no attention to what I ate, I just satiated the hunger. I never looked at a label, I ignored serving sizes, and never thought twice about nutrients.
I cringe to admit it, but I very much rested on the idea that I'm a runner, therefore I can eat whatever I want, all the time, forever.
To some extent that's true. Of course it is. We can all eat whatever we want, all the time, forever. If I didn't run, I'd be a mess. Literally and figuratively.
But the problem became how I felt. I felt like shit -- constantly. Literally. Lethargic. Unmotivated. Bloated. I could pull off some impressive mileage and decent running, but I never recovered well or appropriately.
So I'm now more than 20 days into eating well, and I can nearly eliminate all of those problems. All because of what I'm eating. This whole time, all these years, it simply came down to the food I put in my body.
It seems so damn simple, but how did I not understand that?
I've learned an impressive amount of things throughout the process so far. The most unfortunate of which is my body's response to gluten.
After a series of excessive and expensive blood tests, I'm free and clear of celiac disease. But after eliminating gluten from my diet for ten days, I found the reintroduction to be rough. The more I tested it -- and considered it to be a dairy issue -- the more I realized my body wasn't having the gluten.
This... is highly unfortunate. My existence depended on gluten. Pasta is my lifeline. BREAD. Cookies. Chips. Oh god, everything I know about snacking and comfort food is straight out of a goddamn gluten factory.
I used to scoff at gluten intolerance as the latest fad in designer diets. OH, YOU SISSIES. EAT SOME BREAD.
And then I spent Sunday on the toilet with the pains of childbirth emanating from my guts after veering wildly off course and mainlining delicious junk on the Fourth of July. Several other factors played into that -- like, for example, ice cream and deep fried things, OOPS -- but every reintroduction of gluten has left my belly a wreck.
So here I am. Gluten-free?
This is definitely something that's going to take a lot of getting used to. A lot, a lot. A painful amount.
But, gluten aside, the overload of nutrition has left me feeling great. I'm not bloated, I'm not lethargic, my running has felt strong, I feel rested, I feel... clean. Leaner (though, that is unlikely). I haven't weighed myself and I don't know that there has been much in the way of physical changes at this point, but my body feels so much better. Therefore I think I look better, therefore I am better. SCIENCE, YOU GUYS. It's all in our heads. That's where we keep the life secrets.
It feels good to be doing something nice to my body for once, other than shaming it, and hating it, and filling it full of shit. I legitimately wonder if it's too late to even bother, though. Like, I've treated my body poorly for so long, is this even worth it now? But, if it means I can feel good for the remainder of time, even if I'm not adding longevity at this point, that's totally worth it.
I just want to be better, you know? I've discovered a habit about myself. I need something to work toward: a race, a goal, a something. I need to be motivated by something bigger to feel satisfied. It's why I feel so down when big moments are over. That motivation -- the spark, the fire -- is gone.
There are always going to be more races, of that I'm sure. But this change is a lifestyle change I'm going to actually feel. This won't end unless I end it. I'm going to reap the benefits of it, and it spills over into everything else -- my running, my mood, my health.
It feels good to feel good.
I promise I'm not attempting to preach or boast or shame. Everyone needs to live the way that suits them best. But maybe it'll motivate someone to eat an extra vegetable today. Or eat a vegetable, period. I hated vegetables most of my life. I still hate peas. I don't care what you say.
But just know that I feel good. And I want you to feel good. Let's all feel good and eat our vegetables, mmm'kay?
Make yer' mamas proud.