I have been hinting lately that my relationship with food and fueling my training hasn’t been so great. Hidden away in my drafts folder is a very negative blog post that just sort of throws up all of those feelings in a nice, stress-relieving, ranty sort of way. While I believe in being real and honest here on the blog, I don’t think anyone other than myself really needs to read what I wrote there. In the interest of being honest though, here’s what’s up, in a much less negative tone:
In short, I’m struggling with body image. As I’ve said many times before, my weight is not where it was three short years ago, and it’s not where I want it to be. Since the start of the 2015 holiday season, I’ve gained a bit more, and my clothes are starting to show it. I’m feeling way, way down on myself. As many first-time marathoners do, I had rosy visions that as I increased my mileage, the 15 or so pounds I’ve put on would magically melt away, and I would feel fit, strong, and healthy.
The reality that I, and many others training for their first marathon, must face, is that most people gain weight while in training, rather than losing it. Since I started officially training 7 weeks ago, I have fluctuated a bit, maybe gaining a pound or so, which, the grand scheme of things, isn’t THAT bad. The problem is, I’m hungry. All. The. Time. And I have this overwhelming anxiety that if I eat more, I will gain weight. So even though most days at around 3 pm I’m struck by insatiable hunger, I either a) don’t eat anything, or b) eat all the wrong things because I’m not prepared and don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I’m well aware that my main issue is probably quality over quantity. I don’t think the amount of food I’m eating is necessarily too high (although who knows, it might be), but I know that the quality of the food that I’m eating sucks. Because Ben and I are so busy, convenience is paramount. 9 times out of 10, boiling some pasta and eating it with butter and salt is easier, more convenient, and often cheaper, than a healthier alternative. My ingrained eating habits of 30 years are also abysmal, so I’m more likely to crave carb-heavy and nutrient-poor foods than things like salads, and more likely to choose comfort over nutrition.
For a few weeks I’ve been sort of in denial about this. I knew I was having issues, but was determined to just “get over it” or try to muddle through on my own. I have been feeling really down on myself and my apparent lack of motivation/dedication/will power to just figure it out. I’ve had so much anxiety and frustration and it’s stupid and annoying to feel this way. It’s weird to feel such negativity about a body that’s doing everything I could ask of it. I mean, February was an amazing running month. How can I be angry with/dislike a body that carried me through 87 miles? I don’t know. But I am.
Yesterday, I finally decided that I need an objective opinion. I’ve tried so many times to figure this stuff out on my own, with very limited success. So, I bit the bullet. I emailed Coach Suz and told her I needed help. I’ll be keeping a food journal over the next week or so to get some hard, honest data about what I’m actually eating versus what I think I’m eating, then we’ll have a Skype date so that we can talk about it.
I’m hopeful that Susie can help me out. While it’s all well and good to want to lose weight, my ultimate goal in training for the marathon is to RUN THE FUCKING MARATHON. I need to eat enough to fuel my body. I hope that making some changes will help ease some of this anxiety and allow me to fuel my training without gaining any additional weight, and then once marathon training is done, I can begin to address the weight loss issue.