Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Food as Fuel

Something rattling in my head right now is the idea of viewing food as fuel.  It's something that's inevitably come out of my training for distance runs/races, and I'm contemplating the difference in mindset from dieting/weight loss/calorie burn.  Thinking of food as fuel leads me to consider what purpose different foods serve and how my body actually uses them.  On the other hand, I'm still interested in dropping a bit of weight--a combination of "vanity" and "performance" motives.  Objectively, I'm already slim--my usual clothing sizes are 4/6, depending on the cut.  The "vanity" angle has me thinking my upper thighs still have something to give up.  My butt could be slightly smaller, etc.  The "performance" angle is simply that for each pound lost, I can at least theoretically shave two seconds off of each mile (at least as long as I don't drop into underweight, at which point losing more weight leads to weakness and slowness). Two seconds per mile per pound might not sound like a lot, but losing ten pounds = an almost nine-minute faster marathon time.

Sometimes when I'm creating my pre-run, during-run, and recovery drinks/foods, I have a nagging voice in the back of my mind wondering if I'm blowing through all of the calories I'm burning.  Because I want it all:  improved performance AND slimmer thighs.

Contemplating the fuel vs. calorie perspective, it occurs to me that when I focus on the "fuel" model, that can reinforce making the best, most nutritious choices throughout my day.  The balance I want to strike is, of course, to make nutritious choices that are also delicious and satisfying.  This is not to say I'd want to banish treats such as vegan cupcakes and cookies from my life, but that's not going to be my mainstay (not that it typically is, anyway).  There are times when I'm so focused on the nutrition AND calorie angles that part of my mind rebels and it's like BREAK GLASS! ADMINISTER VEGAN CHOCOLATE!  I think the trick is to satisfy the need for treats in a judicious way so I don't feel the need to rebel.  All of which reminds me that my veganning is always a work in progress.

No comments: