Workout so you can eat — Or eat so you can workout?

A few days ago, the family suggested we eat Cafe Rio for dinner (I LOVE Mexican food). I did the math and was able to fit it into my numbers that day, so I agreed to go, on the condition that I run the 3 miles from our house to the restaurant and meet the family there. (Hey, nothing like earning your dinner!!) — I had a fantastic run and felt like I was full of energy the whole way there. Any time something feels different, I like to reflect on possible reasons why. In this case, I quickly concluded that my exceptionally good performance on my run was the result of having eaten VERY healthy the last day or two.

I had a huge burrito for dinner that night. The ingredients were fresh, but it was definitely a lot less healthy than I was used to eating.

The next morning I went for another run. This time it felt COMPLETELY different. I was slow.. sluggish.. I never got my rhythm, and I just about crawled over the finish line for what should have been a pretty textbook workout. It as my worst average pace in months. I couldn’t believe it!!

My mind kept dwelling on that stupid burrito I ate the night before. Yes, it fit in my numbers, but there’s no question it ruined what would have otherwise been a great workout. The lack of healthy fuel in my system severely impacted my ability to do the things I wanted to do. I FELT LIKE CRAP!  In fact, I swore I was never going to eat Mexican food again because it screwed up my running!

Then the thought hit me.

When I first started running, I did it because I had this fat-guy vision that if I ran all the time, I could eat anything I wanted!! (While it’s true that if you work out, you get to eat a lot more food, it obviously doesn’t quite work this way).  I started running because I wanted to be able to eat all the foodz!!!!

But here I was, “eating all the foodz”, and it was destroying my ability to run!! To the point, in fact, where I was swearing off the foodz!!!

My entire mindset had shifted!!!!!! I was no longer working out so I could eat — I was agreeing go eat so that I could work out.  I realized… are you ready for this… ?

RUNNING MADE ME FEEL BETTER THAN EATING UNHEALTHY FOODS!

When that thought clicked, it was like my entire focus and vision changed. I wasn’t working out so I could eat the things I loved — I was eating healthy food so I could do what made me FEEL good…

Working out made me happier than eating junk food.

I was, and still am, somewhat stunned by this revelation. And yet — here I am. Food isn’t my enemy, or even the goal — food is fuel!  Yes, it was a lot of work and pain to get to this point. (I’ll talk more about that in a future post). But looking back, it was easier than I thought it would be — and it was well worth it!