With Valentine’s Day finally here, love and relationships are on everyone’s minds. So, for this weeks food for thought it seemed fitting to be all about loving food and our relationship with food. This may not relate to everyone and may seem like a silly concept to some, but for others this is so hard particularly the runners and fitness fanatics amongst us. In fact, studies show that long distance runners are seen to struggle most with their relationship with food – which is why I felt it was so important to cover this subject this week.
It is so easy to become wrapped up in the numbers of food that we take so seriously to get our performance perfected. So much so, that we forget food is there to be enjoyed as a part of life and social interaction! Gazing upon the “perfect runners’ physique”, thinking that being “lighter will make us faster”. When in fact, there is no “runners’ physique”, lighter may not make us “faster” because depriving ourselves of food to make us “lighter” is not going to be giving us the energy to perform better and recover faster.So here are today’s tips, to shift the mindset, to help you LOVE food without neglecting the training this Valentine’s Day:
Find the food you enjoy – make meals you genuinely like. Yes, what will fuel you best for your runs BUT, do you actually like it? If not, what could you add to make you enjoy that food more? Perhaps the pasta is too plain, add some sauce with extra seasonings, veggies, and cheese (for example).
Don’t have strict rules – cutting out certain foods only makes you: 1. Want them more, and 2. When you can eat them, you go all out. Find the balance. Allow yourself 2 biscuits a day if that’s what you want. No, 2 biscuits a day won’t make you run slower. You’ll feel happier for eating them and they won’t be on your mind 24/7. What more, they’re always there so when do you allow yourself to have them you won’t end up eating the whole pack. Instead of focusing on what you “can’t eat”, have no restrictions and focus on a well-balanced plate in each meal.
Ditch the scales. Strict sports performance nutrition will mean you will have to weigh things initially to know energy intake. Take those initial weighs so you know roughly the amounts of macros for training. Scales and focusing on numbers within foods can enhance the unhealthy relationship. If you are finding this, ditch the scales. You know after a bit of time roughly how much each portion contains of macros.
Focus on performance, not numbers. Numbers on a scale will never be able to show how your performance is improving. Gaining weight may in fact make you faster due to it being muscle! Focus on your training improvements rather than the numbers on a scale.
Learn that the world isn’t going to end if the food plans change slightly. Having one change to a meal originally planned isn’t going to make a massive difference to your training. Learning to go with the flow (easier said than done, I know) will massively improve your love of food and relationships with it.I hope that this helps some people improve their relationship with food this during week of love. Remember if anyone is struggling, please reach out to a registered Dietician/Nutritionist who can help you with your personal goals and relationship with food. – Happy Running!