There was a time not so long ago when I pretended not to have any responsibility for what I ate. Unfortunately, I'm not talking about when I was pregnant (in that case, I maintain that a force greater than I insisted on my eating ham sandwiches, ice cream, and gummy worms). I'm talking about those months post-baby, in which I'd go to Starbucks three or four times a week, order a latte and a scone, and tell myself, "Well, that's not such a healthy choice, tee hee, but how bad can it be?"
The dual combination of Weight Watchers and gettng serious about my running forced me to acknowledge exactly how bad it could be. And, in the case of those scones, it was very bad indeed. If you're using their Points system (which I loved and highly recommend), you are allotted a certain number of Points a day, which are based on calorie, fat, and fiber counts in your food. And one of those scones represented over 90% of the points I was given for an entire day. They're good, but they're not that good.
My primary rule for what I do and don't eat is very simple:
It has to be worth it.
On one side of things, that rule points me to food that will make me strong and healthy for running. It draws me to our good friend the carbohydrate and causes me to snack on things like almonds and fresh fruit. It makes me choose lean sources of protein and encourages me to look at the labels on the food I buy to make sure that my bagels have a decent amount of fiber in them.
That rule also keeps me from suffering in the name of eating healthy. Fat free cream cheese can go to hell - that stuff sucks, and I'm not going to eat it. I'm not going to eat a salad made with iceberg lettuce because it's bland and flavorless. I am not going to eat rice cakes, which I don't like, when what I really want is chips. Because you know what? I would eat the rice cakes, but it sure would not make me stop thinking about the chips, so I'd wind up eating them anyway. Wouldn't it have been better to just buy a small bag of chips, feed the beast, and be done with it?
I scoff at the diet advice that tells you that if you want chocolate to just eat a "fun size candy bar." As far as I'm concerned, those little candy bars are just big enough to make you mad. If I eat those, what, three bites of Snickers, it does not really satisfy me. Instead, it makes me want three MORE bites. I'm better off not having any at all.
And when I do indulge in something less healthy, babies, I am going to do it right. If I want a chocolate chip cookie, I'm not going to eat a cardboard-flavored Chips Ahoy cookie; I'm going to bake one of my famous Job Interview Cookies. That's right - these cookies are so good that they once got me a job. It's worth the effort and it's definitely worth the calories.
If food is fuel that keeps me running, I'm using high-octane all the way.