Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How the marathon cookie crumbles

It was the week that tipped the scales. Quite literally, I'm sad to say.

For one week, I rode the "I just ran a marathon high," proceeding to put every calorie I could find into my mouth. There was post-race ice cream at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. There was the stop at McDonald's on the road for lunch, where I fashioned a junior Big Mac and enjoyed the salty fries. I had heaping bowls of stir-fry at Flat Top Grill. There was popcorn and Skinny Cow sandwiches after dinner.

And then, on Saturday, there was the group date to Granite City Brewery where the wheels not only fell off - they flew off.

Mark and I split the Idaho Nachos (after a more than filling healthful dinner at the daycare Halloween party) and I ordered a stout float. I wasn't even hungry and yet the waffle fries covered in cheese, then dipped in something creamy, went into my mouth over and over again.

The float had sounded delicious but was unimpressive and yet I still ate the ice cream.

It wasn't a real shocker then when I stepped on the scale yesterday morning and found it read 5 pounds more than a few weeks ago. So much for not gaining weight during marathon training.

As I track my meals on MyFitnessPal and my burn with the Bodymedia Fit, I'm fairly certain that I didn't eat the additional 17,500 calories needed to gain 5 pounds. However, I'm not so certain that my post-Columbus eating spree didn't cause some damage.

And now it's time to control it. A fact I'm not so excited to embrace but neither is being over my "weigh limit." I was all set to wallow but stopped. I know it's beter to be proactive, and nip this situation in the butt.

Pre-track food. When I was losing on Weight Watchers, I would plan out my meals for the day the night before. I had a very sophisticated system of mini Post-It notes in my tracker, each meal on a note, and I could move things around as needed. The Points value of each meal was known, allowing me to appropriately budget snacks or swap meals if a recipe was worth more than anticipated. I've gone back to this for the past two days, and it seemed to help. I'm no longer trying to skimp at meals because I snacked too much in the afternoon.

Hydrate. Drinking water is a continual struggle for me. I am more likely to go for Diet Coke or coffee and now that my office seems to be refrigerated, hot chocolate. While I do think those beverages offer some hydration benefits, they don't come close to water. I need to go back to spiking my water - whether it's with my old friend True Citrus or the Dasani Drops I recently found on my door step - to keep me drinking. I'm also making it a goal to imbibe a tall glass before lunch. I often eat my mid-day meal very early, which leads to over-snacking in the afternoon. I'm hoping proper hydration would help me delay lunch and curb my eating between 1 and 4 p.m.

Bulk up. Back to my Weight Watchers heydays, I was also very good at preparing a pan of enchiladas or pot of taco soup on Sundays so that I had a healthful, Points-controlled lunch. This week, when I was planning our dinner menu and making the grocery list, I also added the ingredients for Pumpkin Turkey Chili. I made it on Sunday night, and I took it to work for lunch Monday and have it in my bag for today.

Tray-d off. One of the things I always scoffed at pre-baby was how moms talked about eating off their  children's plates. It didn't make sense to me - why they would do it and why it would be hard to curtail. Now I know. Now I know that animal crackers are the devil. The tray leg that's left on the tray or the last two bites of egg always seem to make it into my mouth - regardless of whether I'm hungry. My goal is to give pause before I grab that bite. If I choose to eat it, I need to track it.

I know that 5 pounds is just 5 pounds, and the number on the scale is just a number. However, I think it's naive to not give any attention to the scale. It might not be the only indicator of health but it is an indicator, and the number can affect how you feel. And when I see a number I like, I feel out of control - a feeling that I associate with being overweight. It's not a state of mind (or body) I want to relive. Ever, ever again.


  1. They will drop right off. I also thought I wouldn't eat off Ella's plate because gross, slimy baby hands have been on that food. Um...about that.

    I'm having a hard time adjusting to not being in marathon training mode with my eating. Too bad the marathon wasn't after the holidays.

  2. you've done it before and you recognize and are cognizant of what you need to do to get back to where you are. no one can stop you except you! and if you can kill a mary, you can do this!

  3. is it possible that some of it is water weight? in any case, I'm sure you will get right back on track. good luck!

    1. I thought I had timed it right so it wasn't water weight but it's quite possible. A girl can hope, right!

  4. I just found your blog through Skinnyrunner. Congrats on your weight loss and getting fit. Very inspirational!! I myself am just trying to get back in shape and become more of a runner without quiting when I don't think I am making enough progress. I was looking through your pictures in your then and now section.... Is Walt your Father or father in-law!? He was my professor in college. For sure my favorite professor ever!! Such a small world. I'm so glad I found your blog. I will definitely be following it from now on

  5. no doubt it's really easy to overdo post race :) I think after the first marathon you get past that because you want to recover and are more aware that you didn't actually burn 14 burgers and bowls of ice cream...but for the first one well that's just part of the whole journey!!