Strong Together Spring 2015—Week 5 - MetroFamily Magazine
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Strong Together Spring 2015—Week 5

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We are so proud of the progress our Strong Together participants are making! We encourage all our participants to join in on the group runs and make some new friends. We're proud to offer local moms opportunities to get fit together without having to face any intimidation or pay for a gym membership. Take advantage of the opportunities for fellowship and fitness provided every Saturday. 

This week we asked our bloggers to share how their eating habits have changed since they began Strong Together. You might be surprised at their answers!

From Georgeanna: When I first began to lose weight and get in shape, I made huge changes to the way I ate. Now that I workout or run nearly every day, I look at food in a whole new light. My relationship with food went from "what do I feel like eating?" to "what do I need to eat?" and I now look at food as the fuel for my body, rather than something to comfort me or make me feel good.  

It's not always easy. There are certainly days where a donut for breakfast sounds amazing, but how is that donut going to make me feel at 10 a.m. when I am working out? I now have a better understanding of my body and what it needs to keep it running. I worked too hard to lose the weight to blow it now. I see a quote posted quite often on social media that says "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." I hate that quote. I couldn't disagree more. A better quote would be "No food can give you the satisfaction that being strong and healthy does." Because, let's be honest, food tastes good! But the goal for fueling our bodies should be to allow us to feel strong, to feel ready to run, to be healthy, to love ourselves and how great it feels to be in great shape. Being skinny isn't the ultimate goal.  

The way I eat to fuel my body is what most people would assume when you think of "dieting" or eating healthy. But I never considered myself to be on a diet. I knew I needed to completely overhaul my relationship with food. I eat lots of lean protein like chicken breast and fish, lots of green veggies and a small portion of healthy carbs like brown rice, quinoa, oats, corn tortillas. I also eat healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil and eggs each day. Having a balanced diet allows me to stay strong, stay lean and fuel myself for the workouts that I do.

I talk to a lot of women who tell me running or working out is not the hard part. That the hardest part of staying fit is staying on track with their food. I feel the same way. I love to run. I love to work out, but it takes much more discipline for me to walk away from tempting food. It takes a lot more effort to plan meals and cook, than to eat out. But, it's worth the effort. 

I recently saw a post that said "Eating crappy food isn't a reward, it's punishment." It was a huge "a-ha" moment for me. We tend to reward ourselves with yummy food, when really we are punishing ourselves with food that is terrible for our bodies. Our bodies deserve better from us.

Take some time this week to plan your meals. Think about the moments when you tend to struggle, and have a plan for coming out of those moments without having blown it. Reward your body with healthy food and it will reward you with feeling great, feeling strong, and feeling good about yourself. 

From Courtney: When I read the list of questions I would answer each week, I immediately locked in on Week 5. The seemingly harmless question merited instant procrastination. Not because I didn’t think I’d change any of my eating habits while training. But rather, because what I choose to consume is a deeply personal reflection of what’s going on in my life. 

If I’m on top of everything, my hydration is consistent and my meals are planned. My plate is fresh, lean and colorful. However, when I’m riding on the backseat of the struggle bus, I carelessly skip the most important meal of the day and it’s downhill from there.

Perhaps the biggest change I have made since joining Strong Together is challenging myself to fall back in love with the simple, natural flavors I regularly offer Parker. She is such a good eater that she enjoys “ants on a log,” granola bars, nuts, sliced fruit and cheese sticks. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, a Snickers bar or a tasty adult beverage. None of which assists me in crossing the finish line.

But then, I remember the moments I often had last year when I nursed Parker as a newborn. Although I felt extremely close to her during those magical moments, there were a few times when I longed for the day when we could partake of the same foods together. I could introduce her to new flavors and textures. Then, one Sunday last month, it happened. Parker began excitedly feeding me dried cranberries while sitting in my lap during church. She dropped them patiently one by one into my mouth and then giggled, overjoyed by her newest accomplishment. Who needs all that junk food anyway? My life never tasted so sweet.

From Mae: I think one of the biggest challenges of running for me is not overeating. Part of overeating is feeling like, well, I went running today so I deserve a treat. The other part is just being more hungry after exercising and making sure I am eating the right types of food to satisfy my hunger. This is even more of an issue now that I am running with my kids. If I don't have something nutritious after my runs I am not satisfied for the rest of the night, no matter how much I eat. 

To overcome the "deserving a treat" feeling I have started buying healthier snacks that are like a treat to me. My favorites are Larabars. They come in a variety of flavors and are so good. I just stock up when they go on sale and it gives me something to look forward to at the end of the run. Plus, I get to share them with my kids and help them learn to enjoy healthier snacks. This also helps with my second problem of just being more hungry.  

The first couple weeks of running I wouldn't eat a snack right after my runs. Even after I ate dinner, I never felt satisfied. I would end up snacking into the evening and I felt like I was negating the good my exercise was doing. I started eating healthier, whole food snacks right after my runs and I stopping having the feeling that I needed to snack all night long. The trick is finding snacks you enjoy and that are healthy. I mentioned Larabars but there are plenty of other options. Other snacks that work for me are a homemade maple granola, nuts and string cheese. We are very lucky to have so many options. Find what works for you. 

Hope you are enjoying your training. It is my favorite time of year to be outdoors even if it is a little rainy. My kids and I have been having a lot of fun together. They spent a good thirty minutes picking flowers after one my runs this past week. 

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