Next week marks the one-year anniversary of my first run with my Calgary friend as part of our virtual self-improvement project.
The idea, as regular readers may recall, was that we would do the beginning running program together, which is a plan of walking and running alternately for about 20 minutes until you spend more time running and less walking. We report in to each other online. After a few agonizing months I could run 20 minutes straight – and more – several times a week.
Despite all this activity the pounds did not melt away from my frame as I had expected. I’m not sure what made me think running was going to be the answer to my tight-waistband issues, but it turned out, surprisingly enough, not to be the miracle cure. In fact, I suspect I could run 10K per day and still be mired where I am.
At some point many months into our plan my virtual buddy informed me you don’t actually lose weight by running.
So, as a one-year anniversary present we decided to come up with a revolutionary plan to take care of that little problem. Are you ready for it? We’re going to – get this – eat better! I know! t’s crazy!
I announced our plan to Groom-boy, who was smugly sitting in a chair reading a men’s health magazine, possibly contemplating his own waistline. “It says here,” he said, “that the sure recipe for being heavier five years from now is to be on a diet today.”
So I threw a running shoe at him. Actually I didn’t. I just threw him a shoe-like glare.
Thing is, I wouldn’t say virtual buddy and I are on a diet. We’re actually just being smarter about eating. Look at it this way. Decades ago, when skinny girls bragged about the fact they could eat anything they wanted and not gain weight, their mamas were probably feeding them reasonably portioned home-cooked meals that didn’t come out of a package or from a drive-thru. So, sure, they could squeak in a cupcake or a sinful snack now and again with barely a blip on the scale.
Now enormous portions are routine and we are tempted by more ready-made junk than ever before.
You don’t need to go on a fad diet to eat better, though. It’s not rocket science. I’ve known how to eat properly (healthy foods and reasonable portions) forever, I just haven’t been doing it well.
We’re talking about things like when that man shows up at the grocery store to make mini sugar donuts in his little booth and they pump the lovely aroma out to the front of the store so you are drawn in like zombies. Eating well can be the difference between walking past those sinister little donuts and bringing them home. Once they are at home, my willpower is gone.
Recently I had to fast for a routine medical test. That was a reminder about what it actually feels like to be “hungry.” For a couple of days afterwards I found I wasn’t eating as much, and (gasp!) I was okay. I survived.
So my friend and I have pledged to watch our portion sizes and to make sure our meals are more balanced. We want to eat less of the junk we shouldn’t be eating anyway.
We are starting by vigorously targeting our mutual trouble spot – supper and beyond. The bedtime snack is a bane of our existence. For a million years I have eaten a bowl of cereal each night while I mock the anchors on the late news. It turns out that something I thought I “needed” is actually just something I “wanted.”
You know, that’s a meal. And who needs a meal to go to sleep? So I’ve been having a glass of milk instead and you know what? I’m okay! I don’t die of hunger in the night! I don’t feel weak and faint in the morning!
And as I continue to combine this earth-shattering food revolution with running, I eagerly look forward to the return of my waist. I’ll keep you posted.
Published in The Perth Courier, July 8/10.