Damn. The past week was incredible.
I have a two-week break from boot camp and Sal and I high-tailed it north for a much-needed min-vacation. Needless to say, I gave myself a break from the rigor of the eating plan I’ve been following for the past six weeks. It felt good to relax and unwind. We ate out a lot. We bought gourmet cheeses, expensive wines, and high-end dark chocolate one night and went out Caligula-style.
Which brings me to an important point I may not have mentioned here before; I am a total foodie.
When I first started taking fitness seriously my main goal was just to be able to eat cheese and not gain weight. Really. My first trainer was like, “Why do you want to do this?” and I said, “Three reasons – D’Affinois, Boucheron, and Cowgirl Creamery.”
Eventually he stopped asking and started training and the rest is history. I have redefined a lot of my motivation since then but the cheese/wine/beer category still exists for me. I want to be fit and healthy so that I can enjoy life and live it well. For me, in some form or another, this arrangement is going to include frolicking adventures in gastronomy.
Now, given my focus on specific and challenging body comp goals, I have largely denied these parts of my passion, opting to forgo them temporarily in the name of a greater good. I have to say, it’s been easier than I thought it would.
Craig Ballantyne over at Turbulence Training sends out a newsletter now and then and today’s focused on controlling your cravings by redefining your self-image. Change how you see yourself in order to change your behavior.
I realize now that, essentially, this is what I did in order to be able to achieve a more balanced approach to living well, feeling great, and eating well. I have never been willing to give up my “foodie” status – Sal and I have spent 8.5 years now tasting the world together and it’s an important part of how I see myself and who I am. What I’ve done over the past 3 or 4 years is slowly shift the emphasis. I’m not obliterating my inner foodie, I’m just gradually shifting from, say, 75% foodie-whore / 25% dedicated athlete to 25% foodie whore / 75% dedicated athlete.
It took me a long time to figure out how to reconcile these two seemingly conflicting parts of my life and I feel like I am finally coming to terms with a balance that is sustainable. Here are some changes that I made in the early days (prior to taking on these more-rigorous nutrition programs!) to help effect the change:
- Limit drinking to the weekends. Sure, you feel like you need a glass of wine at the end of a long day but you don’t. You’ll be fine, trust me. Besides, you’ll enjoy your weekend wine far more.
- Set a limit on the number of times you plan to eat out each month and then stick to it. Put a piece of paper on the fridge with a box to check for each time. Once all the boxes are checked you’re done eating out until the next month starts. Period.
- If you have a particular vice, as I did with cheese, find a way to place a consumption limit on that, too – but also find a way to make it more “special”. In my case I joined a cheese club that delivered astounding and rare cheese directly to my door one time per month. This was the only cheese that we purchased. Because it was such a special experience to receive, learn about, and then eat, I did not feel deprived in the least.
Now… back to our regular scheduled programming. Spinach and chicken and blueberries – oh my!