I was chatting with someone on Instagram a while ago who was telling me about a race she recently completed!
She said that she usually went out and ate a bunch of junk food after a race to celebrate completing the race, but this time, she was like, "Why? Why do I do that?"
Eating all the junk food made her feel terrible, so how was that a celebration of what her body just did?
So instead of a buuuuuunch of junk food, she ate an omelette and toast and felt much better.
I totally get it! I remember after my second half marathon, I went to lunch in Lakeview with my aunt, brother, and his girlfriend. I don't remember what I ate. Probably pizza or sandwich and a beer. It was unmemorable because it was just normal eating after a race.
But then I got home and said, "I deserve to eat this. I just completed a half marathon! I deserve this!"
And I ate almost a whole jar of Cookie Butter with a spoon and an entire bag of half popped popcorn kernels, both from Trader Joe's.
I don't remember the restaurant food because it was normal eating, but I remember the Cookie Butter and the popcorn because it was crappy eating.
Physically- I felt crappy. I had a stomachache and sugar hangover on top of the soreness from running a half marathon.
And emotionally- I was mean to myself and like, "WHHHHY do you keep doing this?! What's wrong with you?"
I don't eat a bunch of junk food to celebrate anymore because it never feels all that great. I always end up feeling gross and angry with myself, so why keep doing?
When you do these things, you actually get to feel good!
You get to feel good about your race.
You get to feel good about yourself!
And you get to stop feeling angry with yourself about your food decisions.
Sounds so boring, but hear me out! When a baby is learning to walk, how do you celebrate? You use words.
"Great job lil baby! Look who's walking! Look at her go! You're walking! You're doing it! I am so proud of you!"
You use words to celebrate your baby!
I tell myself I am so proud of myself every fucking day.
I celebrate myself with words every fucking day.
I don't even have to wait for a race to celebrate!
I celebrate myself with words.
I say them. I write them. I breathe them.
When you finish your race, say to yourself, "I am so proud of you."
When you finally get home to shower, look in the mirror, say to yourself, "I am so proud of you."
When you get to your journal, write to yourself, "I am so proud of you."
Completing a race is about the journey. It's a metaphor for life, right?
Humans are meant to grow and transform. Life is about growth. Without growth, you can't live. Over this race, you just grew and transformed yourself! You need to acknowledge it!
If you're familiar with The Hero's Journey, the last part is acknowleding the change that was made. You are returning home as a changed person!
You just spent weeks and weeks training for the race. You were so dedicated and committed to something!
You just spent consecutive hours running the race! You were so focused on something!
Maybe you've struggled with focus in the past.
Maybe you were not an athlete growing up so this is a big win for you.
Maybe you are coming back from an injury and this is your first race again.
Look at an old photo or an old journal entry to see the journey you've made.
Look at how you used to be before the journey and acknowledge the transformation you've made!
Find an old photo or an old journal entry. Think about who you used to be and who you are now. Acknowledge it!
Ok, remember how I said that I went out to lunch with my family, and I ate pizza or a sandwich. The going out to eat with my family did feel like a celebration! And I did get to eat some fun food, but the food was so unmemorable. I felt fine after the food. The being with family was the celebration!
Go to a restaurant and eat however much food helps you feel satisfied. When you feel satisfied, stop eating. Yeah, that's going to take some mindful practice to become a moderate eater. It won't happen overnight. You will need to practice this for weeks and weeks and months and months just like you practiced running for weeks and weeks and months and months to become a runner.
The jar of Cookie Butter. Looking back, I know that I felt like I deserved to eat all of it because my relationship with food was all messed up because that was also during the time period I was trying to do Whole30, and Whole30 said I was never allowed to eat Cookie Butter.
So I said, "I deserve this."
I deserve what? I ran some miles, so I deserve to eat an entire jar of sugar that's going to make me feel like crap?
Do I deserve to feel like crap from food? No, I don't deserve that.
I just said the word deserve to myself so many times, it started to sound weird, and I needed to Google to make sure I knew what deserve meant!
Thinking about deserve as a reward or punishment is interesting.
Is eating an entire jar of Cookie Butter a reward? Or is it a punishment?
It started as reward for my hard work, and it turned into more punishment for my body.
I let go of the "I deserve this" eating when I realized it ended up punishing my body.
I can still eat Cookie Butter, but single serving treats help me body feel good/not gross.
When you notice yourself say you deserve to overconsume food, really think about if it is a reward or a punishment. And decide what your body actually deserves...
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