Well, several of you mentioned nutrition when I asked if there was anything I should post about. I am certainly not a doctor or a dietician, and I, by no means, consider myself to be a super healthy eater. In fact, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth... especially for cookies. And I have an uncontrollable Diet Coke addiction that I know I would be better off without. I love cheese - melted, sliced, shredded, whatever. Twizzlers and peanut M&Ms mysteriously appear before me from time-to-time. But I did make some big changes in my diet when I started running.
I used to be the casserole queen. And when I say queen, I mean that I would cook double or triple recipes of several casseroles and separate them into enough to serve the family twice and freeze them. You know what the majority of casseroles entail, right? Cream, cheese, oil, butter, etc. I mean there has to be something to goo it all together. My favorites were King Ranch Chicken, Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Husband's Delight (which has a center layer of cream cheese and sour cream). Mmmmmmm, good. You know what? I honestly can't remember the last time I made a casserole, and I rarely miss them (but apparently the kids do since Lily requested King Ranch Chicken for her birthday).
These days my meals look more like this:
Yes, I'm generally somewhat boring with what I fix. I find the less the preparation, the less likely I am to add fatty sauces or ingredients. (BTW, I cook most things in just a smidge of grapeseed oil - I love love love the flavored grapeseed oils from WildTree.) And I have really increased the amount of vegetables I eat. For instance, 2 years ago, I would've had a sandwich on wheat bread with light mayo and turkey and cheese. Today, I had this sandwich:
A flatbread with a couple slices of roasted turkey, swiss cheese (sorry folks, I will not give up cheese), dijon mustard, spinach, tomatoes, carrots (yes, I like carrots on my sandwich), and red bell pepper. I tend to put vegetables into just about anything I can sneak them into (which I never would have done in the past). If I make a spaghetti sauce, I'm usually chopping whatever veggies I can find to throw in - zucchini, carrots, spinach, or whatever. Even something indulgent like grilled cheese, I like to add spinach and tomatoes to it. Same with eggs - spinach, bell pepper, whatever I have hiding in the fridge. (Yes, mom, I know, I put spinach in everything.) And for the record, yes, my kids eat it. In fact their lunches usually have raw carrots and bell pepper. Sometimes I put raw broccoli in there too.
I thought I'd share a photo of my casserole days and my current days, but apparently I was never in front of the camera (I'm usually the one taking the photos). My weight loss was around 30 lbs. For my height of 5'11", it wasn't a huge difference, but still noticeable. When I lost weight, I was focused on that. I wasn't running nearly as much, and I was keeping tabs on my intake. Now with the amount of running I do, the focus has changed to the training, and I'm less focused on food, although one day at a time, I try to make small decisions that are good. Enough small decisions in favor of healthy options and it will start to add up.
As for things like carb-loading, I do try to up my carbs about 2 days prior to a race or really long run. And I do have a standing tradition (which will be interrupted this Friday, though) of eating at our favorite little Italian Restaurant, Cosa Nostra, the night before a race. Although I do try to stay away from the cream sauces, and I try to moderate the quantity so that my stomach isn't too heavy.
During a race or long run, I typically eat something every 4-5 miles. Usually GU or Sports Beans, although I'm looking to change this up a little because I still feel ridiculously hungry on long runs.
Post-race, I seem to crave fajitas. Mmmmmmmm... They seem to hit the spot every. single. time.
I won't talk about snacks, because it's my weakness. I must work on this.