I started tracking my food again today on MyFitnessPal. If you are on that site, look me up. I have a few friends who track there, and it makes it nice to have a little social media group for that area of my life. I’m really trying to reign in my ‘snack’ food. I eat pretty good – probably better than most – most of the time, but from time to time I get way off track. And, I love to be able to track my exercise on the same app as I track my food. With MyFitnessPal, I can add my exercise, and it subtracts the calories I burned from my daily total. You don’t have to set it up that way, but it gives me an incentive to get my butt moving. Calories in … calories out.
I’ve also gotten myself in a jam the last few weeks with matcha. I’ve written about my love affair with matcha before. It is green tea’s espresso. I do have to say that I’ve finally successfully weaned myself from coffee. I have it VERY occasionally and as a special dessert treat, but I’m not even wanting to drink it in the morning anymore. That is a huge success for this coffee addict. But, I had a little stretch awhile back where I wasn’t sleeping that well, and I started back on the matcha. I don’t measure it, and I keep adding more and more of the stuff in order to get that kick that I love. When I crash from it, I want quick energy for the upswing, and that usually looks like sugar to me. I’ve been successful at keeping the caffeine intake to mainly in the mornings, but the crash has been a bit brutal. Besides, once I’m on the roller coaster, I don’t feel like exercising in the afternoons. Coffee .. sugar … coffee … sugar … Ugh…
I started reading one of my favorite motivational books The Runner’s Diet by Madelyn Hirsch and endorsed by Runner’s World. It’s motivational because it blasts the myth in my mind that if I’m running I can eat whatever I want. The truth is that my runs during the week burn about 300 calories. I do that 3 times a week with my weekend run being about twice as long. So, I burn about 1000-1300 calories in a week with running. Do you know how quickly I can consume 1300 calories? I had a 20 oz. PJs Mocha Granita on Sunday, and that packed in 541 calories. Have a bowl of gelato another day, and I’ve just canceled out all of my runs for the week. It’s better than not running, but it certainly doesn’t give me a clean slate. Anyway, the book keeps me in reality about food and exercise and encourages me to make better food choices for energy to exercise.
So, this morning I had to decide what to do about the matcha that I’ve come to love first thing. I decided that I would have regular green tea and give myself permission to drink it all day instead of having one huge hit of caffeine in the morning. I missed the ‘hit’ this morning, but it passed. I’m on my fourth cup of green tea for the day. I did some research, and I was consuming about 140-160 mg of caffeine each morning in my homemade matcha. It’s comparable to a cup of coffee which usually contains somewhere between 100-150 mg of caffeine. My four cups of green tea spread throughout the day is about 100 mg (25mg per cup). I’m consuming a little less and spreading it out. I haven’t been on the energy roller coaster that I usually ride, so my craving for sweets has been a lot less intense. I brought some healthier snack options to work just in case. And, I am actually looking forward to running tonight. That is really weird. One of the reasons I gave up caffeine in the first place was because I felt drained by the end of the day. I feel great!
In the front of my book, there is a quiz that tests your beliefs and behaviors about eating and exercise. I bought this book years ago. My answers from the previous time were still there. It was very rewarding to take the quiz again. I still have some of the same struggles that I did back then, but I had made progress in changing some behaviors in both categories. It was rewarding to know that I can change in a positive direction just by sticking with the path. I’ll never be perfect. It’ll always be a work in progress, but I am making headway. And, for the first time in my life, my weight has been truly stable for about 3 years without a whole lot of effort in controlling it. That, in itself, is absolutely amazing. I don’t even get on the scale anymore unless I’m writing my weight down somewhere and need a number. The last two times I got on it, I had lost weight and didn’t even know it. I used to be fixated on those numbers.
One of the things I like about this book is that it is very moderate in its approach. Even though it is for runners, it promotes walking as a great exercise activity. Madelyn Hirsch, the author, advises a realistic approach that is based on what you are capable of and willing to do today. You start there and work your way up if and when you want to add more. Us runners look back and want to run like we did 20 years ago and it doesn’t work. I’m still constantly adapting my exercise schedule and nutrition at 53. It changes all the time based on the weather, the amount of free time I have and my emotional state. It’s a constant adjustment based on priorities. I felt good tracking what I ate today. I’m going to try it again tomorrow. If it still feels good tomorrow, I will do it the next day. If at any point I decide to stop, I will. I give myself permission to fail as part of the program. I’m going to fail anyway, why not recognize it up front and be okay with that.
It’s a beautiful day outside, get out and enjoy it. 🙂