January 9, 2012

Race prep: eating less sugar

Today's run: 6.01 miles, first mile on track in 7:45 then a yoga class followed by 5.01 on treadmill in 42:29.

October through December were real bust months for diet around here. I fell off the eat-normal-human-amounts-of-sugar bandwagon, and I pretty much happily engaged in dessert consumption every five minutes.

The main problem was these.

Trader Joes, you should be ashamed.

They would last no more than two days. Gross, in an amazingly delicious way.

Before that it was a bunch of this.


You get it. Grossly over sugaring around here. So I decided last week that I was sick of it, and that to prepare for my race, I'm not going to eat any more desserts. Notice that I didn't say sugar. So I'm still eating things like yogurt and cheerios. You know, foods that have some added sugar. The goal is to not sit around and binge on candy after lunch so that I can barely keep my eyes open before dinner. Eating sugar makes me so lethargic.

The hope for the upcoming race is that losing that lethargy will help make me more energetic for my race, which will hopefully make me faster! Insert respectable study here that proves less sugar equals faster racer. Seriously though, I don't need a lab to tell me that loads of candy and desserts make me feel like crap. I will be definitely be interested in seeing what effect this has on my race. It's an in-depth study of one with zero controls, so it should be extremely accurate.

The man and I have tried making one dessert a month our New Year's resolution for five of the last ten years. It always lasts until about April, when we start making exceptions for birthdays. All six of our birthdays fall between April and July, so by then, we are totally off the plan. If I weren't so prone to ordering dessert instead of a meal, this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but being a slightly out of control dessert eater, I find that this small goal with my race day in mind is really helping me to stick with it. We can do anything for three weeks, right? I only had one day, about three days in, when I almost cried over the thought of the Whoppers hanging out in my cabinet.

And here are my top five ways of not diving into the candy bin:

1. Take any remaining candy in the house and give it to your Sunday school class at church. They will love you (though their parents might not), and you will not stand staring at the cabinet for thirty minutes talking yourself out of that Kit-Kat. You can also take it to work and put it on your desk for your co-workers. Everyone loves a sharer.

2. Drink a giant glass of water. This usually helps eliminate my cravings for salt and sugar, plus you get the bonus of hydrating.

3. If the water doesn't do it. Have a cup of tea with a dab of honey. Especially good this time of year when you need to get toasty. I usually hate herbal teas with honey, but I really love African Rooibos with honey. If nothing else, you will be spending too much time in the bathroom to worry about dessert.

4. Find a good distraction, like starting a game with the kids or going for a run. Call a friend you haven't talk to in a while. Knit a sweater. Anything that does not involve the kitchen.

5. Always have healthy snacks on hand. Carrots are my go-to food for when I'm craving something that I shouldn't have. They are crunchy and fresh tasting, and it's so easy to pop some baby carrots in a bowl for snacking. This one is good for kids too.

What diet changes do you make before a race?

Have you ever tried not eating desserts or (gasp) sugar in general? How did it go?