Sunday, March 9, 2014

My name is Maia and I'm addicted to carbs and sugar

Hi there friends!  Long time no see!

I said that I would come back and write another blog entry eventually and here I am!

The first couple of months of 2014 have been interesting ones.  As everyone is well aware, it's been a brutal winter, and I don't just mean with the weather.

My January and February started off with six weeks of an insane tour schedule.  My tour was playing at least three cities a week, and usually four or five.  I was on a bus almost everyday, and when you are on the road, what's to eat?  If you said, CRAP, you'd be correct.  I was not eating great, and only exercising when I could squeeze it in.  Needless to say, I did not feel great towards the end of February.

But we finally hit a couple of longer sit down engagements (a week in Omaha and two weeks in Denver, I felt like I was on vacation!) where I could restart things a bit.  It just so happened that our week in Omaha coincided with my boss needing to go on a restricted carb diet ten days prior to some medicals tests he needed to have done.  As a show of support, and also to kind of force myself into "reset mode" I decided to follow the diet along with him.  Basically, it was Atkins.  He had to try and stay between 40-50 net carbs per day.  If you google how to calculate net carbs you will get a slew of different answers and honestly it made our heads spin, so the easiest formula we could find was this:  Take the total number of carbohydrates per serving and subtract the dietary fiber and half of the sugar.  That will roughly give you the net carbs.  I know it's supposed to be the sugar alcohols, but the only foods that list sugar alcohols are official Atkins food and we refused to only eat that for ten days.

Let me tell you, it's not easy!  I LOVE oatmeal in the mornings.  That pretty much went by the wayside!  Cutting out the bread and pasta wasn't really that difficult, but there were definitely times I had a hankering for even a lean cuisine pizza.

The diet did earn some impressive results (ten pounds in ten days...) and I learned a lot about myself.  One, I feel so much better when I'm eating better.  Two, I cannot live on a low carb lifestyle completely.  Three, I snacked way too much before.  Four, I have an unhealthy attitude towards carb and sugar.

As I continue in my half marathon training, I know that I need carbs to fuel my body properly, especially as I am now getting into weekly record distances for me.  Last week I ran my longest ever at 6.5 miles and this week I need to top it at 7.5 miles.  My body will need the energy that complex carbs can provide, and since my training is my number one priority, this is a no brainer.

However, this is the decision I have made that I want to try and stick to as best I can.  I am giving up refined sugar.  Up until this point in my journey, I still ate what I wanted, I just ate it in moderation and counted calories.  Well, I think it's time that I acknowledge that sugar is not good for me and that I don't actually need it in my life.  I'm not saying I'll never eat sugar again, because that's unrealistic, but I'm saying it's going to be a rare occasion, like a slice of pie on my birthday or something.

The other thing I'm doing is that I'm going to be restrictive on my carbs on my non-running days (going back to the 40-50 net carb idea) but on my running days, I will not track my carb intake.  I'm not going to go overboard and eat like an entire loaf of bread or anything, but I will eat oatmeal with my egg whites in the morning, or I will have a sandwich on whole grain bread or something like that.

I know that this will not be easy.  As I sit here and type thing my stomach is telling my mind that it wants to eat everything in the entire world.  I'm craving crackers and peanut butter.  I'm trying to convince myself that I don't actually need to make a trip down to the hotel gift shop and buy Cheez-Its.  I just need to adjust to this new way of thinking.  I want to make it a lifestyle change, just like I did when I started this whole thing in the first place.  I need to reteach myself new habits.

I can do it.  I know that I can.  I've proven to myself time and time again that I'm able to accomplish so much more then I ever thought I would.

The real challenge will be over the next four weeks when we get back into the split weeks and one-nighters again.  My boss (who has also decided to continue with limiting his carb intake) and I have made a pact that we are going to try and stock up on a low-carb non-perishable food items when we arrive in Iowa on Monday.  We need to prepare ourself for "battle" better then we did in January and February.

This is one battle for which we WILL be the victors!!