Happy Thursday everyone! Today I decided to link-up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday for something that has been on my mind after reading blogs, seeing Instagram, etc.
Last year I would say I definitely had fallen victim to the whole “protein” phenomenon that is going on in our media. Protein Bars, Protein Shakes, Protein, Protein, Protein! I had this understanding that if you want to gain muscle you need to eat PROTEIN! So I ate Quest Bars, tried protein powders and made sure to get in ALL the protein.
Before a long run or workout I fueled with a Quest Bar and an apple. But for some reason I always felt hungry, less energized and constantly just thinking about food. I was always concerned that I wasn’t getting enough protein so I would have hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese or what not, just to always make sure I was getting in my protein. I remember during long runs I would get extremely hungry and NEED Gus to get through them.
Pre-workout fuel that I thought was fuel (well maybe the apple, but not all that protein).
Then one day while studying for my NASM test I got to the Nutrition chapter (this was probably around March/April). I had started to get a better understanding of the macronutrients that our bodies need, how much we need, and what the macronutrients do for our bodies.
Source: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/about.html What a great representation of what you need!
While studying I learned that 45-65% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbs (that includes fruits, veggies, and whole grains), 10-35% should come from protein, and 20-35% should come from fats. Now I could get into all of the details of what is recommended, etc. other criteria, but just looking at those percentages I was shocked!! I just assumed with all the protein all over social media and advertising that I needed more when really what I needed more of was carbs!
So I decided to ditch the Quest bars and try out fueling my runs and my workouts with cereal and whole grain breads like toast with peanut butter and jelly. Refueling after a workout with more of a balance of protein and carbs (like the Kashi Almond Flax bars, not loaded with fake protein powder, just natural from almonds, etc.).
7 g of protein, 19 g of carbs and 5 g of fat- a little more balanced than a bar loaded with 20-30g of protein
As I did this I started to notice a HUGE difference in my workouts and even my feelings (if that makes sense). I stopped feeling so hungry all the time and stopped worrying if I was getting enough protein. My body started to utilize the carbohydrates that I was fueling it with for energy, rather than using the protein (something your body really doesn’t like to use as fuel but it does if it has to).
I have my whole life dealt with dieting, disordered eating patterns, etc. and it is something I will have to deal with the rest of my life. Looking back at last year with my thoughts on needing ALL of the protein, it was kind of a disordered way of thinking and I didn’t even realize it. I do not and never will count calories or macros because that is something I cannot do. I just make sure to have some protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner and I am sure that I probably am meeting my daily requirement.
My education becoming a NASM CPT has been so valuable to me both personally (and hopefully soon professionally). We are always a work in progress and we are always constantly changing and learning. Will I ever be completely balanced in my eating, exercising or life for that matter? Probably not. Maybe somedays I eat too many carbs or calories and maybe somedays I don’t. Some days I eat more “real food” some days my food comes from a restaurant or a package. The lack of balance on the day to day creates a balance in your life. One day I have the large ice cream with hot fudge and the next day I have the kale salad. Some days my brain may beat me up for eating something and some days I may not think twice about what I am eating. That imbalance makes me balanced.
So cheers to eating food that I enjoy, fueling and refueling my workouts with food that makes me feel good, ditching the chemical crap, and indulging in ice cream when I want it!
I am a work in progress and I am enjoying every minute of this ride. 🙂
***Please note I am not a Registered Dietician or a Certified Nutritionist. The numbers and information provided were found through research online and in books, I am not a professional. Please consult your physician or a professional about what works for you. I also am not here judging you if you count macros, eat more protein, or even eat protein bars or drink protein shakes. I am sharing what works for ME, this is a no judgement zone whatsoever! 🙂