Whether you’re running for fun or racing to win, you need an individualized fueling and hydration plan that matches the demands of your marathon-training schedule. Training runs are opportunities to practice your race day nutrition plan. Begin to lay the foundation and find what works for you with the following strategies:
EAT CONSISTENT MEALS AND SNACKS
While a good plan in anticipation of holiday shopping, saving up for holiday eating is unnecessary and tends to backfire. Eating regularly throughout the day sets you up to savor until satisfied. Consistent meals and snacks enhance variety and balance with eating, stabilize mood and energy levels, and decrease cravings, deprivation, and over- or binge-eating.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION ALL YEAR LONG
Many people assume that if they genuinely gave themselves unconditional permission to eat pleasurable foods, they wouldn’t be healthy or choose nourishing foods; however, research suggests the opposite is true. Deprivation, not permission, typically leads to greater obsessions with or cravings for forbidden foods. Knowing and trusting that the foods you like will always be available to you – not just during the holidays once per year – brings a sense of peace. When no longer restricted, most people gravitate toward foods that help them feel well, and they tend to eat those foods without overfilling themselves.
SEEK SATISFACTION EACH TIME YOU EAT
Imagine the feelings you have after receiving the gift at the top of your wish list. It’s possible to experience similar feelings in your relationship with food! Pleasure and satisfaction with eating is a gift you can give yourself that leads to contentment versus settling and a continued sense of wanting. At your holiday gatherings this year, survey the spread and choose to savor the foods you enjoy most. Notice how your mind shifts away from the food (rather than continuing to seek out inferior substitutions) and back to friends and family.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Neither under- nor over-eating truly feels good. Noticing body-food choice congruence means listening to internal signals like hunger and fullness, taste, and how food feels in your body rather than being driven by external indicators like nutrition facts and figures. We have a lot to learn from our bodies if we approach with curiosity rather than criticism and give ourselves grace over guilt with eating.
Check-in and set your intentions:
- How do I want to feel during and after eating?
- How do I feel when I eat too much or too little?
- Are there certain foods I enjoy but know don’t sustain me or leave me feeling my best?
- What adjustments or additions could I make to my eating to fully enjoy my favorite holiday treats? For example, could you pair some protein with those homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning?Even Santa enjoys a glass of milk with his cookies!
PROMISE YOURSELF A DIET-FREE JANUARY
The threat of future deprivation alone is enough to cue feasting on forbidden foods. Rather than setting a restrictive New Year’s resolution, invite all foods back into your life once and for all. Moving away from the mindset that some foods are naughty while others are nice is essential to making peace with food. Reach out to Memphis Nutrition Group to build confidence, clarity, and a balanced approach to food in 2022.
Blair Mize, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CEDRD-S is co-owner of Memphis Nutrition Group, a nutrition and lifestyle counseling practice offering in-person and virtual nutrition therapy specializing in a non-diet, weight-neutral approach. The Registered Dietitians at Memphis Nutrition Group help individuals reconnect with their bodies, find confidence and clarity in their everyday choices, and create a peaceful, balanced approach to food that tastes good and feels even better. Contact Memphis Nutrition Group at 901.343.6146 or visit MemphisNutritionGroup.com for more information.