My relationship with Running & Food {Exercise Addiction?}

As I ease my way back into exercise.. I am very interested in sustainability and happiness for my future as a runner and a happy person. 

plant positive running exercise addiction blog post

This morning I woke up, it was pouring down rain and I was actually really glad that I was not running right now because cold rain is the only condition I do not LOVE running in. As I wished Gwen a happy run on his way out the door this morning I figured it was a perfect day for a spin on my indoor bike! Warm, dry, happy and why not use the time to learn something by listening to a good podcast.

My usual go-to podcast is Thought For Food Lifestyle (TFF) by Aaron and Jackson! Followed by the Rich Roll podcast.

Both of which are plant-based and focus on the lifestyle while staying healthy and happy. With lots on running, nutrition, other sports, mind-set, etc. 

However I do enjoy the TFF podcasts way more because we just love these guys, they are funny and I find it more fun to listen to, and I learn a shit ton of things every time I tune in.

Back to my morning..

As I got onto the bike I played Episode 91 of the TFF Podcast with Dr. Kristin Keim : on Exercise Addiction, Eating Disorders in Athletes.

 Click the image to go to the TFF website and listen to it!

Click the image to go to the TFF website and listen to it!

And this podcast got me thinking about my relationship with running and food..

Also about my recent dip in mood due to not running after my 100 miler. How am I processing all this? What did it mean to have such a low point mentally,... or does it not mean anything at all? 

One thing that they brought up right away in the podcast was the idea of exercise “addiction” and what that really means, how it can differ between people and how it compares to other addictions. 

Ok so I like to run every day (with a day off from running per week usually) because I love being outside, I love running and it makes me feel good. Is that an addiction?

Some people have told me that it is, and that I am “addicted” to running.. 

Well what about most people we tend to meet who are ADDICTED TO WORK and MONEY. I think this needs to be talked about! So many people these days are addicted so heavily to their daily grind at work, to climbing that corporate later, to increasing their income yearly… that they completely fail to actually have fun and LIVE their life!!!

Their life is work.. there is nothing else, they eat breath and sleep work stuff.. and I don’t think most people actually like it.

Here I am on the completely opposite side of the field, and when I meet a workaholic I am thinking to myself “man their life must suck, I cannot believe all they do is work, they must be so unhealthy and unhappy, I bet they never take any free time to enjoy the outdoors, etc.”

They are probably thinking “wow this girl is nuts, all she does is run, hang out with her dogs, garden and make plant-based food… how does she even pay her bills?”

And this is where our worldview comes into play. 

Who is to say who is right?

I think happiness determines all in these situations.

The truth is I am not addicted to running, to exercise to working out..

Even though I did go through this really rough 3 week patch when I could not exercise, that was just physiology at play, endorphins, nutrition, and my body and mind being thrown off in such radical changes in my daily actions. Going from running and being active all day every day to sitting on the couch is a big change, and it takes time for the brain to adapt.

One thing that has really helped me get past that sad phase, when I was missing the endorphin rush so badly.. missing being out there running.. was to just be ok with resting.. knowing that this is what I need (even 3 weeks out) and that it allows me to focus my energy on other things that are important to me right now.

DISORDERED EATING ?

I know it is really common for runners and athletes to get used to eating a certain amount during training and once training stops they often go about intentionally cutting back their potion sizes… and this is where I think the line gets really thin between exercise addiction and eating disorders, or disordered eating as they spoke about it in the podcast.

I understand that for most, (who eat dairy products which are heavy in saturated fat and calories, and maybe processed foods) it is easy to gain weight quickly when they stop running. Which leads to them downsizing their potions and even not eating when they feel hungry because they didn't run today, they don't deserve to eat that. 

I think this sucks- i know because I was once there…

I am really happy to say that I am no longer in this place, where there is a constant hungry rumble in my belly and a thought in the back of my mind saying “you don’t need to eat until later, until the next meal, it can wait, it must wait because I didn’t run today.”

I am now at a different place ONLY because I understand nutrition on a deeper level than I did then. I remember thinking that butter was so good on my toast with cinnamon and that there is nothing wrong with butter, it is a completely natural food… Not to say that this is a wrong thing to think, but it is very incorrect nutritionally, especially if I am the type who is limiting portions because of fear of weight gain.

Now I know that the butter itself is an extremely calorie packed item that crams in so much saturated fat and cholesterol that it easily can destroy my thought to be “healthy vegetarian diet”.

I now know that if I just eliminate the heavy foods, the dairy-cheeses-butter- which is loaded in saturated fat and calories..that my body actually functions in a COMPLETELY different way!

I now know that when I remove the animal-fat from my diet, my body can process the carbohydrates in the way by body was designed to do so, I can burn them all as energy.. only storing excess fat consumed as body fat.. (great videos on how this all works by NutritionFacts.org)

I now know that if I eliminate animal-fats all together I can eat an abundance of delicious foods, WAY MORE THAN I USED too, and only get slimmer!!!

I now know the power of a plant-based diet.. and how it has shaped my relationship with food.. which i LOVE by the way.

I give credit to my studies in holistic sports nutrition, and I am constantly learning more and more on nutrition from my #1 resource, NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG - daily videos and search option on their website.

To sum it up, I eat the same way every day.

I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. 

I eat mostly whole-plants, vegetables, whole-grains, beans, lentils, fruit, nuts and seeds and the occasional vegan treat. 

I have an extremely abundant diet and I eat so many yummy things, I love food and food loves my body.

I don’t think that if I am hungry I should not eat, this is crazy. When you are eating the right stuff, the stuff our bodies thrive on, you can eat as much as your body naturally wants without gaining weight!

So if you think this is crazy, it is probably because you have not experienced this yourself and I urge you to try.

Here is a video I uploaded today to bring the positive vibes back!

Love you guys,

Katie


Thought For Food LIFESTYLE

If you guys have not yet found out about these two guys they are freaking awesome! Aaron is a Nurse, Dad and Ultra-runner and Jackson is a Nutrition Student and Cyclist. They live separate lives in different places yet they somehow manage to pull off an amazing podcast together.. in their "spare time"!

 


More from NutritionFacts.org

Learn about how we eat with our COOKBOOK AND NUTRITION GUIDE!