I Think I Need to Eat More

Warning: this is probably going to be very rambly and all over the place. I’m sure I could spend some time editing it and trying to make it more coherent, but I think I’d end up censoring myself or changing the message of my thoughts, so I’m just going to go with it. Messy and uncensored and all.

Last week I read a number of articles about food. Specifically, how the heck much food do we need to eat. (You probably saw them in my link love post).

The resounding message was that the majority of us are under eating.

I thought about it.

Then I thought about it some more.

I reasoned that I am likely under eating.

Because of that I need to eat more. (duh!)

Now, here’s where it gets tricky for me…..A year ago I weighed nearly 10 pounds less than I do now. I saw a number on the scale I hadn’t seen in years. To be completely, brutally honest, I liked it. I liked seeing that number. Heck, I probably even valued that number.

But – here’s the kicker I wasn’t healthy.

I did not lose the weight in a healthy way. I lost the weight through stress. And not eating. And drinking lots of wine. And not sleeping.

I may weigh 10 pounds more, but I’m also probably in the best shape I’ve even been in. I just finished a week where I ran nearly 86km. In ONE FREAKING WEEK. I remember getting into running and being amazed at running 100km in a MONTH, let alone a week.

The logical part of my brain knows I’m healthier now that I was a year ago. That part of my brain also knows I need to eat more. It even knows that if I were to eat more I’d probably lose weight because I’d be feeling my body properly.

The hard part is actually getting there.

See, back in the day of disordered eating I made up these food “rules” for myself and they’ve become so ingrained in my life that I still abide by them, mostly:

  • don’t drink juice, juice has calories and is therefore bad
  • don’t eat pasta
  • dinner should consist only of protein and veggies
  • don’t eat after 10pm
  • don’t drink your calories
  • always order the salad instead of the fries
  • don’t snack after lunch – hold out until dinner
  • 1200 is the magic number <– ugh. Barf.
  • treats should be “earned” through exercise
  • it’s okay to eat a lot after a long run, but only one meal

I’m sure there are more than just this, but these are the ones that come to mind, and I have a really hard time getting them out of my head.

Do I think I still suffer from disordered eating? No. I don’t. I can and have and will do things that are “against” my “rules” and I don’t feel guilty about it, I don’t feel like I have to exercise it off and I don’t beat myself up. But regardless, those feelings are still there.

Sometimes I think about going to get a body fat and metabolic analysis done. I think if science told me I need to eat 2400 calories a day to maintain my level of exercise, I’d have an easier time doing it. But when I go to a site (like this one) and enter in my height and weight to determine my RMR, I’m…..hesitant. I’m hesitant to believe that what it’s telling me is accurate.

RMR-Cowgirl-Runs

Yup. I put my weight on the blog. I figured I could dance around it, but I’ve decided to OWN IT! 😀

From reading Giselle’s post on RMR, there’s still some math to be done…See that 1513 number is only 70% of my metabolic function, I still need to add 30% to it to account for doing something other than just laying in bed (no matter how sloth-like I can be at times) plus what I burn when running. Let me tell you, what I burn when running can be a lot.

Pre-exercise I should be consuming ~1960 calories.

Umm, what?! That’s a heck of a lot of calories, yo. Definitely far more than I eat, even with the booze I sometimes consume.

So.

Yeah.

I think I need to eat more.

And…I’m working on it.

Tell me: Do you think you’re eating enough? How does your intake compare to the RMR calculator?

Thinking-Out-Loud

Since it’s Thursday and I’m rambling on and on, I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud. ❤

50 thoughts on “I Think I Need to Eat More

  1. thanks for sharing this! Eating the right amount of food has been a longtime struggle for me…I think my biggest problem is thinking “its okay to eat less on days I don’t run”. I like the calculator you used – based on what it told me, I’m about 600 calories short before adding in extra for exercise. oops.

    I think it’s most important to listen to our bodies, eat when we’re hungry and eat foods that nourish us.

    • I definitely struggle with eating on rest days. Sometimes I feel like I “can’t” eat because I didn’t run and that’s just such a terrible mindset to have.

  2. I love this and well done for posting your weight – to me that’s a HUGE achievement!! I don’t count my calories anymore so couldn’t give a number for what I eat… but I agree, it’s a tricky one to work out what we’re meant to be doing, our bodies are complicated things!

    • I stopped counting calories about a year and a half ago and it’s been so, so freeing! I keep a roundabout tally, mainly because after counting calories for YEARS it’s kind of ingrained, but I don’t ever know the exact number anymore.

  3. I’ve put my weight out on my blog almost since day 1 – it’s so freeing! (5’2″ and currently 118-120) I also weighed less last year, around 112, and shared the same ‘thrill’ in seeing the lowest # I had since I was in middle school probably, but it wasn’t easy to maintain that weight. I got up to 120 while training for marathon #1, and have stayed about the same since.

    At my lowest I was eating 1200ish a day (not running yet so that was a doable # for me) and now I’m around 2000 a day. I keep a general track of calories in my head each day but I no longer write everything down in a food diary like I used to (up until just a few weeks ago!) I’ve realized I’d MUCH rather be this weight and basically eating whatever I want (that’s healthy, and in reasonable portions) than constantly be tracking everything I put in my mouth.

    • I personally don’t have issues sharing my weight, it is what it is and I’m certainly ashamed. I also have no problem sharing my age, either!!

      I don’t think 130 would be easy for me to maintain, either, and I think there’s so much more to life than tracking every calorie and worrying about all the food. If I want a treat, I’m going to have one, but I don’t eat cookies or cake every day.
      Right now I’m probably close to 1600 a day, so I know I need to increase that, but it’s hard, especially when I’m not super hungry.

  4. When I first started running half marathons I was really into monitoring my calories and believed calories in vs calories out was the way to go with weight loss. Whenever I hit my peak mileage weeks I’d end up packing on a couple pounds and never could figure it out. Eventually I gave eating more a try, and I lost weight (because my body wasn’t in starvation mode) and I felt much better and my running was stronger.

    • I definitely have a nagging “if I weigh less, I’ll run faster” thought, and it’s just so counter-intuitive to eat more to weigh less, even though I’ve read so many article and am really certain that’s what I need to do. So I’ve added a bigger evening snack and a bar for about 400 additional calories each day, so hopefully that helps.

  5. I’m loving that so many people seem to reach this conclusion nowadays – I think so many people, especially women, tend to undereat. But how can you blame them, considering that every diet thrown at us in magazines is somewhere between 1200-1600 calories? While I was obviously undereating during my ED, I think I continued to undereat for years afterwards. And now, I’m paying the consequences – fertility issues (HA) and an underperforming metabolism. I think it’s awesome that you realize what’s happening and you’re willing to make the necessary changes – and kudos for posting your weight! There’s so much taboo on that, and it’s completely unnecessary.

  6. I can’t count calories because then i just shame myself about my food choices. As for this.. i don’t know. I eat when i am hungry and i try and make healthy decisions. The days i run i have a protein shake after and a snack before hand. Days i don’t run, i don’t have those so in my mind it evens out?
    One thing i need to becareful with is bored eating, i’m really bad for it.

    As for the weight thing, i hear you.. my lowest was 134 in the middle of my stressed non eating days and i had the thigh gap! But i also had no muscle whatsoever. none. So i’ll take my ~144 and own it because i am healthy and i am in the best shape of my life and working on getting better.

    Also remember muscle weighs a lot more then fat 🙂 And to run the way you do, you need muscle!

    • Oh my goodness, the shaming – yes. Been there and done that, and I don’t feel the need to go back.
      The majority of my clothes that I bought last year all still fit, so I’m trying not to worry about it but it’s easier some days than others.

  7. Just found your blog today and I really relate to this topic. I was eating about 1500 calories a day and working out about 60-90 minutes 7 days a week. I had it soooo wrong, I was cranky, tired, and pretty generally unhappy. I recently have started eating more, around 1800-2000 calories a day, especially more calorie-dense foods like nut butters whole grains. My mood has improved and I have more energy, but I am definitely gaining weight (though a lot of it looks like muscle – I don’t weigh myself). I think it is because my metabolism had slowed down so much from the under eating. I am trying to trust the process and let it balance itself out, but it is hard. Helpful for me to see this post though cause it reiterates that this is going to be best for me in the long run 🙂

    • I’m totally struggling with trusting the process. I don’t weigh myself regularly – if I hadn’t weighed myself a few weeks ago, I would have had no idea about my weight gain – so I guess if I didn’t really notice it, then it’s not that extreme?
      I just find all the information about eat this/not that and so for just so overwhelming some times.
      I think it can take a while to fix a sluggish metabolism, but I know it can be done.

  8. You know what I’m freaking loving these days? That I’m seeing so many more people out there talking about the benefits of eating MORE now that they’re realizing that all the “advice” that the diet industry has been feeding us is a load of bullshit. I definitely underate in the past, and I was amazed at how much my body actually needed to be able to function at its full potential. Sure I could get by on less, but I definitely wasn’t my healthiest and my metabolism slowed down a lot as a result. It was a big struggle to get it working again, with a handful of months of feeling uncomfortable in my skin, but it’s the best thing I ever did.

    • I’m definitely “getting by” with what I’m eating, but I’d much rather perform well.
      I’m sure there will be a “balancing out time” but I’m trying really hard to just trust the process and keep eating and exercising.

  9. I think I probably do (for the most part). According to the calculator, my resting is 1786 and I have a 2000 a day goal. 2000 a day whether it’s a workout day or not. I religiously log everything on MFP so I know that I average between 1850 and 2000 calories a day. I have a good carb/protein balance. Weekends are the most difficult for me because I’m not on a schedule like I am during the week. AND there’s booze on the weekends. And friends. And lots of food! I’m learning to not kick myself when I sneak in that candy bar or donut. I don’t do it often enough to feel guilty for having a treat. I’m really, REALLY trying to be OK with where I am because I’m healthy on the inside.

    • Well, shit! I just read the website and did the math. It says that I should be consuming 2676 calories per day. I do NOT get anywhere near that. That can’t possibly be right. So now I have to change everything that I said in my previous comment. No. I do not eat enough calories. 😀

  10. Great post. It’s so true that many women and men are under eating. We all think we’re doing best for our body when really we aren’t. Particularly when you’re active, you aren’t going to see the results you want if you aren’t feeding your body properly. But it’s definitely a challenging mindset to get over when you’ve thought things for a long time. I even still find myself struggling with it somedays.

  11. I think we all have these “rules” we secretly impose on ourselves that are so ingrained into our brain that we don’t even realize that we placed them there, and most of them don’t have scientific research to back them.
    I applaud your honestly in sharing and being so brave ❤ and realizing that you DO need to eat more.
    As for me, I don't even look at numbers. AT ALL. What is a scale to tell me my worth? And what is that calculator to tell me how much I need to eat? I don't know if I'd lik the number anyway. I don't like numbers at all, they create bad mentalities in my opinion, and I try and stay away from bad vibes I eat food not numbers 🙂 , I practice intuitive eating, for when I feel hungry, but am always making sure I have a protein, veggies starch combo and ALWAYS eating after working out!

    • You’re so right – it’s so silly to be hyper focused on numbers – be it calories, macros or weight.
      As an accountant, I’m so used to facts and numbers because in accounting the numbers are always right – they can’t be wrong – so moving away from that is really challenging for me, because they don’t always tell the full story when it comes to eating and exercising and the like.
      I’m like you: protein, veggie and starch and something for recovery after working out.

  12. I definitely think I could benefit from eating more, I am pretty active not only in my workouts and throughout the day I really did up my intake of calories recently and have been since December and guess what! Haven’t gained a pound, if anything I have gained muscle! Although I think eating enough calories is important, but more important is that you are eating the right macros to fill those calories! I think a lot of us focus on just calorie intake alone, but if you are eating no fat that is not healthy either! Nutrition is such a hard thing to grasp and really get a hold of in my opinion, but hey we are all a work in progress and we will find what works best for us if we keep trying 🙂
    Loved the insight of your post today 🙂

    • I’ve always worked on eating balanced, for some reason this has always been ingrained in me. Protein at every meal, veggies or fruit at every meal and make sure I’m taking in carbs and fats as well. I figure if I’m focused on that, the rest will sort itself out 🙂
      You’re so right – we are all a work in progress ❤

  13. Such a brave post girl, so proud of you for not editing it and risking censoring yourself. I think I eat just enough now. My body as been consistent for the past 9 months or so, so I think that means I’m eating well for “maintenance.” But, this is something I have been struggling with a lot lately. I have a few pounds I want to lose, and everyone is saying eat more, but everything I have ever known says eat less. Calculating your metabolic rate is SO hard. The calculators help, but I’m not sure how accurate they are. Everybody’s body is soooo different, and metabolism varies with muscle content, etc. That said, with all your running, you DEFINITELY need to eat more.You can do it! Eat up!!

    • Eating more to lose weight is soooooo counter-intuitive. I really, really struggle with it. I don’t think the calculators are 100%, but they’re probably more accurate than the silly magazines that tell us to eat 1200 calories a day.

  14. Love your honesty in this post. It’s so refreshing to hear about your struggles and newfound realizations. Understanding and appreciating food as fuel is a long road. I have what I used to refer to as a afternoon snacking “problem”, and fall into the bad habit of attacking it much like your 7th rule listed above (“don’t snack after lunch – hold out until dinner”). Now I try to see it as an opportunity to take in more nutrients. So I’m working on honoring these hunger cues and making a healthy choice, but it’s tough when I’m tired, at work, and feel like rewarding myself with a cookie or something loaded with sugar.

    • Cookies. I LOVE cookies 🙂 I do treat myself to an afternoon cookie once a week, because life to too short to not eat cookies 🙂
      When my snack isn’t a cookie, I’m now trying to have a banana and a home made granola bar with added protein powder, especially on the days that I run since I won’t eat dinner until 8pm or so.

  15. We talked a lot about this topic in my personal training course and I make a point of telling my female clients especially how important it is to eat enough! It’s easy to think that if we eat less, we’ll weight less, and that’s really not even the case! Awesome and informative post. Such an important topic to discuss!

  16. I definitely don’t eat enough! I lose weight from stress & especially NOT eating! It’s not that I want or have to lose weight – I just don’t feel like eating! Eating is not high on my to do list 😦 It is hard!! … I know I have to eat more with all my half marathon training – but sometimes I just can’t …

    • I also completely lose my appetite when I’m stressed – it’s so hard to eat when everything tastes like cardboard!
      The only time I ever forget to eat is when I’m under extreme stress. I’ve found that having a meal plan and a bit of a schedule helps with remembering to eat – and also eating the right foods.

    • Yes – it’s so tough to gauge!
      With almost everything else there’s a rule that can be followed, but when it comes to food and fitness, it’s all so body specific that there are no rules – just what works for you.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Clare! I’ve really enjoyed following your journey – it’s certainly helped me to realize I need to eat more!

  17. Love this post!! I see so many runners who are so focused on being really really thin and I don’t think it’s healthy. There are so many things more important than being lighter, and as women I think our bodies need a bit of fat on them.

    I’ve never counted calories and to be honest I would be afraid to count because I eat so much! Especially lately with these 80+km weeks. I try to make healthy whole food choices, but I feel like I eat all day! Keep eating and enjoy a glass or two of wine, you’ve earned it through those hard miles 🙂

    • I’ve definitely had my moments where I’ve thought “I’d be faster if I weighed less” but honestly, I’m never going to be and Olympic marathoner, so I really shouldn’t be concerned with 5 pounds (at most) for speed. It’s so silly.
      The majority of my food choices are definitely healthy – I’m thankful my parents did a good job instilling that in me – it’s just so hard to know how much is “enough”.

  18. We’re the same height. I think I weigh 143 pounds (yup a few pounds overweight). I definitely need to eat more often and at the right times.

    Anyway … great and honest post! Keep being true to yourself!

    • I would NOT consider 143 pounds to be overweight. I know everyone carries weight differently, and that’s part of the reason I was hesitant to post my weight….I’ve seen some calculators say I should weigh 125 pounds for my height and just….no. I’d look awful there. My body tends to stablize around 135-137 or so, so that’s where I’ll hand out.

  19. I don’t even pay attention to the RMR calcs–as active individuals, they are not accurate representations. For me, I aim for 2200-2500 a day regardless of rest/exercise, and then I will add on to that for my running/workout days. During marathon training, that number can be over 3000 easily. It isn’t easy for me to do, especially because I can’t rely on crutches like fat, milk, cheese, butter, oil, or booze. (I really do wish I could with the booze, lol).
    And, as weird as it is to say, you get to a point where you can only eat so much. Trust me, it is possible.

  20. Pingback: Ways in which living with a cat is similar to living with a toddler | Cowgirl Runs

  21. Hahahaha! 1477 calories just sitting for me. I eat a crap ton more than that. I probably intake around 2500-2700 calories a day. I’m learning, albeitit slowly, to listen to my body more and trying not to focus on the number on the scall.

    • It took me a long time to figure out what hunger actually felt like. I got so used to either eating because it was “time” to eat, or not eating because I “shouldn’t” that my hunger signals got all sorts of messed up. It took a while, but now I now if I’m hungry, I’ll eat because my body truly needs food.
      Our self worth is so not determined by the number on the scale, the size of our jeans or number of calories consumed in a day 🙂

  22. I have to thank you for introducing me to myfitnesspal a few years ago. I needed to lose a few pounds and was thinking of just doing my usual 1300-1500 calorie intake until the lbs were gone. I also thought of taking part in a fitness/weightloss thread of an online community I was part of. I contacted you and you pointed me in the direction of myfitnesspal and that was when I found that I was losing weight by eating between 1800-2000/day, which was what it had programmed me for just maintaining my weight! That boggled my mind. The program also made me realize that I had to “eat” back my calories when I exercised, and so because I was training for a marathon, there were days that I was consuming at least 3500 calories! I also had the 1200 calorie/day for weight loss number stuck in my head, and even though I upped it to 1300-1500 calories, that was still hard to maintain. Anyway, thanks!

  23. Pingback: Link Love: 4/19 | Cowgirl Runs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s