For vegans everywhere, this is probably a welcome site to see in a rather mainstream grocery store, and it is not like the selection was lacking. My store even had vegan Turkey cutlets, which I learned the week before to be quite amazing. The story, I did some hard running, running past a Whole Foods that had a buffet and needed some food while I waited for a movie to start. It was one of those random moments of boredom due to the fact my car broke down again and I was on foot. Anyway, I was so convinced the cutlets were real turkey that I had to double check to make sure I didn’t get a faux pas and expect a visit from the Vegan Police, which if you have never seen the movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, then you will not get the joke. (No vegan diet, no vegan powers!) I was even ready to yell at the Whole Foods guy working the buffet supply, thinking they used my fatigue and hunger against me to break my edge. Anyway, my store’s selection of good food and specials seems to far outweigh the other garbage they typically have on special, but I suspect this will all change when the Superbowl comes around (or as I called in another blog, the weekend where everyone’s New Year’s resolution goes to die…seriously, I’m sure someone has a conspiracy about this somewhere on the internet).
So far my own form of better portion control took a bit of a turn this past weekend, but it wasn’t for the negative. I was invited to go running with some people I met on Facebook (my New Year’s resolution at work) and take a casual Sunday afternoon jog. I should have suspected something was up when they mentioned they were going to tackle a small peak here in town. But I never would have guessed how tough it would be. Over the course of two and half hours and a little over nine miles, I traversed the rockiest and harshest running path I have ever been on, climbing 2,000 feet total and making a mockery of my former best elevation change. My running partner Gabe figured it was more like 2,500, mainly due to the fact we had so many “saddles” along the path that we probably doubled up on some of the elevation climbs. While I made it to the top and only stopped to take photos (if you can believe it, I rarely ever go hiking) I still felt kind of woozy during much of the second half of the run. It was weird listening to my RunKeeper, for instead of hearing how I was moving at half a mile every five minutes, I was barely trekking at a fifth of a mile in some spots. The rocks were that bad! I devoured a rather large dinner that night, only because I sincerely underestimated what I was going to be doing that day. Typically, flat land running is a piece of cake for me. I’ve gone instances where I cranked out a good three-mile run on just a handful of peanuts. It was clear what my mistake as: I thought too much about burning calories than I did about actually maintaining them.
It’s a common mistake just about all of us run into, and this is a subject I have touched on quite often throughout the life of this blog. I will always harken back to the professor at Kansas St. who kind of proved that caloric intake is really all you need in regards to lose weight, living off junk food and losing 27 pounds in the process. But the caveat to that story is his fitness was probably a mess, meaning there is no way he would last an hour in the gym. I also made a point about how many calories a person should take in when dealing with a full on fitness regimen. Now I am an absolute freak for numbers, merely to the sense that I become so obsessed that it would ruin my life in the process. But I have to reduce my intake if I really want to start losing the gut I’m hauling around, because people won’t notice how trim my legs and butt and neck are if I still have love handles. But here lies one of the central issues of watching your calorie intake: it could take on a mind of its own!
Everyday, people seek to put just about anything into a “disorder” category, meaning the best to talk about the problem is to demonize it. I guess you can say I have a complex regarding the problem as well, for I often feel nervous and detached when anyone mentions if I have sighed myself. If anything, the trouble starts right from the get go. I have trouble balancing myself right in order to get an accurate reading. I feel nervous when I am doing the procedure, so I often times shift my weight too much and might get an inaccurate reading. My body has been so out of wack and so imbalanced for so long, it might be years before I can actually get a good, accurate solid reading. While my nervousness gets in the way, should it be a disorder? One of the newer trends forming in America is orthorexia nervosa, a newly coined eating disorder where people become so obsessed with food purity and “cleanliness” that the restrict their diets to unhealthy levels. It’s pretty easy to see the descent into madness. You can start off as a organic-only eater. Then become an organic-only, whole foods vegan. Then you can become an organic-only, non-GMO, whole foods eater. Before you know it, you have become a raw, organic-only, non-GMO, whole foods, locally sourced, non-pesticide using, all natural fertilizer utilizing vegan who won’t buy food from people with more than 100 acres. It can get pretty out of hand if the fear of “dirtying” your body becomes strong enough (even though a healthy human body is infested with millions of bacteria). Now we have the idea that calorie counting could turn into a full blown eating disorder (at least that seems to be the case in regards to other blogs I have seen).
Now I can see where the issue comes into play especially in regards to the reduction of food in the diet. Getting obsessed with calories could lead into other more dangerous eating disorders, which is why I believe getting heavily into calorie counting is more a gateway to serious problems as opposed to an actual problem. It was the main reason why I never got into Weight Watchers, even though my parents always encouraged me to give it a try. But I became much firmer in my belief system when Weight Watchers started the wackadoodle ad campaign “Lose weight and still eat like a man!” Let’s face it, if you have a major problem with portion control and food, believing you can inherently control the amount of sad “bad” food becomes kind of a silly proposition. (and on another note, Charles Bakely, one of their main spokesman, is still pretty darn huge) I learned very early on when I removed cheese from my diet and realized “just because I can’t eat a cheeseburger anymore, doesn’t mean I can’t eat a regular burger!” Some action groups are even making bigger insinuations about the danger of calorie counting, implying the government is setting us all up with new mandatory calorie counts on all foods, including the outside of vending machines and restaurant menus. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm423952.htm Now I just have to scratch my head on this one and think for a moment. Starbucks has had all of their calorie counts listed on their menus for years, yet you still see overweight and healthy people alike buying the most calorie packed items imagined. Heck, when I was burrowing through mountains of cash in regards to my old Cinnamon Dolce Latte habit, I was basically getting a 500-calorie gut bomb for nearly six bucks (I rally hated the fact they had an extra charge for soy milk!). Now the real question, which this particular website didn’t really ask is whether these public displays of calorie counts really going to affect the population?
I can understand the sentiment, for they bring up a good point that a lot of impressionable people with eating disorders typically become numbers obsessed, and this would just add to the equation in regards to self destruction. But can we really imply this? I’ve seen many opinions about calorie counting, where doing so can severely alter your hunger levels and ultimately diminish your body through reduction. But isn’t this a good way as well to help regulate your intake to ensure weight loss? This is part of the struggle I am smack dab in the middle of. While I hate the idea of calorie contain, doing so is most likely going to have to be a major part of my life soon enough. I have now become an office worker, no longer roasting my skin in the sun and sweating off fat during the course of a day. My day consists mostly calling people, doing paperwork and being up to speed in regards to parts and availability. Falling into the typical office eating habits are certainly something I am mindful of, and this often means I eat lighter during the day rather than at night. So far, the reduction hasn’t hurt my performance on the track, but it might be hurting me in regards to my weight lifting. Either way, I need the calorie counting mindset to avoid turning into an overweight person who sits down all day.
Of course, my situation isn’t something that can be translated elsewhere. I am my own person and managing my body is something I have to feel out. Right now, I am in a pretty good place. I know I am not typical, but I firmly believe you should understand what you are putting into your body through measurable standards, much like my belief in what your food actually is. But on the other hand, the caveat to the argument is to restrict your diet in regards to what you eat, but merely reducing how much you eat while also eating food that is good for you. Right now, I am not astute enough to fully take on the challenge of counting my daily calories, but we shall eventually see. For the time being, I just need to keep reducing.
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