Monday, October 18, 2010
The training table starts today
Which is a neat trick, since I'm 53.
What bothers me about the seven pounds, however, is what they represent, which is a year of general fitness slackitude--a year in which I not only didn't exercise regularly, but one that had more than its share of cheeseburgers and pumpkin pie. My recent return to the bike commuter life, though, has kick-started my fitness again, and as I was rolling around yesterday on a real, live, actual training ride, I was reminded that I derive great satisfaction from training. Aside from the usual general health aspects, being fit makes me feel alert, more on top of things, more...keen in a world that often seems especially designed to pummel me into a dull lassitude.
But at my age, simply getting out on the bike or running a few laps around the park is not sufficient to propel me into optimal fitness. The nutrition has to be there, too.
I'm not talking about a diet. I don't really believe in diets. Dieting is a short-term thing, and unrelated to fitness. Rather, I'm talking about cleaning up the fuel I'm putting into my body and letting nature take over from there. And since posting my commuter miles on the blog sparked my interest in riding again, I thought maybe I'd post an occasional report from the training table on these pages as well. (I'm also a bit of a nutrition wonk when I'm in training mode, and can't resist the chance to bore you with victualary esoterica.) So here's the first:
Today I have to go to a breakfast for potential Honors College recruits. I have no idea what is going to be served, and past experience teaches me that it might leave me vulnerable to a less than optimal meal--it could be anything from donuts to bacon to cheesecake. Now once in a while, this isn't a bad thing. The trouble is that these opportunities to indulge don't come around once in a while, do they? They seem to come around four or five times a week--and it's only going to get worse now that we are about to launch the eating season with Halloween parties. To compound matters, I have no discernible will power to speak of. Simply put, I am weak in the face of fats, especially if they are salty and fried, and available in unlimited quantities. And sprinkled with sugar.
So to head off the temptation to load my plate with a slab of bacon the size of a '57 Buick, I'm eating before I go. I'm having black tea (unsweetened), a toasted whole wheat* bagel with whipped, reduced fat cream cheese, and a serving of yogurt sprinkled with chopped pecans (for the "good fats" factor** and crunch).
I'll let you know if it works.
UPDATE: At the talk, I managed to skip the food line altogether, and deliberately did not look at what was available--which was good, since I saw cottage fries on a student's plate and I would not have been able to resist that. (By the time I saw they were available, I was already on the dais waiting to speak, so I was saved from myself.) I did spy some yogurt as I walked in, however, and grabbed a serving of that so that I could join in the festivities. Finally, I ate a handful of gorp when I got home to complete what turned out to be a progressive breakfast.
*Whole grains slow absorption in the gut, are less likely to "spike" our blood sugar levels, and help us feel full longer.
**So-called good fats (monounsaturated) are not only nutritionally beneficial (especially for brain health), they help us feel full. Examples include nuts, avocados, and some oils, like olive and canola.