Thursday, September 14, 2017

Coming Clean

I've had many attempts over the years to get my best body ever. I used to think I could outrun the way I ate, but the older I got, the less viable that became. In recent years, I've heard that abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym; that being in shape is 70% food and 30% working out (or 80-20? The point is, it's mostly about the food). And I know that a week of eating clean does more for my body than a week of working out.

But try as I might, I always seem to falter after a few weeks. I get sugar out of my system, and I get headaches when I have a taste. But the taste turns into a serving, and soon I'm addicted again. It's an endless cycle. And I never quite understood people who would say, "I worked out so hard. I don't want to ruin it with a piece of cake." My thing was always: I work out hard so that I can eat cake.

Yesterday was the culmination of a few days of binge-eating, which started on a trip to Singapore. (My willpower likewise went on vacation.) I rarely eat burgers nowadays, but I couldn't resist 8 Cuts' P88 Day. I got me a Q Daddy, which had a quarter-pound of beef, peppered onion tanglers, jalapeno-garlic-ranch-tossed lettuce chiffonade, house-made smoked bacon, sharp yellow cheddar, Sauce no. 3, and sweetly spiced BBQ sauce. (And I also got spaghetti because there was a two-order minimum per person.)

It was glorious. And I told myself that I would enjoy the burger without guilt or regret. But in the back of my mind, I knew I would have to pay for it. I had worked out that morning, but I resolved to go for a run that evening.

So last night, after much hemming and hawing, I laced up my running shoes and went. And I hated every damn minute of it.

That's when I finally understood all my friends with admirable willpower. As I huffed and puffed my way up those little hills, I realized: I hated running more than I hated giving up junk. You just get more bang for your fitness buck by saying "no" to the bad stuff, than by suffering through a 45-minute run. I resolved to eat to fuel my runs, not to run so I could eat.

So here I am, recommitting to eating clean, but with a different why this time. I just don't want to keep running up and down those damn hills any more than I have to.

I normally start my day with a healthy breakfast so that if sh*t should happen during the day, I would at least have had one good-for-me meal: smoothie bowls, scrambled eggs, homemade granola, Greek yogurt are staples at home. Today, I added something new to my repertoire. My son wanted pancakes, so we made flourless ones (recipe below). This is me trying to convince myself that even when I'm eating clean, I don't have to feel kawawa--I can have my (pan)cake and eat it, too.

Flourless Banana Pancakes (original recipe from here; I just added vanilla*)
Takes about 20 minutes
Makes 6 small pancakes

2 bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1 Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Let stand about 10 minutes.
2 Pour a small amount into a nonstick pan and cook over low heat until golden brown, about 40 seconds a side.
3 Serve with honey, maple syrup, or sugar-free nut butter.

*You can also add cinnamon or chocolate chips, or top with fruit and/or walnuts.

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