I grew up as a “foodie” although, I don’t think that was the term back then. My love for food goes all the way back to my childhood. I was the kid that never turned down any type of food. In fact, to this day I can’t actually think of a certain food I don’t like, except papaya. Is anyone with me in thinking it smells like feet? Yuck! I had a very active life through high school, playing soccer since I was 4. Soccer consumed all my free time. Through school, club, and select teams I was constantly playing and keeping active. I didn’t think twice about what I ate because I was burning it all off on the field.
After I stopped playing soccer in college, of course that incredibly high metabolism stopped as well. For the next 10 years through college and the start of my professional life, my eating and exercise habits varied. From low carb diets after the “sophomore 10”, to intense tennis matches with coworkers & friends, to a brief stint with running when we lived in Florida, and then even starting to play soccer again in a local league. Nothing exercise wise was consistent though, and I was still eating like I had been in high school. Needless to say, I ended up about 20 pounds heavier than my 5’7 frame should’ve been in the summer of 2009. Our family trip to Topsail Island that summer was my turning point. I remember feeling completely uncomfortable in my bathing suit, clothes, and pictures that entire trip. My brother’s girlfriend is a RD and I remember asking her tons of questions about weight loss and calorie counting. I was at the point that I wanted to do something and this time make it stick. She introduced me to calorie counting and I literally started on our last day of vacation. From that point I spent the next 3 months learning all the ins and outs of calorie counting, from the calorie stats of all different kinds of foods to the appropriate range for my body. I lost 10 pounds pretty easily doing just that and then I got stuck.
I was eating right or so I thought, and walking a lot, but I had hit a “plateau”. My brother’s girlfriend suggested more exercise but I wasn’t ready to admit that’s what I needed to do. Then I discovered healthy living blogs. I spent the next few weeks glued to the computer reading blogs like Fannetasticfood, Kath Eats Real Food, Healthy Tipping Point, and Meals and Miles. These were real people, eating real food, loving exercise and loving their lives. Something about these blogs opened my eyes and my lifestyle began to change.
Firstly, I was inspired to run! Then, slowly I began the process of completely restocking our pantry and fridge. I started buying foods like quinoa (and proceeded to pronounce it like ‘Kin-o-a’ for about 3 months), chia seeds and millet. Swapping out most of our “white” foods for their healthier alternatives. I learned the amazing-ness of OATMEAL! Thankfully, I have a husband that will eat whatever I put in front of him so I had no opposition at home and a relatively supportive family, even if they thought I was nuts at first. I went from a statistical “calorie in, calorie out” sort of mentality to an intuitive approach of eating whole, real foods. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but through the combination of eating real foods and embracing exercise through running, I slowly saw those last 10 pounds come off.
From there, it has been an amazingly positive cycle. Running has enabled me to re-identify myself as an athlete and eating real foods has allowed me the body and health to continuously improve in my running accomplishments. My appreciation of food has been heightened and I literally get excited by the prospect of finding amazingly fresh produce or creating a new meal. Sometimes, this excitement gets the best of me and I end up spending $7.44 on one heirloom tomato! I want to use this blog as a way to share and embrace that excitement through documenting my life in food and fitness because I’m sure there are many others out there who are in the same position I was almost 2 years ago and just need some sort of inspiration to get started.
Thank you for reading Running to the Kitchen, I hope you like what you find!