Blog post by Jeri Thompson gives Elise Bennett food for thought.
Crispy chicken-fried steak, savory garlic mashed potatoes, creamy, white pepper gravy, salty, sweet potato fries, and cinnamon-laden baked apples. Yup, that was my dinner today! And after many, many weeks of eating salads, oatmeal, and other healthful stuff, let me tell you, that Southern soul food tasted simply diVINE! Each and every nibble elicited ecstasy; I was in heaven.
But my bliss started to fade when I began to feel sluggish and heavy, just a few minutes after finishing my meal. When I went for a Trikke ride a couple of hours later, my bliss was blown to oblivion; I felt as though someone had replaced my brand new, super-slick bearings with cement blocks and surreptitiously stuffed Supergirl’s Trikke tubes with kryptonite! My mind raced as I tried to pin the blame for this crime on a nemesis, a super-villain … anyone, really. But it soon became painfully clear that I had done this to myself.
Since I got a second chance at life (when the lion’s share of my chronic nerve pain mysteriously disappeared one morning in 2010, and I got to return to a low-to-moderately active life after eight long years of being bedridden), I have been more aware of how I treat my body and what fuel I give it. Of the 80 or so pounds I needed to lose after being inactive for so long, I am down almost 50 so far. It’s been slow going because I still have to limit my activity to keep pain at bay, but the weight is coming off. About a year ago, I hit a plateau and stopped losing weight – despite exercising regularly and eating almost no fast food. I got discouraged and let my dietary guard down. I didn’t gain any of the weight back, but I wasn’t losing either.
A couple of months ago, I happened upon a blog about portion control by Trikker Chick Jeri Thompson and realized that although I was eating the right food, my generous portion sizes were likely the reason I wasn’t losing weight. Sure enough, as soon as I cut down on food quantity, the weight started coming off again. Thrilled to be slimming down once more, I figured I could speed up the process by paying more attention to the quality of fuel I put in my body. I did away with pre-prepared, chemical-ridden, high-salt, low-calorie frozen food and started making my own meals. And I cut way back on dessert; only a couple of bites something sweet after lunch and nothing after dinner.
Within a week, I could tell a major difference in how I felt: I wasn’t as exhausted at the end of the day, I didn’t feel tired after eating a meal, and I was thinking more clearly. But the biggest difference showed up when I exercised; my endurance increased significantly, and I didn’t feel as though someone hung a stack of bricks around my neck as I carved up that last hill.
Twice during the past couple of weeks, I’ve been out and about during the day and found myself ravenously hungry. The first time, I grabbed a small burger at a fast food joint. My Trikke ride that night was frightfully slow, and I felt absolutely drained when I was through. I dismissed it as a random bad day. After the second attack of the hungries, I got a burrito – it’s high in protein, right? That night, my Trikke ride was also less than ideal. So I started looking for a pattern. After much examination, the only culprits could be lack of sleep (insomnia has been an ongoing challenge since 2010, when I came off all the physician-prescribed pain meds, muscles relaxers, anti-depressants, and nerve-dulling agents and kicked my dependence on morphine squarely in the jaw), and/or fast food.
Given that I ‘d had a rare, good night’s sleep the previous night, as much as I’d like to blame my lousy ride on kryptonite or cement-block bearings, it was woefully clear my delicious dinner had deleterious effects on my carve. And so it makes me wonder: if an occasional fast food meal has such a dramatic, negative impact on my workout within a couple of hours of eating, what manner of unseen havoc is that meal wreaking upon my body in the long term?! That, my friend, is most definitely food for thought!
Until next time, eat well, and carve diem!