Not too long after our youngest son was born, a couple invited us to join them at a grown up dinner. I mean a REALLY nice restaurant for a REALLY nice dinner. We sat down and our friends ordered an expensive bottle of wine for us to share. The sommelier brought the bottle, opened it, T. sniffed the cork and tasted a small amount in his glass. The whole nine yards. So fancy. Then they ordered a couple of their favorite appetizers so we could enjoy the wine, the food and just chat a bit. A bit later the waiter came back to our table to see if we were ready to order. I answered “Yes” before anyone else and T. said, “No. Please come back”. I looked at him and he said, “We are going be here awhile. You need to slow down and enjoy the evening”.
It was the first time in my life that anyone had ever told me to slow down while eating, even though someone should have spoken up years ago. For me, eating was merely a job. A requirement to get through the day. How fast can I get food in my belly and get back to what I am doing? As a kid, I ate as quickly as possible to get back outside with my friends. As an adult, it was simply a task to complete so I wouldn’t “bonk” as an athlete or just plain fall over from lack of nutrition.
As a World Class athlete, my focus was less about what I was putting in my body for energy and peak performance and more about what I shouldn’t eat. I won my first National Championship the Summer of 1990 (I know. That was FOREVER ago). At that time, I gave up alcohol, ice cream, donuts and french fries. I really felt like I was accomplishing something by not putting that kind of food in my body, but that was the extent to which I managed my nutrition. I made my own meals and ate a fairly well rounded diet. I also came from a family of thin people and exercised about 5 hours a day, on average. My body fat hovered between 11% and 18% depending on the time of the season and the time of the year. There didn’t seem to be a big necessity to worry too much about my diet and I always had a healthy relationship with food.
Of course, as one ages, there are significant changes that happen to your body. For me, the addition of having babies, jobs and not having to try too hard to fit into standard sizes was a recipe for disaster…pun intended. I haven’t spent any of my life trying to be a certain size or weight and I don’t have any chronic illnesses or allergies. Now at almost 48, I feel like I’m learning so much about nutrition, diet and how that affects my whole life, not just my athletic performance. Better late than never.
Crossfit has been an eye-opening experience in several ways but my biggest learning curve is any chatter about food, diet and how it affects performance. Is it paleo? Does it fit into my macros? Are you eating gluten? Going Keto? It can be overwhelming and honestly, it’s the part of my fitness routine that I spend the LEAST amount of effort on but yet, spend a fair amount of time thinking about. I have learned the hard way that you cannot “out exercise” a bad diet and believe me, I’ve given it my best shot. What I really want is to have someone just tell me what to eat, but creating good habits doesn’t work that way. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I also think it’s best to share the real challenges of life. This is definitely one of mine.
Since this is my biggest fitness weakness, I will continue to read up on how to best nourish myself while I ask my body to run, jump, lift, climb and live my best life. In the meantime, I’m going to make these awesome protein snacks. I’ve made them before for my youngest son who needs all the nutrients he can get and not only are these quick and easy to make, they are easy to pop into your mouth for a healthy snack. Enjoy!
XO – Crissy