Simple dish, yet still took me awhile to start making.

A pretty big thing I’m staying consistent with lately is having breakfast. Not just gulping down a banana on my way out the door, or balancing a bagel in my hand while driving kids to school, but actually making up a bowl of oatmeal, cutting up fruit to put on top, and sitting down WITH my family and eating.

This is no small feat, given the chaos that is getting three elementary school-aged kids up and going and out the door by 7:15 a.m. Monday through Friday. Usually we are so busy making sure things run smoothly, stuffing last-minute items into backpacks and into my running/pilates/work bags – even when I swear we’ve done all of this the night prior – that breakfast just hasn’t traditionally been for me what it should be.

Healthy meals for the kids? Check. Me, not so much. But I’m really the only one to blame, and having decided in recent weeks that I am so very tired of the grab-and-go kind of eating in the morning – not to mention that awful rumbling stomach/headache-y sensation I endured for way too long – I’m changing my breakfast ways.

Running six days straight, for a total of about 32-35 miles a week now, also had keyed me into the benefits of eating well. Or, as Lisa reminds me, treating food as fuel.

Of course we’ve all heard about why filling ourselves up with healthy, nutritious foods first thing is so important – it keeps us going throughout the day. This is drilled into us from an early age. Still, my track record hasn’t been so good with this, with the exception of weekends when I am all about the hearty breakfasts. Day after day, during the harried work-and-school week, however…apparently I’ve been a slow learner.

I really like Lisa’s approach to eating, which is to couple your active lifestyle with quality “fuel.” Whole and natural as often as possible. Meaning going for a bunch of grapes over grape juice or an apple over apple juice, and whole grains for nutrition and fiber.  She acknowledges she’s no dietitian, but her health and fitness background has included helping teach, along with a registered dietitian, a class called “Thin from Within.”

I like the idea that it’s not all about what you look like on the outside, though sure, we all have our ideas of how our bodies should look. Instead, it’s about being healthy, strong and fit from the inside out. “Good runners come in all shapes and sizes,” Lisa points out. I want to run throughout my life, and I know my body shape inevitably will change over time. I know taking good care of myself now and going forward will make all the difference in helping me maintain my passion for running.

What I’m also trying to get better at is fueling up post-run – taking advantage of that magical 45-minute recovery period right after a good workout when what I put into my body has its most beneficial impact. Low-fat chocolate milk is a favorite post-run, and lately I’ve been trying some of Joe’s GNC protein-packed, low-fat health bars following a pilates session or morning run.

Week 6 Principle: Food as fuel.

Week 6 Goal: Keep a food journal.

This week I’ll be keeping track of my “fuel” with a food journal. After coming home from a night out to celebrate a close friend’s 40th birthday, I decided to start this food diary today rather than yesterday. Smart, right? Though, wait, there’s got to be some health benefits to drinking a pint of hand-crafted beer, right? Hops are nutritious in some way, after all. Maybe? The chips and cheese I devoured with Joe after arriving home, however, likely are not.

But I did have oatmeal this morning.

What are you eating these days? Do you notice a difference in your running when you eat a particular kind of food?

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