After any lecture that I’ve attended regarding nutrition and exercise, I’ve always left feeling somewhat guilty about my own habits, and Thursday’s lecture was no exception. As an athlete that has been competing for most of my life, this topic of nutrition is an everyday reality.
I’d like to think that I am a healthier eater. I tell myself that I am all the time – but it’s not entirely true. I love fruits, vegetables, lean meats on occasion, chocolate milk (with a bit of skim milk added so that it’s not too dense and chocolaty), good, hearty grains and carbs, and water, lots of water. Yes, all of these things are great items for a healthy and well-balanced diet, but I have yet to mention that I pretty much love everything that tastes good in addition to the food above, meaning breads, candy, desserts, and the list goes on. When I walk into the dining hall I do the normal scope out to see what’s on my food radar. I size up the dessert bar as I walk in, head over to the salad bar to see what could be tossed together and taste decent, lift the lid of the soup and pull out a ladle of whatever combination of cream or vegetables are inside, peek at all of the options of meals, automatically deeming them good or bad just by what they look like, stare at the pizza selection and think twice, and finally, if it’s lunch, I glance at the sandwich line and ask myself if I actually want to wait that long.
This routine is definitely not a winner by any means. In prep school it was different. My creative food juices flowed everyday in the dining hall; I could put so many healthy meals together in a flash without thinking twice about what was in them because I knew it was wholesome. For some reason, when I got to Colby, I found myself being more worried about my food choices, afraid that I wouldn’t be eating the right types of food, scared that I would be in a constant battle with myself to eat healthy. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was obsessing too much about the infamous Freshman 15, freaking out that the dining halls wouldn’t have the same variety as I was used to, or just thinking that I would lose my good habits. My first semester of eating at Colby was not too terrible, I maintained an acceptable diet, but I definitely have room for improvement.
This class is the perfect motivation for me to truly be proactive and revert back to the healthy eater that I used to be. I need to think more about what I put into my body to keep it functioning at the level that I want and need it to as an athlete and just in general. This doesn’t mean that I am going to completely write off Maine Deer Tracks or anything, let’s not get too crazy, but it does mean that I am going to be more conscious of what I consume and keep moderation in mind because I ultimately want to maximize my body’s performance. At the end of Jan Plan and from this point on, I will know that I don’t in fact live to eat, but rather, I eat to live, I eat to compete in athletics efficiently, I eat to lead a healthy life.