Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #26

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. I've lost 135 lbs and I'm a pretty healthy eater. I sometimes struggle to let go and indulge every now and then. When I do I feel like people are watching what I eat. For example, I pinned a dessert on Pinterest and it posted on Facebook. Somebody commented about it not being healthy. Another example, we went out for dinner and I got pancakes (I love breakfast for dinner) and my brother said "there's a lot of calories in those pancakes." I know some of this is probably paranoia but do you ever feel like people watch what you eat because you've lost a large amount of weight?

A. First, a huge congrats on your weight loss--that is amazing!! I can absolutely relate to the comments on what you're eating. Most of it comes from the blog, though. I used to post my daily food logs (just for my own accountability, not because I was asking for advice), and I would get comments like, "You eat too many carbs", "You don't eat enough protein", "You eat too much fat", and even recently, "Grapes are unhealthy--just sugar and water".

I've learned that no matter WHAT I eat, people are going to have an opinion about it, so I just ignore those comments and do what is best for me. I'm very in-tune with my body, and I know what foods make me feel good, what foods make me feel like crap, what foods make me gain weight, lose weight, etc. I've never claimed to be a perfect eater, and I certainly wouldn't be happy eating a "perfect" diet that didn't include my favorite foods, healthy or not!

When someone makes a comment about your food having a lot of calories or something, I would say, "I know, isn't it great that I can indulge and still maintain my weight loss?" It will get old after a while, and the comments will probably stop. But you know your body, and what is best for you, so don't worry about what anyone else says.

Q. When you first started running how did you find it in you to just run by yourself? I HATE running by myself despite that I listen to music. I really don't talk a lot when I do run with someone but I think it is the motivation that I have someone running with me that keeps me going.

A. It's kind of funny, but the reason I originally chose running as my main exercise was because I could do it alone. I'm an introvert, and the thought of doing group exercise was anxiety-provoking for me. Now, I enjoy running with a partner once in a while, but there are lots of positives about running alone.

When you run alone, you can go at whatever time is convenient for you, without trying to figure out a schedule that works for both you and a partner. You can run at your own pace, so you don't have to slow down or speed up. You can focus on your own goals, whether it's to run farther or faster. 

I find podcasts pass the time faster than music does
Running with a partner certainly has its advantages, because it passes the time so much faster. It's distracting, and you can even forget that you're running when you're having a conversation. If you have a running partner and that's what you enjoy, then there is no reason you should have to change and start running alone.

But if you need to run alone, for whatever reason, maybe you could find an "accountability" buddy, who you text periodically during a run to say how far you've gone or any thoughts about the run. I did this recently with Lealah, because we each had a 20-miler scheduled on the same day. It really helped me mentally when I stopped to "check in" with her!

Q. My sister and I have started running together. We are both obese, but she is about 40 lb heavier, a few inches shorter, and she runs a little slower than I do. We're kicking around the idea of signing up for a 5k several months from now. My question: Should I try to keep pace with her in the race, or even walk with her if she needs to slow down that much? How do you handle this situation when running with a partner or group? I don't want to hold myself back, but I feel like I'd be letting her down if I left her behind.

A. This is a really great question! Most of the races that I do have been with friends. However, we all run our own race--meaning we go there together, hang out together until the race starts, and then we do our own paces during the race, and we meet up again after the finish line. We all have different goals, so we focus on ourselves during the race.

We arrived together, dressed alike, but ran at our own paces.
The finish line is the best part, anyway ;)
If this is agreed upon before the race, then there should be no hard feelings at all. However, if you agree to stay together during the race, then you should stick with that plan. It would be very hurtful if you agree to run together, and then when she is going slower than you would like, you take off and leave her in the dust ;)  

You should certainly talk about it before you even register for the race. Just say something like, "So do you have a time goal for the race? I'm going to try for xx:xx!" And then it kind of informs her that you won't be running together unless she plans on running that same time. Chances are, she would feel badly for holding you back if she knows you could go faster. When I run a race with Renee, she's much faster than me, but I wouldn't want her to slow her pace in order to run with me. We just meet up at the end, and talk about how we did.

The exception might be if you're doing a fun, novelty race--like The Color Run, or Warrior Dash, or something like that. Then it would be fun to stick together as a group. But again, I would discuss it beforehand.

As long as both of you discuss and know what to expect on race day, and then follow through with that plan, there shouldn't be any hard feelings!


And now a question for all of you...
What's your favorite "cold weather" meal?
One of my favorite things about fall and winter is cooking lots of soup! My very favorite would probably be Split Pea Soup in the slow cooker.

48 comments:

  1. To the lady that asked the first question, that lost 135 pounds. GO YOU! That is so awesome. I bet that a big reason someone comments on what another eats, is because it makes them feel better about themselves. They chose a "healthy" meal, and you chose pancakes. Whoop de doo. You are still awesome, and like Katie said, you are aware that you can indulge in pancakes and still maintain your awesome weight loss.

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    1. Yes! In my opinion, weight loss wouldn't be worth it if we could never indulge in our favorite foods again :)

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  2. Over the past year or so I have dropped weight and changed lifestyle habits, and I have to confess something. When I am indulging I still struggle so, so much with not feeling guilty or continually thinking about it afterwards and beatintg myself up over it. Also, when I eat something "unhealthy" and those around me are not indulging, I can feel defensive or wonder why they aren't and if I shouldn't. I do not know if this is the case in the situation mentioned above, but please do not feel bad for enjoying food you have worked hard to savor. I know when I start to feel this way that it is not right and to consider the source (that ugly part of me that gets angry with myself for eating "mistakes" as I see them). I hope this will only become easier for you and others. Thank you for bringing this up- such a sticky topic for myself included! Oh...And, one of my favorite cold weather foods? Pot roast with carrots, onions, and potatoes broiled in the slow cooker all day...and of course fresh baked bread ;)

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    1. It's hard not to feel guilty for indulging. I think that's why I like to indulge after a long run--I feel like I've worked hard for it :) There are other times that I indulge, also, but I have to remember that it's "normal" to do that once in a while--everybody does it!

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    2. It is a daily reminder I have to give myself, shew. And, thank goodness my husband is patient and understands I can be crazy sometimes...he still sticks around ;) Thank your for your always down to earth and helpful thoughts, our prayers will be with you and that your body will behave itself :)

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  3. My jaw dropped over the grapes comment, I mean really? How does the saying go, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one? I have heard the grapes thing before, it is usually from anti-fruit people, that believe all fruit should be banned from your diet because it is "evil".
    What you said is very true, you need to do what works for you. The nutritional benefit from grapes and all fruit I believe override the "evil" natural sugar content.

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    1. I've heard a lot of negativity about fruit lately, but I haven't jumped on that bandwagon. Fruit (particularly grapes) have really helped me to stay on track lately, and I refuse to feel guilty for eating them!

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  4. I have just completed my 3rd race since August and it was the first one that my friends participated in also. The first two went fine but it was really nice at the last one when they were cheering me on at the finish line. I don't care at all that they didn't stick with me because I am way slower than they are because I am heavy and they are thin. Just having them before and after really made the difference! One day I will be able to run at their pace though...then they better watch out! This one was also fun because it was on the beach with obstacles. And had we all been at the same pace, I probably would have smoked them on the obstacle part! :)

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    1. Wow, three races since August? That's great!! And you're right, it's nice to have cheerleaders at the finish line :)

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    2. Thanks! I have a 10K this Sat too with some other friends...I really find that I like to participate in something once a month. The weight isn't coming off as fast as I want but it definitely pushes me to work harder! Good luck on your marathon!!!

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  5. Regarding the first Q.
    I feel awkward when my family says...oh..u eat dessert daily?
    Why cannot peeps believe that if u want to lose weight you do not have to live on broccoli and soup.
    I admit Iam facing difficulty to shed more weight(Just found out I have some hormonal imbalance) But...Iam eating and still w.out.
    Also ~ no one really beleives I have it in me to drop from size 16 pant size to 10.
    Iam going to keep doing it & maybe it will take longer but Iam so determined
    Thanks Katie ..u are very motivating

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    1. They will believe it when they see it! :)

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  6. My favorite cold weather meal is white chicken chili - I make mine in the crock pot.

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    1. Mmm, I just made a white chicken chili with a brick of cream cheese in it, and it was SO good. Love the crock pot!

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  7. Chicken and dumplings is my favorite cold weather meal. Unfortunately I still haven't mastered the technique yet so I would have to say my Mom's chicken and dumplings are my favorite!

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    1. My mom's chicken and dumplings are my very favorite comfort food! They are insanely fattening, but that is what I always request for my "birthday dinner".

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  8. Favorite cold weather food... chili or my bean and sausage soup or chicken tortilla soup...

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    1. I love tortilla soup too! Unfortunately, I also love to add sour cream, guacamole, tortilla chips, and cheese to top it off--all those calories add up fast!

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  9. I'm curious... what are some of your favorite Podcasts???

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    1. I actually just wrote about this recently... you can find it here: http://www.runsforcookies.com/2012/09/reader-questions-and-answers-25.html

      I don't have a big list, but those are the ones I listen to regularly.

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  10. My favorite cold weather food is deer chili (oh yes, I said it) and homemade Chicken and noodles.
    To the person who lost 135 lbs, YOU ROCK!

    For the last question about running the race with your sister, If it were my sister and I was the faster one I would run it with her (if it was our first 5k together). If I was the slower one and it were my first 5k I would want her to stay with me, I would probably feel bad if I kept her from running a great time and I wouldn't ask her to stay but I would secretly hope she would. But that is just if it were my first 5k or our first one together.
    A friend of mine just ran her first 5k and is wanting me to run one with her, (it would be my first) It would be nice to run it together but I know she will leave me, I would have no hard feelings about it, everyone is different...

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    1. Yes, there is something about a first race that makes it more enjoyable while running with someone! My friend Renee ran my first 5K with me, even though she's much faster than I am. It was nice to have her support along the way, and she pushed me hard when I needed it.

      But after that, I enjoyed racing on my own, and seeing if I could better my time.

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  11. It was me with the 'grapes are unhealthy' comment, and I'm frustrated and hurt that you decided to use that as an example. It was meant to he be helpful and was coming from a place of support from someone else who has lost a significant amount of weight. I feel like you were dismissive of the support, and that's an awful feeling.

    Good luck with the marathon and any other challenge you decide to take on. I'm sure you'll do great.

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    1. I'm sorry, Stephanie, it wasn't personal at all. I actually thought the comments (there were actually two or three about the grapes over the past few weeks) were all anonymous, which is why I used it as an example. And you may be right about the grapes! But I know that I could never give up grapes, because I love them too much and they've helped me stay on track the last five weeks. But anyway, I'm so sorry if I hurt your feelings by using that example--that wasn't my intention. Thank you for your support!

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  12. I can't believe that people have the nerve to make those comments about food. It would be different if you were complaining about not losing weight then talked about all the junk you ate and were looking for advise, but if the food you eat works for you, then that's all that matters.

    For the girl running the race with her sister, just talk to her about it and tell her what your goal for the race is. I run with a handful of ladies from work and we all run at different paces. A few are really fast and a few of us are slow. We all know to just run at our own pace and we meet at the end ;)

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    1. I don't think they were doing it to be snarky, just trying to help. But you're right, it would be different if I was eating lots of junk and complaining about why I wasn't losing weight :)

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  13. Ever since I lost 103 lbs I also feel the same way. Like people are watching everything I eat and criticize if it's not perfectly healthy. I love the advice Katy gave. I'm starting to realize that you should just ignore it and eat the way that works for you. If you are burning a good amount of calories then there is nothing wrong with a treat now and then. Especially if it keeps you from binge eating (it does for me).

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    1. Eventually, I think people will see that what you're doing IS working--that you are maintaining your weight loss, AND eating some junk food once in a while. Then the comments will stop. Eating planned treats definitely helps keep me from binge eating as well!

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  14. My currant favorite cold weather recipe is this Peannuty Pumpkin Stew. Its great over brown rice!http://enlightenedberg.blogspot.com/2012/02/peanutty-pumpkin-stew.html

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  15. My favorite cold weather comfort-food would be corn and baked potato chowder. So yummy!

    To the person regarding the 5K and running together or separate, my experiences have been this: My first 5K I was 190lbs and ran a 15 minute mile. My husband is Active Duty Army and runs 5Ks almost daily. He tried to run at my pace but got frustrated, which made me feel awkward and embarrassed that I was so slow. That wasn't his intention, I know, but it's how I felt. He ended up running ahead so he could get photos of me crossing the finish line. I finished absolutely last at 45 minutes flat, but I was okay with that. My 2nd 5K, my husband and I agreed that we would run separate and he ran with our two kids in the double-jogger. He finished well before me, but he came back for me and we finished together. Talk it out with your sister and mention what YOUR goals are in accomplishing it.

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    1. I love pretty much any kind of chowder--and it's definitely a great cold weather food!

      Congrats on your races!!

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  16. My favorite cold weather food is this Williams Sonoma recipe for chicken braised in hard apple cider, with leeks and apple chunks and thyme. It's sooo good! I also love pot roast with carrots and potatoes, but someone already said that. :)

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    1. I love anything with apples! That sounds delish :)

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  17. My favorite cold weather food? Well *before* it would have been pizza because if it's cold out I have no motivation to cook. But lately I would have to say something that is considered a "heavy" food. Like Mashed potatoes/cauliflower, some beef, Chili, chowder or soup and a grilled sandwich.

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    1. Mmm, pizza has always been a favorite of mine! But I know what you mean about the "heavy" foods--they are the typical comfort foods of fall. Yum!

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  18. I agree with you completely about running alone. I'm afraid to run with someone else, actually, even though runner friends have suggested it. I didn't realize until you mentioned it that I'm a little anxiety-ridden over it because I'm introverted. I fear having to keep a conversation going when I know I can't talk while I'm running, even when people tell me that they don't always talk to each other when they run.

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    1. I was terrified to run with someone, because I was sure I wouldn't be able to talk! After about a year and a half of running alone, I tried running with a partner (or group) and it was SO fun! When you run slowly, you should be able to talk. Maybe give it a try and see what you think--while I like running alone most of the time, sometimes it's fun to have a partner to help pass the time.

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  19. I always hestitate to blog about what or how much I eat on my blog. So many people have to offer their comments about what is better, or what works for them. I am old enough to know nothing works the same for everybody and you get to know what works for YOU, and that is what you do. So advice is not needed, at least not at the point we are at, having maintained substantial weight losses for over a year. I am somewhat careful about what I eat in front of others, not only because I fear their judgmental comments, but because I want to "show off" how healthy I eat now. That's dumb I know, but I guess if it helps keep me reined in at restaurants or family dinners I'll use it.

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    1. Just realized this picture cuts my head off. Maybe I should post a new one?

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    2. Pam, I found that it's best to post a square picture. So if you just crop it into a square (including your head!) it should work out fine :)

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  20. I can't get what you and your reader said out of my mind. That you feel judged by what people see you eat. The name of your blog says it all.....Runs for Cookies...Isn't that why most people run so we can eat and not feel guilty about it? If someone is looking for you to eat like a perfect health nut then they are reading the wrong blog. You eat like a real person and that's what we love about you because we all can relate. I can't tell you how awesome that burger and fries tasted when I didn't have that monkey on my back, i.e.: guilt! I knew I ran and lost the weight and maintained my weight loss. Those treats taste that much better. So when someone questions what you are eating, you are the weight loss pros for loosing the weight you both did. For a person to question your expertise is crazy!! They are the ones eyeing your food, feeling guilty if THEY ate it, voice their guilt and want you to have it too! You can even call them out on their guilt and say just because you'd feel guilty I don't because I ran today. Then savor eat bite knowing they wish they could eat that too! Thanks Katie for keeping your blog so open and real. Don't let a few bad readers comments spoil your blog. Most of us appreciate what you do and keep staying honest for us.

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    1. I'm not sure if that's why "most" people run, but it is certainly a big part of the reason why I do it! ;)

      I really don't think that people intend to make me feel bad about what I eat when they comment on my food choices; I think maybe they are trying to help by sharing what works for them. But like I said, I am very in-tune with my body, so I just have to do what works for me!

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  21. A lot of people did not know me before when I was 200+ and I still feel judged when I eat. Even when I was pregnant I felt judged. Sometimes my husband makes comments when I eat ice cream. I get made, I mean I know hes only looking out for me and "trying" to help. But his comments are not necessary.

    Ohh.. I found True Lemon in my grocery store! They had a raspberry lemonade one.. bought it.. LOVE IT! :)

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    1. P.S. My fall/winter soup... My papa's homemade corn chowder!! Which we had yesterday!!

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    2. I have been craving corn chowder for weeks now!! I've been scouting recipes on Pinterest, but haven't found the right one yet... maybe I'll work on it next week :)

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  22. I love ham and potato soup served with hot bread. I found a great soup recipe online and made a huge pot for my family this past weekend and I thought there would be leftovers to freeze, but I was WRONG! Definitely adding to my list of favorites for the cold weather.

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  23. Soup, soup, and more soup! My favorite is vegetable w/ground beef. But I make pea soup w/dill, egg drop soup, hungarian mushroom, butternut squash with yams, chicken soup with stars (regular noodles are boring!) I'm looking into making French Onion Soup soon. Oh and tortilla soup. I need some spicy chicken soup in my life!

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)