Now what do I eat?

There’s an old tale I have to share with all of you. It’s a classic, and thankfully it’s a shorty for the folks who don’t have a lot of time. It’s about a dragon, the Alli-Dragon.

The Alli-Dragon was fierce. The Alli-Dragon was energetic, a ball of sunshine who could kick ass and take names. The Alli-Dragon was looking strong with her lifting and running, and finally got her weight down to her lowest yet. And dare I say, the Alli-Dragon was looking pretty fresh and fly.

Then the Alli-Dragon went home for Easter weekend. Which was a great time, don’t get the narrator wrong. However, after four days of pizza, and Mexican, and hot dogs, and fried chicken, and the sheer volume of candy that would guarantee the children of a dentist getting their college paid for, the Alli-Dragon wasn’t looking fierce at all. She was bloated, beachball-faced with some breaking out (seriously, universe?) and a puffy stomach that looks pregnant.

The Alli-Dragon? More like Alli’s dragging ass and it ain’t fierce or a pleasant sight to behold.

Candidly, I have always had a thing with food. I’ve never been overweight per se – my heaviest weight was last year when unmanaged grief and comfort eating caused me to hold on to an additional seven pounds , which isn’t enough to merit self-flagellation – but my eating habits can toe that line like nobody’s business. I’m blaming it on a few things, 1.) Having a sweet tooth, and 2.) Attitudes around food from childhood and having the means to treat myself whenever I damn well please.

The latter point is probably the more interesting one, and from a psychological level it’s the one I have to work to manage. My parents divorced when I was five, and for five years I got to experience the joys of visitation with a parent and his new family who didn’t want me around. She had four kids from her previous marriages and hated spending money on them (so why continue making kids after the firstborn is the real question.) The cheapness was a sight to behold. I’ll never forget being six, when all five of us kids were together and the adults decided to get lunch at McDonald’s. My lunch consisted of a carton of five Chicken McNuggets. No fries, no drink, and I had to share it with her mean-ass younger daughter.

That’s right – five nuggets had to be shared between two little kids, and that was a meal. These people were not poor, by the way.

There was another incident when I was nine when I asked my dad during a Wednesday night visitation if we could go out and get ice cream. We did go to Wendy’s and he spent a whole dollar on a Frosty, after opening his wallet, sticking it in my face so I could see the one dollar bill and asking if I “saw that,” since that’s all he had. You would have thought I asked him to part with a testicle. And at this point, they still weren’t poor by any stretch of the imagination.

Now that I’m thinking about it, those two memories make me forever grateful that God or the universe picked out my mom and maternal family. Mom and I had periods where we were broke, but I got actual meals and she never once tried to make me feel like a burden for existing. She understood the assignment.

Anyways, back to the food.

There’s still that inner child in me that eats too much of the bad stuff because I can and no one is going to come in my home and tell me otherwise. If I want to treat myself and others, then I will. If I want to spend money on bougie health foods, who’s really going to tell me no? But with that leftover defiance comes a very real side effect. Namely, too much pizza (the bougie health food part rarely happens when I just want to eat) and me wondering why my waist-to-hip ratio disappeared.

And on top of the bloating there’s another very real thing I have to consider: the impact of my food choices on my running.

This upcoming Sunday I’m doing a short local race with my mom. We’re not going all out and I’m not focusing on a time goal, but I also don’t want to risk bloating, GI distress or a headache on the run. Or for that matter, during the three half marathons I have coming up. So I have less than two weeks before my first half to get my eating and body back to racing mode.

I’m not sure how the food part will work out for me.

But if all else fails, I can pull out my oldest trick in the book: spite. You know the spite that drives me to be generous with myself and others, as an “up yours” to the childhood heartache and crappy adults I once knew? The same spite is also what motivates me to train when I don’t feel like it and keep running even when my pace is awful. As in, I may like Taco Bell, but I also like the bragging right of pounding all the pavement, getting all the medals, and looking really good in Lululemon leggings. I’ve got a few smug people I need to prove wrong and I plan on doing it with style, class, grace and a perky muscular ass in your face.

Quesadillas are delicious, but if I had to choose, being able to run and lift and stun strangers with how good I look in Lululemon leggings will always win out.

So Reader-friends, it looks like it’s back to the basics of fruits, vegetables and lots of water to get the beachball face deflated. If you’ve made it this far and got through the morning’s dose of silliness – as well as casual talks of childhood trauma – then I want to thank you for stopping by my section of the internet. I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead of you.

Yours in running and life,


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