“As much as you run, you can eat anything you want.” I wish I had a celery stick for every time someone’s told me that. In truth, this assumption is only partially accurate.
Sure, runners burn a lot of calories. In theory, they can put back a lot. But this formula overlooks a much bigger reality that has to do with the running community’s very view of caloric consumption.
Food can be many things: A friend … a means of comfort … an indulgence … a reward. Most athletes, however, don’t think of it this way. Instead, it’s primarily nutrition. AKA “Fuel”.
In practicality, the scene plays out like this. The runner might want the cheeseburger and fries, but there’s an eight-mile tempo workout on the calendar tomorrow morning. Heavy, greasy stuff will lead to all kinds of complications, some of which are unmentionable, while others include normal consequences like feeling sluggish and the self-loathing that comes from lack of discipline. So it’s grilled chicken breast, a dry sweet potato, and broccoli. No butter please.
After a while, the body stops craving the tasty – I mean horrible – stuff. Clean eating becomes preferable. Mostly.
Granted, this formula doesn’t hold up 100% of the time. Now and then caution is tossed to the wind. Pizza, chicken wings, Philly steak sandwich, ice cream, and whatever make it to the table. But that’s OK. After all, as much as we run, we can eat anything we want.