Skewing Proportion Size

I really enjoy going to diners.  As odd as this sounds, diners have taught me a lot of things.  I was thinking a lot about a salad I ordered at the last diner I went too.  There were two options of the Greek salad meal.  There was a small or large.  Generally I always order a large salad.  I have found that I’m hungrier (due to running) then a small.  There has never been a situation that I have honestly second guessed or regretted a large of anything.  (What is the worst that can happen…having to take it home?)

When my large salad arrived it wasn’t as large as I anticipated.  In fact, I finished the entire thing rather easily. I wasn’t still hungry afterwords but wasn’t full either.  What is the definition of large anyways?

My large and someone elses large could be completely different (TWSS).

It made me realize how much running and working out had skewed my perception of proportion size.  It’s not a secret if you are running high mileage; you need to eat a fair amount.  If you don’t, you aren’t going to excel.   You cannot get away on eating copius amount of vegetables and low calorie food.  For me personally, there have been multiple times I’ve consumed a 1000 calorie salad and not been completely stuffed.  For the majority of the population that is half their daily calorie intake and they would be full for hours afterwords.

Running and working out has really skewed my idea of meal proportions.  Now that I’m not running and I can see that.  I find myself not as hungry quite often.  I’m not longer continously eating or snacking.  My body doesn’t need those extra calories.

I must say it’s a weird feelingNow I am finding that 1000 calorie meals are just going to make me bloated and sick.  I don’t need that many calories right now.  I can see the true definition of small, medium and large meals and not my skewed perception (a runner’s perception I guess).

Anyways back to that salad.  The large salad wasn’t that big when the waitress brought it out.  (May 600 calories or so) but it filled me up.  It made me realize that while a salad might not seem large to me, my view of food is skewed because of working out.  To the average person, that is plenty of food.

Question for you: What has working out and running changed your view about? 


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  1. running has definitely skewed(or opened my eyes) my perspective of time. I know that in an hour or so I can get a decent run in. I always plan my mornings based on the time I need to run.

    When not running, I actually find myself getting less done in the day. My perspective of time changes and I don’t think i can get a lot done in an hour.

  2. I definitely know what you mean about portion sizes. I feel like I eat more than all my friends, and it can be weird. A meal that seems just perfectly filling to me might seem HUGE to them.

    Running has definitely skewed what I view exercise intensity as. My mom came to visit me last week here in Philly, and while she’s not overweight, she is sedentary, and I didn’t realize how difficult all the walking would be for her. She had trouble walking ~2 miles at a time, and would wake up the next day incredibly sore… while I’m used to running about 5 miles in the morning, walking somewhere between 3-7 miles throughout the day just to get around, and sometimes adding a strength training session onto that. We definitely had to adjust our plans to avoid walking as much.

  3. Ditto to Erin’s first sentence.

    Running has skewed my view of age. Several people in my running group are over 60 and they often kick the youngsters’ butts. There is a seriously competitive over-60 group of runners in Massachusetts (maybe elsewhere too). It is eye-opening to compare my mother (just turned 70), who seems like an 90 year old because she doesn’t exercise at all, to these people who are running laps of a track and miles on the road. As a result, the fit over-60 peoples’ minds are clearer and the different ages of our group become completely insignificant because we are all of like-minds and youthful. It hurts me to see older people who are NOT in shape and wasting their lives just going through the motions. Seeing healthy older people is a reminder of the good that exercise and movement can do for us.

  4. Now that I run frequently and at a high mileage, I’m just hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I eat enough, sometimes more, than necessary and yet very rarely feel “full”!

    1. I can relate to that completely! When I was running high mileage, I would have to get 4 million course meals to feel full LOL.

  5. Running has skewed my perception on age too, but in a good way. I have friends who are in their 60s and still running… running fast too! Plus it has changed my friendships, I have friends who are a lot older than me and friends who are a lot younger than me, we all run and that kinda connects us.

    Typically I go for the large salad if I’m only having the salad. If I’m having the salad and something else (like soup, slice of pizza, etc), I get the smaller one. I’ve had a few large salads that were not very large too… and some small salads that were huge. All depends on the restaurant.

  6. The biggest difference that I notice when I’m working out a lot, vs a “normal” amount of exercise, or little exercise, is what my hunger feels like. When I’m not exercising too much (a couple off days in a row, or light days), I find it much easier to manage my hunger, and am able to wait to eat. (for example let’s say that I am hungry for dinner at 5, but have to wait until 6 when it’s ready). However, when I’m doing heavy training (lots of cardio, mainly), I have learned that I have to eat that snack before dinner when I’m hungry immediately, or my energy levels really drop.
    So, a lot of the time when I sit down to meals with friends or family, I’ll often eat the same portion size as them, however, this is because I’ve already had my appetizer/snack/dinner-warmup.

  7. Everything haha. It’s taught me how to live again and love myself….it’s shown me how to eat like a human being again and to let go of the guilt that used to be associated with eating what I wanted instead of what I thought I should have. And it’s definitely skewed my idea of a portion size haha…but that’s ok because I needed that 🙂

  8. I think everyones portions sizes are different and then the world tells you what size meat based on ur palm,pointer finger, and index finger divided by two. Haha just kidding. Although that would be funny. Hope you are healing up and have a wiick recovery 🙂

  9. When I was running a lot I felt like I was eating all the time! I notice that I’m much hungrier on cardio days. I don’t necessarily eat bigger meals but I feel like I eat more often!

  10. I’ve found that hanging out with ultra runners has really messed with how I perceive long runs. When my crazy friends talk about their 27 mile training runs, that no longer seems insane to me. Granted I never want to do it, but it helps make my 16 mile training runs seem manageable. Not that I ever run that far anymore!

    1. Agreed! I’m not even a marathoner, and when my Ultra friends pace Marathons as a training run…. well, I’m inspired.

  11. haha – I love this! And it is so true – I have lost all proportion of food quantities, time, age, and so on based on my running.

    I integrated MyFitnessPal with my Garmin account, and while I am not doing food tracking, seeing numbers of 4000+ calories to burn based on my running … is a reminder of what my ‘quick little runs’ are really about!

    Speaking of which – I spent nearly 20 years running about 15 miles per week, enough to keep my weight down and not be a major time commitment. Now I have run 50+ miles for nearly all of the last ~120 weeks … and that takes TIME (and fuel), and my family calls me on things when I say ‘oh yeah, just an easy 10 miles) … haha

  12. OK….so funny thing is that I usually eat a lot more on my day off! I think it is just boredom or something…or maybe it is in my head…but I feel like on my day off I am just snacking all day long! On really hard runs or half and full marathon races I am usually less hungry that day and just ravenous the next day (especially for marathons)!

  13. My sister has been living with me the past few weeks, which has made me realize how skewed my food perceptions have become. When I look at her dinner plate, I think, “oh, what a cute appetizer.” But she’s not swimming, biking, and running everyday. And everyone at work runs too (obviously), so I have no real sense of normalcy. That being said, though, I do notice I’m not as hungry on my off days and when I’m tapering.

  14. This is interesting since restaurant portions usually tend to be double or triple the size of a normal meal. But then, what constitutes the size of a normal meal? I guess that is something that different from person to person.

  15. Back home when I was running 60 miles a week, I would eat a dinner that had like a bucket of rice, two fish fillets, veggies, and then have a large slice of cake. That was normal for me every night. I didn’t realize how much I ate until my dad came home (who has a physical job and it a big dude) stopped eating when he saw my plate. He didn’t understand how I ate like 2000 calories just for dinner. My brother was amazed too. He’s like, you eat like a cow.

    I can’t wait to be the runner I once was so I can eat a lot again.

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