Dieticians, nutritionists and other diet gurus be warned. I am going to offend you, and I don’t care.
I am a fan of the foodbaby. At least, in certain circumstances.
Just so we’re clear on the term: A “foodbaby” is that wondrous pooch in your tummy that occurs when you’ve sat down to a meal and absolutely gorged yourself stupid. That feeling you get after Thanksgiving, when the belt comes off and the first button on your pants becomes undone? Or your pants are shucked entirely for something with a stretchy waist? That’s caused by the bloat of the foodbaby, making anyone – regardless of gender – look about 5 months pregnant.
I can see the calorie counters and diet Nazis clawing their eyes out right now. So let me provide some context as to why the foodbaby is acceptable in certain circumstances.
Let’s say you and some buds just spent a tough 12 hours on the trail, ascending/descending some 5,000 vertical feet, eating nothing but trail food, while climbing that really tough peak you all have been eying for a year. Upon a successful summit and descent, the time of day dictates dinner. You all have probably burned somewhere north of 4,000 calories that day, you’re dog tired and in desperate need of real sustenance. And there is, after all, some cause for celebration after a successful summit.
Somewhere, in a nearby mountain town, is a place that makes great pizzas. Or burgers. Or whatever. Off you go, with your friends, to demolish a massive dinner no one in their right mind would do otherwise unless they had no regard for their health or physique. And it’s all washed down with a pint or two of whatever brew is on tap.
Foodbabies for all. Along with the massive caloric intake, fellowship is had, stories retold, congrats are shared. Despite the aches and pains, everyone will sleep well tonight thanks to the effort exerted and the grub being digested.
Think of it as something akin to a pride of lions tearing into a fresh kill, then eating all they can before flopping out on the grassy surface of the savanna. They earned that one, they ate that one, and they’re enjoying the sleepy success of their hunt.
Can you envision a similar situation for a group of friends who just ran a marathon? Or an ultra? Or an Ironman? Heck yeah. They’ve earned that gastrointestinal paunch. But in my opinion, accomplishment doesn’t have to be the threshold for foodbaby acceptability.
A trail running group I ran with for several months routinely gathers for post-run burritos, tacos and beer. Again, lots of calories burned, lots of fellowship enjoyed, lots of calories consumed. Win. Win. Win.
My latest foray into foodbaby nirvana occurred after a 10-mile training run. I had a sensible breakfast, hydrated, waited for everything to settle down and took off.
When I finished, I came home, made a quick smoothie, showered and took a nap. But with only 700 calories consumed and more than 1,000 burned, my body was begging for its own private wildebeest.
I obliged. A massive dinner followed. Probably 2,000 calories massive. Foodbaby heaven.
Here’s the kicker: Within an hour, that stuffed-to-the-gills feeling subsided as my muscles greedily absorbed every calorie. I can promise you, I won’t gain a pound for all my dinner table exuberance.
Too many people indulge too heavily when they eat. It’s why the U.S. is the pudgiest country on earth, why we’re setting an unfortunate pace for things like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. We eat too much and move too little, and what we eat and drink is working to make sure our years are shortened.
But I’m giving myself a pass on this one. I don’t eat my problems, I don’t eat just to eat. Enjoying that massive meal after a victorious climb, race or just a particularly grueling training session suits me just fine.
Scold me if you will, diet-mongers. Chances are I’ll just be licking my chops like a lion getting ready to take a post-kill siesta. I just won’t care.
On Twitter @RMHigh7088