This is my contribution to Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday . . .
Any discussion about weight for me has to start with a few basic truths: (1) I like treats. A lot. (2) I feel like I have spent much of my life obsessing about my weight.
When I first started running back in college, it was to lose weight. Somewhere along the way, that has stopped being the goal and now I run for the sake of running (and enjoy all of the rewards that go along with it). My thoughts about running and weight have gone from, "I better run and starve myself so I can lose weight." to "I'm running a lot, so I can eat whatever I want." and finally to "Food is my fuel. I need to eat the best I can so I can run the best I can."
After a lot of trial and error, I've come to feel that my ideal running weight is one at which I can run without feeling like total crap (most days -- some days are just bad days and it doesn't matter how much you weigh) and maintain that weight without thinking about food all the time. Because if I am obsessing about what I eat, or thinking about how much I want "forbidden foods," I am miserable. And I run to feel better about myself, not worse.
I've discovered that I feel the best, and run the best, when I eat a diet that is high in protein and calcium (I drink milk for my post-run recovery drinks), cut out fried foods, and get in as many fruits and veggies as possible. And, of course, eat my treats. I know that I could lose 10 pounds if I counted calories religiously and restricted my diet (because I've done it before). But I've come to accept that the healthiest weight for me is one that also keeps my mental health intact -- and that means keeping food from being my enemy.