That is the question. And your response answers what kind of runner you are. If you run to eat, then you’ve got this love of food that you are acknowledging is out of control so you have to run to make sure you can still fit through doorways and in amusement park rides. If you eat to run, then you’re a serious runner who considers all food from the perspective of “How will this affect my run/training/recovery?” and if it doesn’t fit then you don’t eat it.
There are grades in between, sure. But you’re basically one or the other. At my fittest in recent years, logging 30 miles a week, I was eating to run. That meant my breakfast on a Saturday was a banana, almonds, and protein powder after a 10 mile 6am run. Now that I’ve been running to eat, well, let me just say that cookie dough and chips do not a marathoner make.
It’s frustrating that you can’t eat whatever you want just because you’re running. I think I’d probably have to be logging around 55 miles a week at my age in order to eat with abandon and make pizza and beer the base of my food pyramid. Until that day comes, I need to watch what I eat. I need to be mindful of daily calories and especially fat content. The vegan kick I went on was a pretty decent attempt to reign myself in, but then I went out of town for 2 weeks and eating grocery store tofu out of my hotel room every meal was making me puke. Side note – don’t go vegan unless you have access to a kitchen at all times.
Fact is, I don’t like being a heavy runner. It doesn’t work. But until I get my mileage up to where it starts burning pounds off, I need to focus on the diet. Eat to run.