Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What? I Can't Eat Whatever I Want?!

I used to think since I'm training for an Ironman, I can eat whatever I want. Afterall, I'm constantly burning calories, and I'm ALWAYS ravenous. (I call my appetite "The Beast"). However, this year, I noticed after countless milkshakes, cheeseburgers, fries, and chocolate croissants, I had gained a few pounds. "Ah, it's muscle," I convinced myself. But I couldn't deny that my waistband had grown more snug.

Finally, I couldn't ignore the simple fact any longer (afterall, I work in the obesity field; it's kind of hard not to notice when you gain fat around here). I decided to buckle down and get to work. What? I have to worry about nutrition? The OTHER 50% of the equation. Oh, yeah. That.

Last year, I went to a nutritionist who specializes in triathlon training ( However, I was more concerned about race-day nutrition than day-to-day stuff. BORING! Now, I pulled out her detailed notebook, with a customized Ironman nutrition plan, just for moi. Second, I began keeping a food journal. I added up the calories at the end of the day, and figured out my net total (calories in-calories out). I was looking for a negative number. I remembered to include my workouts! ( is great for this but there are many calorie-tracking websites out there). I didn't get too discouraged when my net number wasn't 0 or negative every day. Instead, I focused on overall changes for the whole week. For instance, after a heavy training weekend, it takes 3-5 days for the body to reover and replace the glycogen stores. Therefore, the calorie intake may exceed calorie output over the next few days but by the end of the week, the body should have regained homeostasis.

Anyway, keeping a food diary has kept me honest. I think twice before putting something into my body, knowing I have to document it. I plan ahead of time so I can eat 5-6 smaller meals frequently throughout the day. The key to eating healthy is to never get too hungry. I eat every ~2 hours. My body is very high maintenance! Since I've started doing this (about 5 weeks ago), I've lost 5 lbs and gained a lot of energy. Plus, my sensitive tummy is feeling 100% better. That's worth healthy eating any day!

Finally, to make sure my focus is on the right track, I leave you with this:
"If it was all about weight then there'd be a scale instead of a finish line"
-- Scott Molina

My Previous Posts on Nutrition:]

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Caroline said...

Love the nickname "beast" for the appetite, haha!!

The writing it all down really does work - at WW we say, "you bite it, you write it".

Way to go on the 5 lbs!!!!

Diana said...

I actually started to drop more weight too once I increased my meals to every couple of hours! It's been 120lbs later and all is well, still looking to shed another 35 and then I'm maintenance for life!

beth said...

nice work- way to focus on it. i really need to start writing down what i eat. i pick at EVERYTHING and am constantly eating. i need to stop being such a snackaholic!
anyhow- keep us posted on your progress- not that you have any more to lose!

untpawgal02 said...

I need to start doing what you are doing... and that is everything you are doing with your nutrition. Its hard to stay focused on what you are eating when your eating all the time. Nice job on staying focused and determined to keep at your plan :)

Anonymous said...

Ok I think it is so LAME that we can't eat whatever we want when we train! How un-fair is that?!?!? I did the same thing a few months ago. The writing it really helps! I have dropped 8lbs, but I think we are still allowed to splurg every once and a while!

Kelli said...

Hmmm keeping a food journal sounds like a good idea. I too have the same problems with training like a mad-man but also eating like one. I do eat every two hours and that helps a ton but I think I overeat every two hours.

LG said...

i've been struggling with the same thing lately, i feel like i used to have it in check and then i convinced myself the weight gain was because i was training longer and harder and now that i feel so much stronger it must be muscle - yeah right. sigh.

hstryk said...

I use for my training and nutrition log. I love it. It has most of the foods in there, and you can easily add stuff that's not in the database. Since I'm on the computer all day for work, I just add the foods as I eat and it tracks fat, carbs, protein and sodium for you. It also helps to track an estimate of calories burned per exercise.

Renee said...

Love, love, love your last quote! I do agree that it is unfair that you cannot eat whatever you want when you train as hard as you do!

Benson said...

Good on ya. Great news on your good health.
I like this post.
Most of us know what 'junk' food is so just don't eat it. I know that sounds oversimplified but I'm a guy and I'm simple.
Eating all you want of healthy food is the way to go.

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