Coming to A Head

Coming to A Head

volcanoLife is kind of coming to a head right now.  There are so many things that are either ending or beginning in the next few days and I’m finding myself feeling a little stressed out over them, so I thought writing about them might help… :/

First, Deb’s dad has been visiting us for the past month.  He’s such a dear, sweet man and we have really enjoyed having him with us. Tomorrow he heads back to Maryland and we’ll be readjusting to a house of three again.  On one hand, I’m sorry he’s leaving – he’s a cool guy and I like him a lot!  But on the other hand, I need to get back to my routine, and eating at restaurants 3 times per week is NOT part of my routine. He doesn’t get our plant-based eating style (he doesn’t like and won’t eat vegetables), so finding things to eat here at home (when we’re not going out) that will work for all of us has been challenging to say the least.

Second, my training plan for Great Floridian Triathlon begins on Monday, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve really enjoyed my off-season.  I’ve enjoyed lifting again.  I’ve enjoyed just flying by the seat of my pants and doing what I FEEL like doing instead of being so structured. It’s very different from last year when I was chomping at the bit to get to the training.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting back in the training mindset and I’m counting on my body and my mind jumping right back into the groove.

massive-actionThird, the house is still on the market and we are getting antsy to get on with it. There’s no pressure to get it sold, but we’ve found the place we want to move and we’re just anxious to move on to the next stage of the adventure.

Fourth, Unrealogical has gone to the publisher and we’ve already gone through the first round of content review with the legal eagles and are now waiting for phase #2, and that’s a little nerve wracking.

3HUFifth, I start Round #3 of Swim Bike Fuel next week (or Round #1 of 3HU, depending on how you want to look at it) and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to really GET IT RIGHT this time.  I’ve had great results with both of the previous rounds, but I get a little loose with the rules sometimes and I really want this to be a “third time’s the charm” type of thing.

excitementSo, lots going on and I just feel stressed out.  I’ve been using all my tools, but my stomach feels all knotted up and I can’t seem to unravel it.  Right here, in this moment, I am VERY uncomfortable.  And when this happens, I get excited, because it usually means I’m on the verge of some major life shift.  Something is out there looming on the horizon – something big – I just can’t quite see it yet.

Stay tuned…

Free Week Trepidation

nervousToday at 4:00pm begins a time that I look forward to with all my heart three times per year… FREE WEEK!!

What is Free Week, you ask?

Oh, Christmas is awesome, but Free Week really IS the most wonderful time(s) of the year!

Free Week is a 7 day period where the nutrition and exercise rules go out the window.  There are no food restrictions, calorie restrictions, carb restrictions, timing restrictions, blah, blah, blah, and there are absolutely no scheduled workouts.

In the past, I have looked forward to Free Week because the wine flows freely, we eat out at least once per day, we go to Starbucks a bunch, I cook/bake all manner of yummy deliciousness.  And for 7 blissful days we spike our calories and reset our metabolism for the next 16 weeks of the year.

But today I am filled with trepidation.

I have made so many fantastic changes over the past 4 months that have lead to a leaner, stronger, healthier version of me and I’m nervous about what throwing caution to the wind may do to that progress.

food-benderNervous?  Okay, seriously, I’m scared shitless!!

What if I can’t get it back under control on January 1st?

What if I step on the scale on January 1st and found that I’ve gained back every pound that I released over the past 4 months?

What if…

What if…

So, I have a plan!

I am going to enjoy my Free Week.

bring-itI am putting away my watch and my food journal and my scale and I will enjoy my week – it’s Christmas, for heaven’s sake!!!

But there are 2 3 rules:

  1. No wine!  I’ve come too far to go back now!
  2. Free Week is not a contest to see how much crap I can load into my body over a 7 day period!  If I truly want something I will have it, but I will stick with the exceptional – why even bother with the ordinary?
  3. If I do feel like I’ve just completely overdone it or that I can’t go one more minute without some physical activity, I will go for a run walk on the beach.

I know I can make this the best Free Week ever and be ready to hit training HARD come January 1st!

Bring it!!

Nutrition Strategies

Nutrition-Strategies_864x576_0x260“Nutrition Strategies…”  That sounds so academic (snort).  I have had some people contact me and ask me what/how I eat. To answer that question, I need to give a little background.

Until very recently, I had an adversarial, unhealthy relationship with food.  I used it to reward (and punish) myself.  I’ve binged, I’ve purged, I’ve restricted, I’ve given up – you name it, I’ve done it.

And I thought I was this big genius when it came to dieting – I knew every rule of every diet out there.

yoyoAnd yet, I kept yo-yo’ing up and down the scale – up 10, down 5, up 15, down 5, up 20, down 10 – and the trend over time was that I just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I was the epitome of the “information-action” gap – I had all the knowledge socked away in my brain, but I sucked at putting that knowledge into daily, consistent action in my life.

About 4 years ago, I made some radical changes in my nutrition when Deb and I got together and it made a big difference.  I dropped bunch of weight initially and then got stuck – and then started inching upwards again.

However, for the first time in my life, I felt more in control of my intake.  I wasn’t binging late at night anymore, I wasn’t restricting to compensate for the binges.  And I was active (which was a first).

So, fast-forward to April of this year.  I decided to train for this triathlon thing out of the blue after reading an article in Fitness magazine.  Sure, triathlon, I’m gonna do THAT.  So I trained and I raced and I fell in love.

But I discovered that I was not fueling my body correctly.  After my first sprint tri, I met with a Wellness Coach because I felt like at the volume I was training and the supposed number of calories I was burning, I SHOULD be losing weight, but I wasn’t.

She took a look at my food logs and my exercise journals and her eyes got big and she told me I was not eating nearly ENOUGH.  WHAT????

She suggested that I raise my daily calories from 1,300-1,500/day to 2,200-2,500/day.

That scared the hell out of me.  “Uhm, I’m GAINING weight.  How is eating MORE supposed to help me release the grease?”

It’s funny how we cling to illusions – how we take pieces of information that we have gathered and hold them as truth and refuse the give them up – even when they are producing the exact opposite of the desired result!  Well, that’s how I was with weight loss.

My TRUTH was that you had to eat less to weigh less, period.

However, I was striving to be coachable, so I took a leap of faith.  I started eating more – quite a bit more (~2,200 calories per day – I am 5’5″, 48 years old, and weighed ~156 lbs. at this time).

I kept exercising and training.

I switched up my supplementation a bit (mostly by adding B-Complex and BCAA supplements).

And my weight started to go down – slowly, but down.

eat-cleanThen, at the end of August I saw a video about preservatives in food, chemicals in processed foods, and artificial sweeteners that really freaked me out.  I showed the video to Deb and it freaked her out too.  We made a decision to clean up our diet.

Now, I believe we already ate better that 90% of the population, but I still put Truvia in my coffee and tea and we ate plenty of processed foods.  But just like that, we stopped.

And guess what happened?

I lost 12 pounds in 3 months once we started eating clean!!  All of a sudden I could see all these muscles in my arms, back, and abs as the fat began to melt away.  My performance in my training improved greatly!  It was awesome!!!

Sorry, this post got longer than I intended.

So, how do I eat?  It’s pretty simple.

  • 6 meals per day
  • 1st meal of the day is a meal replacement shake
  • Last meal of the day is a protein shake
  • I eat lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day
  • I limit carbs (not eliminate, but limit) after 3pm
  • I eat meat, but mostly chicken and fish (red meat once in a while, but not even weekly – more like monthly)
  • If I eat a processed food it may not have more than 5 ingredients and I have to be able to pronounce them all
  • I have eliminated sugar, wheat, and dairy from my diet 6 out of 7 days per week (this was hard because I LOVE bread and cheese)
  • One day each week (usually Saturday) we have a “Free Day” where the rules go out the window and I eat what I want (usually includes chocolate and/or bacon).  The Free Day is not all day food binge, but a day when I can have a couple of treats that I might be missing or craving.
  • I drink half my body weight in water each day, plus 20% to account for workouts and 20% to compensate for climate (I live in Florida and even in December, it’s hot here), so ~ 112 oz per day.

This is a good strategy for me – I do not feel deprived, I have more energy, sleep better, think better, have more endurance, and perform better than I perhaps EVER have.  And for the first time in my life, I feel like I am eating to live, rather than living to eat. I view the food I eat as a source of fuel for my engine and that the higher the octane in, the better I will perform – good stuff in, good stuff out… garbage in, garbage out.

Just eating clean, real food – who knew?

Sometimes there is a lot to be gained (lost) by throwing your long held truths to the wind and trying a new approach.