Monday, February 18, 2008

The Weighting Game

Hello! I'm excited about my first post to Go Team Schmitty. And I hope this blog adventure is more successful than my last (which consisted of writing to no one but myself about the ins and outs of nutrition...good topic, it just gets boring talking to yourself, ya' know?). Since I am the left-brained triathlete ("Coach, where's my schedule? I need to plan, plan, plan!") to Jonathan's right-brained triathlete, hopefully this blog will give everyone a well-rounded look into the life of two amateur (very amateur, mind you) triathletes.

Today's post is about the haunting topic of weight loss. No, I didn't make a New Year's Resolution to lose the pounds, in fact I haven't had to worry about my weight for the last seven years. Sure, when I was growing up I went on one of those "seven day" diets that have you eating tuna straight out of the can for lunch (yuck!); and when I was in college I gained the "Freshman Fifteen" (uhhhh...Fifty). But I thought those days were behind me. When we moved to Chicago and I got into endurance sports (starting with the Chicago Marathon in 2002) I leaned out. And what's more, I was pretty much able to eat whatever I wanted. Most of you know I try to stay true to a gluten-free diet, which helps, and a "bad day" for me constitutes a turkey burger at TGIFriday's, but I could generally eat as much semi-healthy food as I wanted without gaining a pound. Until the stress fracture.

A severe femoral stress fracture in my left leg. This happened in November 2006 and I was forced to lay off of running for four months and my time in the other disciplines (swimming and biking) was severely limited. I didn't change my diet because I never thought about my diet! But by the time I recovered, I had gained nearly 10 pounds. I thought forsure it would melt off as soon as I made my return to running. It didn't. Suddenly losing the weight became much more difficult; it haunted me day in and day out. I even went to see a sports nutritionist who broke down daily calories and the carb/protein/fat mix for me. It didn't really help. Until two weeks before my half-ironman, I decided to stop focusing on the weight and start focusing on the race. Magically, the pounds melted off and I was back down to my "fighting" weight just in time for the race.

Fast forward to this year. I put some of the pounds back on after triathlon season, while I was "just" training for the Disney marathon. Post-marathon, I took a much-needed break from the sport and managed to top out around 125, a good 10 lbs higher than where I should be for race season. I've gone clean again on wheat, I've DRASTICALLY reduced my Starbucks intake (which is a post for another time...I'm an addict) and I've been logging what I eat every day. What's the result of all of this? A 2-pound weight gain and I can't.stop.thinking.about.food. I'm famished. All the time. And I can't tell how much of it is real and how much of it is an obsession. I can't take a bite without thinking about calorie content first. Eating is no longer fun, it's painful. And forget restaurant food...I definitely can't track the calories there.

As triathletes, we need food to fuel the machine. We should eat nutrient dense foods that will result in a higher level of performance. We need to fuel up before workouts and recover well afterward. Everything else will take care of itself. So, I think it's time for me to take a step back and think about how I approach my meals/snacks from now on. Is it really about a high school diet based on calories? Or is it more about making sure I'm fueling my body for all I ask of it day in and day out? I'm pretty sure this left-brained girl knows the answer to that question. Now I just need to throw out my scale and convince myself that THESE are numbers that really don't matter.

Now, what's for lunch?!

-Her

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