Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dropping Pounds

I'm not overly weight obsessed (although my husband may tell you differently).  But I am 5 foot, 3 (and-a-half!) inches with a petite frame, so every extra pound makes a huge difference.....especially when you are trying to ride your bike up hills for 112 miles.

A more youthful and slender version of me.
I grew up a ballet dancer and was very aware of my weight and body image for most of my life.  And for most of my childhood and teenage years I was able to maintain a weight under 110 lbs.  Then came college.  I went off the deep end.  Couldn't care less what I ate.  Didn't exercise, other than doing keg stands (hey! it takes a lot of strength to do a handstand on a keg while chugging beer at the same time!).  I gained the Freshman 15 - and then some - and hit an all-time high by the time I graduated and joined the work force.  When I realized I needed to become more responsible, I was able to get the weight under control and was easily able to float around 115 lbs for many years.  And then I started getting older...

Despite my increasing love for endurance sports - and therefore an increasing number of hours spent swimming/biking/running - my weight has gradually increased over the past five years, topping out at 138.6 (ok, maybe I am weight obsessed) a little more than a year ago.  During my IM training last year, I was so hungry all the time that I didn't pay attention to what I was eating at ALL and was probably one of the few people that actually gained weight during IM training!  When I decided to sign up for an IM again this year, it was also with the commitment to get my weight down to a manageable level so I wouldn't be as prone to injury and perhaps could even get a little faster.  I set the goal to get below 130 lbs. before the start of the IM training program in February.

I can now say that I've finally met that goal (one month late but who cares!) and am thrilled with the progress I am making.  I feel fitter (even more so than after last year's Ironman!), have more energy and have increased confidence.  I've been very patient with the journey and feel like I have finally found a nutrition plan (yes, I was focused on weight loss, but this was NOT an extreme diet) that works for me and that I can maintain as a lifestyle for a long time to come.  Here are the keys to my success:

1 - Cutting back on my beloved Starbucks. I adore the white and green cup.

I actually feel happier when I am sitting at my desk with this cup. THAT IS A PROBLEM.  I broke the addiction (6-7x per week!...that's a lot of empty calories) and now only allow myself a Starbucks treat 1x/week (tall, not grande) and on weekends (when my training volume is sky high).
2 - Strength training!  To gain lean muscle mass and therefore increase metabolism.  I have seen drastic changes in my body and have no doubt that strength training is a key reason for my weight loss success.
3 - Bringing my breakfast/lunch to work 98% of the time. Most of last year I was buying breakfast and lunch out nearly every day.  Not only is it bad for my wallet, but it was terrible for my weight gain!  I now plan ahead (not going to lie, it takes lots of planning) and bring breakfast/lunch/snacks with me every day, in the handy California Innovations lunch bag my brother-in-law gave me for Christmas (thanks Dave!).  Being in control of everything you put in your mouth ensures you know how many calories you are getting and equally as important, the quality of calories you are ingesting.
4 - Counting calories. Speaking of calories....I have been not only tracking them every day on The Daily Plate at Livestrong.  But I also have support from a friend of mine at Beginner Triathlete, and we've been "reporting" our daily calorie intake to each other.  Tracking the calories keeps me honest (and also helps me ensure I'm getting enough calories on high volume training days), but reporting my calorie intake keeps me REALLY honest!
5 - Going gluten free. I was diagnosed with non-Celiac gluten sensitivity about 6 years ago.  When I ingest gluten I end up bloated and puffy and my body holds onto weight.  Gluten free works for me.  Since it's a hot (and somewhat controversial) topic these days, I'll do a separate post on this one in the next couple of weeks.
6 - Allowing myself "treats." I have a sweet tooth.  Cutting out all sugar or "treats" is never going to work for me.  So I allow myself treats - whether it's a chocolate/peanut butter cup or french fries.  But I must balance it with my food intake for the rest of the day and make sure I'm burning enough calories that day that it won't completely throw me off track.  The hubby can attest to the fact that I ate thousands of calories worth of gluten free cupcakes and doughnuts while we were on vacation.  But we walked so much, and I didn't go overboard during my other meals, so I was able to pretty much maintain my weight the entire time.

Now that I'm on the other side of 130, I have my sights set on my next goal.  But as Ironman training really ramps up, I realize I have to be VERY careful to fuel my body appropriately.  I'll keep you posted as I strive to hit my "race weight" before the season officially begins in June!

What are your best tips for maintaining a healthy weight?  I'd love to hear them!


**NOTE: I am not a doctor or registered dietitian.  All views are based on my own experience and everyone's results may vary.  Please consult a doctor before starting any weight loss plan.

No comments: