Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eight Pounds Down - How Am I Doing It?

It's no secret that I am really Type-A. It's also no secret that I have a tendency to choose one focus and become involved 100% with it. I've had a history of about 8-10 pound weight swings because I seem to have the ability to focus on EITHER fitness OR food. Never both.

I'm lucky that when I gain/lose weight, I don't look too much different. Or maybe I'm wrong and no one has the nerve to tell me so. Anyway.

Clearly this year has been the year of the half tri. It was all I thought about, cared about, trained for. And as a result, I gained weight. Biked for 3 hours and ran 10 miles? Eat a pizza. Why not?! Yeah, no. And thus, I found myself miserably out of shape after my race (One day, I will shut up about the half. Today isn't that day.)

I had a few half hearted attempts: I tried to go back to my 100% clean diet. Fail. I tried calorie counting. Epic fail. I put it off one day, then another day, and the more I did that, the more I put off getting back to off season training. Fun fact - off season training is not actually code for "sit on your ass." The more you know.

I finally admitted that perhaps I was going about things wrong. Perhaps I had no idea what I was doing. Perhaps, it was time to put my negative experience with nutritionists behind me and seek out help. If working with Coach T could keep me in line on my training, perhaps if I found someone who was equally as awesome in nutrition, they could keep me in line on my eating.

I use Twitter to find Coach T, so science says I could find a nutritionist in the same fashion.

Thankfully, the people behind Fatfluential responded to my cry for a nutrition specialist with experience with endurance athletes and introduced me to Christine.

I sent her an honest email:
"I am, for better or worse, a little type A when it comes to training and planning...but I lack much experience in the way of nutrition. I've done the calorie counting thing until I realized that (surprise!) lean cuisines are NOT particularly healthy for ou and my mile times began to suffer. I did a really strict diet...until I realized that I was letting my diet direct everything I did and was totally miserable."
I got the response that made me commit to 6 months of counseling with her:
"Type A people know how to set goals and follow through, it's just a matter of knowing which goal to set with nutrition. There is so much conflicting info out there and some of it works, but most of it doesn't." 
I just wanted someone to cut through the bullshit. And Christine did. I need someone to hold me accountable, and Christine does. She actually tweeted at me to put down a donut. Brave. It doesn't hurt that she is an accomplished endurance athlete. I felt like she knew what I was talking about even though I am no where near as badass as she is.

We talk every other week for an hour - but her twitter presence will strike fear into my heart when I think about a cookie that I don't really want. Our conversations have built from the foundation up - what kind of fuel produces what results? What does my body want? Why? How am I incorrectly interpreting what my body says it wants? And dear God, what do I eat?

We started super simple. Half of my lunch/dinner became greens over night. Magically. I lost some weight. Then we went about bringing grains down. Funny, I feel not-so-bloated and not-so-tired.

I made "nutrition tiers." Essentially, I have three "levels" of my eating habits. The vacation/celebrations level - I can have 2 "splurge" meals, but I stick with my half-greens and hydration. I have my "main" diet, where I have 1 splurge meal a week and am dedicated to my greens being at least half of my diet and I try to keep grains at 0-2 per day. For my super clean/race week/getting sick diet, I cut out all splurge meals and stick with 0-1 grains a day. And I drink the left over water from making my greens. Trust me, it just tastes like strong tea. It's not so bad.

I've been bad about starting my food journal since getting laid off, but that is something we're starting, as is a breakfast experiment that I promise to start doing as well.

I've hit my 1 month goals:
- 5 pound weight loss (I wanted to feel "not puffy")
- Go-to list for cravings - sweet? and orange and 10 dark chocolate chips, salty? celery and hummus or a little peanut butter
- Have an "off-season" training diet

My three month goals are already in reach:
- 10-15 pound weight loss
- Modify diet for "beginning of season" training
- Reduce eliminate cravings

The moral of this story is four-fold -

First, greens are golden. Even if you're going to splurge, if you eat the greens, you'll eat less of the splurge food, more of the greens.

Second, it takes two weeks to "want" to stick with the diet, but if you can make it past the first two weeks, the diet propagates itself. I found myself craving greens.

Third, it IS possible to lose weight while training. Absolutely possible. My training has gotten exponentially better. I sleep better. I WANT to train more.

Fourth, Christine is the best person in the entire world.

When I stepped on the scale today, I was totally blown away. Down 8 pounds. I literally got off the scale, checked that it zeroed out, then stepped on it again. I even did basic math using my phone because I didn't believe 8 pounds. But I did it. And man does it feel good and sustainable.

Keep me accountable readers. I don't want to be back where I started ever again.


  1. Ok. Two questions. What counts as greens? And...what is the purpose behind drinking the water you cooked them in? More vitamins?
    Good work on starting a really healthy lifestyle change. I like it!

    1. Haha I had the SAME questions. I count greens as any "leafy" thing - plus other veggies that are literally green. There is so much broccoli in this house, it's unreal.

      Drinking the water helps you get the vitamins, etc. that you lose when boiling - but it's also a really good supplement when you're sick/getting sick - I assume for the same reasons. I'll have to ask Christine specifically.