The Food Thing

I love food. Ohhhhh I love food. It’s SUCH a touchy subject in endurance sports. There’s Paleo, there’s Vegan, there’s the “Gluten isn’t the Devil” camp. There’s the “Gluten is the Devil” camp. There’s the “Organic or Die” camp, and then the “Just wash your fruit and veggies” camp. There’s Food, Inc, there’s the movie about the dude who juices. There’s Biggest Loser on every week, and there’s books like Racing Weight on the market. Heck I came across this list on WebMd…of a whole slew of diets!

Ever heard of “Information Overload?”

I love food and I love to cook. I love chips, and I love broccoli. I love margaritas, and I love mangos. I love spices, I love being in the kitchen, I love making things from scratch. I love the Skratch Labs books, I love the Clean Food books, I love my slow cooker. I love chef knifes, and farmers markets, and exotic looking vegetables. I really love fresh pastured eggs.

So there is definitely a lot of dueling camps on these issues surrounding food, health, and athletics. But I would really like to focus on a few topics. From my perspective there are two areas that have to pay consequences when I put something in my mouth.

—My Health

—My Athletics

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People in the triathlon camp are usually worried about the purple circle. People in the yoga camp are usually worried about the pink circle. Moms are worried about the pink circle. Doctors are worried about the pink circle. My coach is worried about the purple circle (and the pink circle too honestly). I am worried about both, I’m worried about the middle.

Some examples here, because they always hit it home.

In the Purple circle, but NOT in the Pink one…

–Partying after the race, having fun, tossing back beers and pizza. It’s good for your athletics to celebrate accomplishments, cut lose every once in awhile, and stop being so type A.

–gels and gummies, we need them to compete and we need to train with what we will compete with, and they have been engineered to work. Most people use them successfully for athletic purposes.

In the Pink Circle, but NOT in the Purple one…

–Lots of FIBER! Great for health! Greens, legumes, FIBER….!!! Also great for searching for the portapotty on your long run.

–Eating only 3 meals a day. Doctors and moms like this. 3 healthy meals.

The intersection of the two is what I like to research and explore. I think that the closer you get to the middle of the two circles, the better your performance will be. You can only sacrifice health for so long before performance will slip and you can’t do ONLY what’s in the healthy circle as an endurance athlete unless you like the feeling of bonking (it does have it’s own special kind of fun attached to it, doesn’t it?).

If you have clicked over onto my food blog I’ve been having a bit of an experiment the last 27 days. I’ve extended my experiment to 45 days because I’m still learning so much and wasn’t quite ready to end it. The intersection of health and performance is like being a little salmon swimming up river. It seems to involve eating in a way that most triathletes aren’t, and training in a way that most healthy humans aren’t.

I’m far from done with my experiment, and I know that I will never really “arrive” at that particular finish line. It’s more of a passion, than a journey.

In closing though, I will say this. For most people on the triathlete end, or on the health end, the scale has nothing to do with either circles or the space between. Whether what you just ate makes the scale go up or down is a subject that is completely disjointed from the quality of what you just ate, or the performance benefits. My love/hate affair with the scale has proven that. I’ve had good seasons when the scale is high and good seasons when it’s low. The “good” in those seasons was about the QUALITY of food going in my mouth, not the number on the scale.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Seriously, did I even just write that as a title? It’s totally cliche. I feel lame even submitting it to type, but I formulated some thoughts several days ago and have been wanting to share them. The title is lame, but maybe you will find the message to be better.

I read lots of professional triathletes blogs. I admit, I’m kinda a junkee in this area, but I’m just really fascinated by their day in and day out training. Hello, my name is Sonja and I’m addicted to professional triathlete blogs, there is a group, we meet weekly.

One pro that I read recently posted a blog on how he/she needs to be bold, and stop questioning him/herself…etc etc. I have read a post like this before from him/her, and it’s just really hard to believe that such a bad ass pro can feel like “lack of risk taking” is their weakness. I know they have lots of discipline, and maybe I romanticize their life (cause lets be honest, mine rocks pretty hard core too), but lacking risk? Really, racing for $ to pay your bills is a low risk lifestyle?

I really started rolling around in my head this concept of weaknesses. Don’t we all have that one thing that every few months we feel like we’ve circled back around to. We we were doing really well and then it… “degraded” and before we knew it we were back to our old ___insert what you want here___ (ex: non risk taking, overly risk taking, emotional acting, unemotional acting, procrastinating, Type A, overly analytical, under analytical…I can keep going here) ways.

I have found in my life that these “issues” are pesky. They are like Constantina Tomescu-dita. Remember in Spirit of the Marathon how she kept coming back, relentless little thing. Nabbed herself Olympic gold in Beijing as the oldest woman to win the women’s marathon at 38. But I’m off topic now.

Where was I? Pesky! That’s right. So, I have this theory on these pesky traits of ours that keep coming back in our face. In my mind there are only two ways to productively look at them.

ONE: When you love and embrace it, you can part with it. That was a little secret I learned when I struggled for years with weight loss. If you beat yourself up about being overweight, it just never leaves. It wasn’t until I accepted how big I was and where I was at and started to work on things in a positive way that the pounds melted off. It was actually pretty easy once I got my attitude in the right ballpark. No more negative reinforcement, love it, embrace it, and then you can let go of it. Everyones path to this place is different.

TWO: Our strengths are our weaknesses, blah, cliche. But…get this, our weaknesses are our strengths. The above pro triathlete may shy away from risks, but I bet that trait is countered with a damn patient athlete. I bet he/she is calculated and smart about racing actions and tactics, because people that tend to not take risks, also tend to not make stupid mistakes. Believe me, there is always a way to see your weakness for the strength that it brings you.

So, maybe number TWO has something to do with number ONE. Maybe understanding how our perceived negative trait is actually disguised as one of our strengths is the key to accepting it within ourself so that we have the clarity to move past it if we so choose.

Honestly I think labeling “strengths” and “weaknesses” is part of the problem as it judges and compounds the mental hang-ups surrounding those issues. Sure I get it, you swim a 40 minute mile and that’s clearly your weakness. But, maybe that 40 minute mile makes you one badass cyclist and runner because you are chasing down everyone in sight. Maybe if you had never been “given” that 40 min mile you wouldn’t understand just how hard you can go in the other two disciplines. Accepting that 40 minute mile for what it gave you will give you the strength to turn it into a 25. And when that 40 minute mile turns to a 25 you will know something about yourself that you never would have if 25 minutes had been handed to you on a silver platter. Believe me here…

Long winded, but you get my gist. Think about those supposed “weakness” (said with a roll of the eye) and think about what they are giving you, how they are strengths, what you may have lost if you never had them. Now hang on to all that good stuff and use that strength to move beyond, work harder, seek wisdom. Don’t wait for that day in the future where you will look back and understand what it was there for, make that day today.

Holy Bum-Bum

I was furthering along my 100 things challenge, sorting through a box of crafts when I found a long lost pair of pants in the bottom of the bin.

Ahh, these were my favorite pants. They fit really well and I thought that I looked pretty catching in them. I turned them over and there was a PATCHED hole under my left bum-cheek, and an UNPATCHED hole under the right bum cheek. I’m pretty sure that they were in the sewing box so that I could patch the bum, SO THAT I COULD KEEP WEARING THEM.

I got quite the kick out of them before tossing them in the Goodwill bin. I should have taken a picture of the bum area, but they are now happily at the Goodwill.

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Accept…Move On

Some of my triathlon peeps and I went to dinner this evening and we were talking a little bit about weight loss. I got to thinking this evening and realized that I have maintained my weight loss goals for about 18 months now. I can’t believe that I actually made that thing they call “A Lifestyle Change”. It’s been equal parts of more exercise and better eating. A lot of you that read this blog see the current Sonja as the newer thiner version of the Sonja you know, but my triathlon peeps never ever got to know the rounder Sonja. I went searching for a few pics this evening and found some.

In many ways the plumper Sonja is still right there inside of me, and I really enjoyed her. In other ways, I really like the new self confidence that I have found with a fit lifestyle. I found that loving the body I was in was what gave me the permission to release the extra pounds. “You gotta love it to leave it”. I’m not ashamed of these photos, I’m proud of them, proud of what I was able to part with and proud of what I hung on to. It was when I stopped talking down to myself about my weight, and started being proud of who I was that I started getting some traction with weight loss and self acceptance.

My best friend Michelle recently hit her weight loss goals and I am so super proud of her. She has also made the lifestyle change and found “the secret” that doing the right stuff for your body is easy when you do it right (eat enough, exercise enough, find the balance, accept yourself). I’m so proud.

So, without further delay, here are a few pics of the body I used to inhabit.

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Brrrrr…Chilly Willy, and Weight Loss Numbers

It’s been sooooo cold here! Under 10 degrees for the past 4 days. I’m ready for the temps to pick back up. I thought I was sick of the reoccurring snow, but I am more sick of the low temps b/c I don’t feel comfortable taking Annabelle outside at all. On Thursday I had a Mountain Mama hike scheduled and it ended up being so cold that we took the kiddos into the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and held and impromptu playgroup. We had a lot of fun chatting it up in the warm Nature Center, while it looked nasty cold outside!
In other news, I had an appointment with Prudence the dietitian on Monday and I hit my goal weight! 142! The most amazing part is that on 10/2/06 I had 29.5% body fat, and now on 1/8/07 I have 22.4%! That’s a loss of 7.1% body fat! In my case that is 16.3 pounds of fat! I also lost 4.9 pounds of lean muscle mass (the good stuff), but this tends to happen. Apparently we have muscle that supports our excess fat, so when we shed the fat, the lean muscle that supports it doesn’t need to be there either. I went shopping for a new pair of jeans and was able to buy a size 8 at Old Navy. In October I was wearing size 14, so that feels really good. My original goal was 20% body fat and a weight between 140-144. So, now I will continue to work on decreasing my body fat % while trying to build more lean muscle mass. Sometimes you can do this and your weight will actually go up (but body fat down). I am 100% okay with that, so we aren’t going to focus on weight, now just the fat %. To tell you the truth, I am feeling pretty hot to trot. I feel good, I fit into my clothing, and I am loving the new tone I have developed with all the exercise I am doing. I absolutely love going to my new gym (I don’t think I shared that I joined the gym). I do a lot of spin classes which is really building my leg strength, my endurance, and my speed. I love the Palates Mat classes for my core strength, and they have treadmills that have little TVs in them with cable! We don’t have cable, so this is a huge treat. I must admit though, my favorite is that I get to sit in the hot tub that is inside the women’s locker room when my workout is over. The thing is like the size of my living room, and it’s such a treat to relax and let the worries of the day pass over.
I have started putting together a list of all the races that I want to do this summer and it’s getting a bit insane. There are so many possibilities, it’s hard to choose. They all look so fun! Adventure Races, Triathlons, 1/2 marathons, I just know that all of this is possible for me now. I am lucky that Troy is so supportive and loves to come along to races and hang out with Pookette in his arms and cheer me on. Lucky, lucky me!
Ooh, as a last note, apparently channel 9 news showed the following photo of Annie and I on the news several weeks ago. Troy sent it in during the blizzard, and a good friend called several days ago to tell us that she saw us on the news. So here is our famous photo:

Oh Me Oh My I have a Skinny Thigh!

So, due to the fact that up until several weeks ago I weighed the same weight as my two week post pardem visit in Dec 2005, I decided to start seeing a registered dietician. I have been hiking a ton, and everyone told me that the weight would “fly” off with nursing…well, not so with me. Apparently I was to be haunted by the number 164. Yes, i said it…my weight (eeek). So, several weeks ago I got on the ADA website and searched for some RD’s in my area. There were a lot. I looked at each ones website (when I could find them), and I found a group of three women that sounded like they had a good philosophy. I gave them a call, had a long joyful talk with Prudence, and decided to make an appointment. She was enthusiastic about seeing the whole family, getting me going with gentle weight loss, talking to Troy about heart health, and letting Annie play in her slew of healthy food example boxes :). Two weeks later we met with her, and it was awesome. In my pre-baby life I had success with Weight Watchers, but I couldn’t bear to drag myself back there. For some reason I didn’t feel like playing the Weight Watcher game this time around. I wanted to know the facts about healthy nutrition, with no mask of “points”. Prudence was just what I was looking for, and with Annie on her way to weaning (that in another post) it was time to get serious. Prudence tested Troy and I’s body fat %, and our lean body mass, and our base caloric needs. She then used that to give me a calorie threshold to stick to and then broke those calories up into the four meals that Troy and I eat each day (Breakfast, Lunch, Heavy Snack, and Light Dinner), also further breaking our our calories into protein, fat, grains, veggies, fruit and dairy. I am in love!!
So this past Monday we had our two week checkup. I was able to implement the new diet, and I wasn’t hungry at all. It was definitely enough food when I stuck to the whole grains and variety. It was nice to see her after two weeks rather than one week b/c we really had a chance to live our changes. I lost 5.5 pounds. Holy toledo. I was hoping for 1 pound. I attribute this to me sticking to the calories, and the breakouts, and exercising once to twice a day (always fun exercise, and always with Annabelle in tow). So now that Annie has fullly weaned, we have lowered my calories a bit more to really focus on weight loss, and I am jazzed to keep up the momentum. No more 164!!! I’m now 157.75…but that was on Monday…and it’s Wednesday…so I’m probably even lighter!!! I’m giving myself a huge pat on the back!!