As I have progressed through the last two years of moving from a 300 pounds couch potato (mmm potato) to a more active aspiring triathlete the biggest change I have made has not been in the amount of activity I have on a weekly and daily basis, but more about the way and what I put into my mouth every day.
I has not been easy.
There are days that a pizza calls to me like a siren calling a sailor to his death. When you walk out of the LA Fitness where I swim, directly across the parking lot is a 5 Guys Burger.
Damn I really want that burger.
But, for the most part, I have been able to push these cravings aside and eat sensibly. I have made some miscues. We are only human. But the trick I have found is not to fall of the wagon and stay off. You need to get right back on that wagon, not the next day, but immediately after you do it.
As most know my weight issues started with my cancer diagnosis in 1994. Since then I have gone from 180 pounds and peaked at 303 in 2010. At 303 pounds I decided that enough was enough. I could blame it on the cancer, and continue to not try to stop the progress, totally give in and stay on the couch, eating my potato chips that was balanced on my ample gut, and watch The Biggest Loser. I actively sought out a doctor that specialized in weight management. I was tired of hearing the same old story about how my body would never be what it was and that I needed to take the synthroid and learn to cope with what I was dealt.
No. Not any more.
I was given a full panel of blood work and they found that not only were my TSH levels all out of whack, but my Testosterone levels were at 165. I addition, what little T I had was being overly converted to estrogen, which basically put me in starvation mode and made me hoard fat.
Not good at all.
So I was switched to natural thyroid, put on a weekly regimen of T injections, and given medication to block the estrogen production. Immediately I dropped 25 pounds, and I mean within two weeks. I felt better even at a heavy weight of 270. I completed my first triathlon at that weight, but all it really did was give me the boost I needed to not only maintain my new activities, but to strive for that goal weight of 200 pounds I thought was out of reach.
The weight continued to drop until I reached a low point of 236 in the Winter of 2011. By January 2012 I was again 255 pounds, and I am currently at 260. The frustrating thing is that I am doing nothing different than I was initially; I am actually eating even better than I was, I work out 6 days a week, and have completed a marathon, a number of half marathons, and two Ironman's. My calorie deficit each day averages 750, which means I should be losing 2 pounds a week. But I am not. I am gaining weight.
I think my body is just very temperamental. I have started juicing, and now told by some that juicing is not as good as I thought. I have tried Fitlife Foods, which are actually very good meals, but can't afford to keep doing that. Am I doomed to just battle this every day until I can no longer compete, then just gain all the weight back and end up at the end no better off than I was when I started? It is very discouraging, to say the least, more so because I feel I am doing everything right but not getting the results. I have still yet to find someone who can explain to me how a small slice of cake weighing less than 3 ounces turns into 1.5 pound weight gain the next morning. I mean, how is that even mathematically possible??
Another issue with nutrition is finding what works for you. Those of you currently competing in triathlons, or other endurance races, know that the supplements are not cheap, and if you dole out $50 for a vat of protein powder that you don't like, or worse that doesn't like you, well ... that's a lot of money to just throw down the toilet.
I found one way around this in the form of a sample box called Kona Kase (see there website HERE). There are other products in the market like this (I will not mention them here because I never had a real issue with them other than what I am about to mention as a strength of KKase) but with Kona Kase the samples are of products you find in every running or triathlon or bike store. From Gatorade, to Hammer, to Powerade, they give you real world samples that allow you to try something before shelling out the money to buy the full version. It is a great place to start to get an idea of what works for you. The cost is pretty minimal per month and it's kind of cool seeing that red box waiting for you each month (although my December box was lost in the Christmas mass, though they are sending me another).
So, as far as nutrition goes, I am trying to learn as much as possible. Reading books. Watching documentaries. Talking to fellow athletes. Anything I can to pick up on a tip or two (with the exception of ANY diet program like WW, which I just feel are money grabbing machines that end up hurting more than helping). Everyone has an opinion, and so many contradict each other (Carbs bad! No! Carbs GOOD!) but what it comes down to is eating well and finding out what works for YOU.
Eat natural foods that are full of color.
If man had a hand in it, leave it alone.
No fast food.
Pretty simple rules ...
Now if only the weight would follow ...
But even though we are Fat Slow Triathletes ...
... we WILL be reckoned with!!