I just sent this letter to the nutritionist on staff at my gym. As I said below, I’ve been banging my head against this problem for 2 years now. I’ve been bitching about it for just about that long. Time to suck it up, and get help. I’ve been saying THAT for almost 6 months now (admitting it is the first step, right?) but today I made the first step towards action. I’m pretty proud that I just hit send, for some reason, that took a LOT.
It hit me today that I need to do this, I need to do this now, and I need to throw the money and time at it NOW so I can take off these seemingly insignificant to everyone but me 20 lbs, and more importantly, establish a plan with a professional how to get through race season without gaining and carrying weight for a signficiant amount of time (I’m well aware that it’s typical to gain a few lbs during race week/after endurance events, but I should not still be carrying that weight 2 years later). If I continue this cycle I either need to give up anything beyond 10ks (not really in the cards unless it was medically necessary for some reason), or I need to figure out how to adequately fuel myself for the training and racing I do while allowing for things like vodka sodas and tacos that make life worth living.
I’m pretty sure the sane thing to do when receiving this email is back away quickly, and pretend that it never happened, but hopefully I’ll get a reply instead. I’ll definitely chronicle this on the blog, as I’m hoping it will be valuable and/or interesting info for the internetz to see.
I’ve been considering doing this for a while and wanted to get more information on what would be involved/what we would do, etc. For some reason, this is a little intimidating and scary, but info can’t hurt, right? Let me overload YOU with information and see if you think you can help…
Here’s my background. 4 years ago I was 265lbs and I lost about 115lbs, down to about 150 in the spring of 2009, simply by using sparkpeople.com, counting calories, and building a regular exercise program (started with 20 mins 3 times per week, and uh… got crazy from there). Around that time, I found a passion for races (started with running, but now pretty much anything with a finish line and official time, I’m there). I’ve done 3 half marathons, 3 sprint triathlons, 1 olympic triathlon, duathlons, and various and sundry 5ks, 10ks, and adventure races. Sounds great, right?
I’m in great shape and staying healthy. The problem is? I’m pushing 170 lbs+ right now – I have gained 5lbs with each half marathon and another 5 when I was out with an injury earlier this year, and taking off weight right now, which actually came pretty easily and like clockwork with just counting calories in 2007-2009, is just NOT. I want to lose weight partially for the vanity (it stinks not fitting into all my clothes), partially for the potential reduction in race times, partially because I was injured this year and I suspect it may have been because I’m asking my body to continue to push my paces harder carrying more, and partially because I am 20 lbs overweight for my height, and I’d like to be back in the normal range.
I generally eat healthy (to the point where my friends tease me about rabbit food and joke about whether we can go places so I have something I can eat), but I eat a fairly high volume of said healthy food. I get hungry often, and I’m not satiated with small amount of food generally. Plus, I’m no angel, I have a handful of meals per week that aren’t the best. And, I still think I’m in college at times, and will have a few too many vodka and sodas. However, I do my best to earn these with workouts. For example, yesterday, I indulged in fried pickles and a few whiskey drinks. However, I rode 20+ miles in the hot sun, and did a 5k race. Calories in, calories out. It worked for me when I was taking off the weight from obesity, but now, not so much.
I’m consummately training for things – generally I workout at least 5 hours per week, more when I’m ramping up. My current regiment is 2 bikes (general pace, around 15-18mph), 2 runs (9-10 min/miles, 8 for speed work), and 2 swims (I swim about 1 mile in the pool in 30-40 minutes) per week (30-60 mins), and about 2 hours of strength training per week. By all estimations of online calculators and common sense, I’m burning about 2500-3000 calories per week. I do stepback weeks every once in a while and have easy weeks before and after races, and I always have at least one (usually 2) rest days per week, and I very rarely get less than 8 hours of sleep per night (9 if I can).
It’s not the exercise I have a problem with, it’s the eating. I’ve tried counting calories again, and what should be taking off 1-2 lbs per week is not budging. I feel like I should NOT have to work out like I do and subsist on 1200-1500 calories per day, but that’s the only way I take off any weight, and it’s pure torture. I can do that for a few weeks, and then I get exhausted and crash and burn and get frustrated. And it doesn’t feel healthy. And the numbers just don’t make sense.
Right now, I’m working on cutting artificial sweeteners, and lowering my salt intake, and just generally eating cleaner food for most meals. I’ve not been great about tracking my calories for the last few weeks, but I’ll jump on that so you have an idea about what exactly my intake is. Lately, about 1600-1800 calories with maybe one day of more (but as before, usually accompanied by mass quantities of exercise). My body should be maintaining at around 1800 calories per day with no exercise per online calculators – it just doesn’t seem to add up.
I’ve been banging my head against this for 2 years now and I’m ready to get help. I’m ready to make the financial commitment, and would like to work on this, as starting next fall, I’d like to push myself further and start training for full marathons and a half iron man within the next few years (blog note: just the inkling of an idea – let’s revisit this discussion once I’m back down to my fighting weight, mmmkay). It doesn’t make any sense to continue to gain weight doing this and would risk injury doing so. While it seems from your profile, you’re specialized in folks losing weight for medical reasons, and that’s not really me, we both share the love of moderation. Frankly, I believe that if I go run 10 miles, I’ve earned a margarita, y’know? Plus, it seems very convenient as the gym is somewhere I frequent anyway.
Apologies for the novel, but I wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting into. Also, my husband is considering the same services. He’s not QUITE as insane as I am but he does train with me and is also working towards the same goals as above. Since we cook/eat/train together, it might make sense to have couples sessions? Would that be the same price as singles?
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
So, it’s done. I’d love advice from anyone that has done nutritional counseling or something like this, or if you have had success with any other person/resource like this, I’d love to hear it, as I’m not sure we will jive. I have a feeling she’s more into 300 lb ladies who think the 2000 calorie salads at Chilis are healthy and who sit on the bike and pedal 2-3 mph just to keep the tv on and call it a workout, and not typically working with athletes, but who knows.
While I’m all for “hey I track my food and exercise on BLAH site and it’s great”, that level is just not working for me. I have exhausted those options and am pretty much convinced I need one on one time with an individual (either online or in person) who is tailoring a plan directly to ME. And I think it needs to cost me money – if I’m spending money, I’ll really have to think twice about throwing that advice I’m paying for away on crappy and/or too much food. I would also, if nothing else, like comments telling me that I’m not wasting my money doing this because it aint cheap.
And now I’m just jabbering because I am nervous about this, but also just ready to GET ER DONE. Bring it on, world.