Saturday, June 29, 2013

LOOKOUT!! There's A Dietitian Loose In The Duck Pond!

Sometimes life presents challenges
but isn't it great when you get to the top of the hill,
look back and say "I did that!"

In the midst of the frustrations I have been dealing with regarding my ongoing inability to complete my workouts, due in part to flagging energy and breathing issues, I consulted a  registered dietitian.  This is a step that I have thought about taking several times in the past but the stars aligned, the need for a change in program was pressing, and after several false starts (interviewed a couple last year but wasn't ready to take advice), I pulled the trigger.

Coach Brain (you know, I'll go ahead and let that typo stand) publishes a newsletter where he recommended a dietitian that several of his pros had worked with... one Tara Martine of Whole Impact Nutrition.  Her rates were reasonable and her philosophies trended towards way I eat.  It seemed like a good fit.

First, there was a period of tracking in My Fitness Pal (great app- get it if you don't have it).  Then she analyzed the information and started coming back with recommendations.  The first thing she did was identify a dramatic shortage in both overall calories and calories consumed during workouts.  The worst part was the majority of the missing calories were carbohydrates.  I was hitting pretty close to perfect for protein intake, a little high in fat, but horribly low in carbohydrates, more than enough explain my weak and inconsistent performances.  She worked up some calorie target for me, roughly doubling my daily intake and insisting that the lion's share of those be in the form of carbohydrates.  She also identified some a few trouble spots in my diet and we have begun the arduous process of figuring out how to plan my diet through the various, inconsistent conditions of my life due to my job.

Colorful carbohydrates!

Another good source of carbs.

I'll admit that while it is not that difficult to eat enough calories if you include a lot of calorie dense foods (like peanut butter, junk food, fatty foods and other things I refuse to have in the house), it can be a challenge to eat that many calories when it is mostly whole foods and plant based.  I kind of walk around feeling a little overfull all the time, except on those days where I get to dinner time and realize I am 3000 calories in the hole for the day.

I am also FREAKING OUT that I am going to gain weight but the philosophy is that if I eat enough calories to support the workout schedule given to me, then I will ultimately burn more thereby getting fitter, leaner.... and ultimately, FASTER.  At present, a week doesn't go by that I don't miss whole days due to being too fatigued to function.  I am also dealing with being too tired to do as much at work and since I get paid by the horse, the fatigue has directly impacted my income.

Other points of interest...

Sodium.  I don't like salt so I don't eat it.  Yesterday, in spite of sodium containing sports nutrition, my total sodium intake was that of a sedentary heart patient trying to bring his blood pressure under control, 1000 mgs less than the RDA.  Awesome... except that my blood pressure is already too low and the workout I did in 85 degree heat yesterday depleting what is probably already a limited reserve.  I also get a fairly high amount of potassium and probably don't have the sodium intake to balance it (though that is my observation, not hers).

Caffeine.  I knew this was going to come up and while I will usually defend my right to drink a ton of coffee, 72+ ounces a day is a little disturbing.  I can only imagine what that is doing to my mineral levels.  EEK.

Observations after the first week and a half....

One.  I am not hungry... ever.  I am not craving... anything.  I have a container full of a trigger food in the pantry and it is still full.  Hmm.  Interesting.

Two.  I am starting to handle workouts better.  This is a tough one to quantify because I also have been breathing better since the mold removal.  But even still, I am noticing a trend towards not being wrecked for the rest of the day.  I am not waking up dizzy the next morning either.
Kombucha and tea, good and good for you.

Three.  I am drinking less water.  I was not spectacular about tracking my water and was seeing about 80 oz a day be the norm in 70-80 degree weather.  That did not include any fluids taken in any other form such as sports drinks (which I mix myself), coffee, tea (green or herbal), kombucha, soups/broths, or even glasses of water grabbed between things or used to take pills, etc, which I suspect easily added up to another 60+ oz a day, and certainly doesn't consider high water content foods such as fruit.  It was simply that I counted up how many 32 oz bottles of water (I refill them and take them everywhere) I consumed during a day.  That's a lot of fluid for moderate temps.  I think I had developed a tendency to drink water, tea, or coffee when I felt hunger pangs but did not want to consume more calories.  This is an often recommended trick for losing weight but it can be taken too far and can be especially problematic if someone also drinks crazy amounts of coffee and takes in very little sodium.

Four.  I feel like I have gained a little weight.  Tara told me to expect that since I was going to start building up my glycogen reserves and for every gram of glucose stored, I would store 3 grams of water.  Right now, I am trying not to panic about the weight gain.  I will be much more comfortable with it when I see that the "eat more + train more = leaner, faster duck" philosophy is going to work.  There is a very scared part of me that is convinced that I am going to gain weight and then really struggle to get it off again.  It's not so easy to shed this thinking and I find myself slipping back into the habits of extreme limiting very easily.  I have decided to give her way a try though, it won't be a fair test of the program to only do it halfway.  Do it right or do something else. (Wasn't there a little green dude that said something like this once?  Apparently algae makes you wise.  It's good for vegans too.)

Wise, he was..
and green... bet he smelled bad too.
Swamps tend to have that effect.

Ok, so that's the conclusion so far... I'm scared but I'm doing it anyways.  Story of my life.

It all looks pretty arranged in front of a window, doesn't it.
I should totally Instagram this.

On another note, a friend stopped by the camper the other day to tell me how impressed she was by everything I am doing with my life, health, triathlon.  She said that usually people get into things like this and they do it for a little while then give up.  Her observation was that not only have I stuck with it, I have made it an essential part of who I am and that she admired that.

That made me really happy.

At first I wanted to TRY triathlon... then I wanted to DO a triathlon... then I wanted to be LIKE an athlete.... then I wanted to BE an athlete... then I wanted to BE a triathlete...

Now I am just me and I don't come any other way.

Just me.  All me. 

1 comment:

  1. Yoda is a total optimist, and never failed. As he hobbles along running his mouth, he looks weak, but the moment things go bad, he's like an acrobat fighting with every once of energy he has. If he doesn't win, he breaks even. And the "Just me All me" photo is proof of Yoda's teachings. Your both winners. The diet will do something, we just don't know what yet.