Tag Archives: Nutrition

Building Consistency

For the past few months I have been struggling to be consistent — with my workouts, eating, blogging and admittedly, even work.

Just when I think I’m finally back in a groove something interrupts my schedule and/or motivation.

I recently read this article that suggests writing about three things to take back control of your life:

1. What I ate
2. What I did (or didn’t do) for exercise
3. What I did with my life

In an attempt to hold myself accountable, I’m going to give it a try.

In my last post I wrote about the Whole 30 program and how I was starting another round of it.

I had every intention of doing so when I wrote that post, but it was interrupted by the five days that I spent last week “traveling” for work. I use the word “travel” on quotations because I didn’t actually go anywhere, but was required to stay at a hotel in the City for various meetings in relation to my company’s flagship event.

It’s really difficult to eat healthy, let alone Whole 30 compliant when eating restaurant food for every meal for five days.

I tried to follow it as much as I could but pretty much gave up by Day Two. And my health suffered because of it:

– I had excessive bloating – the most I’ve had since I started working with Dr Ponce last Fall. My clothes that fit fine when I packed my suitcase but barely fit during the week.
– My leaky gut (TMI?) returned which is never a good thing when running, or worse – when you have to sit through customer meetings all day.
– And the allergy rash that has plagued me for the past few months returned with a vengeance and has covered my arms and midsections.

So I officially restarted Whole 30 today.

I took this photo of a framed quotation that hangs in Dr Ponce's office.

I took this photo of a framed quotation that hangs in Dr Ponce’s office.

And in an effort to help me be successful this time, I’m going to attempt to write a Whole 30-related post daily for the next 30 days.

…and starting with this week’s workouts, I’m going to resume my Weekly Workout Recaps. Sprinkled in-between will be tidbits and posts on what I’ve done with the rest of my life.

Whole 30 2.0: Day 1 Recap – Mon, May 26

Instead of recapping what I ate (if you really want to know I’ll share this but after a few days you’ll find it repetitive and boring), I’ll share with you my two “a-ha’s” of the day:

1. I recently discovered the @whole30recipes Instagram account. It’s my new favorite source for Whole 30 compliant recipes.

Tonight I made this Tilapia Topped with Mango Pico recipe.

It was really easy and simple to make. And the best part of it is that I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Whole 30 Thought of the Day:

2. I started re-reading “It Starts with Food”, the Whole 30 introduction book.

It’s funny how when you read something a second time you pick up new things that didn’t stand out to you the first time.

One of the things that stood out to me was how Whole 30 does not tell you how much to eat. And during the Whole 30 program you’re not allowed to weigh, measure yourself or track any calories. Their belief is that doing this causes unhealthy habits and messes with us psychologically.

Instead, their philosophy is that “your body knows how much you should be eating way better than any calculator you’ll find on the Internet.”

However, your body’s signals may be out of whack because of the foods you’ve been eating. Instead we over consume and our bodies become dysfunctional and our brain gets mixed messages on when and how much to eat.

As you progress through the program you body begins to correct itself and starts sending the right messages to the brain.

I can attest that this did happen for me the first time I successfully completed the Whole 30 program. After that first week and a half I no longer felt the need to snack and didn’t have cravings for non-Whole 30 compliant foods.

That’s it for today! Come back and visit tomorrow to see how Day 2 went!

Revisiting Sports Nutrition

One of my goals for this month was to read two books and shockingly, I finished both 10 days before the month’s end.

After not fueling well at SFM, and dealing with growing GI issues I decided to (re)read Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guide and Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. I’ve read both books before but its been about two years and I needed a refresher.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

I first read “Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions.” While it was a good read, I personally got a lot more out of “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.” I thought it was a more balanced approach as she also discusses fueling for a variety of workouts (which I do).

My goal this time around was to revisit how to properly fuel before and during a workout (specifically a long run) and how to optimally recover from it. For me this meant getting into the math of just how many grams of carbs to ingest before and during a run, etc.

Having recently done a Resting Metabolic Rate test, I already knew what my caloric zones were and what a healthy amount of calories/day for me should be. Using this information I worked through the formulas listed in the book to determine how many carbs, protein and fat I need to properly fuel my body. In the past I’ve found that I’ve gone to both extremes of either being under fueled and over fueled. After doing the calculations I then punched these numbers into my online food journal to make it easier to gauge.

{Side note: I compared the nutrients breakdown to the numbers that were provided to me from the study I participated in last Fall. They weren’t too far off but these numbers are probably more accurate since they are based on my RMR test.}

As suspected what I found was that I was not fueling my body enough on my longer trainings runs. This is probably why I’ve felt like death during the last few miles. I also haven’t been recovering sufficiently after these long runs.

I now have some ideas of things to experiment with on my upcoming longer runs and will report back on what I find/how I feel.

Racing Weight

I have read several books by Matt Fitzgerald and really liked them all. I try to catch all of his articles that show up the Running channel on Flipboard.

What I like about this particular book is the discussion on the importance of optimal body composition, meaning the distribution of lean mass muscle vs body fat percentage.

Back when I first started working out with Trainer Dave (almost 10 yrs ago!) we recorded my measurements on a regular basis.

August 2003

August 2003

Although my weight hasn’t drastically fluctuated, nor I haven’t gone up in size, my body fat percentage has increased over the past couple of years. If I can lower it and regain the lean mass I used to have then perhaps I can not only lower my injury risk but also improve my running times and overall health.

August 2005

August 2005

Like the first book, this one also provides charts and formulas to calculate different targets based upon personal goals. I’ve set my goal to get back to the body composition I had a few years ago when I felt my healthiest.

August 2013

August 2013

One thing that I personally found helpful was the suggestion to breakdown your daily caloric intake. For example, if your target is 2000 cal/day to break it down as follows:

Breakfast: 20-25%
Morning Snack: 10%
Lunch: 20-25%
Afternoon Snack: 10%
Dinner: 20-25%
Evening Snack: 5%

It may seem like a lot of work, but if you already use an online food journal, once you calculate your targets its very simple to track. As someone who has been obese and continually struggles with portion control, I find this immensely helpful.

It has also been helping me to make wiser choices in the foods that I eat – not just from a “Is this healthy for me?” perspective, but also from a “Is this good for my gut?” perspective, particularly as I’m going through an Elimination Diet process.

Both books also offer a slew of recipes. I’ve tried some, had to modify a few but the ones that I tried were easy to make and tasted delicious.

If fueling, hydration and nutrition are topics you are interested in, I highly recommend both reads. It doesn’t matter if you run long distances or not, its just good knowledge to have on nutrition.

Starting An Elimination Diet

Running has taught me that I do not have a rock solid stomach.

It wasn’t until I had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) almost two years ago that I became aware that I had any digestion issues. In hindsight, I think I’ve had them all along, but was completely naive to it.

And up until last year, I thought my GI distress only occurred when I ran.

Last Spring I noticed feeling discomfort even when I wasn’t running so I started eating a gluten-free diet. Its helped a lot so I still continue it today.

But over the past two months the GI distress has become more frequent and painful. In addition to not eating gluten, for the most part I also avoid dairy, having some degree of lactose intolerance. I used to be able to tolerate dairy occasionally but these days my reaction to it has become more “violent” (for lack of a better word).

I mentioned in my Giant Race 10K race report that I had to take two bathroom breaks during the short 6.2 mile race. This was just one of many frequent episodes, that almost always occur after dining out (at many different types of restaurants).

I’ve been keeping a food journal to pinpoint what could be causing these issues. I’ve been eating lots of natural foods, and trying to avoid processed foods, as this is what almost every resource on healthy eating I’ve read instructs. But I haven’t been able to dial in on a source and the pain and discomfort continues to become more frequent and intense.

Last week I finally went in to see my doctor. I had a lot of data to present to her and she diagnosed me with having Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). From what she told me, it’s a common and pretty general diagnosis. It occurs more frequently with women and often manifests itself as one grows older.

She ordered a series of blood tests (still waiting for the results), referred me to a Gastroenterologist, and instructed me to begin taking probiotics and begin an Elimination Diet.

An Elimination Diet is where I eliminate one foods per week from a list of foods gas-producing foods
that she gave me. When I saw the list of foods I flipped out because its basically everything that I eat on a regular basis. She reminded me that I’m only to eliminate ONE per week, not ALL at once.

To give you an idea, here is a list of the foods:

Beans of all kinds
Brussels Sprouts
Green Peppers
Raw Apples
Raw Potatoes
Wheat Bran

Carbonated Drinks
Fruit Drinks
Red Wine

Fried, fatty foods
Sugar substitutes

Milk and Dairy products

Packaged foods that contain lactose such as breads, cereals and salad dressing

The items that are crossed out are foods that I already don’t eat or try to avoid. The items that are bolded are foods that I eat almost, if not, daily.

I was told to schedule my appointment with the GI doctor in one month so that I would have some data from the Elimination diet to share.

I decided to start my Elimination Diet with eggs because I have a veggie scramble every morning for breakfast (with green peppers and onions) and snack on hard-boiled eggs throughout the day. So I guess while I’m at it, I’ll also be eliminating green peppers and onions too.

It’s all very confusing and disheartening. For the past nine and a half years I’ve made an effort to eat healthy yet now I’m learning that there are healthy foods that can be harmful to my body.

To make things a little more complicated I am also in the midst of marathon training and am trying to find the right balance of what works and doesn’t work for my body, not just on an every day basis but for training as well. It’s all trial and error and can be very stressful in anticipation of the “error” part (especially on long runs).

I’ve read several blogs by women who live with similar challenges (not necessarily runners) but what I’ve learned (also through running) is that no two people are the same. What works for one may not work for another and I need to figure out what works for me.

I’ve always been one who loves to see what happens when trying something new. “What if I did this, how will my body respond? What will the outcome be?” I guess this is another challenge to explore.

Stay tuned.