My Thoughts on Weight Loss and Triathletes …plus some tips!

We all know that achieving optimum race weight is a daunting task.  I have had a lot of people inquire about how I achieved my “race weight”.  So, in an attempt at helping others achieve their weight goals, I thought I would give some advice and the unfortuante cold hard truth.

I count calories, I eat clean, I strength train and when I was trying to lose weight,  I burned more than I took in.  ROCKET SCIENCE!  I didn’t take any supplements, I didn’t fast (I actually eat more quanity than most people) and I didn’t cheat…ok, maybe once or twice:)    I will get to my thoughts on what constitutes clean eating, cheating, ect… in a little bit.

As far as race weight is concerned, there is a point of diminishing returns.  Not everyone will beneifit from losing body fat.  However, we can all benefit from a healthy nurtrition plan.  Things I have noticed with my new diet plan is a better immune system, more energy and healthier skin!

I have tried to outline the steps of “my” process in a simple format.  Hopefully you gain something from all of this!

First, you must determine what your body fat percentage is and your resting metabolism.  Think of this as a baseline test.  This can be done locally at St. Vincents Sports Performance or NIFS.  I am not a nutritionist, but I do know that there are a lot of factors that effect your metablosim (age, muscle mass, heigth, activity level and gender).  I have a petite frame, so my resting metabolism is just shy of 1200 calories.  That means that I do not get to each very much!  I gained 2 pounds of muscle from my first bod pod (January 11, 2013) and my second (June 11, 2013).  My resting metabolism only jumped 20 calories/day from that gain.  That is not very much:(  With my activity level, not including exercise, I can probably eat about 1700-1800 calories a day to maintain my weight. 
Here is an online calculator that is very effective if you know your body fat%, but can get you pretty close if you don’t http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/calrmr.php

Second, you must count your your calories.  I used an iphone app to do this, and still do it today.  It helps to keep me honest and to keep things in perspective.  It has become second nature and it takes no time at all.  Tracking is one of the key things that helped me stay on track.  It is not something that should be underestimated!  Especially for us small girls who don’t have a super high resting metabolism.  I use the livestrong app, but there are a ton of them out there.

Third, do yourself a hue favor by eating clean.  What do I mean by this?  Well, we all have our theories on eating clean and what works for one person might not work for another.  I eat a lot of lean protein including chicken, fish, egg whites and fat free greek yogurt.  I do not restrict anything in particular from my diet (except for white bread, starches). So, dairy and red meat are all fair game.  In fact, I eat a lot of dairy…maybe even 2-3 servings of greek yogurt a day!  Here is a list of foods that I seem to consume in mass quanity:

  • Apples
  • Berries (all types)
  • Bananas
  • Fage Greek Yogurt (I try to stick with plain, but sometimes vanilla will have to do)
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Spinnach
  • Cauliflower
  • Zuchini
  • Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots (I eat so many of these, some people say my skin has an orange tint!)
  • Almonds – with moderation
  • Almond Butter or PB2 – with moderation
  • Oatmeal
  • Kashi Go Lean (great for pre-long rides)
  • Ezekial Bread
  • Low carb/multigrain tortilla wraps
  • Quinoa (in moderation- before a race)
  • Sweet Potatos (in moderation -before a race)
  • Turkey for sandwiches/wraps
  • Chicken 3-4oz breasts
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Shrimp
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Laughing Cow skim cheese wedges for sandwiches
  • Dark Chocolate (I try to buy it individually packaged/portioned out to help control myself!)
  • Wasa Crackers (these are bland, but they are good for breaking up into yogurt for crunch or putting salsa, toppings on.
  • Luna Bars (quest bars seem to be the best from a nutrition standpoint, but I just can’t choke them down.
  • Clif Bar Protein Bars
  • Detour Bars (these are super yummy, they are a bit more processed then the clif products, but the taste is worth it!)

The list above consitutes my favorite things.  There are tons of other high nutrition foods out there to choose from, I just have found that my taste buds prefer these.  Sure, I wish I liked kale and beets, but I don’t and you might!

I eat steak occasionaly, when we go to a steahouse and I will have the occasional glass of wine with a nice dinner.  But, for the most part…I stick to chicken, turkey and fish.  I will not lie, it totally sucks the first few months, especially when you are used to a bar food diet.  However, those cravings will subside and you will beging to appreciate healthy food for what it is…noursishment and energy.  I also have found that the best option for eating out is to just order a plain spinnach salad and add chicken or blackened fish/shrimp).  I use balsamic vinegar for my dressing, and use the fork dip method.

If you are going to be going out to a really nice dinner, order the smallest steak portion availabe and ask for sauces to be left off or on the side.  I only order vegetables if I know that they are not drenched in butter and oil.

Here are my top 10 tips for losing weight:

  1. Start the process in the off season and use a bod pod (it is not that expensive).
  2. Count calories
  3. Eat the most nutrition for your caloric buck – you can eat a ton more that way!
  4. Know your baseline numbers so that you have a clear starting point
  5. Stay consistent.
  6. Eat one-two pieces of dark chocolate every day.  Chocolate is good for the soul!
  7. Eliminate carbs at night when you are in the weight loss phase.  Don’t cut them from your diet, but time them so that you are eating them when you need them.
  8. Go to bed slightly hungry while you are trying to lose weight. 
  9. Strenth Train
  10. Eliminate/reduce processed white flour foods and corn syrup.

Great nutrition is a fluid process.  You can always learn more, and you can always eat better.  You will learn as you go!  I finally, afer a 10 year addiction, just gave up diet soda and artificial sweetner.  I am not very far along (day 5 to be exact), but it is a huge step in the right direction. 

Have faith in yourself. If I can do it, I know you can!!!!!!