I can blame some of this lack of detail to my food consumption on my Ironman training. I am not trying to make excuses--it is just a fact that all this training is affecting me more than my usual workouts. First, I feel hungry all the time. I guess this makes sense when I am working out three or more hours a day, six days a week. My body is craving something, but the problem is I am just feeding those cravings with whatever happens to be at hand. This leads to my second reason my training is affecting my nutrition. I just don't have as much extra time to plan my meals, pack my lunches, and be prepared with healthy food alternatives when I am training in every spare moment I have.
Now the good thing is that I am working out so much that for the most part the scale and the way my pants fit has not been adversely impacted by my carelessness. My concern is that once I go back to a normal workout schedule, I will be so used to this routine, or lack of it, that I will gain all the weight back that I have worked so hard to lose. So in order to nip this in the bud, I need to once again put a little more focus on my diet. I know that I need something easy--I don't have time for complicated these days. I am also not interested in any fad or liquid diet, because I want to live in the real world and interact with my food in a healthy way. I want to eat real food, but I just want to be able to eat just enough to fuel my exercise and daily activity.
As I was searching for a resource to help me, several friends suggested an app called MyFitnessPal (MFP). I have to say, I have only been using it for four days, but I am already surprised by what I have learned about my diet in just that short amount of time. First, I caught myself several times reaching for food I really didn't need. Knowing that I had to track even those little nibbles has kept me more honest. Secondly, on both days I went over on the recommended number of fats and was way over on my sodium. I can see that I need to be a little more careful about the nutritional values of the foods I pick. Picking a balance of good foods used to be easy for me, and lately I have really gotten lazy in this area.
Besides giving me instant feedback on my eating habits, MFP is also so easy to use. Once you figure out all the resources, it is very user friendly and most every food or exercise type is in their database. My favorite feature of the MFP app is the barcode scanner. You can hold your phone over a product's barcode and it will instantly upload all the nutritional info into your food journal. Obviously, not everything will be able to be scanned, but I was surprisingly able to get info on some rice noodles I bought at my local Asian Market. It also scanned generic cheddar cheese, Fig Newtons, and Jif Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. I must admit that I have been having fun trying out this new toy by scanning everything in my kitchen and pantry.
Another thing I am doing to hold myself accountable is connecting with a couple of my training/running friends. Starting on Monday, we will all use MFP to track our nutrition and exercise and whoever loses the highest percentage of weight by June 30th will get some sort of reward--pedicure and healthy lunch, movie and reasonable dessert, etc. Hooking up with someone who is working toward a similar goal is a great way to stay on track!
So, I have a question for you. Are any of you struggling with your nutrition and/or exercise like me? Has the luster of your New Year's resolution become a little tarnished? Well now is a good time to get yourself back on track--you have over two months until swimsuit season. Set yourself a goal, use resources like MyFitnessPal to keep you on track, and if possible, find a support team to hold you accountable. Hopefully come June 30th we will all have made significant progress toward our goals. I will fit into my wetsuit and in the process move closer to the flabulous me I know is inside waiting to get out.
Here is a goal frame for you to use--looking forward to hearing what you are planning to do to meet swimsuit season head on:
By June 30, 2013 I will ________________________.