So it seems as if since I started getting healthy 3 years ago my nutrition keeps changing. I thought about it a lot recently and felt like I was changing, but I like to think of it instead as an evolution. Many times people gawk at me when they see me pull out carrot sticks, or ask how I lost all of my weight. I explain over and over again: little changes over time. I did not go from 272 to 150 over night, and I also did not go from eating fast food everyday to being a gluten free vegan over night either. It has been a long process and one that took 3 years, but the important thing I have learned is that because I slowly converted and learned a long the way, the easier and more natural it has become for me to maintain. I would not change it. I would not try to go from zero to 100 in a week. Slow changes over time lead to a healthy lifestyle, and that lasts a life time. A drastic change is a lot harder to maintain, you miss things, you long for things to come back into your diet. This is why I am fan of evolving into a healthy lifestyle over time.
I have never been a supporter of doing a drastic cleanse, or going from one thing to the other extreme in a short period of time. I know those things don't work, I know because I did that battle for 10 years and lost every time. I would crash diet and crash at the end. Each time putting on more weight and becoming more unhealthy. This time was different. This time it took a long time to change and I have not only changed how I eat, but I have changed my views about food and what it does when it enters my body and gets broken down for fuel.
When I first started I was just happy to be losing weight. When you are 272 pounds anything is healthy as long as it does not come from a drive through or take out delivery driver. I was super unhealthy, not following a gluten free diet as I should have been since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was 22. Anyways, so for the last 3 years my habits have totally been ever evolving and ever changing.
Year 1 - I focused mostly on switching over to the gluten free side. I joined Weight Watchers and began losing weight. I loved that! I started measuring food I was consuming. I made little changes over time, things like drinking a large ice coffee with extra cream and extra sugar, down to a medium ice coffee with skim milk and splenda. But it took time. I stopped eating a bowl of ice cream at night, instead I would have a Weight Watchers Smart ones ice cream bar or something like a piece of fruit. I ate a lot of low fat snacks and foods. I switched from chicken thighs, and steak and pork, to lean ground turkey, chicken breast and lean pork chops. I ate greek yogurt, I ate egg beaters, I finally started eating more fruits and vegetables.
Year 2 - I started taking nutrition courses in college. I switched my major from business administration to health science, and finally Nutrition. I began to realize that losing 100 pounds was awesome, and now I started to look at what I was eating and what it did to my body. I started training for a marathon and started thinking I wanted to eat cleaner and healthier. I went on a paleo plan for a long time. I started doing more crossfit and running and eating paleo. I cut out tons of processed foods, I stopped needing those smart ones treats. I got to my goal weight of 150 pounds and ran a marathon. It all felt great! I also learned more about my health. I was able to come off all 7 medications I was taking and manage my diseases soley on good nutrition and exercise regimins. I discovered my dairy intolerance and really became strict paleo to help put my RA into a more managable state.
Year 3 - I started ultra running. I was now completely clean eating. I was off all dairy and anything derived from whey. I was eating mainly paleo, egg whites for breakfast, lots of chicken and turkey breast. Lots of vegetablles and some fruit. I ran a few ultras and even completed my first 50 miler. All without many grains, it helped my RA but did not help me maintain my weight loss. I read Racing Weight again and after studying for my personal trainer certification, I began to realize my body might need more healthy carbohydrates and less protein. The more knowledgable I became the more I started to analyze my own data. I joined my fitness pal, and stopped following Weight Watchers. I began changing my mind set from someone trying to lose weight, to an athlete trying to fuel their body. I decided to do a 100 mile ultra marathon and looked into nutrition and training for it.
I made the decision late in the year to become a full fledged vegan. I decided to do a trail run of it for 2 weeks and see if it would work with my already gluten free diet, and training load. I ran an ultra marathon a week ago after being vegan for 3 weeks. I felt amazing.
I have more energy than I ever did on paleo, or plain weight watchers life style. I needed it. I am running more miles in a week than I ever have, my lightest weeks are 30-40 miles, most weeks will be 50-70 so I really do need to make sure I eat enough.
I realized that the Racing Weight book is correct, the ratio of carbohydrates/protein/fat needed to change for me. Before I was 50% protein, and 30% carb and 20% fat. I realized I need more carbs and less protein. Today my target is and has been pretty consistently : 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 20-30% fat. My energy on runs is amazing, my daily energy is amazing.
After being on a vegan diet for 2 weeks I felt like a new person. I do not know if it is soley based upon just being plant based, just having more carbohydrates, or a combination of the 2, but I know one thing: I love it!!
So clearly as I enter in year 4 next month of being healthy I will now be adding vegan to my list :) I will start posting recipes and ideas too this week!! I know I have been lacking in that department on here and I am noticing the more I tweet and Facebook pictures of my meals the more I get asked for the recipes so I promise I will share! It is a little challenging sometimes being vegan and gluten free because a lot of meat alternatives for vegans have gluten in it, so I have been eating a lot of lentils, natural almonds, natural peanut butter, flax seeds, tempeh, tofu, and quinoa! Using my fitness pal helps me make sure I am eating enough and keeping that ratio.
Have you evolved your habits over time?
I really just am happy and thankful that it took time for me to make these changes because they have all stuck. I am now at a point where being healthy is not a chore for me, it is my choice and one that I make each day with a smile on my face.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
This race was the best way for me to kick of 2013!!
I honestly have been going through yet another transition in my personal life, and I needed some zone out me time. Thankfully I have an awesome partner who watched Peanut for me so I could sneak out early Saturday morning and meet up with some amazing trail runners for the GAC Fatass 50K in Toppsfield.
I love these Fatass races. The whole idea behind them is to be free, only cost is to bring some food for the fuel table, and FUN. Did I mention they are super laid back and held by warm friendly runner people? I mean what more can you ask for?!? (not much). SO I brought some boiled red potatoes and hard boiled eggs and headed up to run on some new to me trails. Everyone was very nice there and all we had to do was check in and each time we completed one of the 10k loops check in again. That is the nice thing, there is no pressure to run x amount of miles in x amount of time. Many people were out running a marathon, some a loop or 2, others the whole 50k. The beauty of it was: we were all out there having fun running on some beautiful trails.
I was geared up for the snow and cold because I anticipated being out for about 5.5-6 hours. I knew I just wanted to take my time and have fun, I knew this was my first long run of 2013, and I also know my goal is the 100 miler in June. So this means, slow and steady running easy on the legs, little risk of injury :) That is hard for the speed demon hidden in me, but this was on snow packed trails so it being icy and trails in general helped to slow me down.
I headed out with the group and was just jamming away to my DMB tunes. Those first few miles I immediatly regretted not taking a rest day on Friday. My legs felt heavy and tired. Eh live and learn, I knew if I pushed past that mental block after a few miles I would settle into a rhythm and feel better.
Luckily I was right and by mile 4 I felt better. I had more energy and I was buzzing along. The trails were very well marked and there were quite a few runners around me so I was not worried about getting lost. It was pavement for the last half mile as we circled back to the check in spot and aid table, this was actually helpful for me to mentalize each loop and work through it. I knew once I hit the pavement I was done another lap and could use the bathroom if needed.
The first 2 laps went by fairly easily and as I was going out for the 3rd lap I stopped to use the bathroom. I was carrying Cytomax in my CamelBak and gels, vegan protein bars, and salt shot blocks so I never stopped to eat at the aid table. With my food allergies and restrictions I have really come to adore that CamelBak, I need to post a review on it soon. It allowed me to keep drinking all day to stay hydrated and eat when I felt I needed it. I forced myself to take in something every 3 miles, I did not want to repeat my Stonecat error.
When I am running and feeling great I tend to forget to eat for 4-5 miles, then I hit a wall and struggle. This happened to me at Stonecat, so today I made it easy by making myself stop and eat. I actually liked the way the course was laid out, around mile 3 there was some steeper climbs so I used that as my time to take in a gel. In the beginning of the course instead of hanging out at the aid table I would just check in and head strait back into the woods and eat once I was moving along well.
I found this strategy to work better for me. I have a hard time stopping at the aid table and hanging out, mentally it is harder for me to keep going after that. So I carried all of my fuel and just plugged away at the loops all day. Then came lap 4....
I got lost! I am so not a good navigator, and once again I was lost. It really was my own fault, I was feeling great and we got to about a mile into the loop and I missed my turn at the field and kept going through the field. I was jamming away to my music so I did not even notice! Once I realized it I was back at the start of the loop and I had run an extra 2 miles. Right then in there I got really frustrated. 2 miles is not a lot I know, but when you are already planning to run 31, 33 sounds daunting especially around mile 20. I was mad at myself for not paying attention and I started to think I would just end the loop and not go back out.
I kept plugging away and once I finished the 4th loop I knew I had to go right back out to finish the 5th one. If there is one thing about me, it is that I am stubborn. I put it in my mind that I would be running a 50K that day and I knew I was not going to quit not when I was so close to being done! That last loop was probably my most cautious because I did not want to miss any turns again ;)
As I hit the pavement for one last time I felt good. I was glad to have been able to run that day, I needed it. Mentally I felt so much stronger than I did earlier in the week and I felt at peace with everything. They say you can go out for a long run and when you come back everything seems different, that the run changes you. For me this was never more true than it was Saturday afternoon. Yes my problems are still there, yes they did not disappear in 5 and a half hours while I was running, BUT I felt stronger and more able to tackle them head on.
So thanks to the GAC running club that put on a great race!!! And thanks to all the awesome runners and trail animals I got to meet with on Saturday, it was fun running with you all and I am looking forward to the next race on Feb 2 in Hyannis at the Cape Cod Frozen Fatass :)