Author Archives for I Tri Fitness

The Beginning of JoCo Multisport

So where did it all begin?  How did JoCo Multisport come to be and why might this be a team you want to join?   Well, here’s the story.  We think you will want to be a part of this!

A little over two years ago I approached the Flowers Plantation Parks & Rec department about starting a Triathlon Club.  Having just received my USAT Level 1 Coaching certification, I was excited to begin connecting triathlon for beginners in the Flowers Community.   Then Parks & Rec director Coach Kurt Bienas was game and so was birthed the Flowers Plantation Triathlon Club.  A band of 9 triathletes (6 athletes completely new to the sport ) and a new Coach.

FP Tri - Year 1

All athletes completed their sprint triathlon and did so exceeding their own expectations!  Lifelong friendships were made – we were all changed by the intense encouragement and support we all provided to each other!  As a Coach and experienced triathlete, I was amazed at how much being a part of a group meant to me.  Frequently the team heard from me when they were thanking me for coaching guidance and support, that I got more out of our team than they.  The team insisted that we continue our journey for the 2nd year… and so the team grew.

FP Tri - Year 2

Flowers Plantation Tri Club had a roster of 21 strong in year two, with athletes having skill levels from Ironman to new to the sport.  The same amazing team connection was solidified as the team faced adversity and challenges including the almost cancellation of the goal race at Flowers.  The team rallied behind 3 Little Pigs Race Director Martin Tetreault who stepped in 24 hours before the race to save it.   At 9 p.m. the night before the race – the bike rack construction was completed by the team.  We finished the season with 8 new athletes again completing their first race, many placing in their age groups!

The growth of the team and desire to reach beyond Flowers Plantation to connect with athletes across our community as birthed the creation of JoCo Multisport.  There are many tri clubs in the surrounding areas.  Some are quite large and able to offer discounts and other perks that our start up club cannot.  But having been a part of one of those clubs – the distance folks have to travel to engage in the social connection and training for the Raleigh based teams were prohibitive to Johnston County locals.

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While we are shedding our FP Kits, wearing great new colors and bearing a new team name this year, the same great team is still at the core of JoCo Multisport.  Also joining the team is a second coach, Coach Brad Farrell from Cirog Rollta.

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We believe the amazing support, encouragement, accountability and friendship that comes from being on a team is amazing.  The team support has proven to be the difference maker for many who considered quitting or giving up on their goals.  Having experienced the power myself on my journey to becoming an Ironman finisher, I can attest to the significance of being on a team.  Many times in training and during the race, it was the support of the team and their belief in me that was the only thing keeping me going.

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By starting JoCo Multisport – we’d like to bring the triathlon and athlete connection closer to our community.  Many of us are connected with runners, ultra runners, obstacle course runners, triathletes and cyclists.  We have often trained with folks that may be interested in more than just triathlon.  We think that the diversity of a group is what makes it strong.  Folks are able to share their experiences as they have evolved through various athletic achievements.  JoCo Multisport is for all athletes.  While many of us  may be triathletes – we embrace the skills and talents that every local athlete brings to a team.

The end goal… to keep being active.
Keep finding activities and training partners that keep you going.  

JoCo Multisport is that group for Johnston County!  We hope you will join us and forge new friendships and make us stronger as we grow!

Find out more about us at our informational meeting.  Or if you are convinced this is for you… come on and join the team!

Join The Team

 

 

Sandra’s Journey to 5K

It’s not my story to tell, certainly not the whole story any way.  But I can share my experience… watching my first friend from childhood (we’ve been friends for nearly 40 years) set off on the journey to a fitter, healthier lifestyle.  She thanks me frequently… but it has been her hard work, focus, refocus, dedication and sweat that got her across the finish line of her first 5K.  All I did was cheer.

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Sandra would say that she was never an athletic person and probably confirm that physical activity was miserable.  It wasn’t something she enjoyed or gravitated toward.  In fact I believe that exercise was quite painful for Sandra – especially in the years that followed high school into our working life.

Somewhere in her late 30’s, Sandra began a journey of fitness and healthy living that has been truly motivation beyond belief.  You can read about her story here on her blog: Slim Down with Sandee. 

She shared her struggles of losing weight on her blog – and inspired so many folks to begin their own journey.  I remember the days when her motivation was so high and the successes were coming often.  It was so inspiring to watch.  Sandra went through the start and stop cycle that we all go through and over the long haul has made permanent changes that have lasted years.  When she reached out to me last year and said that she wanted to do a 5K – she asked, “would I join her?.  There was no place else I would have been that day.   I was so excited for her.

I share Sandee’s journey – not from her perspective, but from mine.  Seeing my dearest sister begin the journey of running (Couch to 5K plan) was so inspiring.  Having started running myself nearly 8 years prior, I understood what she was up against.  Starting the journey from inactivity to becoming active is a challenging experience.  The body begins it’s process of adaptation – and frankly, it can be quite uncomfortable.  I recall my own loathing of running initially – the frustration, the complete sense that I was horrible at it and that it would never get easier, it would never get better.  It was with this memory that my thoughts went out to Sandra.

She would post her workouts on Facebook – and I recall watching the intervals where she ran longer  grow and walked become shorter… I watched her pace increase, slowly but surely.  She was getting stronger – the numbers were showing it.  The day that she posted that she just finished her run on a 40F rainy day – she attained BEAST MODE in my book!

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Each week she posted… her training sessions on the track.  Minute after minute, lap after lap, running around that track.  All I could think about was how mentally tough she was – out there running around a track over and over and over again…. and she just kept going.  She will probably never know how seeing her workouts made me feel accountable to my own training.  How knowing she was out there busting her butt was so inspirational to me.

When the day for her race finally arrived – she was surrounded by her wonderful collection of loving souls to run with her.  As we warmed up for the race – she asked me which one of my races was my favorite.  I remember trying to think about which of all of the events that I had done was my favorite.  They were each unique in their own way – offering new and different challenges.  None stood out as a favorite… each just different.

When Sandra and I crossed the line of her first 5K – a very hilly and hot 5K color run…. the pride and joy at watching her accomplishment washed over me… my favorite race… was running with Sandra in her first 5K.

Way to go, Sandra!!!  You are a runner.  Now, and forever, running the race set before you… running the race with strength, determination, faith and love.  You are a winner!  You are my sister!

Sandra's 1st 5K

A Triathlon…Who Me?

Perhaps you’re considering a triathlon or have had these thoughts “I could never do that,” or “Who me?”  I’m here to erase your uncertainty and say “Yes you can,” and “Yes you!”

Many folks think of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI when they think of triathlon.  Understandably, it is one of the few televised triathlons and the largest triathlon event in the world.  But triathlon comes in many shapes and sizes, as do triathletes.  It only takes the thought “I can” to start your journey to becoming a triathlete.

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Most beginner triathletes start with the Sprint distance triathlon, have a hybrid or mountain bike and borrow or rent a wet suit (if it’s an open water swim).  There are many venues for triathlons including indoor events that are held in a pool, on a stationary bike and treadmill.  For the beginner, the sprint distance triathlon isn’t necessarily about sprinting or being fast, it is referred to as sprint because of it’s relatively short distance (usually 15 – 18 miles total) compared to the Ironman Kona (140.6 miles).  For the Elite athletes, of course – the sprint distance is ALL about speed.

The sprint distance is a great distance to enter the sport and learn the skills necessary to complete a triathlon, such as swimming, biking and the details of transition.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Swim

Many years ago I started running.  I ran my first 5K and loved it.  Over the years I progressed to the half marathon distance, but running was always very painful for me.  A friend suggested that I sign up for a local sprint triathlon and I had the same thought, “Who, me?  I could never do that.”  My friend was super encouraging and ultimately, I ended up signing up for my first sprint triathlon – the 2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon in Nanticoke, MD which was a 750 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and a 5K run.

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Fast forward to 4 years later and I have complete numerous sprint, Olympic distance triathlons as well as several 70.3 Half Ironman distances.

Triathlon is about consistency – which is one of our core beliefs at I Tri.  Stick with it (whatever “it” may be) and year after year you will get stronger, more confident and more satisfied with your fitness level.  You don’t need to have fancy equipment or an expensive bike to step into triathlon (take a look at the picture above and see the beast of a bike I rode in my first sprint).  These items can come if you find triathlon is your passion and can be useful motivational tools to keep you growing (i.e. “if I complete my first Olympic distance, then I will allow myself to invest in a better bike.”)

There is a lot of fun in learning the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon also is more complex in terms of the details of racing and nutrition.  Some of you may find that joining a triathlon club or finding a beginner’s coach is great place to start.  We highly recommend a USAT certified coach to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that self coached beginners frequently make and mostly to prevent unnecessary injury as a result of going out too far too fast.  Having a coach to lay out a personalized training plan and guide you through the specifics of training, fueling and competing in triathlon is money well invested.

Triathlon is for you – you need only have the thought, “I can.”  Take the steps to your first triathlon today – let us help you!  Together we can Tri!

 

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

 

Food & Fuel

Someone once said to me that no amount of training can make up for a crappy diet. Said differently, what we chose to eat (the types of foods, the amount of foods, the timing of foods) significantly impacts our bodies and can outweigh the hard work we put into fitness training if we aren’t paying attention.

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As you begin your journey into fitness, you will come to realize that in order to be fitter that you must use both exercise and food together. You will not find sustainable results if you focus solely on food or exercise alone. You can place yourself on a restrictive “diet” and put yourself into calorie deficit to hit a weight loss goal, but your body (heart, lungs, muscles) will be no stronger, healthier or in shape by ignoring exercise. Eventually the restrictions will be unsustainable and you will find yourself on the weight gain path again, quite possibly having lost valuable and precious muscle in the process.

You can set off on an intense and extreme exercise plan. But if you continue to eat excessively or non-nutritious foods, you will sabotage your hard physical efforts and fail to achieve the results you desire. You may find yourself scratching your head as to why you are not looking more like you want to with all of your hard efforts.

Fitness is about balance. It is about finding physical activity that you love and enjoy while taking positive steps with your fuel (your food) to nourish your body properly. Neither of these things is something that you can “fix” all at once. They are both a process. They are both a journey. And they go hand in hand.

Healthy Food

It may very well have taken your body years and years to get into the shape it is in today (quite possibly one you are not satisfied with – or better said “out of shape”); you have developed eating habits and acquired tastes for foods that may be less than nutritious, highly processed and significantly contributing to your out of shape state. Food is a powerful substance – often triggering strong emotional responses (memories) or providing comfort when we are experiencing strong emotions. We use food often times as a drug – to make ourselves feel better or feel less. When we are caught in this cycle – it can be very challenging to break the cycle. Learning to be patient with yourself, take small steps to educate yourself on your food motivations and selections, and how you ultimately want to use food will be key on your fitness journey.

At I-Tri Fitness, we refer to food as fuel. It is a necessary part of powering our awesome bodies. We use it for power. We use it to give us energy. We teach that getting stronger and healthier with exercise also requires that we understand more about the fuel we want to use to sustain our engines. Throughout our website we will provide awesome recipe ideas, healthier cooking tips, and some strategies to help you become more aware of what food means to you, how you are using food and how to overcome some of the obstacles that may you may be facing with food.

Remember, fitness (and that includes exercise and fuel) is not about perfection… it is about what we do most of the time. Let’s work together to make what you chose most of the time healthy and nutritious.

Tears or Sweat…. How will you pay?

It’s 4:30 a.m. and the alarm goes off. It’s dark outside, it’s cold and my body hurts. The bed is warm, the pillows comfortable, and the voices in my head are not happy about what I’m about to ask them to do. Crawling out of a peaceful, restful, comfy bed is difficult. Strapping on the heart rate monitor, watch and lacing up running shoes is not pleasant. Striking out on a 45 minute hill repeat training session while it’s still dark outside is painful.i tri man

I assure you, the physical struggle associated with exercise is less difficult, unpleasant, and less painful than living in an unhealthy, unhappy body – full of sadness and self-loathing. The constant negative self judgement, the mental self-abuse, the eating to numb the pain and the horrible guilt after eating to numb the pain are thousands of times more difficult that putting my warm feet on the cold floor getting ready to exercise.

Life is hard, sometimes unbelievably hard. We all pay the price to survive. The currency is in the form of a liquid salty discharge. We all chose our method of payment. Sweat or tears. We will give up the salt… one way or another.

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We can pay with tears in an effort to cope with the unhappiness in our lives, our unhappiness with ourselves, with our bodies. We can eat to numb the pain and suffering and then pay for it with more tears and misery. We can listen to the angry judgmental voices in our head telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t worthy and release the tears to cope with the possibility that those things might be true. This pain last every minute of every day, sleeps with us at night, and is there to face us as soon as we wake.

Tears

Or we can pay with sweat from getting out of our comfortable place, our bed, our normal routine and doing the work, putting in the effort, dealing with the challenge and discomfort of pushing ourselves just a little bit farther or faster than yesterday. We can take on the challenge, with sweat beading on our brows, our muscles screaming in rebellion and put one foot in front of the other over and over and over. Those same voices may tell us that we aren’t good enough, but somewhere inside the truth rings out that “Yes, we are good enough!” We take one more step to prove it. This pain is temporary. We do the work. It’s over. And we are free and at peace for the rest of our day.

Sweat

In the times in my life when I have been unfit, overweight and unhealthy – the mental anguish and emotional pain that I endured was far more difficult than any physical discomfort I felt while competing in a 70.3 Ironman. If you are enduring the mental pain of living in a body that you aren’t happy with – the physical work to overcome the emotional pain is so worth it and so much easier than the pain you are enduring every minute of every day.

You are good enough. You are strong. You can do this.

How will you pay?

 

Chose to take your first step today.  Chose sweat.
Contact us… let us take that step with you.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

To Resolve or Not to Resolve

As 2015 comes to a close, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year, pondering our current place in life and considering possibilities for the future. It can be a warm and peaceful time. It can also be a source of stress or frustration if we find ourselves not where we had hoped we would be professionally, personally, physically. There is always the debate over New Year’s resolutions – should we? Shouldn’t we? Are they useful, helpful, meaningful or useless and ridiculous? To resolve or not to resolve, this is the question.

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There is no perfect answer – it is a very personal thing to many folks. New Year’s resolutions can be a double edged sword. On one side of the sword, it can provide the motivation and spark to kick start a stagnant physical fitness or healthy eating journey – this is wonderful, helpful and energizing. On the other edge, should your resolve begin to fade in March (if not sooner) and none of the things you set out to do are in place, those same motivational resolutions can become the negative judgement that you hold against yourself – emotionally flogging yourself for your failure, lack of commitment, and inability to fix years of issues in a few short weeks. Many times we make giant lists of all of the things we perceive to be wrong or out of balance in our lives. Our resolutions become one giant long “to do” list that places tremendous pressure on us. Three of the top New Year’s resolutions every year are to eat healthier, exercise more and to lose weight.

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Long ago I stopped having a body weight goal and began making my resolutions external achievement goals (like a race or new sport). Over the years, I’ve come to embrace the turning of the New Year and time of reflection. Having specific short term and long term goals for the coming year can be very helpful in keeping us on track. The goals need to be measurable and controllable. The goals need to be realistic and attainable. I recognized that by attaining an achievement goal (completing the race or learning a new sport, or completing a former race, but with a better time) that physically I would be improving and getting stronger. If I was getting stronger and improving, then my weight would surely follow. This approach has proven to work very well.

Having goals like committing to go the gym a certain number of times a week or join a new class at your gym are very achievable goals. Goals such as only having desserts on Friday nights instead of every night is also very controllable. You may not be perfect (in fact I’m certain that you won’t), but if you are better than you were last year, more consistent, more consistent for longer, committed to getting back at it after you stumble – those are HUGE SUCCESSES!!

In the moments when you may find that you are off track, not following your resolutions or drifting back to your former habits – those are the moments to be gentle with yourself. Those are the moments to allow yourself to accept that you aren’t perfect – you never will be. It is this fact that can derail us so quickly. We all say to ourselves “No one is perfect.” We will even comfort a friend who may have stumbled or is failing to achieve a goal. We will tell them, “It’s ok. No one is perfect. Just keep trying.” And we all believe that to be true. Yet when we find that we have fallen short of our imagined perfect self, we are cruel and harsh with ourselves. Our inner self talk can be quite painful and relentless. Remember, it’s not about perfection it’s about what you do most of the time. When you realize that you are not headed the way you want, remind yourself that you still have the desire to try one more time. Be compassionate with yourself as if you were talking with a dear friend.

It is the drive and commitment to keep on starting that is the most important resolution you can make.

Happy New Year

Let 2016 be your year of continued resolve – the year you find your external achievement goals that will keep you focused and committed (most of the time). Let 2016 be the year that when you stumble, you smile and remember that all you have to do is get up, dust yourself off and keeping moving forward. Let 2016 be the year that you resolve to always keep trying. And if you’re looking for a little extra support… we can help.

Happy New Year from I-Tri!!!

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

White Powder

I am an addict.  It has taken me many years to realize it, to recognize the addictive behavior, to see in myself a weakness for something that I feel I have nearly no control over.

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My addiction, like many addictions, is for white powder. It is one of the most wildly abused substances in our country.  It has nearly no negative stigma.  We willingly give it to children and delight in watching them consume it.   Entire holidays revolve around handing it out to people who come to our house.

Sugar

Sugar.

Now wait just  a minute, you say.  Sugar is food.

Let’s look at the definition of drug.  A drug is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.”  When we eat sugar, our body detects it in our blood (pancreas) and then releases insulin to help the body remove the sugar from the blood and pull it into the cells of the body.  That is a physiological response.

Let’s also look at the definition of addiction.  From the Free Dictionary “addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance.  It is a progressive syndrome, which means that it increases in severity over time unless it is treated. Substance abuse is characterized by frequent relapse, or return to the abused substance. Substance abusers often make repeated attempts to quit before they are successful.”  Ever tried to not eat dessert?  Ever tried to give up drinking soda or sweat tea?  Did you start strong and then start to notice that you would think about it?  Did your thoughts become so focused on your desire that you get uncomfortable?  Did you feel your body “craving”?  Did you feel yourself trying to resistant and struggling?  Did you know that you didn’t want to eat that cookie or donut or cake but found yourself with it in your mouth anyway?  Well I have.  I’ve found myself surrounded by 20 candy wrappers and stilling chewing the chocolate and feeling wildly out of control and embarrassed. 

I’ve watched myself prowl through the house at night looking for a hit, trying to find anything that would give me my sugar fix.  I’ve thrown things away (half eaten candy bar because I was disgusted with how much candy I had already eaten) and found myself later digging it out of the trash can because “I had to have it”.

Sugar is a very powerful substance.  We are hard wired to like sweets, it was part of our survival strategy thousands and thousands of years ago.  The wild swings in blood sugar that occur when we eat sugar perpetuate the cycle.  When our blood sugar drops, our body reacts thinking we are in trouble and triggers us to “crave”.  Sugar is added to so many foods that we eat today.  I was a food scientist and product formulator in the food industry for nearly 20 years.  We used sugar to make foods more desirable to consumers.  Sugar tastes good.  Remember we are hardwired to seek it out.

There are numerous articles out there with far more details about the impact of sugar on the body.  Some are very scientific and include tons of research.  My intent for writing was not to wade into the details of the effect of sugar on the body, but to point out that if you are attempting to start a journey or have been struggling with your journey for a fitter, healthier lifestyle, your own sugar “addiction” may be getting in your way.  If you don’t recognize it, you can’t change it.  If you won’t admit it, you can’t change it.  Remember, “what gets measured gets fixed.”

I challenge you to take one week and record the amount of sugar that you are consuming.   For this exercise, don’t count the sugar that is coming from any whole pieces of fresh fruit.  If you are eating canned fruit, fruit cocktails, drinking fruit juice – count that as added sugar.  Look for sugar in your beverages, anything that is prepackaged including bread, pasta, cereal, sandwich meat, hotdogs, chips, granola mix, breakfast bars and drinks, coffee, crackers, snacks, chewing gum, hard candy, chocolate.

If you come back with a number that is greater than 25 grams of added sugar per day then you may need to consider that sugar is derailing your hard efforts to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

Our Long Lost Friend…Hunger

A few days ago, I recall a commute to work from about 5 years ago.  It was a normal drive to work, 45 minutes of think time.  Sometimes I listened to the radio, sometimes I rode in silence.  Sometimes I called people.  On this morning, it was me and my thoughts cruising into work.  I remember this drive specifically because it ultimately changed the way I eat.  As I drove, this thought bounced into my head:

“When was the last time my stomach growled?”

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I kept driving in silence, thinking about this.  It occurred to me that it had been a long time since I had experienced the sensation of a growling stomach.  As I kept driving, I realized that it had in fact been many YEARS since I had truly felt hungry…you know that deep uncomfortable physical sensation of really needing food.  It had been so long that I was unable to remember what it physically felt like to be hungry.  As I rode in my car, carrying extra weight, feeling out of shape and very bad about myself, my new revelation about my lack of connection with my body and it’s needs bounced around in my mind.

I ate.  I ate frequently.  I ate because I FELT like I needed to eat…. mentally.  I ate because eating felt good, food tasted good, because I was craving a flavor, feeling stressed or bored and eating distracted me.  I did not eat because I truly needed fuel.  Food was something more than just nourishment for my body.  Food was very much a part of my emotional life, and I used it to help me manage my feelings.

This was a huge wake up call for me.  But despite the fact that this new information had come to me, old habits die hard.  I continued on my emotional eating train for many more weeks, but the truth that I didn’t need to be eating kept tapping on my shoulder, reminding me that this wasn’t part of any solution that was going to get me feeling better about myself.  Like a giant gorilla hanging on me, every time I stuffed things into my mouth, I could hear that ape jumping around

“But you’re not really hungry.  This is why you are gaining weight.  You don’t need that.” 

Man, I hated that monkey.

Hungry Monkey

Eventually, I grew weary of the mental battle between myself and the ape and decided to get back in touch with my hunger.  I would wake up tomorrow and purposefully not eat breakfast and possibly lunch until I heard my stomach growl, until I felt the physical sensation of hunger.  I would pay attention to what I was thinking and feeling, but until I heard the sound, no food.  Now, you may be thinking that this sounds extreme.  Perhaps it is.  But it was what I needed to do to get back in touch with my body.

The experiment was a great lesson for me, helping me to understand how far out of touch with my hunger that I was.  When I finally heard my stomach growl, I was already experiencing the long forgotten sensation of hunger.  It is a physical sensation, deep in  your core, a hollow and uncomfortable feeling.  It is unmistakable.  My stomach finally roared like a hungry bear.

Hungry Bear

When I was experiencing hunger, my thoughts were not my normal cravings thoughts, my thoughts were very much focused on my discomfort.  On that day, prior to experiencing that sensation, mentally I had many feelings about eating, many thoughts about eating, and many cravings for food.  I repeated this experiment for several days, at different times, making sure that I was in fact hungry before I ate.  The volume of thoughts and cravings I had about food when I wasn’t truly hungry was astounding.

If I was listening only to my thoughts and cravings as the criteria for eating, it was no surprise that I was eating more than I needed and thus gaining weight.  I also recognized the pattern that after eating something high in sugar or highly processed (snack foods, sweets, fast foods) that within an hour to two hours, I was thinking about food and eating again.    The quality of my food (or lack of quality) was leading to blood sugar swings that were contributing to my cravings.

Being out of touch with true hunger and subjecting ourselves to extremes in blood sugar as a result of less than healthy food choices is a common component to undesired weight gain.  It is a vicious cycle.  It feeds on itself.  You feel bad for being unfit.  Your emotions get overwhelming.  You think of food, something that would taste good, make you feel better.  You eat the food (donuts, chips, ice cream, French fries, etc..) and then you feel full and your emotions are at bay for a moment.  But then fairly quickly you feel bad about what you ate, and start mentally beating yourself up and telling yourself what a horrible person you are for having eaten like that.  Meanwhile, your blood sugar has skyrocketed and your body dumps a ton of insulin out into your blood do deal with the sugar.  And in about 2 hours your blood sugar plummets and you start craving food again.  And this time, it’s worse because not only are you craving food because your blood sugar has bottomed out, but you are mentally stressed because you have been beating yourself up over the last meal or snack.  Your emotions are even higher or more uncomfortable and you need to soothe yourself even more than you did before.  And so the cycle keeps playing, over and over.

This cycle isn’t relate to hunger.

This cycle can be broken.  You can shake the monkey… and find your inner bear.  Get in touch with your real hunger again and start the process of learning to eat only when you are hungry today.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

What Gets Measured Gets Fixed

I had a boss tell me once that “what get measured gets fixed.”

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What he meant was that when things weren’t going as expected you had to take stock of the situation. He believed, and I wholeheartedly agree, that in order to affect change, in order to right the ship, to fix things, you first have to measure what is happening now. It is only when you measure the current state that you can determine what the real issues are. Once you know what the issues are, you can then and only then begin to build a plan to fix the issues.

I’ve had many folks ask me “what should I do to start eating healthier?”

Healthy Food

My response, “Let’s figure out what you are eating now and then figure out the small changes you can begin to make that will start your journey.” Eating better, getting fit, finding balance and leading a healthier lifestyle is a process. Most of us don’t go cold turkey from our old habits and just start eating kale, quinoa, and lean organic protein for every meal. The reality of getting healthier is that it is a process. You will make small changes that last. Eventually you will add on to those first changes with more changes until you reach a point where you are truly eating healthy. Slow, methodical changes that you can live with are the keys to lasting health and fitness. But before you can start making methodical changes, you must first know where you are so that you can determine what you are willing and need to change.

On of the greatest tools that I have found is My Fitness Pal.  There are many other options out there like Spark People , but I’ve found that My Fitness Pal is the easiest to use and has an awesome free App that has one of the most complete food databases.

My Fitness Pal

Having found myself on the journey from unhealthy to fit, as I began measuring where I was, I also realized that there were some key mistakes that I made along the way that slowed my progress.  Having a cool App on your phone to track your food and exercise activities won’t make you fit all by itself.  In fact, if you fall into some of the traps I list below, you could end up fooling yourself and actually contributing to the difficulty of your journey.

Here are some of the key pitfalls to watch out for as you begin keeping track of where you are.

  • Overestimating your activity level
    When setting up your My Fitness Pal account, you can select (and edit at anytime) your activity level.  Your activity level along with your weekly weight loss goals will determine your recommend calorie intake – basically how much food you can eat.  Sometimes we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we are not as active as we think we are.  Sometimes we don’t recognize how inactive we are compared to the “average”.  Just to give you an idea, I am a triathlete and I exercise 15 – 25 hours per week depending on where I am in my training schedule.  I compete in 4 – 6 triathlons throughout the spring and summer months.  I compete in half Ironman distance triathlons.  During my normal work week, I have a desk job.  I am able to get up and move around and often walk around briskly to see folks throughout my office building.  My activity level is set on “Lightly Active.”  For my age (43) and weight (136 lbs.) my daily calorie target is 1550 calories.  For most of you, “Sedentary” or “Lightly Active” will be the proper setting.
  • Underestimating how much you are eating
    Beginning to read labels, recognize what a portion is and what the recommend serving size is are all keys to getting the most out of your calorie tracker.  If you pour a bowl of cereal and call that a serving size, then you will woefully be underestimating your calorie intake.  A typical serving size of cereal is 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on the brand and cereal.  I’m not sure about you, but the first time I actually measure a proper serving of the cereal I was eating, I was completely shocked and then deflated.  1/2 cup to 1 cup of cereal is not very much – especially if you have a large bowls (as is typical).  If you are underestimating how much you are eating, then you will not see the results that you are wanting to see.
  • Overestimating the amount of effort / calories you are burning during your exercise
    Another pitfall in beginning to track your food and exercise is overestimating your calories burned during exercising.  My Fitness Pal does have fairly accurate exercise caloric counts.  With some of the exercises, you can choose your effort level.  For example, aerobics is a category that has several different levels of effort (light, moderate, vigorous).  If this is your first time starting out exercising and you find the exercise difficult, you may be tempted to select vigorous.  However, I would caution you that this may overestimate how many calories you have burned.  Vigorous aerobics would be a high intensity for someone who is fit.  Most likely, if you are just getting started, your effort level (from a calorie tracking perspective) will be light or moderate.  Don’t be discouraged.  Remember, measuring where we are is key to being able to affect change.  Be honest and accurate in what you are recording.  In the long run, accurate recording will pay off.

Healthy Eating

 

Power

Every athlete’s (and yes, you are an athlete) power starts in the same place.  Whether we start or stop, run hard, run faster, run longer is all controlled in the mind.

Present Moment

All of your power is in the present moment. 

It was this truth that released me from a lifetime of inner pain and turmoil.  The moment I recognized that the past is over, what is done is done, and that the future is a reflection of what I do each and every moment I was free from my old patterns of thought and behavior.  Right now I affect my path, in this very moment in time.  The past is over.  Yet much of our conflict seems to come from being caught in the past, past habits, thoughts of the past, carrying the pain of the past.

And as much as the past can stall our growth, so can simply wasting time thinking about things that have not occurred.  As I worry about the future, daydream without action my power is sitting idle.

Ghandi said,

“The future is determined by what happens in this moment.”

Your Power is Now

So as I ponder these things, I recognize that our lives are the summary of our choices – a compilation of all the actions and decisions we have made.  Digging deeper, it is easy to see that our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and specifically the thoughts that we act upon.  I have thousands upon thousands of thoughts every single day.  I do not respond to each of those thoughts.  There is a split second in the present moment where I choose to act.  It is at that very instant that I affect my path.  So simple really, yet so difficult to master.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

  • You think thoughts.
  • You choose to act.
  • You act.
  • Your action has an affect.
  • The affect of your action becomes reality.

If we wish to change our reality, we must start at the beginning… we must change the thoughts.

Our thoughts and the patterns that our thoughts take have been shaped and learned from a very early age.  For the longest time, I believed all of my thoughts, and that I had no means of changing the way that I think.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am not my thoughts, I am greater than they are.  I am the awareness within, wading through the thoughts.

Your power is in this moment.  Control the thought, choose to act, change the path.
Believe simply that you CAN.