July 24, 2009

You Are What You Eat - Take 3

For the third time this year, I just completed another three-day food log where I captured every last bite and sip I consumed. I am still struggling with my overall weight and body fat retention and in this home stretch, I'd really like to shed a few pounds that I feel are literally weighing me down. My knees hurt after long runs and I have to think lightening the load would help a bit.

For perspective, I'll share the numbers. There aren't many women who would post their weight and body fat percentage on the Internet, but when you are an athlete, it all becomes so scientific that the idea of sharing it changes drastically. I am repeatedly asked by male athlete friends what I weigh and I never hesitate to answer and am not even tempted to change the number to seem more favorable.

I'm roughly 5'6" and as of this morning, weigh 138.2 pounds. Last season during Olympic and sprint training I weighed around 133 and got down to 131 during marathon training. I gained the usual Christmas pounds, but assumed training would take care of that. In the beginning when the volume and intensity was less traumatic, I got down to 135-136 and thought I was on my way. But my weight gradually increased as the volume of training increased and I seem to be stuck in this 138-140 pound range perpetually. Up until recently I was carrying what looked like excess body fat as well. I had a test done in late January before my training began and was at 26%. While this is "normal" for a female, it's still high and not normal for an athlete. I'm not sure where I am today, I'm guessing a little less but likely still around 25%. I use a body composition scale but it's not accurate for an actual fat reading, it's just good for day to day comparisons and especially good for tracking hydration levels. I've most certainly gained marginal muscle weight but it's a myth that you load on 5-10 pounds of muscle. That just isn't how it goes. And I definitely battle fluid retention due to tissue inflammation on a daily basis. My comp scale will sometimes reflect a 4-6% spike in my fluid levels and I tend to be up a pound or two on those days.

That said, I have noticed a little less body fat in the past month or so. I'm happy with that, but still feel I have a long way to go to being the healthy, lean athlete I want to be. The fluctuations are also mind boggling. I went out with friends on Friday and had a few beers, some wine and a lobster roll for dinner. Hardly a binge by any means, but it was enough to drive my weight up to 142 over the weekend. I have a pretty clean diet overall after much work and sacrifice this year. I've given up so many things that I enjoy and a lot of things I never should have enjoyed and I definitely feel better for it, but if I can't indulge occasionally I'll go crazy.

So I logged the three days and got feedback from my coach this morning. He commended me for the work I've done on my diet since April, I have really come a long way. The only things he suggested at this point were to eliminate all processed sugar except for before, during or after workouts, and limit my drinking to one drink no more than 2-3 times per week. I hate to hear it, but it makes sense and I am willing to do it for the next six weeks if it means I can get to the swim start feeling healthier and stronger than I do now.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you on this one! It must be genetic ;) I have been running my butt off, strength training and my weight isn't budging, however I have lost some inches.



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