It's now been two months I've been grossly off my pre-Ironman training diet and I continue to feel the toll. I'm about five pounds heavier, my body composition has drastically changed and my energy is inconsistent. If I felt so much better when eating better, why is it so hard to stick to it? My activity is also tremendously low so I blamed the five pounds on going from training 15+ hours a week to 15 minutes. I keep thinking I'll get more active and magically shed the pounds. But then I read this New York Times blog today and am beginning to think otherwise.
A recent study proves that in most people, exercise does not lead to weight loss. Nearly all of us also have to modify our diets in order to drop the unwanted pounds. It also shows no evidence of a miraculously revved metabolism that keeps blasting calories long after the workout has ended. So if you're indulging a little - or a lot as has been the case for me over the last two months - and exercising to compensate for it, you're likely just equaling things out and not ever burning enough to be one of the lucky souls who can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound.
I've been hitting my nutrition goals about 50% of the time. Let's not discuss the other 50%. So now I'm vowing to aim for 80% and ultimately 90% when I'm back into serious training. But as with all other aspects of my life, I'm planning to remain flexible. After all, a little dark chocolate or the occasional cookie can't hurt, right?