April 20, 2010

Calories In, Calories Out

Here I am again, battling the dreaded "train gain" that seems to be inevitable for me in Ironman preparation. I'm determined to crack the code and change my fate, however, and so far seem to be on a good path. Last year I went sugar free, processed free, flour free and seemingly fun free to reach an acceptable race weight and body composition. But I still wasn't as light as I've been when just racing marathons so I know there is more I can do. My drive to succeed here is less about vanity and more about health - the likelihood of re-injury will lessen as my weight lessens, my body will recover better from training and my overall wellbeing could benefit from some minor weight loss. Of course I'd be lying if I said shedding the remainder of my offseason spare tire wasn't on the list as well.

Losing weight really comes down to the simple equation: burn more calories than you consume, which this recent New York Times piece covered. The old "calories in, calories out" theory trumps the fancy, intricate diet plans out there so I'm back to tracking every morsel I consume so I can better learn what an adequate day's intake looks like for me. In the spirit of sharing my journey, I'll share all my numbers (I know, very out of character for a woman):
  • 2009 Race Weight - 135
  • 2009 Average Training Weight - 136-143 (fluctuated wildly based on training load)
  • 2010 Current Weight - 138-140 (spiked to 144 after a big training weekend, but that's unusual
  • 2010 Goal Race Weight - 130
My daily calorie goal, based on my metabolic rate plus additional for general life, is 1,800. On heavier volume days I'll aim for 2,000-2,200. Additionally, I'm supplementing immediately before, during and after training as needed.

I worked this out very carefully with my coach and am tracking it on an iPhone app called Lose It. If I eat the proper foods I feel great and am adequately fueled for my training, but if I fall short I become rapidly fatigued. It's a delicate balance, but if I nail it I should be able to lose a pound per week and keep it off. The other upside is that my diet is incredibly clean with absolutely nothing processed and more vegetables and fruits than I've ever consumed, which makes me feel great.

On the training front things continue to go quite well. I had a solid 40-minute run yesterday with zero pain after a decent amount of volume over the weekend. I then did my first early-morning outdoor weekday ride this morning with my tri club. I rode harder than I would have on my own and because it was also social, the time zipped by. It's light early enough now that I should be doing most of my weekday rides outdoors, weather permitting. I'll add that to my list of goals.


  1. I love seeing how committed you are. Sounds like tough work, but if anyone can do it you can!

  2. calorie-counting works best for me... i'm just not good at "moderation" and controlling myself, but if i (closely) monitor it - i do pretty well. unfortunately i haven't been monitoring (/counting) for awhile and have ballooned up. :)

    i desperately need to get back on my wagon! we can do this together?



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