"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Junk in the Trunk

In my blog header I say this blog is about my journey to marathon madness (check), triathlon triumph (debatable, but if you adjust your definition of triumph, we are all good), and a little less junk in the trunk (umm... epic fail)

Today's blog post is about just that, my epic failure at losing or even maintaining my weight, my legendarily unhealthy relationship with food, and, yet another, plan to try to deal with it.

Sorry. You can click away now if you want. I understand. I am sick of it too.

And so it goes...

I seek comfort and relief in food. I celebrate and rejoice in food. I cure boredom and relieve stress with food. Food is my friend and my enemy.

I know I am not unique and this has been a lifelong problem for me, but I am tired of going on "diets" and trying "eating programs". I am tired of thinking constantly about what I am eating, what I am going to eat, and what other people will think of what I eat. I am tired of obsessing about how much I weigh and how my clothes fit and look on me.

I am over it.

This has been a while in coming, but I am at the point (once a-fucking-gain) where I am severely limited in what clothes I can wear. I am uncomfortable all the time. My weight is the foremost thought in my mind. ALL. THE. TIME. It is effecting my relationship, as it is hard to be romantic when you feel like a disgusting pig.

Here is the quick and dirty version of my battle this time: In the last year I have gained almost 20 pounds. And the vast majority of that has been in the last 4 months.


"Wait," you may wonder, "weren't you Ironman training for the last year? How is that even possible?"

Obviously, you have grossly underestimated my ability to consume obscene quantities of calorie rich, nutrient poor, foods.

Let's do some math, shall we?

In the last 15 months I have:
Run: 1,015.5 miles
Biked: 2,839 miles
Swam: 60.95 miles

Ok, I just posted that to make me feel better. :o) This is a rough post to write.

Here is the real math...

Total calories burned from workouts: 172,107 calories (According to buckeyeoutdoors.com)

Add Basal Metabolic Calories for my size and (ever growing) weight during that time period: 1415 X 455 days = 643, 825 calories

Add number of calories over BMR that you must consume to gain 20 pounds: 3500 calories/pound X 20 pounds = 70,000 calories

That means in the last 15 months I have consumed 885, 932 calories. The really scary part is that is only an average of 1950 calories per day.

I can eat that many calories as a midday snack without even really trying.

So if I keep working out at pre-ironman intensity and eating like I have been (which I actually suspect is significantly more than 1950 calories/day) I can expect to fucking explode by Christmas.

Quit bitching RBR, what are you going to DO?

I started talking to a nutritionist right before IMCdA, but I didn't want to change anything right before the race (lot of good that did me. I digress...) then immediately after the race I had a mini-meltdown that resulted in 2 weeks of some pretty serious binge eating.

Now I have started following her suggestions and we are working on incorporating these strange green foods into my diet. I think they call them vegetables. I call them garnish. In the past they have typically been responsible for holding up my salad dressing or cheese sauce. I can't remember the last time I ate a zucchini that wasn't breaded, deep fried, and dipped in ranch.

But seriously, I am trying to learn how to eat in a way that will support, and is in accordance with, my new active lifestyle.

That will help with what to eat, but as a binge eater I need help with how much. My idea of portion control is, "Dude, I can have cake. I don't even feel nauseous yet."

For that piece of the equation I have joined Weight Watchers (yes, again), This time I am doing the whole program. Even the stupid, fucking meetings. Whatever. Like I know more than them? I trained for an Ironman and gained 20 pounds, for Christ sake.

Obviously, I could use some help.


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Hey there, I'm not caught up on your pre- and post- CdA posts yet, but thought I'd point you to Robb Wolf's advice about nutrition and training. http://robbwolf.com/?p=634 He's a Cross-fit guy, so a slightly different focus than tri-stuff, but his advice is much the same as Gordo Byrn's and Alan Couzen's at endurancecorner.com .

Watching the Tour de France makes me want to take up biking and triathlons too! Looking forward to catching up on your posts.


StephB said...

I think it's a great idea to talk to the nutritionist. And WW is the best and most sustainable program out there simply because it's not a "system" and they aren't trying to sell you food. Keep on keeping on RBR! I'm rooting for you!

kristen said...

Your definitly NOT alone in the weight struggle. I go through my pahses of obsession. I usually find that it's when I quit thinking aobut it/weighing myself/obsessing, I loose the most weight.

Good luck with weight watchers girl.

Lauren Starks said...

I'm working my way through the book 100 Days of Weight Loss. I haven't blogged about it (yet) because I wanted to get through 'most' of it before I touted it's praises or bashed it for dribble.

So far, though it's been quite amazing. It's not an eating plan, but a daily read (2 pages) that takes you through the reasons why you can't seem to lose/maintain the loss. So far the biggest 'oh-that's-me' moment for me has been being 'interested' in weight loss versus being 'committed' to weight loss. I'm very much a 'oh! this is the plan' until something better comes a long (like cake.)

If you're interested, the first 7 days are available through google books to read online.

Good luck!

IronSnoopy said...

A brief synopsis of my weight:
2006, Marathoner - 138
2007, IM#1 - 144
2008, IM#2 - 152
2009, current weight: 165

I'm not a math person but I'm noticing ah uhm a bit of a trend.

Someone once told me it's my body's desperate attempt to protect me from me. Yeah, that and I, too, can and will eat cake until I throw up.

Good luck with WW! I'll be eagerly following your progress. :)

Unknown said...

best wishes with that! I've done nothing but gain weight for the past few years (or as I like to say, other people lose weight and I find it). compared to my family of stick people, i'm the pillsbury doughboy. i think losing weight has to be one of the hardest things ever!

Angela said...

Hey Stace! Long time, no talk. Just wanted to drop off a hug! I hear ya! I feel ya! No, I don't do triathalons or marathons...though I'm registered for a half in December, I get the whole frustration on weight loss. Even more frustrating is that is all in our control. If so, why am I not losing? So I get it and just wanted to stop by and give some cyber hugs!

B.o.B. said...

Oy. I feel your pain. I am the same way with food. I lost 25lbs and always hear my inner fat girl calling. Just right around the corner, she's there. Waiting.

Alas we all struggle with this. I found that the more I train, the hungrier I am!

You are taking the appropriate steps and are doing the right thing by implementing those green things.

Jennifer said...

Hi Stacy,

I've been following your blog for a few months and thought I'd pop in today to comment because so much of this post resonated with me. You could essentially just insert my name for yours (except for that part about the Ironman! I run about 20k a week). I look forward to hearing how you confront the struggle and hope to learn something from you!

Re: "....strange green foods into my diet. I think they call them vegetables. I call them garnish." I call them weeds!

ShutUpandRun said...

Good luck with the weight stuff. It is ridiculous that we all train so hard and gain weight. I don't get it.

Sarah said...

Girlfriend, do I EVER get it. Seriously man. And for me, I have no choice. It's do or die time. I have the amount of time before I start training for Ironman that I need to make some healthy changes. I HAVE TO. It's one day at a time right now and each day I try to ask myself if my choices are going to get me to my goal. For the most part, I'm doing it. But I have a lot of room to improve those choices. Knowing that other people struggle with it helps me tremendously.

I am a huge fan of the nutritionist route. I lost 85 lbs doing weight watchers. But I never changed how I ate. Now I'm having to be honest with myself and focusing on eating real food. Weight Watchers is awesome for the weigh in and support, and with a nutritionist teaching you the tools to make good choices, you'll be golden.

Alisa said...

I love how honest you always are! I gained weight marathon training (all 3 times). It seems so counterproductive! You run, swim and bike all these miles and you gain weight--it's a big WTF??!!! For me, I've started tracking my food on thedailyplate.com which helps me gain a better sense of what I'm eating and when.

I've considered WW but am too embarrassed to go. Even though I know everyone is there for the same reason I would be. Also, my ever shrinking husband who, does run more than me but eats a lot more crap, wouldn't understand my wanting to go to WW.

I'm looking forward to hearing about how WW goes for you. If you learn any good tips, please share with all your other bloggy friends who feel the same as you but aren't quite as open and honest about it =).

Regina said...

You are preaching to the choir! I have been in a lifelong battle of the bulge. I too expected to drop all my post baby weight (3 friggin years later!) by this time and thought all this training would do the trick. NOPE! Admittedly, I have lost a few pounds, but not nearly as much as I thought. I also hate when everyone who hasn't seen me in a while asks, "you must be losing a ton of weight,right?"

I did WW too and lost a little, I had a hard time with the meetings though. I eventually fell off the wagon and straight into a pile of sh*t. I wish it had been cake (actually maybe it was cake, that would explain the added weight)!

I'll make you a deal, if you eat more rabbit food, I will too!

Carolina John said...

WW is awesome. Kelley lost 85 lbs on WW, and I lost 40 just by eating what she cooked for dinner without complaining. It will get you back on track. Love those 0 point soups!

This is a very common theme for all of us endurance folks. so you are among friends here.

Go visit a farmer's market this weekend! Right now they are flush with fresh crops. This is the best time of year to load up on veggies. I'm loving it, my garden is coming in heavy now too.

Stef0115 said...

I've read that it's harder for endurance athletes to lose weight. So this sort of makes sense, along with your food choices.

What I really want to say though is that, from my perspective this issue is cropping up now for a REASON and it is an OPPORTUNITY for you to deal with it in a constructive and healthy way.

Any way that I can support you in that, bring it bitch I'll do it!

You were SO SMART to schedule your next Ironman for a year away. You have time!! :-) And also what Sarah says about how she didn't change what she ate but now working with a nutritionist! She's awesome.

So are YOU! I mean hell we all know you will make a bike course your bitch even after the timing mat is flipped. If you can do that you can do THIS. Don't give up on yourself. EVER!

Lindsay said...

oh lord. i looove junk food. even though i am allergic to 98% of it, i shove it down anyway. that's ok, i love having allergic reactions and feeling bloated and gaining weight and all that jazz... i know i feel like absolute garbage after eating garbage but it is just soo good.

so... good luck with all that. i need to light a fire under my rear too and remind myself 'garbage in, garbage out'. stick with it; healthy food doesn't taste all that bad either - and your body usually doesn't hate you afterwards!

love the part about "veggies". mmm cheese sauce....

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

I was all proud of myself when I told my Endo that I was "only" eating about 1700 calories a day. He informed me that was about 500 calories too much.

I agree with you definitely that it's hard to feel remantic when I feel bloated and awful.

Jo Lynn said...

Oh, Girl. I know we talked a little bit about our eating habits when we ran together. It is so tough, the weight thing. I understand completely. People can tell you how beautiful you are, how healthy your (exercise) habits are. But unless you feel beautiful yourself, it just doesn't matter. So, with that being said.....
Do what you need to do to feel beautiful and be happy. You deserve it. ;)

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

Hey, RBR. I think you look great in the Ironman photo's. You know one thing I have learned over the years in the running world - runners come in all shape and sizes. You know your health the best. However, don't get down on yourself. Yes, we can all lose a few pounds. The most important thing - are you the healthiest you can be at this point in your life. Just being able to do what you did in Idaho, the fact you can get ready for a Marathon in SF (on a diffucult hilly course) says you are doing great! WW is a great program and probably the best one out there. Just don't get down on yourself and use weight or eating to bring down your accomplishments. You are an awesome inspiration in all that you do!

IronWaddler said...

I so understand and I amm facing the same crisis. Hang in there.

I always gain weight training for a big event. It's the best excuse evah!

Katie said...

I just got started running back in March and found your fantastic blog a couple weeks ago.

I love running now (which is a total miracle) but recently I've been using it to 'bank' calories. And since I love food so much and have a history of weight and food issues like yourself, I was setting myself up for disaster. I started increasing my mileage way too fast, partially because running is fun but also so I could eat more and then last week I developed shin splints. Most likely because of the drastic increase in miles and the weight Ive gained from my food indulgences.

Anyway, I haven't been able to run all week and without the runs to help me deal with stress, I started bingeing again, which I hadn't done in years. I was pretty devastated and disappointed with myself and sick of dealing with an issue I thought I was done with.

Your post resonated with me because I feel like I am in the same place in a lot of ways. People would probably look at me and think I looked healthy, in shape, even, maybe trim-ish. But food is my go-to solution for everything and helps me avoid dealing with life in a lot of ways and I am sick of being consumed by (and consuming) all the food.

That quote about insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result made me look into the OA program the last couple days.

Instead of trying another diet or convincing myself willpower will work this time, (even though it had failed me every other time), I am going to try something new (and really really scary for me). You might want to check OA out and see if its for you.

So far I have listened to a bunch of podcasts and attended one online meeting but Im hoping tomorrow to gather the courage to go to a face to face meeting.

Thank you for writing the post. It helps to know its not just me dealing with these issues. I wish good luck to you, me, and everyone like us!

RBR said...


I don't have an email for you but I wanted to say (should you come back and read this) thank you so much for your comment. I do think it helps to know that there are others like us struggling out there and trying to fight these particular demons. The 12 steps saved my life from the ravages of another facet of my obsessive/addictive personality and I am a firm believer. Of firnd of mine and I are planning to go to an OA meeting after I get back from a conference. I would like this change to be about me not about the food. I know the problem is me not the food.

Thank you again! Good luck on your journey and give those shins a chance to heal so you can get back out there!


Irene said...

Ditto on the talking to a nutritionist. When I ran my first marathon I gained 15 pounds. Part of it was not knowing how to properly eat for my sport, and part of it was the mentality that "I just ran 16 miles, I can eat anything." I found that it doesn't work that way. I finally found happy spot with the nutrition and didn't gain any weight for my last marathon in May. I hope you're able to find what works for you. Good luck!

Trigirlorlando said...

First, thank you for reading my blog and posting comments. It helps so much.

Secondly, you really need to get the book "Life with Ed" (Ed= Eating Disorders). It will give you alot of great info and clarity.

You and I are sisters from another mother. You can win this battle with food...just take it a day at a time..a meal at a time...an hour at a time. You won't be perfect...but it will improve.

Hang in there girl...I was in your shoes a year ago after Florida but you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to!! You're not alone!!

Aka Alice said...

Oh RBR...If I had your courage, I could have written this post (those green things? vegetables? those things responsible for holding up cheese sauce? hahahahahaha...you kill me with your honesty!)

Been running almost four years. I'm pretty sure I'm more muscular, but really, haven't lost a single pound...

So...here's to you (I'm raising my morning cup o'joe) to you joining WeWa). I keep wondering when I'm gonna hit the place where I do something similar...

Aka Alice said...

PS...there's a lot of Vineman/Barb's Race talk on the Internets right now thanks to you...I must be insane, but I think I'm in...and bringing some of the herd w/me!

Fe-lady said...

Are you eating right after workouts ? Only good food to replenish?
Lose the scale-quit counting calories- DON'T BUY the junk food-have healthy stuff in the fridge- allow yourself that half of whatever once a week (ice cream bar, order or fries..) If you need that CRUNCH do popcorn or multi-grain cereals. If you need that creamy stuff buy a good yogurt.
And lastly-keep busy! Get into something else beside exercise-sewing? Knitting? gardening? painting?

Think of your food as fuel for the engine- and use only the high-grade!

It's all about discipline and self control-Ironwomen have that, right?
Best of luck!

Formulaic said...

It seems that almost everyone who trains for the IM gains weight.

It's almost impossible not to. You can do what i do and just pretend that it's all muscle not fat. Because it's true right?

Good, now that we agree, I am going to have another bowl of Ice cream!

Southbaygirl said...

I'm 3 days late to this post and have no excuse for it whatsoever!!

You are an amazing woman for being so open and honest with your feelings! One of the hardest things we WOMAN have to deal with is our weight! I too have my issues with my weight! I am a BIG girl! I am an ATHENA girl! And it makes me sick! I have always hated my body! I go thru periods where it's OK-I'm not in one of those places right now!

My work has stunted my exercise and I hate that! My family is predisposed to being chunky and I know I have to fight this fight all the time! But I just don't have enough hours in my day to exercise the way I want to, sleep and work!

The eating healthy ie those "weeds" or "green things" that hold up your cheese sauce or dressing isn't a problem for me because I'm a vegetarian and I LOVE my vegies! But it may not be the proper way i need to eat for my body! But I can't eat meat! I just can't!!

So I do what i can. I've cut out ALL sodas! I don't drink them anymore! I've cut out all refined sugar! I will only eat a cookie that is made from fruit juice! And I've become addicted and obsessed with Kombucha-my dad calls it paint thinner!

I was at my heaviest and feeling the worst about myself and who I was almost 3 years ago-right before the asshole ex walked out! I think I was so miserable in the relationship that i too was eating to escape! Still running but eating and drinking way too much! i wasn't happy, I didn't like myself, i didn't like the person I was dating and living with because he was the polar opposite of me: he didn't like my animals, he smoked, he drank way too much, he did drugs....what was I doing with this person???? I couldn't answer that question so it came out in my weight!

of course the weight came off when he walked out-I lost 20lbs in about 2 months-if only I could bottle that and sell it!!!

I have finally begun to accept me. I am penny. i am not 110lbs! I will never be. I weigh about 170-175...I don't want to but the older I get the harder it seems to lose! I am penny! I am a mother,a daughter, a friend, and animal advocate, an dog mom, a cat mom and I hope a beautiful human being-even though there is NO ONE in my life to share it with.

I have those feelings of being ugly and not feeling attractive to the opposite sex! hell, I'm not even attractive to the same sex! HA HA! But I'm slowly learning to accept who I am!

You are NOT ALONE!!! There are more people whoa re dealing with the exact same things you are dealing with!!

hang tough and know that we love you and we are here for you!!!!

Bootchez said...

Another late poster, another who can totally relate, another who thinks you're awesome for having the honesty to lay yourself so open on the blogging table. Who knows how fat I'd be if I hadn't taken up running ('cause my weight has been relatively the same no matter how many miles I runbikeswim) and I could stand to loose a few. I guess I've learned to be reasonably satisfied with what I am, and join Formulaic in a bowl of ice cream. Good luck with your efforts, and know that you are a huge inspiration!

Rebecca said...

I really enjoy your blog, and I also struggle with my weight. I'm working on ten pounds that just refuse to go away. Sigh.

I'm sure you have tons of advice coming your way, but I thought I'd share a couple of things that have helped me become a better eater.
1) Have a piece of fruit with your breakfast.
2) Have a vegetable or salad with lunch and dinner, and eat it ALL first before the rest of your food.
3) I try to stick to natural things, but I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray is my good buddy. It makes steamed veggies palatable without adding calories.

Good luck to both of us!

ShirleyPerly said...

I actually don't think gaining weight while training for an ironman or marathon is all that unusual at all. There was an article about that in one of my local tri magazines a while back that said it had to do with a high carb diet causing nutritional deficiencies and chemical imbalance issues that contribute to fat/weight gain. But certainly just adding more stress to your life, can magnify stress-related problems, whatever they are.

Glad you are seeking help. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today as a swimmer if I didn't seek help. Although some may say it's not the same as an eating problem, I beg to differ. I signed up for an Ironman for much the same reason that some people who want to lose a lot of weight sign up for an Ironman, to gain control over themselves, to conquer some fears, to become the person they wanted to be, to feel good about themselves and what their body can do. Everyone has their demons. I'll be rooting for you to beat yours, RBR!

Jane said...

Hmmm, don't know what to tell you.
I gained weight during IM training b/c I was like "I just rode 60 miles, I can eat a whole pizza" - and would.

You have to know your own style and personality. Nutritionists make me want to say fuck you to them because they are usually all skinny and talk about portion control and crap. WW makes me want to hurl. You'll probably get alot of advice, wanted and unwanted.

I agree with Slomohusky in that racers come in all shapes and sizes.

Personally, I lose weight when I STOP dieting. But I'm very oppositional.

You (and most of us) are overcritical of ourselves. I think it's all those skinny bitches at the races.

Klassenator said...

I believe in you RBR:)

run to eat said...

I once read that dealing with food addictions is so much harder than kicking drugs or alcohol.....not necessarily true, but with drugs or alcohol you can just avoid them forever. with food, you need it to live (and in our case to train) and must make choices daily. Not an easy thing to do, but I've no doubt you will get there. It's a long process and your honesty is inspiring.

Someday I hope to run with you at Garin (JoLynn taught me my way around, but I am NOT ready for that foursome LOL)

Good luck in SF!

RunnerGirl said...

You can do this!! You can do this!!! You clearly have discipline. You can train for something so spectacular that only a very small percentage of the country can do. You can get your ass out of bed and run, bike swim all kinds of miles when other people are getting up to their artery clogging breakfasts and Starbucks venti lattes with full whip. Think of food as fuel and know that the green things will help tremendously with your runs, bikes and swims. Food is not a reward, nor is it a punishment. You are not what your diet says you are!!!!! Congratulations on the courage to talk about your issues and all of the emotions that go along with it. You are one hell of a bad ass and I am in your corner - not waiting for you to fail but waiting to catch you with support!!!!!

Julia said...

OMG, you put the thoughts and words right out my head and on the paper (screen). I know exactly what you mean! I have also begun entertaining the idea of seeing a nutritionist... every single time I step on the scale there is an increase... boo... But I am amazed at how humorous you can be with the situation; all I know how to do is complain complain complain. I'm cheering for ya!

Keri said...

I personally view the produce aisle as wasted space in a grocery store or just a "walk thru" aisle to get to the bakery.