Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jamie's Diet Food

Cyclists are mostly skinnier than triathletes. Since I'm a cyclist now, instead of a triathlete, I need to get skinnier. Also, I put on about 8 lbs. after my Ironman. I need to lose those extra pounds, plus some.

There are a few tools I've been using to help. As a part-time housewife-type person, I'm responsible (or rather I take responsibility for) planning meals and grocery shopping. So I start with a simple spreadsheet, with meals for the week laid out for both Emily and me (since we eat different things for many meals). From there I go to EatThisMuch.com to help me generate meals for the week. It helps me plan within narrow parameters of calories and macronutrients for each day. With a premium membership, you can plan different meals for each day, but I tend to eat the same thing every day in spite of that. If I have leftovers or something specific I want to eat, I enter that, then generate other meals to fill in around it.

I buy all the ingredients I need for my weekly meals and do all the cooking on Saturdays and Sundays. It's much easier to stick to a restricted diet when it's easy, and with this set-up, I never have to make the choice to cook something healthy; I just eat the healthy stuff that's already in the fridge. I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories and exercise.

The diet has gone well so far. I've lost about 5 lbs. since I started monitoring in late December. My goal is to be down to my racing weight (I'm shooting for 130-132 lbs., which is the lightest I've been since middle school) by March, then stop trying to cut calories and focus on eating for performance. For the first time last year, I restricted my weight loss to base phase, and my training was better for it. I have enough fitness and training know-how to realize that your body's not great at splitting focus; if you're trying to lose weight, you don't gain as much fitness, and if you're trying to gain fitness, you shouldn't try to lose weight. But last year was the first time I actually put that into practice, and I noticed the difference in my fitness, especially late in the season.

I do notice that I'm cranky by the end of the week, and it's harder to motivate myself through hard workouts. My theory: I use so much willpower staying within my eating plan that, by the end of the week, I don't have the mental energy necessary to push through hard workouts. I eat more on the weekends (partly necessitated by long team rides that are, for me at least, pretty tough), which keeps the crankiness at bay. Mostly. But we still use the word "hangry" pretty liberally by Friday. Emily's dieting too; there's lots of hangry to go around by the weekend.

I'll post some of my favorite recipes that I find/come up with, in case you're a (relatively) fat triathlete trying to keep up with skinny cyclists, too.

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