Thursday, June 29, 2006

No Sugar, No Cry

People often ask me what I eat.

Really, it is more a question what don’t I eat because I enjoy eating so much.

There is no magical formula for good eating. In general, I try to stay OTS – ‘off the sugar’ especially the weeks leading up to a race. On a more consistent basis, it’s a philosophy of eating a rainbow and three food groups at every meal. For the past year, I have also worked with Heather(Hedrick) Fink, a dietician and triathlete from NIFS in Indianapolis. Heather's advice has been key to improving my overall diet and health.

Of course, it’s all easier said than done. I’m no stranger to riding the sugar coaster from caramel to caramel or cookie to cookie or eating a ½ gallon of ice cream in one sitting (ask my husband, it’s not a pretty sight).

But alas in every athlete’s life there comes a point where you acknowledge and accept that garbage in will indeed equal garbage out.

That’s why for a few days after a half ironman I give myself permission to eat nothing but garbage, to literally sit and wallow in a dumpster full of sugary snacks and fats.

So I thought I’d share my food intake from the past few days, starting with after the race on Sunday:

Sunday:

1 pm

½ Bag (maybe even ¾ of the bag….who knows) Cheddar Cheese Goldfish Crackers (they were whole grain, that counts for something, right?)

2:30 pm

1 Grande Toffee Nut Americano (with 3 Splendas & enough ½ and ½ to choke a cow)

3 pm

1 6-inch Oven-Roasted Chicken Sandwich from Subway (no cheese, with extra spicy mustard)

6 pm

About 6 steak slices at the awards dinner – but then they ran out of food

8 pm

1 Large Dairy Queen Blizzard with cookie dough and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (plus the remainder of Chris’ Blizzard)

9:30 pm

Nearly passed out at Dairy Queen table, oversugared and exhausted

Monday:

7 am

Woke up and first words to Chris were “I’m hungry”

7:30 am

Scrambled Eggs
Banana
½ Apple Fritter
2 cups Skim Milk
½ Whole Grain Bagel With Honey
1 Peet’s Hazelnut Coffee (with cream)

1 pm

“Chris, I need to eat NOW”
1 Chicken Burrito (the size of my head & with enough salt to instantly kill a large man)

2:30 pm

“Chris, I’m still hungry”
1 row of Fig Newtons (still haven’t figured out exactly how many that is but it was enough to subsequently constipate me for the next 2 days)

4:30 pm

1 Power Bar (I was desperate, and hungry)

11:30 pm

1 bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with skim milk

11:45 pm

1 spoonful of peanut butter (at the time it sounded like a good idea)

Tuesday:

7 am

¼ cup Oatmeal
¼ cup Golden Raisins
¼ cup Fat Free Plain Yogurt
1 cup coffee

8 am

1 almond baton (found this on my desk courtesy of a co-worker)

10 am

8 chocolate filled chocolates (also found these on my desk courtesy of another co-worker)

10:30 am

Stomachache

12 pm

2 cups Spinach Leaves (trying to make up for lost ground)
¼ cup Craisins
½ cup Garbanzo Beans

2 pm

4 more chocolates

2:30 pm

Stomachache

4:30 pm

A few handfuls of plain Goldfish crackers (Goldfish comprise about 20% of my diet)

6:30 pm

Sized up a package of peanut butter cup cookie dough at the grocery store but then decided that enough was enough

7 pm

½ of a milk chocolate bar (Chris’ grandma insisted “take some chocolate”, who was I to argue today?)

8 pm

½ Chicken Breast
1 cup of vegetables
3 pieces of Olive Bread with olive oil and romano cheese (in the process I accidentally dumped half the container of cheese all over the stove)

Wednesday:

6:30 am

¼ cup Fat Free Plain Yogurt
1 Banana
1/8 cup Almonds
2 cups chocolate-flavored coffee

11:45 am

2 cups Spinach Leaves
½ cup Garbanzo Beans
½ cup Strawberries
1 tomato
2 slices olive bread

4:30 pm

Handful of Goldfish crackers

6:30 pm

2 eggs
2 slices pumpernickel toast with honey
Handful of golden raisins
½ cup skim milk

By Wednesday, I was feeling back to normal and back on track. If I was training more, I would have eaten a more substantial dinner. But overall, that was a pretty typical day.

Sometimes you’ve got to let yourself get off track to remind yourself of why it’s good to stay on track in the first place. Trust me, after 2 days of sugar-loading you’ll be ready to climb back on board the wagon, raise a sugar-free flag, and make a healthy start the next day.

My next sugar meltdown is scheduled in 4 weeks after Duathlon Worlds in Canada. I plan to smother myself in sugar and pass out drooling at the Dairy Queen table (yes, there is a DQ in CornerBrook – I’ve already checked!).

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