Triathlons “fourth event”… It’s different for each of us.

OK… So I’m not a real believer in Karma or fate or luck.  The whole “things happen for a reason” belief system just doesn’t fly with me.  YOU make your destiny and your future by the choices you make today.  It wasn’t fate or destiny that brought me to CMC, it was a choice.  I chose to get in better shape and take better care of myself.  A subsequent choice to that one was joining CMC.  It was one of the best choices I have ever made.  I chose running as the vehicle to get me in better shape and then through the advice of a doctor and the gentle prodding of my new friends, I chose to start triathlons.  Again, a conscious decision based on much thought and careful consideration.

So what does all this mean?  Why am I ranting about making a good decision or two?

Because, in reading one article in an online magazine, I realized that I am screwing it all up.

The article, on Active.com is called:

22 Fitness and Nutrition Tips From the American College of Sports Medicine

But why was it such a revelation for me?  Because the very first “tip” on the list was this one:

1. What are four keys to weight loss success? In a study with 65 overweight or obese men, the keys were choosing smaller portions, cutting back on sugary soft drinks, eating fewer high-fat snack foods, and consuming less alcohol.

  1. Smaller portions- Strike one.  I have been increasing my portion sizes over the last 6 months.  I have told myself that it is because I am training more and need the fuel.  In reality, I could easily cut 1000 calories from my diet and not miss them.
  2. Cutting back on sugary soft drinks- Strike two.  After not having a sugary or carbonated beverage for nearly 9 months last year, almost immediately after club nationals, I started drinking sodas again.  Granted, my drink of choice is Coke Zero, but it’s still not good for me.
  3. Eating fewer high-fat snack foods- Strike three.  I love chips… There…  I said it.  I feel better.
  4. Consuming less alcohol-  A HUGE strike four (yes, I know, I was already out… I guess this one counts at my next at bat…).  No excuses here.  I just like beer.  I make my own.  I enjoy trying new types and sharing it with friends.  And it’s killing me.

I barely read the rest of the article.  I have a lot of friends that say things like “Hey!  We do triathlons so we CAN drink beer!”  While this is a great rallying cry in theory, in practice for ME and MY BODY…  This is not true.  I, unfortunately, can’t have as much fun with food and drink.  It sticks to me and won’t let go.  And no amount of extra working out will make it go away.  I have always known that I have an ultra slow metabolism and used to joke that I could live for weeks on one cracker.  I had hoped that all of the increased activity and longer distances would boost my metabolism… but not so much.  Now I could live for weeks on TWO crackers.

So what do I do?  Stupid question with an easy answer and it’s mapped out for me in this one tip.  I guess what bugs me is that I knew this and had a lot of success last year by doing just these things.  I just stopped doing them, and I’m really not sure why.  Food has always been comfort for me and I reach for it in times of stress.  Maybe all of the work stress (the state cut the vast majority of my company’s funding) and family stress (my mother got very sick and subsequently passed away) got me started making bad choices in food again.

It’s hard not to be disappointed in myself.  This is careless and I know it.  I knew what was working and I just chose not to do it.  It doesn’t matter why.  It was the wrong decision and I’m pretty much back to square one now.  I will always be in a battle with food.  It is my Kryptonite.  My “fourth event” in triathlons.  I guess now that I’m not afraid of drowning and I can comfortably make all the distances I need to for races, it’s time to go back to this one again.  It’s just not as much fun…

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