Well… that’s done. With my final weigh in yesterday I bid goodbye to our multisport club’s “Biggest Loser” competition. Apparently, though not very good at triathlons, I’m pretty good at losing weight. I did OK. I got a lot of weight off, changed some really bad habits into good ones and went a long way to completely recovering from the horror that was 2013. The biggest change for me was a mindset switch. I stopped looking back and regretting the loss of 2013 and started looking forward. Time to move on. Time to get better.
So during the contest I learned a lot of interesting things. Things like at one point when I had lost about 22 pounds, my knees were feeling much better. One night I picked up our overly round cat, who weighs roughly… 22 pounds… and carried her down the stairs. My knees hurt. Once I put her down, I was fine… Coincidence? umm… no.
I also learned that my body is really good at going into survival mode. At a couple of points, desperate to make weight, I cut my intake WAY back and increased my workouts. Not only did I not lose weight, but I actually gained weight. My body said “Fine, if you aren’t going to give me anything to burn, I will just hold on to EVERYTHING you give me.” Not the best formula for weightloss.
I will admit to being a little disappointed with the way I look now. I’m sure it’s just a body image thing but I thought I would look better and thinner than I do. Clearly my mental ideal weight (180) was not close to reality. I’m thinking probably 160-165 is where I need to be. Ah, well. Just means more work.
Right at the end of the contest, for about the last month, I started changing over my training to prepare for the upcoming season. I pushed some mileages and times. I got faster and ran/swam longer than I ever have for “training”. In fact, I’m running and swimming longer now than I was when I was “training” for the Half Ironman in Oklahoma! But I’m finding that this does NOT equate to losing weight.
In fact, it actually hindered my last month, where I only lost about 6 pounds or so. One would think with all the long races and workouts I did, I would have doubled that. Especially given the fact that I did not increase my intake during that time. But it was actually the other way around. I had to fight to keep from GAINING weight during this time and had one of my smallest amounts lost during my longest running week in TWO YEARS! Everyone says that’s just my body adjusting to the new requirements and that it will pay off in the long run, but I will reserve judgement on that one for a while.
To me, it seemed like hard training AND the things I had to do for the competition seemed to get in each other’s way. I need to eat more to fuel the longer distances. But since my body refused to let go of ANY scrap I put in it, this meant I was fighting to lose weight for the entire last month. That was frustrating. Especially when I was seeing all of my times go down and distances go up. The only thing that didn’t go down was weight.
So I guess the cautionary tale in this would be that the old adages are true. You can’t outrun bad nutrition. And you can’t JUST train your way to weight loss. It is much more difficult than it would seem to “train” and “diet” at the same time. It screws your body up. The last week of the competition I was actually overtraining. I could tell this because I was tired, weak and low on energy… yet I couldn’t sleep. I was doing one workout a day for “training” and another for “weight loss”. This didn’t work for either.
For me, I think I need to pick a side. Either exercise for triathlon training OR weight loss. Not both. It didn’t work. I was just tired, hungry, grumpy, sore and sleep deprived for 3 weeks. That is a recipe for failure. Too much of that and you get hurt or just give up. That’s not what I’m after.
But now, thankfully, the contest is done and I can get to work. I can eat a little more and have made a pact with myself to NOT get on the scale more than once a week. And that is only because I need to monitor my weight as a part of my training. Not in spite of it.
I did my longest outside road ride of the year yesterday at 40 miles (ish). I was really tired but I had done an 8 mile trail run in the morning so I was supposed to be tired. I probably won’t do more than a 50 mile ride this year. Nope. It’s time for short bricks, intervals, hills and tempo work. I’m looking for another 5K to run in a month or so. I have a PR to crush. And then it’s all in for Chicago. Two days, three races, no regrets…