Nutrition & Eating

San Antonio & Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve fallen into a pretty solid workout routine lately but this week it all got messed up due to an impromptu trip to San Antonio.

We left last Sunday morning and came back on Tuesday afternoon with one goal. Eat all the food.

And we did.

The first stop Sunday was lunch in Lockhart at Black’s Barbecue. 1/2 pound of moist brisket, a link of sausage, mac n cheese and peach cobbler. Plate cleaned.

Then dinner at Ruth Chris on the Riverwalk. Look, y’all! I own something other than running shorts!

A loaf of bread, three lump crab cakes, some lobster mac and cheese, a glass of wine, and whiskey bread pudding. Ooof. So much food. 

I woke up Monday morning early, intending to go for a run on the Riverwalk. Unfortunately, the weather hand different plans. Instead, I went downstairs to the most awesome hotel fitness center ever and I ran 6 miles on the treadmill while I watched it rain horizontally outside.

By late morning the rain was tapering off so the Food Tour de San Antonio continued with brunch at Magnolia Pancake Haus. Two eggs over easy, two slices of bacon and two blueberry pancakes. Yum.

That afternoon we walked from the hotel to The Friendly Spot, a really cool icehouse in the King William district.

Then, we went down the street to Rosario’s. I had some amazing soft tacos on corn tortillas (Griselda’s Tacos Callejeros) and drank a Mexican Handshake (I have no idea what was in it) then ate crepes, stuffed with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with housemade Mexican caramel. Yum.

Tuesday morning, I was determined to get the Riverwalk run that I’d missed the day before. So first thing, I tossed on my running clothes and went downstairs.

It took all of 3 steps to figure out that my legs felt like lead weights and I’d rather be in bed. I cringed through a whole mile before going back to the hotel and admitting defeat.

After my run, we headed out to breakfast at The Guenther House.

I ate the most delicious Strawberry Sweet Cream Waffle on the entire planet. After that we got in the car and headed home. Fun over.

The remainder of the week, my workouts all felt a little “off.”

Shocker.

Needless to say, I’ve been slightly more cognizant of my food intake since we got back.

Here’s what the rest of workout week looked like:

Swim Bike Run
Monday 6 miles
Tuesday 1 mile
Wednesday 1900 yards 7 miles
Thursday 2200 yards 6 miles
Friday  600 yards 5 miles
Saturday 8 miles
Sunday 51 miles 4 miles

Swim – 1 hour, 49 minutes
Bike – 3 hours, 2 minutes
Run – 7 hours, 41 minutes
Strength Training – 1 hour

Total – 13 hours, 34 minutes

Ironman Training, The Starting Point

This weekend I’m doing my first triathlon, Cypress Tri. It’s a sprint distance (550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run), which I should be able to complete with no problem. It’s more ceremonial than anything else. Being my first triathlon, it marks the unofficial beginning of Ironman Texas training. I have 10 months to learn how to be a triathlete and it all starts Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what an Ironman is, let me explain. It’s a triathlon, which begins with a 4,200 yard open water swim, is followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.2 mile run (yes, a full marathon). As you may imagine with an event of this magnitude, the training is difficult.

Peaking at 18-20 hours per week, for a beginner, it’s an average of three hours per day of training.

Three. Hours. Per. Day.

It’s not to be taken lightly. It takes both physical and emotional energy, and will impact all aspects of my life. Relationships. Energy levels. Appetite. It’s a test of endurance in more ways than one.

I thought it would be fun to document the training, how it impacts my life, my diet, my body and my routine. It’s going to be quite the adventure..

Much like the “before” and “after” photos in weight loss commericals, the journey is best documented when starting at the very beginning. Today’s post is about just that – where I am now.  Training. Food. Body composition. The whole shebang.

So, here we go.

WORKOUT ROUTINE

I run 6 days a week, averaging 40-45 miles total, I bike twice a week and swim once to twice a week. My workout routine looks something like this…

Monday: 6-7 mile run
Tuesday: 6-7 mile run & 2200 yard swim
Wednesday: 20 mile ride & 6-7 mile run
Thursday: 6-7 mile run
Friday: 30+ mile ride
Saturday: 10 mile trail run
Sunday: 6-7 mile run or something else light and fun like mountain biking

Things get switched up every week but this is a good snapshot of how things usually go. It’s not much different than my routine when training for Boston, just without the massive long runs on Saturday and epic weight lifting sessions.

When training for Boston, I peaked at 15 hours per week of cardio and since then it’s dropped down to about 12 hours. The training abyss between 15 and 20 hours is the area of the unknown.

NUTRITION

When it comes to nutrition, for the past several years, I’ve followed the 80/20 rule and it works pretty well for me.

80% of the time I eat a whole food diet that’s high in fat and protein with a few carbs. I generally eat all types of meat but try to limit each kind to once a week so I don’t overdo it.  The carbs I do eat are mostly fruits, vegetables and full fat dairy. I tend to avoid wheat, white rice, grains, refined sugar, syrup, etc. If I’m training for an event and my body needs an additional shot of carbs to recover from a workout I’ll eat rolled oats or brown rice.

The other 20% of the time (mostly on the weekend), I eat whatever strikes my fancy. If we go out for breakfast and a cinnamon roll is staring me in the face saying ,”EAT ME,” you can bet I’m going to eat it.

I drink 2-3 servings of alcohol per week. Most of the time, it’s wine or beer. I also have 2 cups of coffee a day, which I drink black or with a little half and half, depending on my mood.

Because I follow the 80/20 rule, I don’t count calories. I eat until I’m satisfied. If I’m still hungry, I eat a little more, all within the bounds of my “rules.”

Breakfast is usually my biggest meal and also the highest in fat and protein, lunch is the second largest and dinner is the smallest. The carb content of each meal increases as I get closer to the end of the day. I’m not exactly sure why, but it works for me.

I know that as training intensifies, my diet will change significantly. Past experience has taught me that getting enough calories becomes difficult as I get closer to 15 hours per week of exercise. My 80/20, whole food, diet turns into the Michael Phelps diet, so I can only imagine what will happen as the 15 hours turns to 20. The words “moving dumpster” come to mind.

SLEEP

My body operates well on 8 hours of sleep a night; ideally, that’s what I shoot for. Lately, stress and a few other factors have caused it dip into the 6-7 hour range. Most of the time I go to bed around 10, fall asleep around 11 and wake up sometime between 5-6 AM.

BODY COMPOSITION

My eating habits keep me pretty lean. I was body fat tested during Boston training and it was 19%. I suspect it’s probably closer to 20-21% now, as I’ve gained a few pounds and lost a bit of muscle since then.

As of this morning, I weigh 128.8 pounds and my current measurements are as follows…

Upper Arms: 10.5″
Chest: 33″
Waist, at smallest: 27.5″
Waist, at largest: 33.5″
Hips: 37″
Thighs, at largest: 22.5″
Thighs, at smallest: 17.75″
Calves: 14″

For the record…because I feel like I need to say this…IRONMAN IS NOT ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. It’s not about loosing inches, or changing my body shape in any way. It’s not about looking better in a swimsuit or looking skinner in pictures.

Much like Boston, I’m doing it to challenge myself and to test the limits of my physical and mental endurance. BUT, I recognize as I take my body into the unknown, that it will change and adapt and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the starting point…

…which includes a picture. I’m not exactly modest and I’m no stranger to posting swimsuit pictures on the internet, but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with being scantily clad in front of the world. Regardless, here it is, in all it’s running-tan-line glory.

That’s it! Let the training begin!

Weight Loss and Becoming A Runner

dsc03119I took this picture exactly seven years ago today. December 1, 2009 was one of the most important days of my life and I didn’t even know it.

At the time, I was borderline obese and depressed. I couldn’t walk up the stairs to our bedroom without being winded at the top. I couldn’t run a mile – I could barely walk a mile.

I had been skinny through high school and like everyone else I gained a few pounds in college but not anything to be worried about. Before my wedding I crash dieted to fit into a wedding dress that was accidently ordered a size too small and once the wedding was over I let myself go. I gained 45 pounds in two years. I was a size 14 shoving myself into size 12 jeans. I had a nearly 40″ waist.

That morning I was sitting at my kitchen table surfing the internet. I had just polished off a giant stack of pancakes, some eggs, toast with jelly, coffee and orange juice. As I sat there I could feel the rolls of my stomach touching each other. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I cried, not figurative tears, real tears. I had tried loosing weight several times, unsuccessfully. I had done Weight Watchers with some friends, I joined a gym and tried working out. None of it worked. I lost weight in the short term but immediately gained it back plus some. I couldn’t stick with anything for longer than a few weeks. After three years of trying to loose weight, I felt like I was stuck in a body that I didn’t belong in.

I’m a smart girl, I knew that loosing weight meant changing my entire lifestyle but it was so hard and I didn’t want to work hard.

But something happened that morning while sitting at the kitchen table. I had what was the most important epiphany of my life, I realized that the only person I was hurting by being overweight was myself. I asked myself, “Why are you doing this? Why are you letting yourself get away with this? Why don’t you stop being so weak and do something about it?”

That very second I got up from the table, got my camera and the tripod and set it up in our bedroom. I put on my swimsuit, took some pictures, I weighed myself, took all my measurements and wrote it in a blog post, hoping that the accountability of the world would motivate me to follow through.

I did some research and found out exactly how much weight was safe to loose in a week (1-2 pounds) and how many calories I could eat to meet that goal (1,500) and I stuck to it.

Y’all, the first few weeks were hard. They were so. hard. I knew nothing about nutrition. Nothing. Zero. It was one big game of trial and error. I started by shaving off the little calories I didn’t need, like the jelly on my toast (50 calories) and the sugar in my coffee (60 calories x 2 cups). I quit putting syrup on my pancakes (200 calories).

Later, I gave up the toast and the pancakes altogether. I quit drinking juice. I gave up bagels. I gave up donuts. I gave up anything that didn’t stay in my stomach very long. By trial and error, I learned that if I ate eggs for breakfast, I would still be full at lunch and all I would need was a handful of almonds to get me through until dinner. I learned to eat something small before we went out to eat and order a broth based soup instead of a hamburger. I learned a lot about nutrition.

By process of elimination, I unintentionally cut out all the extra sugar in my diet and many of the processed carbs I’d been eating. If it didn’t keep me full it wasn’t worth the calories.

By Christmas, just three weeks later, I’d lost 9 pounds. I knew I needed to add exercise for any weight loss to really stick but I had no idea where to start. My previous attempts at being a gym rat failed miserably because I hated the gym. I tried it again anyway. Unsurprisingly, my disdain for that little cinder block building didn’t go away because I was on a diet. I hated the smell. I hated the machines. I needed something I didn’t hate.

One day, some time around the New Year, when it was time to make the dreaded trip to the gym I did something that changed my life. I put on my running shoes instead and slogged through a three mile loop. I walked a lot, ran a little and cursed myself the entire time. It hurt. My lungs burned. I didn’t love it…but I didn’t hate it either. A couple of days later I did it again. That April, just four months after I started running, I ran my first half marathon.

All in, it took nine months to loose 45 pounds. The diet change and learning about nutrition helped me loose the weight but running… y’all, running saved me. I found something that I truly loved, something that brought me joy that I could dedicate myself to every day. If you want to know why I talk about running so much, why it is such a huge part of my life – that’s why. It saved my life; it’s a strong statement but it’s true.

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I spent the better part of the last seven years trying to forget that me – I even deleted my fat pictures off Facebook. Most of the people in my life now didn’t know me then and don’t know this me ever existed. It was a dark time that I don’t talk about much.

Recently though, I’ve met several people who are in a similar situation to the one I was in. Talking with them forced me to think about how my experience impacted my life. I’ve realized that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had always been thin. I wouldn’t be as motivated. I wouldn’t be as dedicated. I wouldn’t be as strong. I wouldn’t be as successful. It fundamentally changed me. They encouraged me to share my story.

Now, most days, I run because I found a hobby I love. But on the days when I didn’t sleep well, or when I’m sore or when I would rather sit on the couch and drink a beer but I go running anyway, it’s because of this.

I don’t think about this picture much anymore, but every December 1st I do – not because I want to but because I can’t help it. It was that important.

Today, I’m sharing my story with the hope that it will help one person who feels trapped by their choices find the motivation to make a change.

Just because you’re not happy with who you are today doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Start small. Educate yourself. Pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Go outside. Take the dog for a walk. Ride a bike. Go for a jog. Find an activity you like or at least can tolerate. Surround yourself with people who share your desired lifestyle. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it. Make the decision to try. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part.

IT Band Rehab & Whole 30

The last I left you, I had deferred my The Woodlands Marathon entry due to some serious IT band problems.

The injury didn’t happen overnight. My body was giving me warning signs for months. I ignored it, of course. It wasn’t until it went from ache to pain that I admitted that I was injured.

I think, as runners, we all can relate to that feeling of panic when we realize we’re hurt and can’t run. Desperation sets in quickly and we’re willing to do anything to get us back to running faster. That’s where I found myself in January. I knew the acute knee injury was inflammation in the knee and I also knew that some foods contribute to inflammation. I figured that by eliminating the inflammatory foods in my diet I would speed up the healing of the inflammatory response in my knee. Seems logical, right?

I’d known several people who did Whole 30 and wouldn’t stop talking about how life changing it was so I did a little research and realized that Whole 30 eliminated all the inflammatory foods I wanted to avoid. I started January 2 and ended January 31. It actually was life changing.

IMG_20150131_133219What is Whole 30?

Simply put Whole 30 is a restrictive food program that lasts 30 days. It’s not about loosing weight (though that’s often a pleasant side effect), it’s about retraining your body, your metabolism, your taste buds and changing your eating habits.

The rules are simple. Eat meat, eggs, nuts, fruits and vegetables; don’t eat dairy, legumes, refined sugar, grains, and alcohol or try to make traditional foods out of approved ingredients (a pancake is still a pancake!). You can eat as much of the approved foods as you want.

It was hard, especially in the beginning. The first few days were easy because it was a novelty but the entire second week seemed to drag by. I dreaded the first sip of black coffee every morning – I could barely choke it down.

I started feeling different after about three days. I had more energy. I no longer needed that after lunch cup of coffee to make it past the kids’ bedtime. I immediately noticed that I thinned out around my waist and my muscles felt a lot stronger. That foggy headed feeling disappeared and I was thinking clearly.

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After a week the achiness in my knees disappeared completely.

One morning during week three I sat down on the couch with my coffee and all of a sudden it was no longer bitter. I could actually taste the coffee instead of the creamer. I felt like I’d been freed.

The hardest part about Whole 30 was re-learning how to cook and confronting the idea that foods you thought we’re “good for you” aren’t necessarily as good as you thought. When you don’t eat dairy, wheat, beans or sugar that leaves a lot of calories to be filled by fruits and vegetables – then you realize that though foods like whole grains and dairy look good for you on paper they’re never as good for you as their caloric equivalent of fruits and veggies.

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My body responded. By the time our 30 days were up I felt like a different person. I had more energy, more…spunk. I no longer felt like I was being dragged through life – I don’t know how to describe it other than to say it just felt right. Added bonus, I lost the last 10 pounds of baby weight. We were so pleased with the results that we did an extra 30 days.

Re-intoducing myself to normal food was hard because I felt so good both mentally and physically! I didn’t want to go back to my old way of eating because I didn’t want to go back to my old way of feeling. I know how different types of foods affect my body. I’ve also figured out how much of the offending foods I can eat before the adverse reaction begins. For example, I know that wheat makes me bloated but rice doesn’t and I can eat about 3 servings of wheat a week before I notice a change in the way my body feels. I can handle dairy in small amounts but the days of eating cheese a half a block at a time are gone.

A year later the lessons we learned doing Whole 30 still govern our life. Though we no longer follow it exclusively we do use it as a general guideline for our eating habits. To keep us from going crazy and to allow for dining out we make exceptions during the weekend. It’s an arrangement that keeps us honest, and works for our lifestyle.

Though I did Whole 30 to help my knee heal faster I noticed a marked difference in my athletic performance. Now that I’ve changed my eating habits and my body is getting the proper amount of nutrition I recover faster after hard workouts; I have more energy which makes completing my workouts easier. My joints feel strong and muscle soreness which used to linger for days now goes away after 24 hours.

The correlation between the food that goes in and the performance that comes out is real. If you’re going to ask your body to push itself beyond it’s known limits you have to give it good fuel. That’s the biggest takeaway from Whole 30, food is fuel for your body. That’s what Whole 30 taught me. It’s a lesson that I will keep with me forever.

What I Ate Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014

It’s been a while since I did a What I Ate Wednesday post so without further ado here is what I ate today.

First things, first…COFFEE!

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BREAKFAST

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A fried egg, a whole wheat banana blueberry muffin & a glass of orange juice

LUNCH

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Sesame soba noodles, baked broccoli slaw egg rolls, and sweet & sour sauce (leftover from dinner last night) and a handful of pistachios {not pictured}

AFTERNOON PICK ME UP

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MORE COFFEE!

DINNER

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Sausage Bake {Italian sausage, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots and cauliflower}

BEFORE BED SNACK

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Grapefruit sprinkled with salt and a Godiva truffle

Two of today’s recipes are courtesy of other running mommies! Thanks Angela at Happy Fit Mama for the Broccoli Slaw Baked Egg Rolls and Angie at A Mother’s Pace for the Sausage Bake. I love it! Please keep sharing friends!

And finally, thanks Peas and Crayons for the link up!

What I Ate Wednesday

It thought it be fun to link up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.


I got to sleep in just a little bit this morning and was somewhat rushed to get my run in before a scheduled playdate. First things first though, coffee and a banana (not pictured).

I went on a great 6 mile run during which the kids and I got DRENCHED by an unexpected rain shower. The run was quick for me, averaging 9:30 min/mi pushing the double jogger and by the time I got back I was ready for some breakfast. Today it was a banana & blueberry smoothie (almond milk, banana, peanut butter, flax seeds, chia seeds and blueberries).

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After some fun at the playground and a trip to the grocery store we came home for lunch!

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Split Pea Soup and a few slices of homemade, whole wheat french bread (this is leftover from dinner last night).

While standing in the pantry gathering stuff for dinner I grabbed a handful of chocolate chips – probably the worst food decision I made today.

The hubs came home relatively early so we got to enjoy a leisurely dinner. I made Ants in Trees and steamed some edemame.

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Other stuff I have eaten over the past week include:

Ham & Cheese sandwich with baby spinach on homemade whole wheat bread (upper left)

Fried egg with a whole wheat blueberry banana muffin (upper right)

Fruit salad (center)

Mac & Cheese with smoked sausage (bottom left)

Grass fed hamburger with avocado, baby spinach & cayenne mayo on a homemade bun with baked hand cut french fries (bottom right)

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It’s almost time for bed and I’m currently fighting the inner demons telling me to raid the pantry. 10 more post-partum pounds to loose! Focus, Joni. Focus!

Baby Weight Loss. 3…2…1. Go!

It’s been six weeks since Alvy was born.

My body has, in theory, mostly healed from surgery. Though life with two small children is both physically and emotionally exhausting I think I’m adjusting well. The only remaining evidence of my pregnancy (other than the baby) is my baby weight. More specifically, 20 pounds. To hold myself accountable I’ve decided to, once again, share my weight loss journey with the world via this blog.

Starting today, Monday July 8, I will begin following these rules.

1. I can eat whatever I want but no more than 1800 calories per day. No roll over calories or “free” days. I don’t get additional calories on days that I exercise (unless it’s fuel for a long run, when I get to that point). 1800. That’s it. End of story.

2. I will only weigh myself once a week. No need to fret over small fluctuations in water weight. First thing Monday morning is my weigh-in time of choice.

3. I will record my measurements the first Monday off every month. By recording my measurements I can get a better, more accurate, idea of how well I’m doing.

That’s it. Those are my rules. With that being said I do have a few guidelines I try to follow to help make dieting easier.

1. Eat breakfast. A breakfast full of protein will keep me full for several hours.

2. Put breakfast off as long as possible. Eating breakfast late will help me eat a late lunch which, in turn, will help deter mid-afternoon snacking.

3. Go to bed early. The earlier I go to bed the less likely I am to succumb to late night snacking. This shouldn’t be too difficult since I’m pretty much exhausted all the time.

4. Make meals an event, sit at the table if possible. Try to savor and enjoy what I’m eating and try to avoid eating in front of the television.

5. Serve myself on small plates. The fuller the plate the more food it looks like I’m eating. The phrase, “you eat with your eyes” is true. Dieting is entirely mental.

I got on the scale this morning and my starting weight is 145.8. My weight pre-pregnancy fluctuated between 121-125 which means I’ve got about 20 pounds to loose with a goal date of October 27 – the date of the Houston Half Marathon – which I’ve got my eye on.

I will add exercise into the mix when I get the go ahead from my doctor to start running again. I have my six week post-partum checkup Wednesday, and unless they have exercise concerns with this placenta accreta business, I expect to start running again Wednesday evening. Woohoo! It’s been a long, long, long 10 months! Running I’ve missed you! It’s time to get my body back!