TRIMMING THE FAT
Since discontinuing the long endurance training needed for IM, then the holidays, and winter in general, which I believe in cold weather climates leads to the body wanting to cling to any extra fat you might carry in order to stay warm, I can't help but start feeling out of shape by this time every year, regardless of how much I am exercising or watching what I eat.
And since I no longer run 35-40 miles a week or have four small children to run around after, I have found over the past 5 years or so especially that the only true way for me to get back into racing shape is to do the drastic "detox" method of dieting for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. This has always proven successful in helping me lose up to 15 pounds of weight that apparently I don't really need. My goal this year isn't quite that drastic, but it certainly is the best way--for me--to drop 5-7 pounds within a few weeks. And what better time than the off season?
What this involves is no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no starchy foods, no "white" flour foods. While I don't find it that hard to give up sweets or snacks, I do find it hard to give up toast, french fries, peanut butter (massive amounts), or other salty foods, all comfort foods for me. Those are my downfall. And if I do drink wine, it only increases my chance of eating more of these foods than I need. I am just one of those people who has to completely stop eating something to quit binging on stuff I don't need. Binging isn't necessarily the right word, but I can't think of anything else close to describe this. Maybe getting out of control at times is a better way of putting it.
Anyway, I am on day 9 of this process. Its an up and down thing. What do you eat when you go out to eat? How do you tactfully avoid certain foods when asked to dinner at a friend's? How do you avoid the cocktails and nuts at the pre-dinner meeting cocktail hour? How do you balance things out so you're just not living on veggies and water all day? How do you keep from thinking about food all day? What happens if you forget to read a label, assuming you know what is in a particular food and find out later there is hidden sugar? And the most challenging, how do you handle workouts and eating, while still managing to eat "clean" and maintain muscle and not become a limp rag?
It is hard to be constantly vigilant, and I tell myself every year I will be good all year to avoid this process next year. But my memory is short apparently, and once again I fell into that trap last year.
So far, in 9 days, I have managed to go down about 2.5 pounds, which I think is a fairly normal loss, not necessarily related to water loss because I don't tend to retain water ever. I have been going more frequently just because of increased water intake and that tendency to flush out the system, especially cutting out the excess things the body really doesn't need to survive. But its very hard to tell yourself no when all these temptations are around.
After 9 days, however, your body starts listening to your brain, and it starts becoming second nature to avoid certain things you know are only going to put you back on that roller coaster again. The true test is not the "detox" or "deprivation" stage is continuing this good eating plan throughout the year.