The End of an Era

Things are changing, and fast. Ever since Wednesday my world has been flipped upside down. Wednesday was the fateful day on which I had my first appointment with a nutrition counselor at my gym. I had been curious for a long time about what a nutrition consult could do for me. The one conclusion I typically came to after pondering this question was: It would mean less money in my pocket and a potentially dreadfully boring, bland diet. This did not entice me in the least.

Until I ran into a friend at our tri club Halloween party. He said that if he had only a finite amount of money to spend on triathlon (wait, what? We don’t all have unlimited funds for Ironmans, 70.3 races, associated travel and lodging, a new westuit, the latest greatest tri bike, and of course the fastest lightest wheels, and all the requisite healthy groceries, a coach, a gym membership, and all the Hammer products you need to keep you satiated and hydrated??), that he would spend it on a nutritionist versus a coach because his nutritionist helped him TONS. I wanted to know more. He told me he was actually supposed to eat MORE after meeting with his nutritionist and he lost tons of body fat and improved his performance drastically. I thought about this for a while. Then I thought about how I want to commit this season to having the best performance possible. And yeah I admit it I thought about the fact that over a hundred people are going to be looking at me all at the same time when I get married this summer and if that doesn’t make a woman want to look as good as possible, then I don’t know what does. And if that makes me vain, I can’t help it, I get it from my dad.

So Wednesday was the fateful day. Over the phone, Seriously Fit and Healthy (aka my nutrition counselor, heretofore known as SFH) told me she did not believe in crash diets, any quick fixes, wierd ingredients, or fads. Ok, I could get behind that. She was into small changes. I’m down with that. Her fee was about what I expected (a lot), but I was ready to commit. I arrived at our scheduled appointment with the food journal I had been diligently keeping all week, per SFH’s request. I know I eat a lot of “bites of this” and “nibbles of that” and always have, but it was a real eye opener to put it all down on paper. I neither stopped nibbling nor neglected to record it, for how could SFH help me if she did not know what kind of nibble addict she was dealing with?

She went through my food journal with a critical eye, crossing out things she did not like (one lemon cookie, a bite of Dan’s raspberry scone, most of half a pastrami sandwich even though was not hungry plus about 10 fries and several bites of coleslaw), and starred some of the things she liked (quinoa with veggie and tofu stir fry, salad, lowfat cottage cheese and lite peaches) and then she looked at me with her big seriously fit brown eyes and said “It’s not that bad. For now I just want to make a couple of changes. Small changes. But I want you to commit to them and really really do them.” I nodded. I was ready. She went on,
“First, I want you to get in the habit of measuring out your half and half, so you know how much one tablespoon is and only put that much in your coffee.”
I nodded. I can do that. I might end up thinking I might as well drink it black but I can do that. I nodded again, as if daring her to give me another challenge.
“Also, you need to stop nibbling.”
As obvious as it was, I needed to pay someone to tell me to do that. I figure I eat like 100-300 empty calories on any given day with all the random bites I take of random stuff but I needed professional help to take on this challenge. I nodded again. I was ready to breathe a sigh of relief. I had received my mission: Two small changes to commit to. I was ready. And then she continued,
“And also, this is going to be kind of a challenge [actually in Boulder it really is only kind of a challenge because every other person you meet is gluten-free/dairy free/sugar-free, etc] but I want you to try giving up gluten.” She went on to describe all the great health benefits I may experience with this (more energy, fewer stomach aches, less bloating, less gas, lean out the midsection, what was she saying about my midsection anyway?) and how I should try it and see if it helps. I was ready to get pouty and whine “But you said two! That’s THREE!” but I kept my mouth shut for once and just nodded. If that’s what she wanted, I would do it. Except I did tell her I was having girls night that night and chances were high that gluten would be involved, as I was not hosting. SFH found some mercy in her seriously fit heart and said I could start tomorrow.

Thursday was uneventful, as I brought my lunch to work. I was offered a small slice of cheesecake but knew the crust had gluten and feared the slice was too small to be considered a dessert and rather a “nibble” so I politely declined. Thursday evening brought trivia at the D Note where I was sure I would be relegated to a choice of salad or salad but was delighted to find gluten-free pizza crust on the menu. It was gross but it was gluten-free. Poor Dan got to be gluten- free too. Friday was again, uneventful save for the tri club Christmas party where I accepted a passed hors d’eurve of bread with some olive tapenade before I even knew what I was doing. Oopsies. I did however avoid all other possible threats like the lasagne and the pulled pork slider, and oh the chicken quesadilla which looked so cheesy, salty, and all around good. Saturday, when we were over friends’ for dinner, I ate the pecan pie but not the crust, which was surprisingly not that hard to do. I would like to say this is temporary and like SFH said, we can try it and if it doesn’t help anything, I can stop but I am going to have be quite honest. It feels good not to eat bread and stuff. Good enough to do forever, I am not sure. Good enough to do while my money goes in SFH’s bank account? Definitely. Goodbye unlimited half and half, nibbles and gluten. It was good while it lasted. And I know we will meet again, if only at birthdays and weddings.

7 thoughts on “The End of an Era

  1. Mary IronMatron says:

    Wow, Pam. That requires major discipline. I don’t even know if I could get rid of the bites of stuff. That is how I live! And no gluten? OMG. I just don’t think I could do it… isn’t gluten in everything? 🙂

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  2. PJ says:

    I agree with your friend –nutrition counselling makes a huge difference in performance but one of the other beneifits nobody really talks about is the way you feel in general. For me, at least, after awhile I WANTED to eat that way because I felt so much better and it was worth it.And giving up gluten is not a big deal after awhile either. You get used to it, especially when you don’t have to be super careful about it for medical reasons (I could never eat the filling of a pie as long it was in the vacinity of something with gluten). It’s like anything else, it’s all what you get used to. After awhile, you really do stop craving things like pasta and bread.Good luck!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I can testify to her newfound restraint.See, I’m a food hoarder–I don’t really like to give nibbles of food I’m eating to anyone. If they want to try it, they should have ordered it (at a restaurant) or should go get it (if at home). That’s my stance.Now, Pam has, through puppy dog eyes and persistence, enlightened me to the point where if I notice her eyeing my food, I’ll usually offer her a bite. (I want it to be a small bite, though.) Since Wed, she’s turned me down at least once when I offered her a bit–‘no nibbles!’. Go Pam!Dan

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  4. Jonathan Rubin says:

    Wow… like the other people here said, that is a major life decision, and I salute your ability to undertake this (I’m pretty sure you can do anything you put your mind to). But it still seems like a rather extreme step, since you’re pretty much the healthiest person I know and you probably don’t eat tons of junk food. No nibbling? Come on – life is too short for that kind of self-denial. In summation: If you do it and it makes you happy, go for it. But if you’re miserable and feel that life is less fun and exciting just to let you shave a minute off your marathon, I’d rethink it. This is Jon, the non-fittest guy in DC, now signing off 🙂

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  5. Jon H Haukaas says:

    Did you jsut include me in one of your blogs?!? That rocks – I’m famous now!Nice start. Just remember, I lost a lot of body fat because I had a lot to lose. Plus I must weight at least twice as much as you. You are insane to start this over the holidays.So glad to see you’re blogging again. Love it.

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