Understand the Reasons for Your Cravings
For a long time, some of my limiters have been sugar cravings and a somewhat unhealthy diet. In reflecting on the reason why I started to do triathlon a few years ago everything was about looking good naked. It seems like it is difficult to stay on a healthy diet for a lot of athletes. I can still remember when my good friend Jonas Colting told me, “Jan you are fat.” It still hurts, but he was right.
It was normal for me to use my training as an excuse to crave sugar. Excessive training gave me an opportunity to go big on pizzas and sugar. I also had a pattern with weighing myself after each long day. If I was a touch lighter I ended up very happy and went for my own sugar party in the evening. I always ended up feeling guilty around my choices and the fact that I could not commit to a diet that would fuel up my training and recovery. It is easy to get caught up in a sugar-eating cycle. The taste is good and sugar gives us short term happiness. With the winter and darkness here and with a long time until my A race it is easy to set myself up with a mindset of eating unhealthy and allow myself to gain weight.
Won't I burn off all the fat and lean out when I start to go big in the spring again?
I do always search to be a touch healthier with my diet but I don't focus on being leaner anymore. From a training standpoint it is worth remembering that I probably am close to my optimal race weight even being a few pounds too heavy. We should always search to fuel up for a fast recovery, training with quality and to reduce the risk of injury with a healthy diet.
Finding the cracks
I was probably overdoing my base week a bit. The first step for me was to create a plan around my family and traveling to get everything in balance. When first dialing my base week down to make space for family obligations and traveling I felt fine and could also address the cravings. My method was to go for some very light aerobic training on the days were I normally cracked on sugar. I also started to track everything I was eating throughout my Sunday to make sure I was cleaning it up. Today Sunday is one of my best days on the nutrition side of my life.
My tips for maintaining a healthy weight
Some days I can still find myself with a big container of ice-cream in my hand. Remember that there is a new day coming up. It offers you a new chance to start the journey towards your ideal self. Commit and make small changes once at the time.
Remember that the good habits you create today will not pay off immediately; sometimes it can take several months to see any change in your body composition. I like to think that the 10,000 hours to become excellent also counts for my nutrition. It has taken me four years to get the body I have today and still there is a way to go. All small decisions I made in the past have started to kick back today.
Sometimes it is good to still look like 17 and not 40. It was kind of funny when I was carded in Boulder last summer.
Choose your treats wisely!