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Friday, February 1, 2013

tale of 3 diets

A surprising number of people are reading this blog. I am going to share my history so that perhaps someone else might be spared. For more info, see Peter Attia's story here. I think stumbling across his blog may have saved my life.

After losing weight on the Atkins diet, I adopted what I believed to be an “athlete’s diet" in 2005. I thought I had to have carbs for exercise. I kept a food journal. While by no means perfect, I tried to eat clean. Yet I very slowly put on 5 lbs during the two years it took me to build for my ironman in spite of a huge exercise load. And I put on another three during the race taper and directly afterwards.

In early 2009 I adopted a vegan diet because I felt like I needed to clean up my diet after IMFL. I still had it stuck in my head that I could not go back to a low-carb diet because I wanted to do endurance events. I was often hungry eating vegan but felt great otherwise. I ran the JFK-50 and swam three of my six Chesapeake Bay Swims vegan.

In 2010 I tore my ankle tendon.

In 2011 I sprained my back.

In 2012 I had a severe concussion.

Bam bam bam. Not being able to maintain my level of exercise, being depressed about the injuries, and being on a carb-y vegan diet was a triple threat: I gained 15 lbs. I was still as active as possible while injured but it is very hard to maintain a huge weight loss. Like swimming in an endless pool, with sharks.

Oct 1, 2012, I am went back to my high fat/ low carb diet. Yep, I've lost weight. But I almost don’t care. I am just so damn happy to not be hungry all the time. And I have had no trouble getting though my workouts. Looks like I was duped in '05.

I can see why most dieters regain weight. Numerous long swims and century bike rides while eating a fairly clean vegan diet were not enough for me to maintain my weight. A dieter's body fights back hormonally. My husband said, “It’s been almost 10 years, your body has adjusted.” No. It hasn’t. If anything it’s just that much more pissed off.

me finishing my very first Chesapeake Bay Swim, June 2007. one of the most incredible moments of my life.


  1. I'm glad we talked about the long-term metabolic implications of being an endurance athlete. AND the fact that sometimes our bodies have a keener sense of what we are doing to them than we do.
    Love following this blog, Sarah.

  2. I think you mean October 1, 2012?

  3. ah thanks Jess -- I need a copy editor. I fixed it.

    And SK, thanks :)