Ironman Diet: oxymoron?

It’s about time I addressed the notion of nutrition:

Some of you who see me on a regular basis are beginning to raise an eyebrow, and no doubt internally question, how I can do so much ridiculous exercise, yet lose zero poundage from my frame?  Somehow, despite the hours and hours and hours of excessive calorie burning, I am managing to successfully maintain the beautifully round, full booty you all know to be mine.

I asked myself the same question.  Not that I want to change my backside – I love it.  (Although its outward trajectory sometimes catches me by surprise. Like when I try to squeeze through a tiny gap behind someone’s chair in a restaurant, and then find myself wedged, uncomfortably, at the mercy of their next mouthful of carbonara, whilst trying to precisely time my interruption of their meal to politely ask if they might move in a bit because my bum’s stuck.)  No, I love my bum.

What I do want is a bit less ‘race weight’ on my overall frame. This would make climbing hills on my bike so much more fun.  It would also contribute (potentially) to me riding and running faster over long distances.  All-round triathlon boss Joe Friel explains it more succinctly:

One extra pound (0.45kg) costs about 2 seconds per mile running and takes roughly 3 watts to get it up a hill on a bike. So that 5 pounds represents about 10 seconds per mile running and 15 watts on a climb. That’s significant and so dropping a bit of excess baggage has the potential to make him faster on race day.

Now, if The Universe ever gets back to me re: manifesting a new bike, then a new, lighter bike could potentially drop me 1 kilo.  But if The Universe is taking another call at the moment, I am going to have to do some serious work to get into race shape.  However, our current Ironman diet is anything but ‘diet’.

So taking a good look at our nutrition and calorie intake is essential.  I know what I have to do, but I have the following problems:

1) I am always hungry.  Always.

2) I can eat a meal constantly for an hour.  I can literally eat an entire table of food at dinner time. And lunch and breakfast.

3) Because you create such a mega-calorie deficit if you don’t eat enough, it’s easy to just eat what you want and not put on weight.  But eating too much pasta etc isn’t going to get me any leaner…

4) Snack Island is in my eye-line at work.  (This is a continually replenished paradise of free-flowing treats, to which we add on a daily basis, trying to out-do each other with the bounty we bring – Grayson’s mum is winning by a mile with her almond friands…) And I can’t stay away from it.

5) Freddo Frogs.

I think I have more problems than that, but I’m outlining the major ones here.  The hunger literally never subsides.  And to try and stave off hunger, I am stuffing myself with chicken and eggs, chicken and eggs. (which came first? Don’t care, just ate them both at the same time).

I think perhaps this coming week I will go on a health kick and try to reboot my nutrition.  I have an amazing support on-tap at work: our editor is also a brilliant cook and advocate of healthy vegetarian eating (check her out at, and is always able to give me fantastic nutrition advice, and is my one-stop-shop for all things vitamin/mineral/pro-biotic related (thanks Jacqueline!).  I was an unsuccessful vegetarian for about 8 months a few years ago, and I’m not ready to plunge back into that again just yet.  But perhaps we could get a dedicated veggie day going on?   It would have to be Tuesdays though.  Not sure I could hack it during the good end of the week (no offence to any zucchinis reading this).

The plan of attack for this coming week will be phase one of project ‘make my bike lighter: drop a kilo from my own frame first’.  My strategy to support this 1kilo goal will be to consistently eat clean (most of the time, as sometimes chocolate is clean, isn’t it?).

There we go.  One little kilo…

A standard spoonfull…

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6 thoughts on “Ironman Diet: oxymoron?

  1. Theres a couple of schools of thought at play and I’ve had a blast at doing both and found that the latter worked better for me.

    eat more protein as it is harder to metabolise and will reduce the hunger pangs.
    eat more carbohydrate (i.e. become vegetarian), naturally reducing the fat content and increasing fibre intake.

    Google ‘durianrider’ for more info on carbing up.

    While im no nutritionist, I did find that mixing and matching protein to carb (i.e. steak and veggie or spaghetti bolognese) caused the most harm; often putting weight on, slowing metabolism and feeling sluggish during training.

    When you find the answer, let us know? 🙂

  2. writingsprint says:

    I’m actually hoping to gain some muscle weight, but I can totally relate to the good food / bad food thing. Maybe try to replace one or two stops a day at the snack island with healthier treats. I replaced Doritos with nuts. They may be high fat, but it has to be better than what I was having!

  3. pursuingsub17 says:

    Oh boy, do I know what you are talking about! I gained 20 lbs taking up the sport. A good chunk is muscle – but my chest (ahem) got bigger! My cousin said “how is that possible with all the training you do?” I don’t over eat often but I am hungry all the time! And obviously, you can’t starve yourself or you won’t have the energy to do endurance training. On top of that, reading the requirements of a triathlete, I realized that everything I learned about the Canada Food Guide goes pretty much right out the window! It’s a conundrum, for sure.

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