In the faculty lounge at the school at which I work, I see men and women consistently messing up their attempts to diet. Sometimes, I see them come into the faculty lounge and jump into whatever pastry is laying out. Leftover cupcakes from a 1st grader's birthday or day old bagels... it doesn't matter. They find some way to rationalize their binge - I've had a long day or I forgot my lunch.

Other times, I see these same teachers talking about how they're "being good" today. Eating their 300 calories microwaveable lunch, they decide to stick to the diet today. In their eyes, starving one's self for a little while compensates for the pastry binge.

This is probably the stupidest way to diet. Unfortunately, it's common among many idiots.

Here's what happens. When you go hypocaloric (eating below the number of calories needed to maintain body weight), your body starts to get worried. A series of hormones and chemicals are released into your blood, slowing metabolism and causing your body to hoard it's energy reserves (i.e. fat). So, while these dieters are trying to "be good" for a stretch of time, their bodies are panicked.

No matter how disciplined they are, the body will win. Skipping breakfast, eating a 300 calorie Lean Cuisine lunch, then going home starving, these dieters inevitably lose control and eat more than their share of calories for dinner. It's not a will power flaw that's causing the binge, it's a intelligence flaw.

The answer to this stupidity? Front load your calories. Eat most of your food during two times: Breakfast and around your workouts. Here's an article with some information about eating a more signficant breakfast.

Editors note: While the article recommends a 500-800 calorie breakfast, Frey recommends more. He says go for 600-1000.

How does this apply to triathlon? Triathlete tends to undereat most significantly around workout time. During and after workout is when your body is particularly receptive to restoring spent glycogen stores. However, the pain-seeking triathlete views the lowered hunger level of the peri and post-workout period as another time to suffer, thinking that, "...no food now means I will be leaner on race day!"

Just like the "lean cuisine by day and krispie kreme by night" dieter sets him or her self up for disaster by undereating in the AM, the triathlete messes up by not eating enough around the workout.

So, eat a big damn breakfast, then eat a lot of food around your training session. Try it, if only for a week. What have you got to lose? You're already failing at your diet. If, after a week, you're heavier, then atleast you can blame me instead of blaming yourself.

And, thank you. The title to this post is awesome, I know!

Tip of the Week:
Learn how to adjust your rear derailleur. This includes the barrel adjustment and the limit screws. I mention this, because I have never been able to wrap my head around how to work this thing. I spent an hour today on it. I ended up going to bike shop where they fixed it in two minutes. They gave me a lesson on how to adjust it, but I still don't understand the thing.


darcykaat said... @ October 1, 2008 at 12:14 PM

The only issue I have with this blog is that, like Michael Phelps, Frey can eat 6,000+ calories a day and not gain weight. This aging FREYBIRD BLOG fan can gain weight by gazing at the glazing on a Krispy Kreme donut.

Libby Maxim said... @ April 24, 2009 at 8:00 PM

ditto to darcy's comments

frey could eat till it came out of his ears and he would not gain weight

and after menopause, the hormones work against you, less estrogen, more weight gain


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