Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Change, Major Life Change

Several years ago I had some tests done to reveal my food allergies. Those tests revealed that, although none of the allergies are serious (they're really just sensitivities) I'm allergic to everything I like. The only thing on the list that I've given up: milk. I love milk. I could drink a gallon a day, and often did. Now that I've been off it for quite a while, I don't miss it very often.

Those tests also revealed that I'm sensitive to gluten. Consider this Reason #1 for the life change.

Since I've set this goal of competing in an Ironman Triathlon (I've changed that goal from 6 years to 5 years, hoping I can find an event on my 50th birthday. Wouldn't that be a great birthday present to myself?), I need to accomplish a number of things in order to meet that goal.

  1. I need to become a better swimmer. I'm working on this two ways. 
    1. I swim nearly every day. Today I was able to swim 30 minutes without any break. I didn't keep track of how far I went, just the time. At the end of the 30 minutes I was doing well. My heart rate was at a good pace, my breathing was relaxed, my muscles also relaxed. I could have gone longer, but didn't think it wise to try to push too hard until I know what I can actually do.
    2. I'm learning the Total Immersion Swimming technique, slowly, with baby steps. For now, I'm trying to swim as relaxed as possible. Swimming doesn't require use of all muscles and using unnecessary muscles just wastes energy.
  2. I need to increase my cardio fitness, which is being accomplished through stationary biking and utilizing my heart rate monitor.
  3. I need to lose weight, 50-60 pounds.
In my research about triathlons and rheumatoid arthritis, I've come across multiple articles touting the benefits of a gluten-free diet for people with RA. I've avoided a gluten-free diet because ... well, just because. I don't want to give up bread and doughnuts and pasta and the other 14,487,963 things in which gluten is an ingredient. But it's time. Medication is not adequately treating my arthritis. I need to try some natural remedies, like diet change. Consider this Reason #2 for the life change.

When I started working out August 1, 2011, I weighed 245. I quickly dropped to 237, which was encouraging. I weighed this morning and I've gained weight: 249. What?!? And no, it's not an extra 12 pounds of muscle because I've been working out. I need to lose weight, for my health, for my arthritis, and for my state of mine. Consider this Reason #3 for the life change.

For these 3 reasons, I am starting a gluten-free diet. Today I bought a gluten-free recipe book. Looking through it I had the thought, "I've made these foods." There are recipes like "Meatloaf" which are gluten-free. It's not like I'm going to lose all the foods I like. I'm just going to have to be more aware of what I eat. I know the pounds aren't just going to drop off, or melt like butter. But if I keep working out regularly, and eat healthy foods, the weight loss will come. The increased fitness will come. And the goal of becoming an Ironman will happen.

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