A Change in “Diet”

Did Ironman really happen?

Why does life go by so fast?

Where did Summer go?

What day is it?

Oh sorry, didn’t mean to bring you along on the ridiculous journey that is my normal train of thought. Lately, everything seems like A HUGE DEAL. I don’t have one big thing to focus my energy on, so instead I focus on EVERY TINY LITTLE DETAIL. I still feel a little like grumpy cat.


Does anyone else need a fitness-related goal at all times? Without one, I tend to just say “to hell with it” and jump off into the deep end. A deep end filled with candy corn and laziness. Now, over the past couple years I’ve learned that it’s harder to justify being lazy than actually getting out there and doing something. The negative self-talk isn’t worth the headache. So, I do stuff. I move. I lift some heavy things. But lately, not enough. Sometimes just enough to say “okay, I worked out today.” But right now, I’m kind of like that person who shows up to spinning class 10 minutes late, spends 5 minutes setting up the bike, warms up for 10 minutes, and then leaves early. That person thinks they just took a spinning class. They did not just take a spinning class.

So, I’m working at it. I do have goals; I’m running the NYC Marathon and a few races in between. Mystery injury seems to have disappeared. (KNOCK ON WOOD. EVERYONE. ALL OF YOU. RIGHT NOW.)  I ran 14 miles from Queens to Central Park and back on Saturday. I did speedwork again last night and survived. Besides a super tight IT band (which is a little concerning but I’m foam rolling the crap out of it), I’m feeling better. Still slow, but I’m working at it.

(Oh did you want to look at my lame splits? 10X400m in 2:09 was the workout. Rest intervals were supposed to be 90 seconds, but I based them off distance for the most part. So I was way off. A lot.)

In other news, I learned how to use the lap function on my Garmin 5 years after I got it. Double tap, peeps.

In other news, I learned how to use the lap function on my Garmin five years after I got it. (Minus 24-26 and the 2nd laps.) Double tap, peeps.

(Can you even understand that? Wow those distances/splits were so all over the place. Mind you, there were some hills in there. So there’s that.)

Anyway, back to my babbling. I think all this nonsensical overthinking stems from the simple fact that I’ve been eating whatever I want over the past month and I feel crappy about myself. Maybe I don’t need a fitness goal…maybe I need a new “overall health” goal. It’s so obvious that what goes into your body really affects every aspect of “you”. I mean, it makes sense. The body is like a machine. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Cliche but true. Therefore, it goes without saying that I seriously need to get in gear with my nutrition. (Yeah, I said it anyway.) But how do you quantify and measure that?

Now, I know what people are going to say. You deserve it! You can eat whatever you want for the rest of your life! And I can giggle at that statement. It’s funny. I get it.  Lots of calories were burned. IMLP consisted of an obnoxious amount of miles; even saying the distances out loud was a mouthful.

But it’s certainly not true. It doesn’t justify eating every bagel and every piece of candy corn in existence. (Are you picking up on the candy corn theme? It’s FALL!)

A heavenly sight.

A heavenly sight.

It’s only been a month and I’m already a couple pounds heavier and a little more pissed off.  I’ve gained weight in training for the two marathons I’ve run. It’s begun again. WHY? Obviously I’m doing something wrong. I need to increase my calorie burning capacity and gain more muscle. I need to stop eating processed anything. I KNOW this stuff…but I need to actually stick to it.

So where is this coming from, you may be wondering. There must have been a trigger, right? Right. Recently, a coworker asked me, “what’s the best move to get rid of flabby arms?”…and my response was “It’s diet. You can’t out-train a bad diet”. Now, not diet as in “go buy a book and follow the plan and count every single bite, lick, and taste that touches your lips”, but diet as in “what you eat from day to day”.

image from someecards.com

image from someecards.com

I started thinking…who am I to talk?! My diet kind of sucks. I know what to eat, but I don’t always do it. And I don’t track what I eat. I should. Especially if I’m complaning about it.

Furthermore, during Ironman training I kept thinking about how I wanted to stop fueling with, well, crap. Sugary gels, processed foods, fruit snack things that have no fruit in them…bad. Bad. Bad. But of course, I didn’t want to switch up my fueling in the middle of the season. I found something that, although not the healthiest, worked for me. But now, I want to make the change. I want to focus on REAL food.

I semi-started during IM training with Honey Stinger’s Honey Waffles. They have all organic ingredients, but still, I’m a little weary of anything that comes in a package with a barcode. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely obsessed with them and find myself eating them as snacks sans workout more often than I would like to admit. Are they “clean”? I don’t know. Probably not. Some of the ingredients I need to do more research on. Organic palm fruit oil. Organic rice syrup. Organic soy flour. Organic soy lecithin. Sure, organic is great, but it doesn’t always mean safe and healthy. Honestly, I’m probably not going to give these up. But things like Gu need to go.

And then your awesome boyfriend brings you home a huge collection of all things Honey Stinger" so you make it your goal to finish it all before you go on said "clean eating" binge.

And then your awesome boyfriend brings you home a huge collection of all things Honey Stinger so you make it your goal to finish it all before you go on said “clean eating” binge.

I did find a recipe for homemade “Gu” via my friends at Finish Line PT, so I plan to try that out ASAP. It better taste good, or else I’m just not sure what I’ll do. THE HORROR.

And that’s the end of this rambling post. Anyone have a suggestion for more natural fuel? I need the energy, I need it to not upset my stomach, and I need it to contain healthy ingredients. Ready…share! How do you fuel? Do you try to “eat clean”?

P.S. Send my Dad a congratulations for finishing his big ride this past weekend! Go Dad!

Proud daughter!

Proud daughter!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. September 5, 2013 / 6:19 pm

    Eating in general is hard! I wish it was easier! Diets suck. I am like you and know what to eat. But sometimes it is hard! It is easier training for a big event because I feel like I can eat almost anything but then the race is over and it is hard to go back to eating…just what you need to eat!! :(
    I totally understood your garmin read out! Nice job! I am glad that your mystery injury went away..love when that happens! :)

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:44 pm

      That’s so true – I didn’t even think of it like that. I’m still eating the same way I was when I was training! Definitely can’t do that. I think the only solution is to sign up for another Ironman :)

  2. Jocelyn Bergeron
    September 5, 2013 / 7:29 pm

    Have you heard of Skratch Labs? They have a cookbook called “Feed Zone Portables” with all kinds of straight up REAL FOOD fuel. Mostly made from sushi rice and other awesome yummy ingredients. Check them out. Also, there are Picky Bars.

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:45 pm

      Ohh that’s awesome! I’m going to go look that up ASAP!

  3. September 5, 2013 / 8:48 pm

    I think portable whole food fuel for running is harder, but I’ve had good luck with bike and “refueling” treats. I’ve made date/almond/peanut butter/cocoa balls (I got the big container of dates from Trader Joe’s and I think that made 2 batches of 24) and I have the Feed Zone Portables cookbook out from the library right now. But even though those things are portable, they’re still not quite “running-shorts portable.” Picky Bars? They still have a bar code, as you say, but I like the taste and they don’t get super-melty in the heat.

    I know some people who have had luck fueling with just dates (which I could see, if you like the taste of plain dates — they have that sugary/sticky quality that a lot of sports products have). Let us know what you end up doing!

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:48 pm

      Wow that sounds delicious – do you have a recipe?! Yeah it’s much easier to figure out on the bike…blah! I’ve tried one Picky Bar which I liked…do you use them on long runs?

  4. September 5, 2013 / 8:52 pm

    I agree, eating well ALL the time is hard. I sometimes use those Dole Fruit squeezers as opposed to gu an energy gels. They’re good and just kind of like “fruit applesauce” not organic but yummy!

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:48 pm

      That sounds good! I was at the grocery store today but couldn’t find them…I’ll keep looking! Do you get enough energy from them?

  5. September 5, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Diets do suck… and it’s hard going from training where you can basically eat anything and then trying to watch it. Even when training, you can’t just eat whatever you want whenever you want, but it’s a little more justified, I guess. Plus, in the Fall, all the good holidays occur like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then pumpkin spice stuff and candy corn are on the shelves, which is even more tempting! Good luck with it all, you are still training for a marathon though, remember, so it’s not like you’re eating this stuff and just sitting around, either :).

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:50 pm

      Exactly! I’m still eating the same way I used to when I was burning, like, 5x the calories, haha. Not good. I guess I need to find some delicious, healthy Fall-ish recipes to take my mind off the candy corn :)

  6. September 5, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    I’m so with you here. I don’t eat poorly but I do indulge more often then I should. I always feel so justified when I run long to just eat all the things, this is not actually license to eat and eat. Oh well, what can ya do. I’m definitely better with a fitness goal, I find it pretty hard to focus on vague goals. I also function a lot better when I have a plan for what I’m going to eat but I don’t always prioritize that during the week.

    Do you like dates? Or sweet potatoes? I’ve heard some people use that during their workouts.

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:51 pm

      Yes! Exactly. Long runs do justify a little indulgence I think, but not as much indulging as I’ve been doing, haha. I don’t think I’ve ever had dates?! But I do like sweet potatoes. People eat those during a run?!

  7. September 5, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    it is so difficult to navigate training and eating just because your body is put through so much stress. and it is tough because it is never one way or the other. ugh!

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:52 pm

      Very true! And there is so much info out there about nutrition; it’s hard to keep up!

  8. September 6, 2013 / 12:25 am

    Ugh. I wish exercise > diet!! Lol. Love candy corn!!!

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:53 pm

      ME. TOO. Why is it not that way, wahh!! :)

  9. September 6, 2013 / 7:42 am

    Great post, Kara! Whole food ideas for fueling runs: raisins, dates, pretzels, honey, puree fruits/applesauce, baked white or sweet potatoes? Some sound weird/may be difficult to carry with you…but worth it if you want to go more natural! :)

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you!! I’ve been meaning to ask you for a couple suggestions :) Do you use any of these? Do you think they can keep my energy levels up? (I guess I just have to try!) I worry about not having enough sodium but I should probably start taking salt pills anyway…

      • September 9, 2013 / 9:04 am

        I’ve used raisins and pretzels and like them a lot, especially during hot runs when I crave more salt. You can combine those whole foods with a sports drink (or make your own) if you’re worried about electrolytes. Salt pills/packets/tabs also work!

  10. September 6, 2013 / 10:33 am

    I have heard some people use raisins. I am now using Honey Stingers gel for my fuel and it makes my stomach so much happier than Gu or other brands every did. I am still struggling to figure out the whole nutrition part of marathon training. I feel like there are so many factors that go into it (aka our genetics) that make it much more complicated.

    • September 6, 2013 / 6:58 pm

      I tried a Honey Stingers gel a couple weeks ago! The texture was a little too liquidy for me, but I didn’t have any stomach problems which is great.

      There’s so much info out there; it’s so hard to understand sometimes! And it’s so day-to-day…sigh!

  11. September 7, 2013 / 7:26 am

    This this this. I am halfway through my marathon training plan and up 5lbs. That pisses me off, but of course, I’m still making my way through chocolate and a glass or two of wine every night. I KNOW what to do…I’m just not doing it.

    • September 8, 2013 / 2:17 pm

      Yeah, it’s happened to me in every marathon! But I also can’t resist wine and sweets…sooo I’m in the same boat! Love what you said…at least we KNOW what to do; we just need to actually do it!

  12. Beth
    September 9, 2013 / 10:59 pm

    I don’t know, but a deep end filled with candy corn and laziness sounds kind of awesome right now. Okay, maybe just the candy corn part. I refuse to give that up. A life without candy corn is just sad. Have you tried the gummy candy corn yet? YOU MUST. Nice speedwork splits my speedy friend. Happy to hear that you’re feeling better and I DEFINITELY knocked on wood when you told me to. I’ve been fueling with sports beans. Yes, they have a bar code but they’ve been working so far so I’m okay with them for a few more weeks. I know a lot of people have used raisins and dates for fuel but I’m nervous to give up the electolytes,etc that the sports beans have. I was covered in salt after 20 miles last weekend. It was kind of gross. Can’t wait to run this marathon with you!!!!!!!!

  13. September 18, 2013 / 4:39 pm

    if your diet is a mess then mine is… ehem… with all my ulcer issues in thepast 2 months, I can’t stomach gels, so I am making my own from a few recipes I found online: brown rice syrup, blackstrap molasses, honey and salt. YEY!

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