I had hit that stage in life where exercise alone would not keep the weight off. I didn’t want a diet but rather wanted to change the way I eat to support the way I wanted to live and what I wanted to do athletically.
A little back story...In 2004 I found myself weighing 272 pounds. Many factors in my life led me to a place of change – it wasn’t about body image but a deep desire to experience my body as God’s gift to me. I rediscovered my bike, 2 months later started to run (in the dark so no one could see the pathetic-ness). I went to the track and jogged half a lap, walked half a lap. I started jogging because I wanted to do something that I could do outside all winter in Wisconsin – well, most of the winter. Then I wanted a goal to keep myself motivated. Triathlon became the goal, sooooo…at age 39 I learned how to swim and did my first sprint triathlon. I was hooked! In 2006 I did Ironman Wisconsin, tipping the scales at 202 lbs!
I love Ironman and PR’d in Florida with a 12:08. Over these last few years the weight has creeped up and I was regularly showing up at Ironman between 215 to 220 pounds. Exercise along with modest eating wasn’t getting it done anymore. I was working with Angie Smith as my coach and experienced great improvement in all three disciplines. To really make the improvement that I wanted I needed to get a handle on my weight. Angie recommend working with Katie.
I started with Katie 3 months out from Ironman Maryland. When we started, I was 219. On race morning I was 197 – I had not seen that morning weight in at least 25 years! I was disappointed that the swim had to be canceled at IM Maryland and the bike had to be shortened by 12 miles. Some of the streets were flooded and we ended up running through 6 to 12 inches of water 18 times and a mud section 6 times on the on the marathon. This re-aggravated my shin splints, so I didn’t end up with a very good gauge of my overall performance. I’d never run that well off the bike as I did at IM Maryland but a mile 15 I yielded to the shin splints and was reduced to the dreaded Ironman walk.
I went into the race excited – at my last few Ironman competitions I had some foreboding because I was too heavy. I knew the toll the run would take on me because of the extra 20 pounds.
One other item of note was that IM Maryland I nailed my nutrition plan!
My take-aways from working with Katie:
"I discovered Katie Rhodes and OWN-Nutrition through my USAT Coaching newsletter. It can be difficult to manage your own training goals while working full-time and running a part-time coaching business as a USAT certified coach. After knee surgeries for the past 2 successive years and turning 50, my training goals included improving my body composition to be nicer to my body. Katie to the rescue! Her knowledge and skill in dialing in the right recipe for endurance athletes is paramount. Within the first month of following the plan I saw results not only in my body but also with my energy level and quality of my training sessions.
Katie expertly guided my daily, training and racing nutrition for the months leading up to my ‘A' race of Ironman Florida. As a result, I improved my time from the previous year by 1.5 hours…. yes HOURS!!
If you are looking for an easy to follow nutrition plan, look no further. The bonus prize is the personal relationship you build along the way. I pride myself on creating a family feeling with my athletes and found exactly that with OWN-nutrition. I will recommend all of my athletes to add Katie to the comprehensive training plan!"
-Angela S, La Crosse, WI, November 2016
“I was referred to OWN-Nutrition and Katie Rhodes by a friend of mine. She was in the midst of experiencing great success in terms of weight loss, performance and all around energy level just a few short months after beginning a program with OWN-Nutrition. The transformation in my friend was very noticeable which sparked a conversation. I was able to see with my own two eyes the results that a plan with OWN-Nutrition and Katie had on my friend’s appearance. But in addition, my friend’s enthusiastic feedback about the company and Katie contributed greatly to my decision to give them a try.
What I absolutely love about OWN-Nutrition is that it isn’t a one size fits all type of nutrition plan. It is customized to a person’s unique profile taking into consideration gender, age, weight, body type, and performance goals. My friend and I are very different but have both had great success with OWN-Nutrition. My friend is in her 20s, at least 5’9’’ tall, and is a triathlete training for an Ironman. I, on the other hand, am a 46 year old 5’3’’ marathoner with a son almost as old as my friend. As if that isn’t enough of a contrast, I was also recovering from my third hip surgery and had a goal to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon for a 5th consecutive year. As I began to resume my training post surgery and rehab, I was finding it very difficult to shed a few pounds and regain the level of fitness I was accustomed to. I never had this problem in the past so I was very concerned I reached an age at which my body was going through mid-life changes. This scared me as I began to think I would no longer be able to lose weight as easily or perform as well as I once had.
This is where Katie and OWN-Nutrition stepped in. I started a nutrition plan the end of June 2016. In just two and half months, I not only shed those stubborn pounds and qualified for Boston but I ran almost 25 minutes faster than my qualifying time! In fact I ran faster than the qualifying time needed for a female that is between the ages of 18 and 34!! I can’t be more thrilled and I credit OWN-Nutrition and Katie Rhodes for a lot of my success.
In addition to the customized meal plan, I find it so helpful to have a grocery list already prepared. I am able to print it out, check off what I already have in my pantry, and run to the store to buy the rest. I am never hungry and the meals are absolutely delicious! Katie works with me on a weekly basis tracking my workouts, noting my food preferences and tweaking my plan to ensure I am able to perform at my best.
I can’t say enough great things about OWN-Nutrition and Katie. I recommend OWN-Nutrition to anyone trying to transition to a healthier lifestyle and shed some weight. But more specifically, if you are an athlete trying to maximize your performance, you don’t know what you are missing until you give OWN-Nutrition a try!!”
Christine W., Chantilly, VA, September 2016
A fellow swimmer referred me to Katie. I hadn’t seen my swimmer friend for a couple months. When I returned to the pool she not only moved up to a faster swim lane but she was noticeably more lean and fit. I asked her how she did it and she told me about Katie. I signed up that day and for the past 3 months, I have not been disappointed.
I quickly learned from Day 1 that Katie does not employ a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition. She spent the first couple of days understanding my current diet and workout regime. Only after getting to know me did she begin to tailor a nutrition plan just for me! I am a 58 year old ultra marathon trail runner with over 40 years of experience in athletics and nutrition. Nutritional “experts” have helped me before but all tended to use “cookie cutter” type plans that did not allow for my specific tastes or athletic needs. Katie’s plan is 100% all about me … my likes, dislikes, my training as it differs day-to-day, times when I need fuel and times I don’t. I get a detailed menu for every day of the week that includes menus, recipes, and a shopping list. The recipes can be as complicated or easy as YOU want. I regularly text Katie with questions—her response is ALWAYS quick and to the point. And I get a weekly one-on-one phone consultation with her on a variety of topics. She has already revamped my fueling during training and competitions (something I thought I already knew everything about), making a huge difference in my ability to go longer without any sinking spells.
My complexion immediately took on a glow as the plan included more good fat (avocados and nuts) then I had ever eaten before. I’ve become leaner with the loss 10 pounds. My training and racing are stronger than ever. And a huge unexpected plus is I’m OFF diet drinks and artificial sweeteners…something I’ve battled for over 40 years. Katie’s explanation of why it must be done made so much sense to me…finally!
I highly recommend using Katie and her staff at OWN Nutrition for any number of reasons … weight loss, performance, or just to start eating a super healthy diet created just for you!
Check out Mary Knot's INCREDIBLE accomplishments by visiting her blog. Here she talks about her journey, thus far, with OWN-Nutrition. ENJOY!
You've probably heard the phrase "you can't out-train a poor diet." Well, I have a confession. I've been the poster child for "poor diet" for the last couple of years.
Here are the facts:
1. I love to cook. Love. There is nothing better than taking a bunch of ingredients and making something fantastic to feed to family and friends. Food is love, after all. I used to spend hours poring over cookbooks looking for something new to try. At least one new recipe each week. Sometimes more. Not everything I made was great. Not everything I made was edible. But everything I tried was an adventure.
2. I haven't seen my kitchen in... well, years. (sad face). I am often gone from my house by 430 am, arriving home sometime around 7 pm, and fall into bed by 8 pm. That gives me roughly 60 minutes to eat, unwind, and get my shit together for the following day (rinsing water bottles, laundry (ha! j/k), bags packed, etc). Sadly, my schedule had gotten so out of hand that I was literally eating from a drive-thru two meals a day, and then eating a bowl of cereal for dinner at night. Snacking on anything I could get my hands on in the break room in between meals. Totally not kidding. And totally not cool. So not cool.
3. I have had conflicting feelings about how and what I eat. I love the idea of a plant based diet but in practice, right now, it feels overwhelming, and condescending. I know, right? How can food be condescending? Several years ago I committed myself to eating plant based (vegan) for 30 days. I was very strict for this 30 days and you know what? I felt fantastic. (This was also back when I had time to cook). I told people I wasn't doing it for "political" reasons, I just wanted to see how my health might change by eating plant based. After that 30 days, I followed a "less religious" plant based diet. Meaning I wasn't "that guy" when I went to eat with family or friends. I didn't turn down an invitation to a holiday meal with friends. And I didn't beat myself up if I ate a piece of bacon or sushi.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped having time to prepare food and so I was driving through Taco Bell for a bean burrito, cause there's no meat in that. Or grabbing a veggie pizza from the place down the street. We joked about how much pizza I was consuming, but it truly was 5-6 times a week. Often 3 meals in a row. Ultimately, my brain tied my lack of being vegan and my poor diet together, and I stressed about it even more. I felt horrible because I was eating crappy food. And even more horrible because sometimes it was In N Out Burger. *gasp* The horror of it all!
I would still go grocery shopping once a week. And out of guilt and a feeling of obligation I would buy fruits and vegetables which inevitably got thrown out at the end of their life span- untouched. I felt worse wasting food and throwing so much away. The smell of rotting produce in my fridge shamed me every time I reached inside.
I tried a couple of meal delivery services. What I found was that the portion sizes were much smaller than I would normally consume and sometimes I just didn't like the food that was delivered. Some people can choke down something they don't like because it's good for them or they paid for it. This is not me. So this wasn't a realistic long term solution for me.
During my training for Arizona, I listened to a podcast during which my coach talked about her transition to a plant based diet. She said that she did it abruptly and her training did suffer the effects of "trial and error" because it wasn't necessarily the healthy plant based diet that she follows now. In the podcast she speculated that for someone to switch to a vegan diet there would be an adjustment period, potentially up to a couple of years, while said person was figuring out how to eat the right amount and types of nutrients. When I heard this it was kind of an epiphany. I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself and this helped me to realize that what I was feeling was probably pretty normal. At that time I started to think about other options for cleaning up my diet.
I had already decided I needed to address my diet last fall as the next step in the process of #findingkona when I qualified for Hawaii in November. At that time I had nailed down my race nutrition strategy but my daily diet was still a disaster. A friend of mine had worked with a dietitian last year during her preparation for Kona and gave me a referral. I held off on contacting her because she is not based in Arizona and everything would be done online or via phone consult, and I wasn't sure how this would work.
I sat down with a couple of nutritionists locally last fall to talk about what I needed. I got a similar response from each which was something along the lines of, I don't write meal plans, I am going to teach you how to eat properly. *sigh* I know how to eat healthy. I just don't do it because I lack time to plan to eat healthy. I almost signed on because my preference in life is to support local. But in the end, I went with what was going to be best for me and I called Katie of OWN Nutrition.
Over the course of a couple phone calls and email correspondence I gave her my deal breakers. I don't have time to "cook". I want someone to tell me exactly what to eat (and when?!) and it needs to be assembly only. And I don't eat poultry. Ever. I breathed a sigh of relief when Katie was excited to help me and encouraged me in the process. She assured me that after a few months, I WOULD learn what my body needed, but for now she would handle the thinking part of it.
My first meal plan arrived in my inbox. 7 days, with detailed meals and snacks. A shopping list (hallelujah!). "Recipes" for any meals that required some assembly. And a handout on portion sizes. OK, I admit, I didn't print out the portion sizes handout.
My first trip to the grocery store was a little bit overwhelming. I was still learning and hadn't yet compiled a concise list so I was running back and forth between different departments as I read down my list for the week. I have since learned and now spend 10 minutes making a list for produce, meat, frozen goods, dry goods, etc. Now I can be in and out in 30 minutes.
Week 1 I had something on my plan called the "side salad". When I set out to prep my side salad I was shocked to find it was anything but a "side"! 4-5 cups of greens (spinach, arugula and romaine), with tomatoes, almonds, and protein (some days this was salmon, others it was beans and quinoa).
Most of my assembly is done on Sundays and Thursdays when I have an hour in the evening to prepare meals. I prepackage my lunch and dinner for the week, including all snacks. Once or twice a week I'll throw all my protein on the grill. I'll have a big salmon filet going on one burner, and a couple of filets on another. And my husband (who is not following my meal plan) let's me grill up some pork or chicken for him along with a big batch of quinoa once a week so that he's not scrambling for healthy options either. And every once in a while, he'll eye something that I'm eating and offer to share it with me. Among our favorite is an avocado-tomato-cilantro salad (with protein of choice on top!) It has been no trouble at all to transition to this meal plan.
I'm past the 30 day mark now and I'm as happy as the day I hired Hillary to coach me. I have eaten more vegetables in the last month than I have in the last 2 years combined. I have more energy. More stable energy-- no spiking and bottoming out in the middle of the day. I have been trying things I've never made before. Pork carnitas in a crock pot for example. Everything is super simple, but tasty and satisfying.
And the best part is, I don't find myself craving sugar all the time. I find myself content with what I've eaten, and when I do get hungry, instead of ravaging the junk food pile at work or at home I find myself looking for something more satisfying. Yogurt and berries is a big favorite. Apples with peanut butter. Trail mix (homemade!). I'm not a dietitian, but from my observation my diet is chock full of vegetables, protein and good fats. Lots of fats. I think moving away from 95% carbs has helped a lot in the reduction of cravings and blood sugar spikes.
Once a week I have a phone consultation with Katie. And if I email or text her with a question I usually hear back within a couple of hours. She has helped me to realize that being ravenous on Monday means that I'm not fueling and re-fueling on Sunday appropriately after my long day. We made a few adjustments and I no longer wake up hungry, and Monday is just like every other day of the week-- steady energy intake and output. It is nothing short of amazing!
I think someday I would like to try moving more permanently to a plant based diet, but for now, I am eating healthy and feeling great. Even my stress level has improved dramatically. I don't know if it's all the good fats allowing my brain to function appropriately, or just the fact that I'm not eating drive thru meals 10 times a week. I still eat pizza. Just not every day. And I still eat sweets. Just not every day. I'm eating slower and finding pleasure in food again.
Food is love, and I'm definitely on the road to being happier with myself and how I'm treating myself. And this move is central to my theme of #findingaloha in 2016. Love my food, love myself.
You're not alone! I mean, at least that is what I realized when I saw the FDA's "call to action" early November asking for comments on what should be considered "natural" when labeling products. Why the confusion? For example, items currently labeled all "natural" have been known to have high fructose corn syrup and GMOs. Everyone was shocked at this news from the FDA. I have to applaud the FDA for basically throwing up their hands to ask for help on the question they have avoided for years. In fact, the only time the FDA officially commented on the subject was in 1993 when they published non-binding guidance of the meaning: "...nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food". Hmmm... yeah, with the growing emphasis on functional medicine and food safety these days, I can understand why the FDA has received numerous petitions demanding a definition; some even asking the FDA to take away the word altogether...
Here are some comments I liked:
It is a pretty simple concept. The word, "Natural" in the dictionary means: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. As such any ingredient that is made by artificial, synthetic or genetically modified means it cannot rightfully be be, "natural."
Therefore if a food product(s) contain any artificial, synthetic or genetically modified ingredient(s) it should be illegal to call or list such a food product "natural". John Stewart
"Natural" labeling needs to be defined as non-GMO, with no processed additives (whether they are from a natural source or not). The product must include only whole food, non-genetically modified ingredients. Elise McLain
What do you think? What are other people saying? Check it out and provide your comments!
A huge thanks to Lorie Tucker for featuring our nutrition journey together in her recent blog post (see exert below)! She uses her blog to share triathlon tips as a USAT coach for more efficient swimming, more powerful cycling, and faster running. http://dreambig-lorie.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The Not-So-Secret Secret
It's time to preach the good word of nutrition.
"My Ironman last week was ONE HOUR ahead of my goal time. ONE HOUR! I couldn't believe it when I crossed the Ironman Maryland finish line in 11:18. That included a five-minute penalty for not passing quickly enough (what?), crazy circling and treacherous winds, and a shorted swim by 800 meters -- so we'll call this 140.1 just to be accurate. (But those winds made up for any gains on the swim, you can be sure.) This was Ironman number five for me -- so what did I do differently? How did I improve so much after a two year hiatus and two year age-up?
It all started last January, after signing up for Ironman Maryland. I wanted to do a strong race that met or possibly surpassed my previous PR of 12:15. So I formulated a training plan -- that's my job. But I also hired my associate, Katie Rhodes, a registered dietician. Katie and I had worked together at Sigma Human Performance and I was ready to put her skills to the test.
The first step in my journey was to get a metabolic test. With this test information, I was given training zones which told me when my body was burning fat versus carbs. This was invaluable information when it came time to base train in fat burning zones, build in sub-lactate zones and then peak into my fast and intense sessions at anaerobic capacity. My plan was based on three week builds with one week recoveries.
Secondly, Katie and I met and we discussed my goals and desires with this race. She would email me weekly meal plans that included my diet, my grocery list, and the percentage of carbs, fat or protein for each meal. I quickly realized I had been eating too many carbs and not enough healthy fats. My portions were too large, also. So I buckled down and did not stray from her plan, eliminated a lot of the sweets and empty calories I was consuming. And things began to change.
In the first few weeks with my nutrition plan I saw noticeable weight loss. And with that came increased speed and power. I was able to hold faster paces in all three disciplines. Things plateaued after several months, but when I was consistent with my training and my diet -- I saw measurable improvements.
A few weeks prior to race day I noticed Katie begin modifying my diet to be more carb-heavy with less fats. To prepare me for the race she prescribed specific grams of carb intake instead of my usual calorie count methods. And again, I felt strong and not fatigued or weak when I followed her instruction. She always provided a post-workout meal for recovery, as well.
Then it was RACE DAY. For the first time in all my Ironmans, I not only had a race plan but a specific race-day nutrition plan. I listed everything I was to consume on race day down to the last gram of carbohydrate and sip of water. And I was eating WAY more than I ever had in any race. I did not just grab whatever was available at the aid stations -- I brought my own food and utilized my special needs bags carefully. I was dialed.
They say luck is the residue of hard work. Well it all came together on race day. Luck was on my side but really, the hard work and dedication paid off. I'm ecstatic with my race time. And I can't wait to cross the finish line at Ironman number six. I have learned so much on this journey -- and one of the main things I can preach is that you should not ignore your diet. As triathletes we can get away with consuming too much food and especially the wrong foods. We will burn it off and most of us end up thin-thin on race day.
Fueling your body with high quality foods is not really a secret. But it is the key to a faster finish. My life has changed thanks to Katie Rhodes. My plates are colorful and balanced. And I will never again disregard my daily eating plan. Good luck to all you future Ironman finishers. Let me know if I can help get you across the line with a new PR. Email me here email@example.com or get in touch with Katie at Katie@OWN-Nutrition.com."
A writer for Bicycling Magazine recently contacted me for some expert advice for a piece she was working on for the December/January issue:
"Occasionally in races, participants will be handed a beer or a shot and we’re wondering what the effects would be and if it would slow you down. We’re pretty much trying to figure out how much or how long it would take for the alcohol to hit your system and slow you down."
She will be quoting exerts in the December/January issue, but here is the full response I gave her:
Throughout my years working with triathletes I have had few ask me about alcohol during a race. I know in the early 1900s it was believed to relax the muscles and improve performance, but these days most athletes understand the negative effects on performance. Trust me, I like the occasional cocktail, but alcohol has no place on the race course. Alcohol is a toxin. You train your body through nutrition and exercise months before an event to function like clockwork in order to be as efficient as possible on the course. Putting a toxin in your body during a race can disrupt what you worked so hard to earn.
I would say anything more than 1/2 a 12oz beer affects your body right away since your liver can only process so much at a time. Alcohol during a race hits your system almost immediately. This is because after about 60-90 minutes of activity, your body is in “receiving mode” due to it relying mainly on consumed glucose for energy. Once consumed, your liver recognizes the toxin and works immediately to rid your body of it. But, since your liver can’t do that very quickly, alcohol is present in your system to cause some negative effects. Here are the negative effects:
Salmon - High in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA (an essential amino acid for brain health). Consuming 4 oz of salmon twice a week can improve your brain function and reduce neurological disease.
Blueberries - Blueberries are an antioxidant superstar! This power fruit is packed with anthocyanins, flavonoids and are speculated to help protect brain cells from free-radical damage. Studies in animals have found blueberries help prevent age-related memory loss. Add blueberries to oatmeal, yogurt, or enjoy for an after-meal dessert.
Eggs - An excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, B vitamins and zinc, egg yolks are also one of the best sources of choline. Choline is essential to the brain to fire up neurotransmitters related to memory and mental clarity. Start your day off with an egg to help increase memory retention and mental focus.
Oysters - High in zinc, iron, selenium, and magnesium, essential nutrients linked to memory and focus, oysters are a top brain power food. Next time you’re at your favorite seafood dining spot, enjoy oysters as an appetizer!
Walnuts - Walnuts are considered a top brain food by many health experts and for good reason. There are a number of nutrients in walnuts essential for brain health, including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and folate. The nutrients packed in walnuts can also help boost memory, fight depression, as well as help with insomnia. Add walnuts to oatmeal, salad, or enjoy as a mid-afternoon pick me up.
Oats and other whole grains - Rich in complex carbohydrates and B vitamins, whole grains will help supply a steady state of glucose to the brain, essential for brain function. Low blood sugar can decrease overall energy and mental focus. Start your day off with a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries and walnuts...talk about a brain food power meal!
Information by Lesli Bitel at www.HarmonicNutrition.com
Today I am going to tell you about beet juice and the awesome health and performance benefits. I first started hearing about beet juice through my endurance clients and other sports nutrition professionals. The research is a fairly new introduction to the benefits of beet juice on performance, but here is what we know so far:
I recommend mixing it with a smoothie daily. Bottoms up!
I am Katie Rhodes, owner of OWN-Nutrition. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in Little Rock, Arkansas with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition. That sounds fancy, but it really means I'm a foodie at heart.