Saturday, February 18, 2006

240/42 How I became a Sports Nutritionist

These two numbers represented my largest body weight and pant size when I was 15 years old.

When I finally decided to lose weight I had no idea of what a calorie was or even what healthy eating was. My father was diagnosed with Diabetes and was told that in order to control his disease he needed to lose weight. I remember watching him weigh his food daily to make sure he was getting the proper amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The food he was eating was lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins with moderate fat and he was able to lose weight while doing very little exercise.

At 15 I was heavily involved in sports such as hockey and football, however, because of my weight I was unable to compete at the level I wanted to. I was constantly teased in grade school and used food to help distract me from my pain. I hated my body and realized that I needed to do something about it, and soon. I decided to follow what my father was doing. This helped me lose some weight.

However, the weight did not come off fast enough for me with diet alone and so I exercised daily for at least 3 hours. As the weight started to come off I still wasn't satisfied. This, as I later learned, was the beginning of my eating disorder. I was able to lose about 60 pounds over the course of one summer vacation and returned to school weighing 180 pounds. While my classmates and teachers continued to congratulate me on what I had accomplished, each time I looked into the mirror I still wasn't happy with what I saw. For those of you who have an eating disorder, I'm sure you can relate to this. I used exercise, purging, fad diets, sweat suits and laxatives to try to shed more weight. This led to some weight loss but eventually the weight went back up. I realized that exercise was what I needed to do in order to keep the weight off permanently and I continued to do so daily, playing any sport I could such as football, basketball, tennis and hockey. During this time, my eating disorder was kept hidden from everyone. I would eat “junk food” from time to time but always did this alone so nobody would see me. I managed to get through High School without too much difficulty and my eating disorder was unconsciously put on the back burner for the time being.

After finishing High School, I went to College to study Recreation Management, and then on to University where I received my BSc. in Nutritional Science. Along the way I studied Sports Nutrition from the Canadian Health Food Association and uncovered the many flaws in the Canada Food Guide approach to healthy eating. I did not want to become a Dietician—after all, Dieticians believed in the flawed Canada Food Guide. Instead, I developed my own nutritional program based on trial and error, research, as well as some elements garnered from some evidence-based programs I've tried in the past.

I recently started running in August of 2005 and realized what an amazing physical activity this was. It's an effective way to lose weight, but unfortunately for someone who has an eating disorder like myself, it needs to be balanced to be considered healthy. In all honestly, my commitment and passion for running has brought back some memories of my unbalanced teens. I've worked closely with many runners, including many women at the gym where I work, and have found that there are a high percentage of runners with eating disorders. I have decided to share my personal experience with an eating disorder with those whom I feel it could help, and I am compelled to write this Blog to let others know that they are not alone. For those of us who struggle with poor body image, it is all about balance.

Through my experiences with counseling alcoholics and drug addicts, I believe that eating disorders are the hardest addictions to manage and cope with. The reason for this is I cannot escape from the fact that I need to eat in order to stay alive. Addicts and alcoholics can stay away from their addictive substances and still live, but those of us who have eating disorders have to deal with food and our bodies on a daily basis. I’ve learned that my eating disorder will always be there but I can control how much time I spend thinking about it and how I am going to manage it.

Those of us who have eating disorders, recognize that we will have good and bad body image days. Our family and friends may never understand this, but it helps to talk to about it, so those of you who do suffer from this disorder, I hope you have the strength to put together a great support system.

Eating disorders are very much an isolating illness and by speaking frankly about my own issues, I hope that more of you will feel comfortable talking about this with your own family/friends.
My hope is that my story is able to help some of you realize that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and that you need to set goals and map out a healthy plan to achieve these goals.

If you or someone you know, is suffering from an eating disorder, there are places that can help. One such organization is called Sheena's Place ( and they have group and individual counseling available.

My company will help you to not only achieve your evolving goals in a healthy and balanced approach, but will ensure you maintain your successes. For more information about how to begin, contact me at

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

Your ability to have a great workout/run can be affected by what you eat before and after you train. Not only that, but your ability to refuel yourself after your workout will have an even greater impact on your future training sessions/runs.

Whether you train in the morning, afternoon or evening, your body relies on its main fuel system (glycogen) to give you the energy your body requires. Glycogen is our energy "bank" and it is "stocked" with glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrates available to us. In order to provide our bodies with a constant flow of energy, it is better to have a carbohydrate such as oatmeal, sweet or red potatoes, berries, or whole-wheat bagels. If you don't have an hour to wait then a better choice would be some fruit such as an apple or banana. Drinking some Green Tea before your workout can also provide you with some caffeine (about 1/3 of the amount found in coffee) as well as some important antioxidants. Antioxidants will attack Free Radicals that are trying to destabilize a healthy cell.

Immediately after your training session it is very important to replenish your energy bank (Glycogen) by having some simple carbohydrates (fruits) with a little bit of protein. The ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 4:1. A good example of this would be some low fat cottage cheese with some grapes. Protein shakes, as long as some fruit is added to them, can also be a good choice. It is more important to have carbohydrates after a training session than protein.
At Body For You, I will customize a pre and post workout nutrition plan that will enhance your training and allow you to train more effectively with greater results.
Email me and get started today!