New on the Nutrition Mechanic blog is to periodically share stories and insight from athletes I have been lucky enough to work with over the years.
I love stories and I love sharing stories. But it’s not just about me… It’s about learning from each other and with each other.
Yes, we have our individual needs and no two athletes are the same.
But through the sharing of stories, we can:
…and maybe even Giggle.
I’m excited to introduce you to Shoshana, an athlete I met in 2017 through an online group nutrition program I co-hosted with Meredith Atwood. Shoshana would later hire me for one-on-one nutritional support. We are still active in our nutrition “team up” to this day.
Shoshana has a long-standing diet history from her early youth. As many lifelong dieters know, this can result in a roller coaster of emotion, body image issues, and difficulty with figuring out a healthy relationship with food. In the time I’ve worked with Shoshana, I’ve seen major strides forward in a food freedom of sorts. A freedom that allows for more enjoyment of food and living a life that is less weight-centric. I’ll let her tell you more…
Q & A with Shoshana
Dina: How would you describe your athlete self?
Shoshana: I am a back of the pack racer who truly loves to see other people achieve the goals they have set for themselves. It is one of the reasons I became a triathlon coach. 2019 has been a comeback year for me, after shoulder repair surgery in October 2018. I wasn't sure that I would get back to the activities that make me ME, but I am slowly rebuilding my triathlon and CrossFit fitness.
Dina: What can you share about your dieting history?
Shoshana: I have dieted my entire life. I mean my ENTIRE LIFE. I started with Weight Watchers, then I switched to Jenny Craig while I was in high school. I was not one who was able to avoid the "freshman 15" and graduated from college at 231lbs. I still keep my ID pictures in my wallet as a reminder of how far I have come. When I finally had enough, I rejoined Weight Watchers and got down to 160 pounds, which was not a realistic weight for me. I was also starting to move more, which required fuel...not a calorie-starved diet, like the Weight Watchers plan was advocating. Getting off the "dieting yo-yo" seems so hard when you're focused on eliminating food, or when eating certain foods brings up paralyzing guilt. It isn’t a healthy lifestyle, especially for an athlete.
Dina: Since you and I started our nutrition work together, what have been a few highlights for you?
Shoshana: I have learned that I am so much more than a number on a scale, a very important lesson. Dina has taught me to love the body I live in, it's true! We spent a week calling out parts of my body that I love and giving reasons why. I previously spent a lot of time hating this body, no matter what it has helped me achieve.
For me, Dina has shown time and time again that she truly cares about my success and not just because I am paying her. She truly cares about the people that she works with on a personal level. Not everyone is like that and I can honestly say that working with her has been the best gift I have ever given myself.
Dina (awww… I’m blushing a bit): Do you have a nutrition or food mantra you abide by?
Shoshana: I don't really have a mantra, but I have learned to "let it go and move on". I am also not a robot and I don't need to eat like one.
Dina: So true that we aren’t robots, a point I can’t emphasize enough to athletes. So, what is your response to incorporating “cheat days” or “cheat meals”?
Shoshana: There is no such thing as a cheat day or cheat meal. To me "cheating" is a dirty word and an unhealthy way of looking at my relationship with food.
Dina: Given that you had shoulder surgery not long ago, do you have any athletic endeavors on the horizon, or other athletic goals you are working towards currently?
Shoshana: In 2020, I am hoping to get some much needed redemption at the Ironman 70.3 Mt Tremblant in Canada. Last time, I completely dehydrated on the bike. I am 100% sure that will NOT happen again.
Dina: Yes, that was P.D. (pre-Dina), so we will be much more proactive with your hydration strategy this time, especially now that we know your sweat sodium concentration! I’m wondering what piece of dieting or nutrition-related advice you can pass on to others?
Shoshana: A life of deprivation will not bring you happiness, it causes stress and a feeling of missing out. Live your food life honestly and eat what makes you happy...in moderation. Nothing is off limits. I have even had ice cream for dinner, but I enjoyed it and happily moved on. I have many more ‘next meals’ to help support my goals.
Dina: What is a fun food fact about you?
Shoshana: I love weird seafoods....octopus, raw oysters and clams. But I hate beets.
Dina: That is indeed a fun fact! Can you think of anything else to share?
Shoshana: At age 47, I have finally found a way to eat for my daily life and training that allows me to live and never feel deprived. Slowly but surely my relationship with food is getting to a "healthy" place (see what I did there?!), meaning I can eat without guilt and I know that one meal or one day isn't going to destroy everything that Dina and I have worked on.
Thank you, Shosh, for sharing a bit about you. I’m thrilled to hear that you have found more peace with food, your body, and that you can feel more self-trusting in your food life. You are an amazing woman and I’m beyond excited for you (and your 2020 pursuits!). And feel free to reach out to Shoshana to learn more about her triathlon coaching.
Thank you for reading!