Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DNSs and a Nutrition Reset of Sorts

The past 6 weeks since elbow surgery have been an interesting time for me. Not only have I learned to master some daily living skills with my left hand (like hair washing, teeth brushing, food preparation), I successfully managed airline travel (yikes on the TSA pat down!), and have seen how curious humans are about each other.  If I had a dollar for every stare and conversation about the RoboArm, I’m fairly certain my bank would show a deposit of $528,367 by now.
I have to admit that of the 15+ years I’ve been participating in endurance events, it’s been difficult to have several race DNSs ("did not start") over the past 2 months.  I am sad to defer these races.  But really, I mean REALLY, I go back to “This is just an elbow and arm.”  As my physical therapist said, “You have legitimate pain and discomfort, but you’re not as bad off as that guy… and that guy is not as bad off as that woman… and so on.” We all have our relative “woe is me” spheres, but it’s important to remember to put yourself in perspective.  I have nowhere near anything that many others close to my heart endure everyday:  severely impaired vision, recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, complex auto-immune diseases, terminal cancers, mental health challenges, and so on.  I ain’t got nothin’ so those DNSs are now just reminders of how lucky I am (and hope to be) to try again in the future.

Another interesting finding during this post-surgery recovery time has been my experience with a nutrition reset.  After surgery, I simply had no appetite for several days.  Exercise was limited and my mind had to adjust to “you just can't do XYZ for a while” (and there's that woe is me stuff). As my appetite returned about a week later and activity level increased, I realized that I had been participating in some habitual eating prior to surgery.  This is something I teach many of my athletes: learning or re-learning the WHY of eating (biological need vs. emotional need vs. habit). And here I found that even I had digressed a bit recently with ignoring the true signs of biological hunger.  Some may see this as a fault… how can she not practice what she preaches 100% of the time?  I see it as part of being human and getting caught up in routines. Sometimes we have to get out of our own everyday living to have a fresh look at what we are and aren't doing. Even health professionals need to do this periodically.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you take drastic measures like wrecking your bicycle in order to undergo a nutrition reset. However, consider changing up your usual routine for a few days to see what you notice about your nutrition-related behaviors. If you work from home, go to the library for a few days. If you have food at your desk, move it away. Think about your “why” when you eat and make notes in a log. There’s no guilt to be had about what you’re doing nutritionally.  Just observing and learning… and possibly implementing some behavior or environmental changes to support a healthier and happier you.



  1. Yesterday was a recovery day for me and I had a planned short road trip for work. I normally pack my own lunch but figured I'd be back in time and only took some almonds for a snak. Things didn't go as planned and I was delayed for various reasons and needed to get some food. When I stopped for gas I decided to get a grilled chicken sandwich from McD's something I never do but my choices were limited and I was hungry. I'm usually pretty particular with the grains I eat and this sandwich was supposed to have a special bun. About a half hour later I was wondering why I felt tired, ornery, and kept burping. Than it dawned on me. Was it a coincidence. I think not

  2. This is so true! I have already noticed that, in different environments, I eat differently. When working at home, I tend to want something to munch on all the time. If I'm in the office, I usually pack a lunch and am much more restricted, and still very satisfied, with what I eat. Now, I just have to figure out to curb my urges... :-o

  3. This is a great post. This past week, I have been doing the same thing. Coming off long course training, I realized I was mindlessly eating. This week, I am back on track and paying attention to my own hunger cues.