I am a Plant Powered Athlete

I am a Plant Powered Athlete | Vegan Vegetarian TriathlonI have been a vegetarian for the past 36 years, a vegan for the past 3 years, and an athlete my entire life.

Since becoming a vegan 3 years ago and finally giving up dairy, I have gotten stronger and faster as an athlete. I recover more quickly so I can train more, I don’t have the GI problems I used to have while training and racing, and I have lost weight, have overall more energy, and am more focused on being a triathlete.

Last week I had a friend who I have known for about 5 years ask me to coach her in triathlon and nutrition for her first ironman. She told me she was interested in being more plant-based but is worried that giving up meat while training for an ironman wouldn’t give her enough strength and energy to get through training.

This baffled me because since I have been vegetarian, I have completed 13 ironman distance triathlons AND since becoming vegan, I have completed 2, both of which I PRd and one of which I qualified for the Ironman World Championships. In addition to those accomplishments, as a vegan I have completed 7 marathons in 7 days, I am on day 646 of a bike streak, I have completed a 10K lake swim, and I have PRd in every distance run from 5K to marathon.

So in case anyone else out there was wondering if you can become a successful endurance athlete as a vegan, the answer is YES! I can tell you WITHOUT A DOUBT that becoming 100% vegan has helped me in all areas of my life, especially in my sport.

My goal now is to incorporate more raw foods into my nutrition plan as I feel like this will take my training and racing to the next level. I have been working toward this for the past 2 years and I have my good days/weeks/months and my bad ones…like everything! Baby steps right?!

If you are wondering if you will get enough calories training for an endurance race, feel free to follow me on myfitnesspal. My username is RealResultsRock, to check out my calories, protein etc.

Just as an example, today I ate 4,293 calories (more than I had wanted, I had a little anxiety PB&Jx4 binge this morning) with 108 grams of protein. My goal is around 3,000 calories with 65 grams of protein, which I always reach with no problem. In fact, I have to limit what I eat as I don’t want to make over 4,000 a habit and gain weight.

Join the Veg Club to get custom meal plans and have access to me daily…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheVegClub

If you want to eat plant-based, I have a 7 Day Vegan Challenge here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek

A group with thousands of recipes here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg

How to transition to a plant-based diet…
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/transition-to-a-plant-based-diet-with-ease

And an awesome supportive community here…
https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

I often post my meals here…
https://www.facebook.com/groups/RealResultsROCK

And you can reach out to me ANYTIME with questions!!!!

See you SOON!

One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time - Kirsten McCayI was chatting with a friend this morning and she asked how everything was going for me. My immediate reaction was “amazing” because quite frankly almost everything in my life is super amazing right now.

But then I thought deeper into how everything was going for me in my life right now and although almost everything is going extremely well, there is one area in my life that I have been COMPLETELY slacking in, so it has been going downhill pretty quickly over the past 6 months, and that is finances.

So I mentioned to her everything is perfect other than I’m pretty much out of money. As soon as I wrote it, however, it didn’t really seem to matter to me. And that made me think more into it because in the past, I would have been freaking out not having any money, but in reality, I’m not.

The “old” me is yelling at me to “get your shit together” “get a job” “work your businesses” “work more, train less” “stop eating at Whole Foods” “suck it up and work more” and “stop being so irresponsible”.

But when I actually bypass all the chatter and stop to think about it, I’m not scared, I’m not nervous, I’m not worried, and I’m not willing to give up what I am searching for in my life right now to work more, make more money, and feel more secure.

For the first time in my life I am taking it one day at a time.

Writing that and sharing it publicly makes me nervous because I still care a little bit what people think about me and I feel like it’s a very irresponsible way to live. But I am being brave and learning to embrace it. I tell others to own their lives and be proud of who they are and the decisions that they make, so I need to practice what I preach and do the same.

So I am! I am living my life the way I want to live it. I am taking it day by day, moment by moment. I am learning a lot about myself and growing daily as a human being and it feels like it’s what I am supposed to be doing right now.

And I hope the same for you. I hope you are doing things every single day that you love. That you are making choices out of passion, not desperation. That you are choosing love over fear. And that you wake up every single day with excitement and a smile on your face. If not, take a breath, write down 3 things you are grateful for, and make sure to do at least one thing today that makes you happy. PLEASE!

And then let me know how I can help you love your life more!

Come in to our supportive community…
https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

See you soon!

Baby Steps: Love Yourself More

Baby Steps Love Yourself MoreI have “struggled” with disorder eating and weight/body issues my entire life. Maybe not in the way many of you have, but in a negative way where I was in a cycle I never thought I would get out of.

Over-eating and restricting with intense thoughts of hopelessness, weakness, worthlessness, and self-hatred woven in Every. Single. Day!

I have worked on it like it was my full-time job for the past 8 years and looking at a “Facebook memory” last week reminded me how far I have come in the past 2 years!

I only think about food like 60% of my day, I only dislike my body like 20% of the time, when I binge I gently reduce my calories over several days eating mostly fruits, veggies, and Shakeology® to keep my nutrients up, and I stick almost 100% of the time to my training plan as an athlete no matter how many extra calories I consumed that day. I don’t use exercise to burn excess calories and I train and rest my body as a competitive athlete instead of an obsessed girl desperately trying to lose weight.

I wanted to share my thoughts today to give you hope if you feel hopeless in your quest for unconditional self-love and acceptance like I had so many times in my life. For 20 years I didn’t think I had a problem and I spent the next 10 feeling like I would have this “problem” forever.

I see light at the end of the tunnel. I now see that I can love and nourish my body by caring for it and being gentle with my soul. I don’t need to be rough and abrasive and demanding in order to get to a place where I can feel good about myself and my body.

Thanks for supporting me in my journey!

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
– Buddha

#lovehealsall

Need a little support and compassion?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveYourselfMore

Want to surround yourself with love daily?

https://www.facebook.com/KirstenMcCaySmith

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

See you soon!

My Friends ROCK! – Sending Kir To Kona

My Friends ROCK! Send Kir to Kona!!!A little over a month ago I qualified for the Ironman World Championships which take place in Kona, Hawaii on October 14th.

Although I had been training hard and had a 2 year goal to qualify, I went through several life changes in the 4 months leading up to the race, which resulted in me having to use all the money I had been saving toward my trip the past 2 years in hopes and preparation of qualifying, on other life expenses.

All went well on race day and I qualified!! I was ecstatic and grateful that all my hard work had paid off. The race was Sunday and if you want to secure your spot in Kona, you have to pay for the race Monday morning.

The entry fee alone was $999. I had $1,000 left in my savings. PERFECT! Entry was paid for and I had 4 months to figure out how I was going to pay for my trip.

My amazing friend, Tara, had the idea of a “go fund me” campaign which I reluctantly said I would consider with no intention of actually considering “begging” my friends and family for money to help me reach my goals. That seemed very self-indulgent to me.

But reality set in and honestly I didn’t know how I was going to save up an additional $5,000 over the next 4 months when I didn’t even know where I was going to be living 2 weeks after the qualifying race in Boulder.

So I gave in and thought “what the heck, I’ll see what happens”.

Tara wrote a heartfelt summary of my time leading up to the race from her perspective, and I posted it to my social media. What came next brought me to tears.

Within a day I had received about $1,500 of my $5,000 goal. People wrote me notes like “you have helped me so much, I’m happy to return the favor” and “go for your dreams”. And many of these were people I didn’t even know! This blew my mind. I couldn’t figure out why all these people would help me!

So I thought back to all the times I have helped people I did or didn’t know without any expectation of getting anything in return. It reminded me how amazing people are and how we all just want to feel connected to those around us. That our community is strong. That at the core of our being, we want to see each other thrive. That helping those who need our help is fulfilling. And that karma is beautiful and the more we live to serve others, the more others live to serve us.

And it’s such an upward spiral of positivity. The more donations I got from my peeps, the more I wanted to give. And the more I give, the more others want to give. Pretty soon we are all giving and receiving and loving and connecting and all is well in our world.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to my dream! What you have done has not been taken lightly at all! I have a plan to make a banner before I leave to Kona on October 5th and put every single name of every person who has made my race possible, and take it with me to remind me I am loved. To remind me I am doing the race for all of you who believe in me. To remind me that what I do every single day in my life makes a difference. And to remind me that we are all just walking each other home.

I love you!

Thank you!

If you want to watch my journey, join our community…
www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

If you want to donate to my campaign…
www.gofundme.com/KirToKona

See you soon!

Daily Dose of Hope

Daily Dose of Hope... I have "struggled" with disorder eating and weight/body issues my entire life. Maybe not in the way many of you have, but in a negative way where I was in a cycle I never thought I would get out of. I have “struggled” with disorder eating and weight/body issues my entire life.

Maybe not in the way many of you have, but in a negative way where I was in a cycle I never thought I would get out of. Over-eating and restricting with intense thoughts of hopelessness, weakness, worthlessness, and self-hatred woven in…

Every. Single. Day!

I have worked on it like it was my full-time job for the past 8 years and looking at a “Facebook memory” last week reminded me how far I have come in the past 2 years!

I only think about food like 60% of my day, I only dislike my body like 20% of the time, when I binge I gently reduce my calories over several days eating mostly fruits, veggies, and Shakeology® to keep my nutrients up, and I stick almost 100% of the time to my training plan as an athlete no matter how many extra calories I consumed that day.

I don’t use exercise to burn excess calories and I train and rest my body as a competitive athlete instead of an obsessed girl desperately trying to lose weight.

I wanted to share my thoughts today to give you hope if you feel hopeless in your quest for unconditional self-love and acceptance like I had so many times in my life. For 20 years I didn’t think I had a problem and I spent the next 10 feeling like I would have this “problem” forever.

I see light at the end of the tunnel. I now see that I can love and nourish my body by caring for it and being gentle with my soul. I don’t need to be rough and abrasive and demanding in order to get to a place where I can feel good about myself and my body.
Thanks for supporting me in my journey!

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha

#lovehealsall

Need a little support and compassion?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/LoveYourselfMore

Want to surround yourself with love daily?

https://www.facebook.com/KirstenMcCaySmith

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

See you soon!

TOTALLY AWESOME Transformation: Dawn Ashcraft

TOTALLY AWESOME Transformation: Dawn AshcraftI have worked with so many incredible women over the years, I wanted to show them off and share their experiences since they are all so different than mine. I am hoping I can help and inspire and motivate more and more people by shining the spotlight on these amazing women.

This month’s shining star is Dawn Ashcraft. I met Dawn after the bulk of her weight loss/health journey. She came to me to up her game and run the Bolder Boulder 10K race in Boulder, CO in May. I am so proud to announce she made her goal and finished the race! And now she’s ready to do another one even faster! AWESOME!

Here is Dawn’s story…

In 2012 I lost my 24 year old son to an accidental prescription drug overdose. I spiraled into a deep depression I didn’t know if I would ever come out of. In the process I stopped taking care of myself and used food for emotional support and comfort. I didn’t exercise or even leave the house most days. At my heaviest I weighed about 310 pounds.

In 2015 I was tired of being sad and tired all the time and I was sick of hating who I saw in the mirror. I knew I had to change. I realized my son would have been disappointed in me if I kept on the way I was and he wouldn’t want me to be in this dark place forever.

I met a guy who was a boxer and I started boxing with him. I started boxing 90 minutes a day, 4 days a week and lost 15 pounds in the first month. That kept me motivated to keep going. Not only did I start losing weight, I had more energy, my complexion was clearing up, and I actually wanted to eat better. All the hard work was paying off and I could tell immediately this was a path I wanted to continue.

In changing my eating habits, the first thing I cut out was fast food. Next was soda and cutting down on my alcohol consumption.

Once I was down to pounds in May of 2016, I decided to run my first 5K. It took me 43 minutes. I wanted to challenge myself to get faster and better so I did another in 38 minutes and then another in 35 minutes. I love running because it’s something I can do alone. It’s just me out there with my thoughts. I can reflect on my life and my transformation. Plus my son loved to run and I know he would love that I am a runner now!

When I got down to 190 pounds, I started getting really excited. I could see my muscles and I felt confident in my new clothes I had to buy to fit my new body. I continued boxing at home 3-4 days a week and run 3-4 days a week. My ultimate goal is to get down to 155 pounds.

My advice for the person who feels helpless and hopeless in her weight loss journey: Sit somewhere quiet and talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you love yourself every single day and promise yourself no matter what, you will always want to take care of yourself, because you love yourself.

Unconditionally!

If you have a bad day, let it go. Start over tomorrow, it’s one day out of your whole life!

Keep a journal. Ask yourself why did I eat this, what am I feeling, talk about your journey, tell your story.

Move. Even if it’s walking 2 blocks, just move! And do more than you did yesterday!

What would I tell my old self? You’re worth it. You’re worth it. Fight through it, you’re worth it!! You’re going to get through it and you’re going to be an amazing!!!

What is my favorite part of this journey? I smile more. I have a great smile and I didn’t smile before. I like who I am becoming and I’m not done yet!

THANK YOU DAWN! And you are right…you are NO WHERE NEAR being done! I am grateful to be a part of your life! Keep shining!

See you next time!

Race Report: 2017 Ironman Boulder

Race Report - 2017 Ironman BoulderSo two days after I raced Ironman Boulder, I sat down to do my race report. In my head I was just going to give some details about my race, with extra on race day nutrition (because that’s what I was getting the most questions about from my clients, friends, and fellow tri-geeks).

As I started my video, I realized there was so much more to this race than just a swim, bike, and run for me. This was a really important race for my self-worth and confidence and confirmation that I am on the right path in my life.

After 4 months of transition, traveling, life changes, doubts, fears, and constant inner struggles, it all came together on this one long day.

After I finished my report I noticed it was 32 minutes! HOLY CRACKERS! That’s a fricken long ass race report! I was convinced no one would waste 32 minutes of their life to find out what happened in the 10 hours and 55 minutes I spent racing my heart out on June 11, 2017.

I was wrong.

I have received so much love and support about my long race report where I chose to be brave and vulnerable and transparent. When I started to tear up the first time, I was so tempted to turn off the camera and start over, but decided to just feel whatever I was feeling. By the third time, I just let the tears roll down my cheeks.

I am so grateful to have attracted such amazing people into my life! Yes YOU!!! You get me excited for my next adventure in hopes that it will help you get excited about yours!!

If you missed my race report, here it is…

If you don’t want to miss my next one, join our community…

https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun/

If you want to help me get to Kona, you can help here…
www.gofundme.com/KirToKona

Thanks again for giving me a safe space to be me!

I LOVE YOU!!

See you soon!

How to Get Through a Hard Day

How to Get Through a Hard Day... Today I had a hard day. I woke up anxious and overwhelmed after about 10 weeks of moving through life at 100% on hardly any sleep, living off of adrenaline and Shakeology.Today I had a hard day. I woke up anxious and overwhelmed after about 10 weeks of moving through life at 100% on hardly any sleep, living off of adrenaline and Shakeology. I have been too tired to focus on my businesses and making money, which in turn has left me dipping into my savings the past few weeks to live.

This has created anxiety, which makes me eat more, which makes me feel sluggish and full and fat, which frustrates me and takes too much of my energy. This makes me tired. And the cycle continues!

Your hard days may look different, much different, but we all have hard days. We all have days where we feel hopeless and desperate and scared. Some days are worse than others, but the negative feelings are always there.

Mine typically make me question my abilities, discipline, and/or choices. This usually leads me down a path of low self-esteem, questioning my self-worth, and asking myself questions like “will I ever be enough?” and “why can’t I make this work?” and “what is wrong with me?” and the worst of them all “will anyone ever love me the way I want to be loved?”

All these questions make me sad when I stop to think about them because 1) I don’t want them to matter as much as they do, and 2) I want to love myself so unconditionally that anything else is just a bonus!

Anyway…my point is, yours looks different than mine, but it all ends in the same way…THIS SUCKS!

So today I dragged my tired, grouchy ass to the gym and sat on the bike to spin out my sore legs on level 0 (yes, that is ZERO! Who knew the bike even went down that low. I guess to accommodate losers like me right??)

I had a grand plan to spin for an hour while I got SO much work done! I even made a list of like 10 things I was going to get done while spinning out my legs at the gym today. I was excited to finally get my shit together. Didn’t happen! I got on Facebook instead and decided to put out a cry for help.

I went to my timeline and posted:

Help! I’m having a low self-esteem day and need you!! Comment something you like about me!!

In 2 hours I had over 50 comments. Many were from people I didn’t know who told me I had touched their life in some way or another. Several were people who sent me reminders of why I should love myself, and some just said the things they liked about me.

I spent the entire hour (plus one more) responding to each comment and taking in everything that was said to me. It picked me up and reminded me all I had to be grateful for.

It worked!

I left the gym feeling 100% better about myself than when I walked in. And for once it didn’t have to do with my work out, it had to do with the amazing people I have attracted into my life. Another reason to be grateful!

Next time you are feeling bad about yourself, try it! Reach out to the people in your life and let them remind you why they love you! And then pay back the favor when they need a pick me up. No one on this earth can thrive without the love and support of those around them.

If you want to be a part of our positive community, join us…

www.facebook.com/foodfitnessfinancefun.com

Stay connected…

www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com

LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks for everything!

See you soon!

How I PRd my Half Marathon

How I PRd My Half Marathon - People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…Last weekend I ran my 83rd half marathon. I ran my first one in 2001 when I decided to train for my first ironman.

At that time I was 29 years old and the longest I had ever run was a 10K…once! And BTW…at that time (and for the following 10 years) I pretty much hated running. I did it because I liked triathlon and if I wanted to be competitive in my age group, I had to run. So I did.

People always tell me they want to be a runner but they hate running. They ask my advice on how they can like running more. Here is what I say…

1. If you truly hate running, find another form of exercise that you love or you will never do it anyway! Or you may do it short term but never stick with it long enough to enjoy it or get the benefits running offers.

2. If you hate it but have a strong “why” you want to do it (my case) then keep running.

3. The more you run, the easier it is.

4. The longer you run, the easier the shorter runs are.

5. The faster you run, the less time you spend running a certain distance, and therefore feels easier.

6. The less you weigh, the easier running is.

7. The more nutritious your meals are (lots of fruits and veggies), the more energy you have, and the more energy you have, the easier it is to run.

In summary: Run more, run longer, run faster, eat better, maintain an ideal weight for you, and running will be fun and easy! Once it is fun and easy, you will like it more, maybe even love it!

No short cuts, no secrets, just do it…like most things in life you are successful with!

So basically that is how I PRd my half marathon. That and it was a flat course at sea level.

Over the past 15 years of my running career, I have had ups and downs: injuries, digestive issues, and a love/hate relationship with running to name a few. I even took 2 FULL years off and didn’t run a single step about 9 years ago.

But in the past 3 years, I have consistently been getting faster and improving my running times following the guidelines I posted in this article. I want to place at the top of my age group in my triathlon races this year and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI (my why).

I am doing a running streak at least a mile a day (I’m on day 57…running more)

I have now done 67 marathons including a series of 7 marathons in 7 days (running longer)

I am incorporating 30-60 second ALL OUT intervals on all my treadmill runs (running faster)

I have lost 5 pounds this year from last year so I weigh less, and I am 100% vegan now and eat more raw fruits and veggies throughout the day so I have more energy and recover more quickly so I can run longer, faster, and more often

So that’s it! The secret is out!

Here are a few other articles that may help you with your run…

Making Running Easier, With Interval Workout!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/making-running-easier-with-interval-workout

I didn’t even really like running…until today!!

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/i-didnt-even-really-like-running-until-today

Advice For Your First Marathon

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/advice-for-your-first-marathon

How I Trained For 7 Marathons In 7 Days

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/how-i-trained-for-7-marathons-in-7-days

I can’t hear about how much you LOVE running at this time next year!

Share your story with me!

www.facebook.com/groups/realresultsrock

Stay in touch!

www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

How I Started Eating Mostly Raw Foods

How I Started Eating Mostly Raw Foods - I have been saying for the past 5 years I have been wanting to eat more raw. If you have been reading my blog posts over the past 3 years, you will see me intermittently post how I started “Raw Monday” or “Raw Wednesday”, but I never maintain it for more than a few months.I have been saying for the past 5 years I have been wanting to eat more raw. If you have been reading my blog posts over the past 3 years, you will see me intermittently post how I started “Raw Monday” or “Raw Wednesday”, but I never maintain it for more than a few months.

In January, as I was setting my 2017 goals and for the 3rd year in a row, I wrote down “Eat more raw”.

As soon as I wrote it, I started wondering why this was so hard for me. I believe in what eating more raw foods will do for me mentally and physically. I love almost all fruits and veggies and nuts.

I looked at my daily meal plans and realized I wasn’t buying many raw foods from the grocery store. Why not? I have no idea. My friend, Wendy, who is my voice of reason, suddenly sounded in my head (or I may have been talking to myself) “If you want to eat more raw, why don’t you just eat more raw?” It seemed TOO simple, but I started! And over the past 2 months, I have eaten more raw than not, and as expected, I feel amazing. My body, mind, and soul have completely responded to my new “mostly raw” lifestyle.

This made me wonder why we don’t do the things we know are best for us, that will make us feel good, that will bring us joy or make us happier, healthier, wealthier, etc.

I think it’s one of two things…

  1. It’s too easy NOT to do these things. We get comfortable being comfortable. We aren’t willing to go that little extra step outside our comfort zone to risk possibly being better…of course with no guarantee. We aren’t willing to give up the good to go for the great!
  2. We are stuck in a habit. I was in the habit of eating Daiya Foods Vegan Cheezy Mac (yum) after a long workout. I was used to stopping at Del Taco for a bean and rice burrito (or four) after a race. I was in the habit of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. & Cookies Ice Cream on Friday afternoons. I was in the habit of eating popcorn at the movie theater. So it never even occurred to me to trade any of these old habits out for new habits that serve me better and move me more toward my ultimate life/health goals.

So next time you are looking at a goal you have (or have had for years or decades) that you aren’t getting anywhere with, ask yourself if it could be one of these two things holding you back. Awareness is the key to change. As soon as I made myself aware that I “wanted” to eat more raw but wasn’t’ really taking the actual steps to “eating” more raw, everything changed. And it actually WAS simple! And easy. And beneficial. And exactly what I needed! Of course I already knew that.

Just Do It.

And in case you missed what I think was the most important sentence of this entire post, I will repeat it…

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great!

And if you started reading this article to learn how to incorporate more raw foods into your diet, here are my top 3 tips…

  1. Keep it simple. I tried to make it too expensive and complicated at first by following 3-4 new recipes a day. Now I primarily eat fruits, veggies, and nuts. Just plain. Simple.
  2. Start with one meal a day, not a whole “Raw Wednesday”. I made the mistake of designating an entire day. Now I know I do better just a meal at a time. So that way if I love a certain food each day, like Shakeology, I can still drink it every day. It throws me off when I miss a whole day.
  3. Baby steps. Like always in my life. When I started actually having success with this, it’s when I slowed down and took baby steps. I started replacing one snack a day with fruit, veggie, or nuts. And kept everything else the same. I eased into it by taking out the “chickn” from my vegan Caesar salad but kept the “cheese”. Little changes add up to big changes…ALWAYS!

And above all, like anything, be patient, forgiving, and gentle with yourself.

You’re making these changes to better yourself, not to beat yourself up when you make a mistake. And PS…you WILL make mistakes.

Love yourself more.

See you soon!