Member Soundbite: Sean Miller
We asked Sean to tell us a little of his transformation journey and what triathlon has added to life. Here is a piece of his story.
What were the factors that inspired you to make changes?
A brief history. I have struggled with my weight for the majority of my life and anyone that has known me for any length of time, knows that I have worked for a very long time to get to where I am today.
I have tried just about everything you can think of in order to lose weight. From the dreaded four letter "diet" word, to hypnosis, to doctor prescribed medications,even Over Eaters Anonymous. All of these provided only a temporary aid in losing weight. I would lose the weight only to put it all back on later. Eventually, I would just give up.
Once I became involved with RTB my desire to lose weight returned. It wasn't just a desire to lose weight. It became a desire to become triathlon fit. Even with all of the inspiration around me, I continued to struggle with my weight. Don't get me wrong, I was losing some weight, but that was due to how much I was working out and less to do with what I was eating.
The reason why I say that "diet" is a four letter word is because diets never work. A diet usually involves only one family member trying to lose weight while the rest of the family continues with their normal eating habits. Eventually the one dieting succumbs to the pressures of the rest of the family.
The true inspiration came the day my wife decided that she had enough with being overweight as well. Now I was no longer just dieting. This became a lifestyle change. Once the family is willing to change, temptation becomes much less of a problem. Anyone trying to lose weight knows that it is extremely tough when you are surrounded by temptation. When the temptations are removed and replaced with healthy foods for the whole family, weight loss becomes much easier.
What have you learned about yourself along the way?
The biggest thing that I have learned is that I am physically capable of so much more than I ever thought I was. I know that is cliche.
I have always been obsessed with what the human body is capable of. Now that I was losing weight, the question became what am I capable of? I have always been a cyclist, even at my heaviest, but I figured that I would always be the guy that jogged/walked 5K races and nothing more. Little did I know that with my weight loss and encouragement from my wonderful new RTB friends, my athletic endeavors and ability would be changed forever.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
There are definite advantages to losing weight. The biggest advantage is the wear and tear on the body. The amount of force exercise generates on the body are incredible. The heavier you are, the higher the force generated.Trying to run or perform any type of pounding activity definitely takes a toll on the knees. As I mentioned previously. I would run 5K races and have to walk/jog them. After my weight loss, my running has improved immensely. Instead of walk/jogging 5Ks, I am training for my first marathon and looking forward to running my first 50K trail run. The slow walk/jog 5Ks are a thing of the past. In fact, my body has become so accustomed to being able to run much farther distances that it takes me about 5K just to get warmed up.
I am still finding new things that I didn't know I was capable of and I will continue pushing my limits just to see how far I can go.
What is the best advice you could offer someone in your shoes?
As I mentioned in my brief history, I have struggled with my weigh for the majority of my life. Even though I am now at my goal weight, I still struggle. I spent many years eating the wrong foods and developing bad eating habits. I know it will take me years to completely wipe out all of these bad habits as well.
So, if you are trying to lose weight or just looking to eat healthier, you will find yourself struggling at times. So much so that you may give up. My best advice is to hang in there. You didn't get the way you are now overnight and making a lifetime transformation will not happen overnight either.
Don't just "diet". Diets tend to be only temporary solutions. A diet is great if you want to look good for your reunion or fit into the great new outfit you bought. However, if you want to make permanent changes. Lifetime changes. I suggest a "lifestyle change" is a better choice to describe what you are doing. And the best success is having your family on board with your lifestyle change.
My wife and I have lost a combined 290 pounds. We did it because we committed to a lifestyle change. If you were to check our cupboards, gone is the junk food. Our refrigerator is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. We pre-plan our meals for the week and cook at home 6 night a week. We even pre-pack our lunches every night for the next day at work.
Yes, we do eat out one night a week. We are still human and enjoy having someone wait on us once in awhile. However, we do it in moderation. We do know ahead of time what we will be ordering and make sure it does fit into our new lifestyle.
I am a strong believer the the saying "one cheese burger will not make you fat, just like one salad will not make you skinny". But this doesn't mean a lifetime of salads. There are so many different foods, healthy foods to choose from.
I just touched on the physical side of my weight loss journey and I could go on and on. What I didn't touch on is the mental side of my journey. The positive changes that I have under gone psychologically. I'll save that for another day.
Thanks Sean for your story! I can't wait to hear more!!
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Center for Diagnostic Imaging is Premier sponsor for RTB. At CDI each patient comes to looking for answers. As an athlete you may be concerned about a soft tissue injury, or stress fracture, or might need to find the source of pain that is keeping you from training and racing to your potential.
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By Holly Pennington PT, DPT/Outpatient Physical Therapy
You can’t be in the world of triathlons long before you hear about the various effects cycling can have on the male pelvic floor: testicular pain, infertility, genital numbness to name a few. But what about females?
There is less information out there about cycling and the female pelvic floor because women have not been studied as much, not because we are less prone to such problems. Prolonged stress in the pelvic region, whether it comes in the form of sustained pressure (cycling) or impact (running), affects the muscles that support our bladder and other vital organs.
First, let’s give these important muscles a definition they deserve - they are much more than our “Kegel” muscles. The pelvic floor is the layer of muscles that stretch front to back between the pubic bone and tailbone, and side to side between the sitting bones. In the healthy state, these muscles are firm and thick. They function to support the bowel, bladder and uterus as well as allow for passage of urine and feces. When pelvic floor muscles become stretched out or weakened – a common effect of pregnancy, childbirth and certain types of exercise – women often experience incontinence, pelvic pain, or pelvic organ prolapse.
In a recent study of 311 female triathletes, 1 in 3 women reported symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. Stress urinary incontinence (urinary leakage with physical activity), fecal incontinence and pelvic girdle pain were the most common conditions. Researchers have also demonstrated decreased pelvic region sensation in cyclists compared to runners who did not cycle. While the specific effect of cycling on the female pelvic floor is not well understood, there are steps you can take to protect these important muscles.
Start with your saddle. It’s an obvious, but not easy, place to start. A 2016 clinical study concluded that wider, traditional shaped saddles cause less pressure in the female pelvic area than cut-out saddles. This is something to keep in mind when you shop for the perfect bike seat. However, your comfort and preference matter more than research studies, magazine articles or expert advice. And, the saddle is just one of many links between cycling and pelvic floor problems.
Don’t stop with your saddle. What happens above and below the seat could be just as important as the shape and size of your saddle. Research shows that handlebars positioned below seat height are associated with increased numbness in the pelvic floor compared to handlebars at or above seat height. Just like every part on your bike influences how well it works, every part of your body affects the others. Spend the time and money on a professional bike fit – your whole body will thank you!
Understand what is normal. Urinary leakage is common, but it is not normal. As many as half of elite athletes experience urine loss during physical activity, but only very few - 3.3% - discuss it with their healthcare providers. Women’s health physical therapists like Alexis specialize in the rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles, utilizing equipment such as biofeedback and electrical stimulation to resolve symptoms of incontinence, pain and prolapse.
If you are a female triathlete experiencing pelvic floor symptoms, you are not alone. You can take charge of your bike and your body. And professionals like the women’s health specialists at Outpatient Physical Therapy are out there eager to help you move from “common” to “normal.”
Take charge of your pelvic floor muscles by consulting with a Board Certified Women’s Health Physical Therapist at Outpatient Physical Therapy: www.outpatientpt.com
Johnny Yi, Sandi Tenfelde, Dina Tell, Cynthia Brincat, Colleen Fitzgerald. Triathlete Risk of Pelvic Floor Disorders, Pelvic Girdle Pain, and Female Athlete Triad. Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (2016).
Thyssen, H., Clevin, L., Olesen, S. et al. Urinary Incontinence in Elite Female Athletes and Dancers, Int Urogynecol J (2002) 13: 15.
Connell, K., & Guess, M. Genital sensation and sexual function in women bicyclists and runners: are your feet safer than your seat? Journal of Sexual Medicine, (2016) 3:6, 1018-1027.
Member Soundbite- Dang Nguyen
My name is Dang Nguyen and I am a new RTB member this year. In 2016, to celebrate my half-century birthday, I made a personal commitment to do at least one Ironman race and one Habitat for Humanity Global Village build in Vietnam each year…. by the end of this July (July 28 to be exact), if the Ironman god looks favorably on me, I will have completed 4 Habitat builds in Vietnam and 4 Ironman races (IMCA 2016, 2018 & 2019 and IMCDA 2017). On track with my personal goal so far!
I have just started recruiting volunteers for the March 2020 Global Village build in Vietnam. It is a one-week build in the Central region, followed by an optional 7-day bike tour from the Da Lat highlands to the beautiful town of Hoi An (plus a few beach and countryside stops along the way!). Everyone deserves safe and decent housing and participating in a Global Village build is a wonderful way of traveling to a different country, experiencing a new culture and giving back at the same time. Over 60 volunteers have joined me in Vietnam in the past 4 years, some have come back twice. In 2020, the bike tour will add an even more exciting touch to the trip.
If you are interested to find out more, please email me at email@example.com. There are only about 10 spots left and so SWIM, BIKE, RUN fast…..:-)
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