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In the flood of my daily emails, I often find some meaningful words of wisdom. The story below is from the MEDA newsletter ( MEDA is the Multi-service Eating Disorders Association, a helpful resource for people who struggle with balancing food and weight. I hope you enjoy this story about Invisible Victories. If you are a compulsive exerciser (perhaps disguised as a dedicated athlete), perhaps it will inspire you to add some gentleness to your day.


Invisible Victories

By Whitney Post, former World Champion and Olympic Rower


We live in a culture that is always looking for the shiny accomplishment.  We are taught to be good, to look good, to achieve more-and it never seems to end.  Yet I have found over and over again that the tasks and achievements that are most in line with my recovery are invisible, humble acts that won't take up space on my resume and that I probably won't want to tell anyone about at a cocktail party.  Each month in this column I will celebrate an invisible victory that I or one of my clients has accomplished.  My hope is that it will help you be better able to spot and celebrate your own.


I want to thank Rachel Bikofsky, our May 2010 Invisible Victory Contest winner for sharing her strength and growth in this essay about the Boston Marathon.  I believe it belongs on the medal stand because it articulates something so many of us feel when we see high level athletes, or witness events we think our "perfect" or "preferred" selves should be participating in.  The victory here comes in accepting her own body's truth about what is right and balanced, and releasing old ideas of who she should be.



My Invisible Victory – by Rachel Bikofsky

Today was the 114th Boston Marathon, and I didn't run it.  Nor did I run the 113th, or the 112th, or any marathon ever, at any time.  Every year in recent memory, I have used Marathon Monday as an excuse to berate myself endlessly for my lack of strength and discipline-obviously, if I possessed those qualities, I'd be running.  So this year, as the big event loomed once more, I approached it with my usual sense of trepidation...and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted not with self-hatred, but with acceptance and clarity.  Here's what I know:

            I did not run the Marathon, and this used to mean that I was weak.  But, I know I'm not weak, because I wake up at 5:45 every morning, get to work an hour later, and have energy enough to shepherd 25 rambunctious third graders through a full day of learning, five days a week.

            I did not run the Marathon, and this used to mean I was undisciplined.  But, I know I'm not undisciplined, I just save my discipline for things that matter to me, and running doesn't.  I work hard, I study meticulously, I make to-do lists and schedules and stick to them.  If I set a goal, I do my best to meet it, and I'm pretty sure that's what discipline is about.

            I did not run the Marathon, and this used to mean I'd never have the body I wanted.  Well, it does mean I'll never have a marathoner's body, but it doesn't have to mean I'll never have a body I'm satisfied with.  Also, it probably means for me I'll have a better chance of keeping my period, and won't have to endure the pain of running with stress fractures in my feet ever again.  It means I'll be gentler with my body, and my body and spirit will reflect that.

            I did not run the Marathon, and this used to mean I'd never get medals or have people cheer for me.  Okay, so it probably does eliminate one possible avenue for medal winning.  But last week, one of my students presented me with two tiny origami swans he had made for me in art class.  Better than a medal?  It was for me.

            I did not run the Marathon, and this used to mean I had no worth.  While it's true that I'm not a runner, I am a person who stops to touch wildflowers and exclaim over nature, who is intuitive to the needs of others, who loves her family, and who can soothe a crying child.  I am a thinker, a writer, and a person with a wicked sense of humor.  I am all of those things, so I can also accept what I am not.

            What not running the Marathon means is simply that I am not a marathon runner-and there is no longer a value judgment attached to that statement.  It's neither good nor bad, it's just what is.  And, I'm finally, finally okay with that, or at least more okay than I've ever been before. I did not run the race, or win a medal...., but I have earned an invisible victory, and I think the 114th Boston Marathon has been my best one yet. 

933 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: nancy_clark, eating_disorders, compulsive_exercise, whitney_post, marathon_runner

The best part about food is the taste. But too often, we eat too quickly to even taste our food. The vacuum-clean-your-dinner-plate style of eating can leave you hungry (even though your stomach might be full.)


Try this experiment to help you fully comprehend how much pleasure is lost when you vacuum clean your dinner plate and inhale your food as quickly as possible.


Necessary supplies: two Hershey’s Kisses


Experiment #1. Unwrap one Hershey’s Kiss.  Smell the Kiss then place it in your mouth, twirl it on your tongue, slowly bite into it, and savor it! This pleasurable process should take more than one minute.


Experiment #2. Unwrap the second kiss. Eat it as quickly as you can. Observe the lack of pleasure when you fail to taste what you consume.


Next time, think twice before you gobble your food. You might be missing out on one of life’s finest pleasures—tasting the wonderful foods you eat!


With best wishes for enjoyable meals,



1,298 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: chocolate, eating_quickly, hershey_kiss, fast_eater, eat_slowly

Thank you for passing this review along to soccer moms, athletes and coaches! Nancy


Review: Food Guide For Soccer

by: Steve Amoia

18 MAY 2010



“You are about to embark on one of the most wonderful aspects of your, or your child’s, soccer career. Understanding the principles of good sports nutrition (which is good nutrition for life), it is completely reasonable to expect a player and team to discover a whole new level of play, and of excellence.”

Authors Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark quoted in the Forward.


This extremely organized, entertaining, educational and practical book is themed around soccer nutrition for female athletes; however, readers from all backgrounds will benefit from its excellent dietary advice. Both authors have significant experience with health and nutrition at the amateur, university and professional level. If your knowledge about sports nutrition was limited before reading the book, you will receive a significant introduction about a vital topic.


Well-Organized with Quick References

This is a well-organized book that was compiled for easy future reference. There is a good blend of charts, images, quotes, text and website links. I liked how the authors color-coded dietary charts with a green background and food recipes in orange. They also provided separate sections for what to eat before and after practices, during travel and competitive games. Tips from professional players enhance the practical value of this guide.


Educational without Complications

The authors presented significant nutritional suggestions and standards; however, the information is displayed in easy-to-understand sections. They teach that eating healthfully doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. For example, making the point that one banana and a glass of orange juice meet the daily U.S. recommended requirement for 2 cups of fruits. Or that the proper mineral-rich cereal can jump-start your day. Other interesting tips were how to eat a healthy lunch at fast food restaurants and the nutritional value of pasta sauces. Common sense examples such as these will be very helpful for parents, children and even professional athletes.


Knowledge of Professional Players

One area that stood out to me was the in-depth knowledge and appreciation of proper nutrition by the WPS players. Several were quoted in the book. For example, French international Sonia Bompastor of the Washington Freedom:

“I take iron because I’m anemic and I need that iron to perform on the field… A lot of soccer players need to take iron.”


Wide Variety of Recipes

The book contains over 40 recipes designed by WPS players from around the globe. From “Game Day Pancakes” by Karina LeBlanc of Canada to “Feijoada” by Rosana from Brazil and Japanese-style Hamburgers by Aya Miyama, you can experience the international flavor (no pun intended) of Women’s Professional Soccer.

My favorite? “Pasta with Chicken” by the all-time international caps leader, Kristine Lilly from the USA.



A wide variety of high-quality images accompany each chapter. The pictures demonstrate the diversity of nutritional food groups and world-class players who compete in Women’s Professional Soccer.

For your next practice, game or road trip, pack the “Food Guide For Soccer: Tips & Recipes from the Pros.” It will provide you with the winning nutritional edge for increased athletic performance. Available at

1,351 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: soccer, food_guide_for_soccer

I’m interested in collecting information from gastric bypass athletes regarding how they have learned to fuel themselves for their exercise programs.


While there are not lots of “gastric bypass athletes”, the number is growing. (About 6% of gastric bypass patients become highly active as a part of thier weight reduction program.) These hard-working reduced-obese folks have met the challenge of losing large amounts of weight. Some go on to reach their dreams of running a marathon, completing an Ironman triathlon, or hiking the Appalachian Trail.


Because the nutrition advice given to gastric bypass patients is contradictory to optimal sports performance, lots of questions and concerns arise in this population. For example, people who have had bypass surgery are told to limit calories to 1,200 to 1,600/day, avoid simple sugars, limit carbohydrates, sip on fluids, and not drink while eating. Few athletes could excel at their sport with such limitations!


If you know of someone who wants to share their story, please pass along this information and invite them respond to this blog or contact me via





1,864 Views 8 Comments Permalink Tags: nancy_clark, weight_reduction, gastric_bypass, reduced_obese, endurance_athlete

How can you maintain good energy when you’re exercising for longer than 60 to 90 minutes? By eating enough calories of foods that settle well…!


The standard recommendation for fueling during endurance exercise has been to target 1 gram of carbohydrate per minute of exercise (60 grams of carb per hour, the equivalent of 240 calories for a 150 pound athlete). The research, originally done with just glucose, indicated consuming more than 60 grams of glucose per hour offered no additional benefits. The body has a limited number of glucose transporters and can carry only 60 grams out of the intestines, into the blood stream and to the muscles.


Recent research indicates consuming a variety of sugars (that is, more than just glucose) allows more fuel to become available per hour. That's because different types of sugars (carbs) use different transporters. Generally, athletes consume more than just glucose. (Sports drinks, for example, tend to be glucose+fructose.) Let's say you eat a banana that consists of many different types of sugars and uses many different transporters. Your muscles will have access to more fuel (up to 90 g carb/hour; 360 calories) than if you consume just one kind of sugar (as might happen with some engineered foods).


Variety is a wise idea—as is practicing yoru fueling during long training sessions so you can learn what works best for your body. Some people like engineered sports candy and gels, others prefer dried pineapple and gummy candy. Take your choice--just experiment during training to determine if 200 to 300 calories per hour is the right amount for your body.

1,738 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: carbs, nancy_clark, intestines, sugar, endurance_exercise, fuel_during_a_long_run
Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

View Nancy Clark RD CSSD's profile