The Watermelon Diet

After a month at our beach house in the south of Italy I came back home to find my clothes a little tight. My summer wardrobe consists of loose cotton dresses and workout clothes, so it was a little worrisome to feel a change. I stayed in denial for another week, but then knew I had to do something before the situation got out of hand.

The first thing I did was hop on a scale to access the damage. Yep, a few pounds up!

Then I tracked my eating for a few days to see what had changed. The culprit became apparent within two days: too much watermelon.

Crops of watermelon in Southern Italy
Crops of watermelon in Southern Italy

There’s a myth out there that when you train for a marathon or triathlon that you can eat as much as you want. As crazy as that sounds, that’s why some people start running in the first place. Unfortunately it’s just not true.

While I was in Apulia I was biking, running or swimming once or twice every day. My workouts were never less than ninety minutes. And yet I put on weight. Not a lot mind you, but probably enough to partially cancel out the benefits of the workouts.

I’ve seen people gain weight while training for a race. They allow themselves a few more treats because they were so good at working out.

How much watermelon was I eating? Hmm… hard to say. What drove me to it in the first place was the heat and the price. Watermelon in the Southern Italy during the height of summer costs about 5 cents (euros) per kg – so around 3 cents per pound. Cheap!

And with temperatures constantly in the 100’s, it seemed to be the only thing would take that lingering thirst away. I’d have some after lunch and after a workout. Then before going to bed I’d grab a piece from the fridge. Sometimes if I couldn’t sleep I’d have another piece to cool me off. Yep, way too much…

Everybody sells Watermelon!
Everybody sells watermelon!

Tracking my food again has me on a roll and I’m into my third week. I’m studying myself from a scientific point of view, looking at both the nutritional and emotional components of my eating. I lost the watermelon weight and then some, which is awesome since I have a Half Ironman coming up in ten days and it feels good to be at a nice race weight. But I’m really excited about continuing my experiment, with or without watermelon!