Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category
continued from Bicycling and Weight Loss Part II – Understanding
I knew I had a problem with eating but didn’t know what to do. Diets didn’t seem to help. I just felt out of control and helpless. I seemed to eat just like everyone else I know.
My Doctor suggested a Food Diary. “Just write down everything you eat and all will become obvious” he said. I did and everything didn’t seem obvious because I still had no easy way to covert what I ate to calories and compare that to what I should be eating. My food diary was a chore not a tool and quickly fell into disuse.
If you watched the Tour de France this year you saw all of the announcers wearing the new Road Id Elite bracelets. I thought they looked great. I have always liked the idea of wearing something with contact information in case of an accident. But just didn’t like the looks of the original Road Id so I put an orange tag on my bike with contact information.
My wife gave me a new yellow Road Id Elite for my birthday and I love it.
continued from: Bicycling and Weight Loss Part I – Overview
Last January my weight was up, my blood pressure was too high, and my hip hurt a lot. I later found out that the hip problem I’d been chasing for 2 years was really a back problem. I realized it was no coincidence I had all of these problems, I was too fat and my body was doing the best it could to compensate and tell me it was time to change.
I knew I was eating too much but dieting had never really worked for me. I tried the South Beach Diet several times, my wife’s favorite, but never really had much success. I’d lose 10 or 20 pounds but would have them back as soon as I stopped. There was always a stop because I got tired of feeling deprived.
I was dieting but not learning anything about why my weight out of control. All I knew was if I dieted I lost weight and when I stopped I got the weight back plus some. My Doctor suggested a Food Diary. That made sense and I started just writing down what I was eating.
One thing became immediately obvious, my portion sizes were way too large. Since I cook that was easy to fix. But cutting back on portion size left me unsatisfied. I was used to eating until I felt full.
Discovery 1: Eat more slowly and stop when you are no longer hungry. Don’t keep eating until you feel full.
When I ran across this thought it seemed so obvious. Why had I never realized that I didn’t have to eat everything and leave the table feeling stuffed? I know I can blame my poor Mother but really thoughtless behavior is all my fault but I can do better. A Dutch track coach I met cycling said it very well, “Don’t eat like a pig; eat like a person”. What he meant I am sure is stop eating when you stop feeling hungry.
Ok, I cut back portion sizes and stopped when I no longer felt hungry. But I didn’t feel satisfied with my food. I’d bicycled a bit in Europe and remembered how I felt after meals in France and Italy. The serving sizes had been small by American standards but they were so full of flavor that I left the table feeling satisfied. I’d been searching for quite a while on how to replicate that experience at home. But I found French techniques way to complicated for my schedule and the fresh ingredients hard to get.
Somewhere in my reading I ran across a theory that might explain why I felt so unsatisfied with my cooking and most restaurant food. The premise I kept finding is that American food flavoring is based around a powerful combination of fat, sugar and salt that is almost addictive. That food triad stimulates us in a way that makes us eat more while hiding the true flavor of food with a flavor that is powerful and seductive but not healthy in excess. I don’t know if the triad of sugar, fat, and salt really changes our brain chemistry as some claim but I do know I was addicted. I needed lots of salt, sugar, and fat in my food to enjoy it.
I knew I had to stop adding salt to my food, but did not want to start using sugar substitutes again. They just seemed to make me hungry.
It is coming to the end of Bicycle Touring season in New Hampshire. The nights are cold and it time to be thinking of great day rides with crystal clear skies, low humidity, no bugs, and soon colorful leaves. It is also a good time to reflect on this year’s cycling.
My major accomplishment this year was losing 45 pounds without dieting. It is an an accomplishment that I am very proud of and that has made my life better.
I have been riding high milage for years but this was the first year I lost much weight. The weight loss didn’t happen with no changes. In the next few posts I’ll take your through what I did differently this year that I believe has made me healthier and stronger and made those changes sustainable. I claim no expertise so please fill free to jump in and straighten me out when I go astray. I also believe in few things but I am strong believer in the “The Laws of Thermodynamics” and the use of “feedback” in control systems.
The things I did differently that helped me lose weight:
1. I did not diet
2. I did watch my intake and use of energy
3. I changed the way I eat
4. Oolong Tea [Please don't jump to those crazy Oolong weight loss ads on the net and spend a lot of money]
I’ll explain each of these in future posts. There isn’t much new or different here, maybe one thing, but some simple changes have helped me changed my life. I want to share them with you because often the simplest lessons are the hardest to learn and the ones we have to keep relearning.
I am not a coffee drinker and almost never drink coffee except on moderate to long bicycle rides. I find the taste of coffee too strong and that it hides the taste of food.
I don’t drink energy drinks and gatorade upsets my stomach. My favorite Power Bars are Fig Newtons. I just don’t think expensive speciality food does much for most cyclists. I am a believer in the Laws of Thermodynamics and am skeptical of any claims that seem to violate them.
But I may be wrong. I do feel that a hot cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee helps get me over the mid-ride energy dip I often encounter. The combination of caffeine and sugar gives me a boost that gets me to the end of a 50 to 70 mile ride feeling better than if I hadn’t had one.
For my wife there is no intelligent life before a Starbucks Venti Carmel Macchito but she is addicted and must have her coffee. Lots of riders want an ice cream, for me it’s a hot Dunkin Donuts regular (lots of cream and sugar) coffee and I am ashamed to admit a blueberry donut.
I have been trying to do all of my errands by bicycle this month. I have my grocery panniers mounted all of the time so I can just zip out anytime. What I miss is my rack pack, the place where I normally keep my cellphone, wallet, iPod Touch, sun glasses, and wind breaker.
I don’t listen to music while rideing but I love to bring my iPod Touch along.
1. I have always carried a book with me in my bike bag. With the iPod Touch I now carry as many books as I want in much less space. Plus if the light is dim .. no problem, the display is back lit. It is even easier for me to read a book in my sleeping bag on the iPod Touch than it is to read a paperback because the iPod Touch is easier to hold and I don’t have to hold a light in my teeth.
Note: This is an update a previous post but with new pictures. There were pictures on the old post but they seem to have disappeared.
Easy on and off is the key to making the Camelback Unbottle a really useful tool. Here’s how I do it on a Ryan Vanguard or a Longbikes Slipstream. This approach should work on any bike with accessible seat stays.
Take a look at this day time safety light system for bicyclist, it makes sense. Steady bright yellow lights on the side of your bike that can be seen during the day. Actually the lights are yellow when seen from behind and white from the front.
This is the system required by law in most states for motorcycles and it really works. Motorcycles with running lights are much more visible. Check it out for yourself as you drive around. You will still see some crazy Harley riders without lights. Compare their visibility with motorcycles with day lights. It works well enough that the system is on most new cars. Steady yellow lights are more effective than blinking lights that seem to confuse motorist. Placing the lights on the side of the bicycle helps drivers obey the new three foot minimum passing distance law in New Hampshire and a lot of other states.
Here’s a video that shows what they look like on a bicycle, Pedal to Power.
So far the implementation looks fairly crude and as far as I can tell they aren’t available, yet. However, there is a lot of talk about the on the Ryan Users Group website. The developer, Carl Schoolman, has a posting on Consider Biking, that says send him a note if you want to try them (use the link attached to his name to reach him). He also has a website (still under development) at LivingDayLites.
BicyleR Evolution – The Shopper
There are times when you need to tote more than you can comfortably carry on your bicycle, even a long wheel base recumbent designed for self contained touring. That is when you need a trailer.
I used a trailer for all of my European Tours and for Newfoundland and Labrador. I didn’t use one for any of my trips in the South, the West or Quebec because I have trimmed down the size and weight of what I carry when Touring. However, I will be using my trailer again for grocery runs now that the weather is better.
Let’s discuss when to use a trailer and what types of trailers work best for touring: