Archive for the ‘Training’ Category
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.
Mike suggested bikejournal.com as an online Log Book. I have tried it briefly and won’t claim any expertise so please feel free to correct any errors.
Straight forward on line bike journal that would replace your Excel spreadsheet in functionality. They offer it for free with the option to upgrade to premium service for $20/year.
I was just looking over my old ride logs from the 80s and remembering when I thought 10 miles was a long ride. My routes were different and I felt very differently about cycling. I hadn’t yet learned how to relax on a bicycle and enjoy the ride. Bicycle commuting was changing my ideas about cycling.
Another beautiful day, 62 degrees, sunny and windy. The perfect day for my first ride on the Slipstream this year, a great day for a trip to the grocery store to buy beer.
The Slipstream shines on this kind of ride. It is built to handle a load and does it without any of the problems you often encounter when riding loaded on other bikes. The Slipstream remains rock steady when loaded and with mountain gearing will get you up those short steep hills on the way home with a load.
Going to the gym and keeping in shape during the winter for me is a chore but two things keep my interest up:
1. Shoveling snow – if I shovel I get the day off. So far this Winter that has meant a lot of days off. I can’t recommend shoveling for everyone.
2. Watching TV shows on my iPod Nano while I exercise at the Gym. This has been a great discovery.
My wife gave me a new Gen 3 Nano as a surprise present this fall. I had a Sandisk 8 GB Sandisk E200 that I had been using for Podcasts and audio books. The hardware was fine but I never really found good syncing software. I was using Juice and it was OK.
I am not an Apple fan and reluctantly use any Apple Product (a topic for a Rant someday) but have been surprised and delighted by my new Nano.
Here’s what surprised me:
This recumbent may not look much like a Slipstream or a Vanguard but it is what I am happy to be riding right now. We have about 3 feet of snow on the ground in my front yard and finally after about a week of snow covered roads we can see blacktop again.
However, I am spending a lot more time on the Elliptical Trainer than on the Recumbent Exercise Bike. The Elliptical Trainer is great for rebalancing your muscles are over developing them on the Recumbent Bicycle. I suspect I would have had a lot faster recovery if I had spent a lot more time on the Elliptical Trainer the last few winters. I didn’t because I found it very hard to use, my leg muscles just didn’t want to work that way. That should have been a warning to me.
I highly recommend using an Elliptical Trainer at the gym during your winter workouts and cutting down on the Exercise Bike time if your are an older rider like me.
PS While I have been writing this post, it has been snowing and the roads are now snow covered again. It looks like Spring may be a long ways off.
NB – See follow on comments from readers before buying.
Lance Armstong is one of the people I admire, so I was intrigued when read that Lance had partnered with FRS (announcement/ad). FRS sells antioxidant health drinks. this is the kind of thing I could see Lance using. Yes, I am skeptical but I have ordered my free sample of the powder mix.
As you may know I have been working on getting back to cycling and stretching is part of that process. However, I have also been thinking about how avoid problems in the future. I know this is a major concern for Professionals but what can those of us who are older and with fewer resources do.