Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Been Thinkin'... (and now I need your feedback!)

I need your advice, please.  My efforts to lose weight by cycling are not successful and I am ready to make some changes.  First, let me give you some background:

I was reading through some of the blogs that I follow and was struck by the amazing results I read on Fat Daddy Rants' blog.   He started his blog on May 5th of 2009 at a weight of 355.  This is more than I weigh, but I am definitely very overweight and I identified with him.  He now weighs 211.  I have not read every post on his blog, but an early post indicated that his "master plan" was simply to walk 30 minutes each day and to eat smaller portions.   There are definitely many other blogs out there with amazing success stories, such as ZeusMeatball who weighed 534 pounds in January of 2008 and is now at 324 lbs and falling. 

I'm 6'4".   In 1987, I lived in Japan for less than a year and rode my bicycle everywhere, worked out often, ate small portions and ate very few sweets and returned to the States weighing 217...my folks said I was skinny.  I could rationalize that that was over 20 years ago and everything in my life was different then...but my life looks pretty similiar to Fat Daddy's...except he has dropped a ton of weight in a short time

I have three kids (ages 8-14) and my wife works Sunday mornings and a few nights a week. We are not on the 9-5 work schedule where our family is all together on weeknights and weekends. With meals, homework, chauffer duties for the kids' activities, etc., I need workout activities that allow me to do more frequent 30-45 minute workouts (oftentimes at home or on neighborhood streets) that will also burn more calories than cycling.

When I go cycling, I have to ride for about an hour to get in a short route of 13 miles.  Mid-sized routes of 20-30 miles take 1.5 - 2 hours.  A challenging, "long ride" (40 miles +) would take at least 3-4 hours on a weekend.

When I put those time commitments up against my goal of 40 cycling miles per week (and look back at my heavy mileage months last fall), AND STILL SEE NO SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT LOSS, I think I have to make a change.  It is also depressing to continue to miss my activity goals with an activity that requires me to leave the family so much.

In January, I started experimenting with some very simple cardio exercises that took only 30-45 minutes.  I did a walk/jog for 30 minutes that was quite a workout for me.  I did "steps" on one of those platforms in my house for 30-60 minutes...also a good workout.   Both of these types of workouts took far less time than cycling (which means I could do them more often, even daily).   But I only did them a few times, because I've been trying to chase the cycling mileage goal...and failing.

So, here is what I am considering:
  1. Take my cycling mileage goals off of my plan (at least for several months). 
  2. Add a weekly goal of "cardio" hours (walking, jogging, steps, etc.) of approx 30-45 mins, 5-7 days per week. 
  3. Add a nutritional component that might be as simple as "smaller portions" or maybe a calorie budget of 1,800 per day, drink lots of water, eat more fruits/veggies.
  4. Go cycling whenever I feel like it, especially with family and my friends...not as my main method of exercise.  I'll likely still be going out at least once a week.
  5. Continue to ride in all scheduled cycling races (1 in March, 2 in April, and El Tour de Tucson in November).  I believe that cycling will still be my best long-term hobby/exercise and want to keep the carrot in front of this horse.
  6. Finally, I wonder if it would be helpful for me to add my weight and a weekly weigh-in.  I have not disclosed my weight so far on this site, because it is so personal and yes, embarrassing.  Yet, would that disclosure somehow help me to be motivated?
So many of you are heroes to me, based on your dedication and the results that you have achieved.  If you have some time to send a comment with guidance or feedback, it would be much appreciated.


Big Clyde


Anonymous said...

Just follow your heart. That's what I do.

-Napoleon Dynamite


Samson said...

I personally think that if you "followed your heart," you might do well.

I'd either do that, or close your eyes and point to this screen and say, "That one, that's what I'll do."

Keep it up Clyde Dynamite! ;)


RockStarTri said...

I'm 6'2". I publish my weight weekly as I find it keeps me more accountable. Just riding didn't make me lose weight. I had to up the intensity of riding (most of my cycling workouts are less than an hour) and couple it with a nutrition plan to be successful. If you want more details, send me a mail.

Everyone is different. You should do what you feel will work best for you.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

If you like, email me (tri_diesel@yahoo.com) and I am more then happy to offer some suggestions.

Sean Anderson said...

I think you have a wonderful plan. Keep it simple. If you keep the calories at 1800 and do the cardio....and you remain consistent, then you too will have sweet success! Remember--you can make this happen, just like many of us successful weight loss warriors. The cycling is good, great actually...but without a caloric limit---I can see how your weight loss hasn't happened.
Don't be afraid to publish your weight. A critical element here is accountability. Keep this straight and update your blog regularly...make it a top priority, and you'll see how it makes a positive impact on your success. I'm always willing to communicate through e-mail too. So let's do that.

I wish you the best---and I know that you're going to have a fantastic success story.


Twice the Man said...

Exercise is major and doing consistently is what matters the most. But for weight loss the bigger effect comes from what you consume. You getting on the right track, keep at it.

Larry said...


Now, I don't know you from Adam. But when I came across your blog I was moved and inspired because - more than anything else - you were a mirror image of me. We were/are both going through the same thing.

So what follows is really what I have found with my own personal experience with the whole weight-loss thing.

None of this stuff you've proposed matters. None of it. It doesn't matter if you bike 300 miles a week, or if you walk 300 minutes a week. It doesn't matter what you do or don't post on your blog.

You will NEVER lose weight unless you eat less and eat better.

Your cycling project isn't failing because cycling doesn't work. I would bet money (a lot of it) that it is failing because you are not eating the way you should. Cycling is absolutely one of the best cardio/weight loss exercises a human can do. If you're not losing weight with the miles you've logged, then something else is wrong.

I have ridden less miles than you this year, but am having greater success (it sounds like) in the weight-loss department. Because I stopped doing two things that I have done for years:

I stopped eating late at night, and I stopped eating deep fried stuff - meaning chips and fries and fried chicken - and stopped drinking soda. That's all. I still eat ice cream (but smaller portions), I still eat a handful of Pringles once in a while (but not a whole container in one day), I still eat pasta and cheeseburgers and buffalo chicken wings. But I eat nothing after 7pm.

I made a major change in my eating habits. And that's the ONLY reason my cycling is paying off.

I have tried exactly what you are suggesting here - I've tried WAY more diets and exercise programs than you ever have, I promise you. And nothing ever worked. I tried doing the casual "Just walk 30 minutes a day" thing; I tried the "Join a gym and kick my ass" thing; I tried pushing myself hard, I tried not pushing myself at all. And the only thing that has worked is eating less and eating better.

I have taken to cycling as my exercise because I truly enjoy being on a bike more than walking, more than being in a gym, more than jogging. I love the wind, I love the scenery, I love that I can coast if I want to - try stopping when you're walking or jogging... you don't go anywhere.

The cycling goal you set this year would be EASILY attainable by you if you just did this - ate less and ate better. See, the whole reason you are down on cycling is because you are seeing no results. Well, it ain't cycling's fault.

If you had been eating less and eating better CONSISTENTLY since January, I swear on my kids that you would be LOVING cycling right now, and riding all the freaking time. Because you would be seeing results. You would be getting smaller.

You can try the walking thing, you can try removing the "pressure" of your cycling goals, you can try the calorie budget... but NOTHING is going to take the weight off until you make an honest in-the-mirror commitment to eating less/eating better.

Look at Large Fella on a Bike, or any of the blogs you mentioned where people lost dozens or hundreds of pounds. NONE of them did it just by exercising. They ALL did it by changing the way they eat.

And this doesn't mean you have to become a salad eating, tofu gobbling Granola. Look at me. I got rid of just one part of my many bad eating habits. Sure, I could be losing even more weight if I went even more hardcore, but I don't have that discipline. Not yet.

Take a blog-free, alone in a room, staring in the mirror HONEST look at yourself. You know you're not eating even close to as well as you should. Examine your habits and just change one part of it, and I promise you, you will see results whether you are cycling or walking or kayaking or whatever.

Eat less. Eat better.

Keep riding.


Zeusmeatball said...

Hey thar, my epically long email message to you says more than this comment but i wanted to chime in with that any time you have a question or want a suggestion you got my email ;)

Move more, eat less, drink a lot.

As Ever

CactusFreek said...

Cycling is probably not working coz your body is too used to it. You kinda have to shake things up a bit and work various muscle groups in order to lose weight. I think dinner time portion sizes have a lot to do with weight loss progress too.
Your new plan sounds great!