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Not another January weightloss blog... oh wait, yes it is!

It's January, everyone decides to lose weight in January, well not everyone, I was at a CX race at the weekend and there were plenty of racers with less meat on them than a butcher's pencil, so maybe not them.  I, on the other-hand have indulged over the holiday period so now it's time to knuckle down to some serious weight loss and get to my desired weight in time for the start of the racing season.

I was 126kg in 2008 and I'm now 77kg, all down to a change in lifestyle and a love of cycling.  It's easy to forget how big I was now as I look to lose a few kilos after the Christmas break, so this blog is about writing down things that will help me as much as helping others who may not know where to start.

Choose something that works

This is the most important thing, when I was looking for a way to lose weight I tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World, neither of which taught me about the nutritional value of food.  Then I tried my own “eat salad” diet, which didn't work at all.  I found a website called Weight Loss Resources that works on a calorie counting system, I did a free trial and decided it was the thing for me.  Being inherently lazy, I liked the fact that I could do it all from my computer (or smartphone) by putting in what I was eating and what calories I was burning, the database system works out the rest, telling me how much I can eat and what I should be aiming for nutritionally.  I had a really poor understanding of what calories I was eating, and how much I was eating before I started counting calories, it was a big shock to see what I actually should be eating.  Nevertheless, it works for me and I continue to use it to control and lose weight.  Calorie counting has taught me some good lessons, mainly about making the right choices when it comes to eating and exercising.

Make a plan

Set yourself a goal and work out how you're going to achieve it.  Don't be afraid to set yourself a goal that you might think is unrealistic, I lost nearly 50kg, if you've ever carried a big bag of cement (the 25kg bags) then you'll realise how much extra weight that is to be hauling around.  If I can do it as a lazy sofa-dweller, then anyone can.  You've got to be bloody-minded and hard on yourself to do it at times, but it's worth doing!  Making your big plan ties in with making a daily plan.  Decide what you're going to eat and how much you're going to have, don't deviate from it.  If you do, make sure you work off any indiscretions, they're bound to happen at some point so that's when you should have a contingency plan!

Make small changes

Small changes can make all the difference.  If you normally put a big scrape of proper butter on your sandwich, change it for half-fat butter and put on a barely-visible scrape, it doesn't taste as good but it's less calories!  If you have a sandwich every day of the week then you can reduce your calorie intake easily by using less and choosing a lower calorie alternative.  Make your own sandwiches if you buy from a shop - full calorie mayo and uncontrolled amounts of cheese can be difficult to quantify.  Stop eating biscuits and swap them for fruit, I do this at work to avoid the daily biscuit tin rounds at 10am and 3pm.  It's amazing how much more fruit you'll eat, plus it staves off the sugar dip you get after eating sweet goods. 

Make big changes

If you like a drink, then avoiding alcohol for a month can be a big calorie saver.  It'll give you something to work towards, plus it makes getting up to go cycling on weekend mornings much easier!  Start commuting to work rather than driving, it's the best thing I ever did.  When I fell off my bike and fractured my thumb in October, I drove to work for a while and the amount I spent on fuel soon added up, it soon made me realise how beneficial cycle commuting was to my pocket as well as my paunch!

Move more

Walk to the shops when you can, even better – take the bike!  There's a great range of racks, bags and bikes to help transporting things easier, utility bikes can also make great tourers – double bonus!  Take the stairs rather than a lift... if you're really sad, run up the stairs – it's good “stealth training”!  Dig the garden – good core strength work, or re-lay the wonky slabs on the garden path (I've still got this looming over me, it'll be a tough job!).  If you've got kids and struggle with getting training time, take them for walks, especially if you live somewhere hilly.  Those kid-carrying backpacks are a great work out if your child is under 3 and you can walk up a local hill.  It also makes you realise what carrying a couple of extra stone feels like, you'll soon want to shift it!

Doing something other than cycling can be beneficial too, I started running when I'd fractured my thumb and found it a used different muscles to cycling, as well as being a good cardio work out.  Core strength training can be done at home in the evenings if you don't have a turbo and don't fancy riding in the dark.  Half an hour of squats/press-ups/planks etc. will help build core strength, good for your calorie burn and good for cycling.

Make good choices

If you like a Chinese take-away, make sure you eat it at the weekend when you've done a big ride, if you want a dessert after your dinner every night (like me and my daily ice cream) then make sure you've done enough exercise during the day to have earned it, likewise if you've had a dry January and want a beer in February, don't get blitzed every night for the month, there's loads of calories in booze!

Talk about it

Post up on Road.cc's forum, start a thread, say what you want to achieve and get others to join in.  It's easier when there are more people aiming for the same goal, you can pick up some good hints and tips from others about what works, what to eat, what exercise to do and give each other encouragement.

It's a bank balance

Many people I know who've lost weight (me included) treat their calorie intake and expenditure like a bank balance.  You have a base number of calories during the day, you can add to that by exercising, but don't go over that amount or you're into the overdraft!

SUSTAINABILITY

If you need to lose weight then there's a chance that weight will always be an issue, if this is the case, you need to make sure that whatever you do is sustainable.  It's all well and good eating zero carbs, or cutting out everything but dust to get to your desired weight, but you're going to have to keep control of things after you've lost the weight.  Will a dust-only diet work if you go for a night out with your mates, or have a buffet at a work function, or go to your mother in law's who dishes out big portions?  Probably not.

Whatever you do needs to be something that you can continue with when you start maintaining at your goal weight, if you're reading this then it'll probably also involve cycling!

 

24 comments

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stefv [212 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm 182cm. I've Gone from 82kg to 75kg in less than 2 months by following the principles from the Paleo diet for athletes (Joe Friel). I had some help from the Norovirus too!

I can keep up with my lighter friends on the hills now.  4

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ALIHISGREAT [119 posts] 4 years ago
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mckechan wrote:

I'm 182cm. I've Gone from 82kg to 75kg in less than 2 months by following the principles from the Paleo diet for athletes (Joe Friel). I had some help from the Norovirus too!

I can keep up with my lighter friends on the hills now.  4

Lets not kid ourselves that it was the diet that made any difference..

I spent 10 days in Ghana and came back 6kg lighter due to food poisoning... its the quickest.. and probably least healthy way to lose weight!

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swedishmike [3 posts] 4 years ago
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I've recently started on the Intermittent Fasting (5:2) diet and I must say that it is working like a charm.

Not only are you losing weight, there is also other alleged health benefits.

For some more info, google for Dr Michael Mosley who did a documentary about this for BBC recently which gave this diet lots of attention.

There's some other articles about on the net.

Well worth a go. At least in my book.

// Mike

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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ALIHISGREAT wrote:
mckechan wrote:

I'm 182cm. I've Gone from 82kg to 75kg in less than 2 months by following the principles from the Paleo diet for athletes (Joe Friel). I had some help from the Norovirus too!

I can keep up with my lighter friends on the hills now.  4

Lets not kid ourselves that it was the diet that made any difference..

I spent 10 days in Ghana and came back 6kg lighter due to food poisoning... its the quickest.. and probably least healthy way to lose weight!

Ghana; Let me think  39 Did you have amoebic dysentery (giardia)? When I Had that it came out both ends at the same time  20

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stefv [212 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd rather be 100kg for the rest of 2013 than go through those 6 hours again!  31

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SamShaw [266 posts] 4 years ago
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I've looked at the 5:2 diet but don't think it's for me, I like routine and it's not what I'd consider 'normal' eating, which doesn't tie with the "sustainability" part of what I wrote above. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people use it successfully, but I couldn't imagine doing it for the rest of my life.

I saw a study that tracked two groups, one on a calorie restricted diet, one on a 5:2 diet, the 5:2's lost more weight over the study period but there was a follow-up study on the same groups and calorie restricters carried on eating in their pattern whilst more of the 5:2's had given up.

I'd look at what you're going to do once you get to your goal weight, plan ahead for it so that you can make sure the weight stays off.

How does it work when you're training? Do you have rest days on the 2 days you're fasting?

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 4 years ago
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My missus was getting quite frustrated - dieting, exercising, but not losing any weight (not got that much to lose mind) - she only made small changes such as switching to skimmed milk, and it's having a positive effect.

As for non-bike training, my core strength work and stretching gets done while watching TV, and the freelancer's car park is half a mile from the office so I try to run it. I don't manage to do it twice a day every day yet though.

How tall are you Sam? Just trying to put the 77kg into perspective, as I'm 181cm and 75kg.

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SamShaw [266 posts] 4 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

My missus was getting quite frustrated - dieting, exercising, but not losing any weight (not got that much to lose mind) - she only made small changes such as switching to skimmed milk, and it's having a positive effect.

As for non-bike training, my core strength work and stretching gets done while watching TV, and the freelancer's car park is half a mile from the office so I try to run it. I don't manage to do it twice a day every day yet though.

How tall are you Sam? Just trying to put the 77kg into perspective, as I'm 181cm and 75kg.

That all sounds good, small changes make a big difference when you add them up - weightloss marginal gains!

I'm 182.5 (5' 11.5") OUCH! Just checked and after Xmas (2kg gain) I'm 79kg and aiming for 73kg, which would put me slap bang in the middle of the BMI scale for my height.

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 4 years ago
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Good stuff, watch you don't overdo it though, I dropped to 72 temporarily when I started cycling again, and I was a bit too skinny, attracting few concerned glances from my wife and work colleagues. BMI's just a guide and all that. Good luck.

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SamShaw [266 posts] 4 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Good stuff, watch you don't overdo it though, I dropped to 72 temporarily when I started cycling again, and I was a bit too skinny, attracting few concerned glances from my wife and work colleagues. BMI's just a guide and all that. Good luck.

Agreed, I don't want to have to buy new clothes either! Being under 12st (around the 75kg mark) would be ok.

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ALIHISGREAT [119 posts] 4 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:
ALIHISGREAT wrote:
mckechan wrote:

I'm 182cm. I've Gone from 82kg to 75kg in less than 2 months by following the principles from the Paleo diet for athletes (Joe Friel). I had some help from the Norovirus too!

I can keep up with my lighter friends on the hills now.  4

Lets not kid ourselves that it was the diet that made any difference..

I spent 10 days in Ghana and came back 6kg lighter due to food poisoning... its the quickest.. and probably least healthy way to lose weight!

Ghana; Let me think  39 Did you have amoebic dysentery (giardia)? When I Had that it came out both ends at the same time  20

I don't know what I had, was just incredibly sick 6 or 7 times one night, then spent the next day recovering and didn't have much of an appetite for the rest of the trip.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 4 years ago
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- PALEO - two years now and apart from crashing every now and then due to a vicious sweet tooth - unfortunately i am an real extreme all or nothing went it comes to sweets & biscuits -

i have never felt healthy, been more toned than any other time of my life and cycled more than ever including being fit enough to feel able to join my first ever cycling club all this whilst rolling ever closer to 50 years old.

- PALEO - it's not actually about eat this seaweed eat that blah - its learning what we preceive as normal foods not fast food or overly processed but normal foods that we eat regularly are not giving us the best benefits that we deserve and how to just change them for as simple a common replacement.

A classic one is when you tell people porridge isn't really that good for them - has never failed to freak every single person out i have told this too - myself included!

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stefv [212 posts] 4 years ago
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bfslxo wrote:

- PALEO - two years now and apart from crashing every now and then due to a vicious sweet tooth - unfortunately i am an real extreme all or nothing went it comes to sweets & biscuits -

As an athlete (ahem) you can still eat plenty of what you might have done pre-paleo, just better to at the correct times. For instance, 300 calories of porridge an hour before a long ride is no bad thing. Best time to eat burger and chips is after a long ride (Ok, the book I read doesn't specifically recommend that).

I agree though, I have never felt healthier or looked as trim. I also find I can really taste the salt in processed foods that I wouldn't have even noticed before.

I'm only a couple of months in, but I would say this book has changed my life:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/160961917X

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BigYin [27 posts] 4 years ago
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got back on the bike "properly" middle of July 2011 - at the time I was 180.4kg - lots of miles, lots of "portion control" (don't think I've eaten anything in last 18 months without it being pre-packaged (gels/bars for example) or being weighed out and recorded.

I use www.myfitnesspal.com to log my intake, and record exercise via a garmin 800, and pretty much just stick to the figures that MFP gives me re:eating.

Is it working... well - despite going off the rails to the tune of 1.5kg over christmas, I'm now at 109kg an working on the next 20kg or so...

Might have to change the name to SmallerYin then though...

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sodit [93 posts] 4 years ago
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You lot think you have some weight to lose try 180cm 5' 11 and 136kg (21,7) mind you have already come down from 148kg all due to returning to cycling about a year and a half ago. Everybodys happy the cardio, the doc and best of all the wife. Only another 36kg to go!! Why 100kg (15,10)cos thats what all the BUPA medicals I have had say is my (MY) upper BMI due to bone size etc all the charts say I should be 13 stone havent been that since I was 13 years old.

Hey ho more miles to do  3 16

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 4 years ago
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bfslxo wrote:

A classic one is when you tell people porridge isn't really that good for them - has never failed to freak every single person out i have told this too - myself included!

I googled paleo porridge to find an alternative, but it sounded like a lot of hassle - what's a simple alternative? Bearing in mind that I eat it before a four-hour ride on Sunday mornings.

Bigyin (medium-yin?!) and sodit - you two really are shedding it, between you you've left more than my body weight in sweat on the roadside...nice! Reminds me of that 39-stone cyclist/blogger guy who is now 13 stone.

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CraigS [129 posts] 4 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Good stuff, watch you don't overdo it though, I dropped to 72 temporarily when I started cycling again, and I was a bit too skinny, attracting few concerned glances from my wife and work colleagues. BMI's just a guide and all that. Good luck.

I did see a study that compared perception of healthy weight to BMI. For men, it found you look your healthiest in the mid-top BMI range and look skinny below that or overweight above it.

Interestingly for women, the study found the opposite. People see females in the bottom-mid BMI range as being a normal weight, with mid-top looking overweight and below the healthy BMI range perceived as skinny.

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 4 years ago
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That's strange - I do know that certain types just don't 'fit' the BMI concept, rugby players often come out as morbidly obese when they are anything but.

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stefv [212 posts] 4 years ago
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notfastenough - If you're going on a ride, there is no reason you cannot eat normal porridge.

Don't eat it in the hour before you ride or your insulin will make you feel sleepy before you start. Eat approximately 300 calories per hour in advance. (Ref - the book I linked, but this comment is from memory)

Sodit, Bigyn - Kudos!

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mogrim [51 posts] 4 years ago
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bfslxo wrote:

A classic one is when you tell people porridge isn't really that good for them - has never failed to freak every single person out i have told this too - myself included!

Not surprised really, it's bollocks. It might not fit in with the tenets of a "paleo" diet, but that certainly doesn't mean it's unhealthy.

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notfastenough [3718 posts] 4 years ago
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mckechan wrote:

notfastenough - If you're going on a ride, there is no reason you cannot eat normal porridge.

Don't eat it in the hour before you ride or your insulin will make you feel sleepy before you start. Eat approximately 300 calories per hour in advance. (Ref - the book I linked, but this comment is from memory)

Sodit, Bigyn - Kudos!

I can't say it does to be honest. I get up at 7am and by 7:10 am eating enough that the last few mouthfuls are a struggle. Have a long drink of juice, then change into cycling gear, have a wee and out the door for 7:40. I'm too busy putting air in the tyres and riding to the meeting point to feel sleepy.

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Chainring-Annih... [7 posts] 4 years ago
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When on a cycling tour a while ago, I carried about 20KG in panniers(15KG+ constant, easily, varying with how much food I was carrying). OK, it's not the right way to cycle-tour, and I've learnt my lesson - but I lost about a KILO PER WEEK. Cycling over mixed-to-flat terrain, enough hills, but hardly the Alps...

It was weird to go from eating too much food very easily, when at home, relatively-sedentary - to NOT being able to eat ENOUGH calories at times.

I was about 85KG when I left and ended-up about 80.5KG after just over 4 weeks. I was also shattered-tired and got ill, but I now know the best way to lose weight if required!  19

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andyp [1484 posts] 4 years ago
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SamShaw wrote:

I've looked at the 5:2 diet but don't think it's for me, I like routine and it's not what I'd consider 'normal' eating, which doesn't tie with the "sustainability" part of what I wrote above. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people use it successfully, but I couldn't imagine doing it for the rest of my life.

I saw a study that tracked two groups, one on a calorie restricted diet, one on a 5:2 diet, the 5:2's lost more weight over the study period but there was a follow-up study on the same groups and calorie restricters carried on eating in their pattern whilst more of the 5:2's had given up.

I'd look at what you're going to do once you get to your goal weight, plan ahead for it so that you can make sure the weight stays off.

How does it work when you're training? Do you have rest days on the 2 days you're fasting?

7 weeks in, 12Kg gone. It doesn't get much more 'routine' than 5:2. It's incredibly simple and thus incredibly easy to stick to. The recommendation is that once you are at goal you change to 6:1.

Training - it makes feck all difference. My two fast days are two of my biggest training days. Before this diet the vast majority of my rides were done pre-breakfast - ie in a fasted state. So no real difference. I wouldn't want to do a century on a fast day, but I'm happily putting in 50km or so on them.

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srtech [8 posts] 2 years ago
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I've done the 5:2 diet entirely by accident, as it turns out. Routinely go 1-2 days at a time without eating... well, anything, actually. When life is stressful it's a lot easier to think clearly on an empty stomach.  22

Not so much the exercise, though. Burn out quick. Usually I'll focus on strength exercises during fast days.