Thank God for Spandex – I’ve Gotten Fat

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Relatively speaking, I’ve been doing my best to not hold back lately on this blog, as well as that one.    A small part of me hopes to gain more readership from this, and not piss off too many people.  The comments have been warm and the feedback is also honest, I thank you all for that.

The Meat of the Matter

I’m fat, fat for me.  On average “heavy” for my athletic build was 160,  I strive for 135 when I was racing and was happy with 150.  Yesterday at the YMCA I weighed in at 179.  ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY NINE POUNDS?!?! 179 lbs is only 21 away from 200.

This is about when my mom chimes in and reminds me that I’m tall (5’10) and athletic, but jeesh when did all this happen?

Fine Details of Being Fat

  • I can only wear 1/4 of my wardrobe.  That is a ton of wasted clothes, and buttons being strained.
  • At a local swap meet on Sunday I picked up a FatCyclist jersey for $10.  I can wear it with honor now.
  • You feel guilty every time you eat, work out or do/don’t ride. You feel like you’re doing something wrong or not hard enough.
  • A piece of you is in hiding.  Waiting to become a human punching bag of snark comments. “You look different” or..”have you been riding?” <- that is my favorite.
  • A quick reminder, right in the gut, that you aren’t as young as you once were.
    Twin Six Fat Cyclist Jersey

The Finer Details of Not Being Fat

  • The gym isn’t doing squat for me.  Yes, I’m getting muscles and all that but I hate being on a machine for more than 20 minutes at a time.  That won’t help with much weight loss.  I plan to change my gym/riding strategy.  Ride in the mornings and evenings when possible, and hit the weights 3 times a week
  • My music is becoming harder rock. Maybe a rise in my heart rate will burn more calories.
  • Being fat only makes me fatter. I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself, so I eat worse!

What are Your Tips and Suggestions?

Feedback, please?!?!

20 Comments

  • It’s great to see you open up and be so honest and vulnerable. Nice. As you know, I’m a cyclist…but I am also a health and fitness professional. I’d love to help you out and give you some tips and advice on everything including the combination of cycling, weight lifting, and nutrition. Feel free to contact me anytime at darryl@lovingthebike.com.

    Either way, keep focused and put your energy towards who you want to be and not what you don’t want to be…that will help as well.

    Good luck,

    Darryl

  • Jami says:

    I’m on the losing end of your blog post, and can relate very well. My tips. Get rid of everything in the kitchen that you should not be eating. Stop drinking calories! Mine was juice. Gave it up. All of this is not news to you, but sometimes it takes some reminding of what you’re putting in your body.

    My Daily Plate, now owned by Livestrong, was an extreme help! There’s also an iPhone app. http://www.dietitian.com/calchelp.php offers free healthy eating for life plan, complete with what to eat and when. It involves healthy habits and not dieting that was extremely helpful in letting me know what to eat at each meal – and I already knew how to eat, it was just great to have it all figured out for me.

    Weighing my food was an eye opener. I found I ate way too much protein – but the scale also showed that some portions are actually larger than I thought, which was cool.

    When working out (if I’m outdoors) I always wear my Garmin. Eh, the numbers aren’t accurate, but I always workout longer and harder if I see a small number on the watch face.

    As for your clothes – go ahead and buy the bigger clothes if you need them. Why feel even worse because your clothes are ill fitting? So what if you’ll only wear them a month. You’ll look and feel better.

    I could go on forever about this, but I will end with saying, it’s not the end of the world. This is just a phase. It’s only fat. It’s not permanent. And it also doesn’t define who you are! Life happens. We gain, we lose, as long as it’s the weight and not our minds, we’re fine :)

  • Don’t worry about it. It’s one thing to be a “fat” cyclist at the beginning of November just as winter training is starting and it’s another to be there in March.

    Also have you forgot you got hit by a CAR? I bet you haven’t been hitting the same caloric burn in the weeks following. As for being older, will it take more effort & vigilance for it come off? YES. Have you recognized a problem & made plans to address it? YES. Will it come off? YES.

    • Rachael says:

      Hey Arleigh,
      After I had Zoe the pounds didn’t come off like they did with Casey. I believe it was age. And just eating whatever I wanted. I was wearing a pair of jeans that I’ve worn for years one day, and they just wouldn’t stay up, not because they were too big, but too tight. They wouldn’t go up past my “love handles”.
      I decided I had enough. On a whim I bought P90X and promised myself I would stick to it. Within the first two weeks I was heavier but down a pants size. After completing it, and still several months later, I was down 4 pants sizes and 8 pounds (and I’m full of muscle now). I plan on doing it again in a week or two so I’ll be done in Feb. It’s super time consuming (an hour-1:30 a day- everyday) and it’s hard. BUT OH SO WORTH IT.

    • Rachael says:

      whoops, I meant to reply to the article not you Scott! Sorry.

  • I agree with Scott that you don’t want to worry overmuch about it. Your training will probably take care of a lot of it. That said, I know what a drag it can be to feel heavier than you want. I am an pretty athletic, very active woman (lifting, biking, running), now in my mid-40s. When I started gaining weight a few years ago, I had to take a hard look at my diet. As you may have heard before, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Or, in my case, a generally nutritious diet that was nonetheless giving me more calories/calorie composition than I needed to support and increase lean muscle mass while minimizing fat gain. I found it helpful to keep a food log in which I tracked my calories and daily intake of protein, carbs, and fat. It was eye-opening and helped me make some better choices. I don’t even track everything all day long or every day of the week; it seems like just tracking through about 5 pm M-F helps keep me on a good nutritional path.

    Good luck to you! FreeRangeBiker (aka @UrbanDirtFarmer on twitter)

  • Kimi says:

    I understand!….I’ve been doing Weight Watchers since May-trying to get back down to racing weight…it works!

  • Sara says:

    I think it helps to have an overall goal, like “drop x lbs”. But I’ve had success focusing more on the process. To do this, identify a few habits that you can change for success. Then pick one habit to add to your program each week. After each week, check your progress weight-wise but also think about how you feel and what other things you might change. If you’re making progress on your weight, stick with the program. If not, think about other small things you can change.

  • becks says:

    I couldn’t exercise for 3 months after my cycling accident and I put on 22 pounds as a result. When I realised I’d gone up a trouser size I realised I had to do something about it so I joined Weight Watchers online and started going to outdoor exercise classes run by the army in my local park. It took about 5 months, but I lost the 22 pounds by summer. For me,it was just a case of hitting a low so I could bounce back up again. That moment in the changing room when I couldn’t fit into a pair of trousers – definite low…

  • MrsFOUR4TH says:

    Ah, time to embrace compression sportswear. Or rather, let it embrace you. I put it on, I feel like an athlete. But where do those extra inches go? Cos they sure as hell come back again when you take it off.

  • I started seeing a personal trainer when I found the pounds were sticking despite loads of exercise. A combination of weight workouts and cardio workouts is key. Also, she advised eating a more balanced diet with fewer carbs and more protein.

    Also, if you’re over forty (like me) then keeping the weight off is even harder. good luck!

  • Sarah says:

    TRACK YOUR CALORIES! I can’t tell enough people (and I’ve told a few) how helpful this has been for me. Sure, it’s kinda annoying at first trying to keep up with it and remember to log everything, but after a few weeks it becomes so routine that you don’t even notice. Doing this has allowed me to lose 10 pounds in 2 months which is a really healthy weight loss.

    My friends and I track on LiveStrong, which has a ton of tools to help make this process really easy. It keeps a list of the foods you eat frequently, lets you combine foods into meals, and lets you enter recipes so that you know how many calories what you’re cooking actually has in it. The best part of the website is the ability to have “friends” that can keep track of your progress with you. My friends and I all keep the food diary nearly every day and we honestly read each others’ diary all the time. I am watching their plates and know if they’re cheating (they know this about me too and it keeps me honest) – it’s just a huge motivation to know that they’re in this with me. The food diary is also a big help – after a few weeks of keeping up with this too you begin to see the pattern – basically that everyone has good days and bad days and that’s normal.

    In all, don’t deny yourself anything completely, just find a way to make it part of your day. I routinely eat chocolate and candy – but in moderation and only when I have room for it. And if you need a friend to keep you on track, feel free to add me as a friend on there (just search for the email I entered above). Good luck – You can do it!

  • Hal says:

    As a kid I was huge (made it up to 300lbs), then became large (200lbs) 30 years ago, and have fluctuated as much as 20lbs either way since then. My primary findings: number of calories matters more than type of calories, and exercise helps only if you first control your calories. Controlling types of calories (i.e. protein, carbs, fats, etc.) is good for controlling how you feel (healthy, hungry, energetic, etc.) but not so much for weight loss. In other words, if you’re eating healthy (healthily?) but eating too much, you won’t lose weight. Similarly, if you’re eating junk but limiting the calories, you will lose weight, although you will also likely feel like crap.

    Control your calories, eat well (lots of veggies, moderate amounts of lean protein, cut way back on carbs and fats), and exercise, and you’ll do fine. I’m not an “eat right for your type” true believer, but I do find that different people can consume different types of foods with different results, so some expect some trial and error while you figure out what works for you.

    My latest finding is that age does matter (surprise!), and that losing weight gets harder as you age. My last big weight loss (27lbs) was at age 40, and now that I’m pushing 50, it’s much more difficult. Gotta embrace the challenge and roll with it.

  • Bike Shop Girl says:

    Thank you all for your comments. Each have been noted and if you included your email address, or I know you, I’ll be commenting separately off the blog to you.

    One of the main things I ask of all of you that read this site or know me, keep me honest. Through this whole process of being smacked by a car and trying to find myself in the rubble, I have learned I need each one of you. Positive, negative or neutral – if you are honest, it will keep me here and trying!

    On a side note, I woke up super early this morning and was on the mountain bike trail before 7am. Including a 20 minutes drive there!

  • hawkeye169 says:

    Here is the thing… that number on the scale… that is just a place holder. Don’t freak out about the number. Lead a healthy life (like you are doing.) The number will come back down with the help of your gym workouts and mountain biking.

    Like someone else said, check out P90X. I’m sure you can find a barely used copy on craigslist for cheap. It works. And it works well. I started that thinking that I was in awesome shape. It beat me to a pulp. But it was great.

    You were hit by a car after all. So stop being so hard on yourself. Lots of people would have stayed home on the sofa for the rest of their lives after something like that. You simply kept with something you loved, and changed how you would do it. Stronger and braver than I would be given the circumstances.

    Keep on doing what you do. The numbers will fall in line with your goals. Keep us all posted. You’ve got the support of everyone behind you.

  • faffingmyway says:

    It’s easy to gain and hard to lose. Drat! Yes your metabolism slows a bit each decade. Drat again! That means if you eat and exercise exactly as you always have over time you’ll gain weight. Now that’s not fair, is it? :)

    Given that the deck is stacked for weight gain and I love to eat, here’s what I have done:

    Figured out how many calories I need to eat to maintain my current weight. Subtract 500 calories/day from that and voila – I lose weight. That works whether you are 20 or 50. It’s just that the total number of calories you get to eat to maintain your desired weight decreases over time. Sigh.

    The good news is you can create your 500 calorie deficit though exercise, eating less calories, or a combination of both.

    I do best when I track calories in/out carefully – otherwise I delude myself and then wonder why the pounds don’t come off.

    I also do best when I make sure each meal and each snack is something I love. That way I don’t feel deprived. I enjoy every meal. And I make sure there’s room in the day’s intake for a treat, if I want it.

    Using these principles and also the Livestrong tools for counting calories eaten and burned, I successfully lost 15 lbs last year. On my 5’1″ frame that was a meaningful weight loss.

    It is do-able so set your goal and be positive in working toward it. You will get there!

  • I know how you feel, I’m new to your website. I heard about you getting hit by the car and then I ‘re-found’ your website while I was doing the Yehuda Moon Alleycat.

    As my name says I know all about being fat and it was your comment about how being fat makes you eat more that I struggle with everyday. (especially this time of the year when it seems like weeks between sundown and the next morning.) I wish I had some wonderful advice for you but if I did then i would be a Thin Guy on an Orange Bike.

  • Mark says:

    In the winter, the combined effects of the time change, short days and nasty weather – makes being active outside a challenge. I think I tend to want to eat more, especially in the evenings, when the weather is cold.

    That being said – March is just around the corner and with it comes the time change, warmer weather and longer days. I run trails at Crowders a good bit and they begin staying open untill 8:00pm in March.

    So.. I am going to do what I can in Feb -but- March 1st is when it will be time to kick things into gear with longer evenning training rides, runs at Crowders and whatnot. I have some cycling goals this year and look forward to making some headway.

    I have found that the evening meal is my biggest weight gaining time of the day. I really dont need to eat anything after 7:00pm when it can be avoided.

    :-)

  • Lose Weight says:

    I respect your work , thanks for all the useful blog posts.

  • Elisa M says:

    Girl, I feel like you are me right now! I have never weighed as much as I do now, but I am also more active than before. It is a frustrating dilemma, realizing that you need to be intentional about weight loss even as an active person. I have never had to deal with that, so I am freaking out. I was off the bike for 8 weeks due to a broken foot and just can’t seem to get back to it.
    Glad to know I am not alone…

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