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Losing Weight or Getting Fit? Choose Something You Can Love to Do…

October 2014
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It had been cloudy with moments of brilliance and a near perfect temp of 70 degrees. By the time I got home though, the clouds started to thicken. It was looking like a good evening to take a nap. With rain heavy in the forecast for today and Saturday and with highs expected in the low 50’s I just couldn’t stay in. I suited up within three minutes of walking in the door, pumped up my tires, filled my water bottle and hit the road.

The idea was to take it easy after a decent 30 miles Wednesday night.  I did make it 2 miles before I wound it up with a slight tailwind. I settled in at around 23 mph and I felt good. By the time I hit four miles I was glad I was out on the bike, that I skipped the nap.

I was amazed at how fresh my legs felt, even into that breeze I was holding 19 mph without really working too hard. I was down in the drops into the wind, feeling like the bike was perfect. It was gloomy out so I had my Serfas Thunderbolt tail light flashing away. It struck me how much space the motorists were giving me – even more than usual, and that’s saying something.

I stopped by the local bike shop to say hi to the owner. We shared a laugh or three and I was on my way. The last six miles were just as awesome as the first ten and even though I experienced a few sprinkles in the last three, I was glad I went. I felt like me again.

While I started out as a runner in 2001, I’m much happier as a cyclist.  Recovery time after a hard effort can be measured in hours, not days and being a middle-aged male, I love having a “hobby” that I can blow a little silly money on.  Not only that, cycling (be it road cycling or mountain biking) makes me feel like a kid again.  I feel vibrant, young and more important than anything, happy.  If that wasn’t enough (and it would be), I can drop weight on a dime if I choose.  20 pounds?  Give me five weeks.  When I started cycling and triathlons I dropped so much weight that I actually had to learn to eat more so I could maintain a decent weight.  This is a good problem to have.

So here I am, more than three years later and I’m at a point where I need my time on my bike.  No longer am I having to find the time to exercise nor scheduling my sessions.  Instead, 90% of the time I can’t wait to get out the door and 9-1/2% more I manage to get out the door like I did yesterday and am vastly happier for having done so.  That last 1/2 of a percent?  Well, nobody’s perfect.  We’re looking for progress, not perfection anyway.

The point is, while I did enjoy running and I lost a fair amount of weight doing it, cycling has become a part of my life.  It’s become something I do to enjoy life more, not just something I have to do to stay fit.  Much is made about this fad or that, about this diet or that.  Vegetarian, Gluten free, fat-free, cholesterol free, sodium free…  Cross Fit, Zumba, Water Aerobics, free weight training, machines, rowing.  Much is made of “the best way” to lose weight and what you should adhere to for fitness, health, longevity and vibrancy…  I’ve tried it all in the last twenty-five years but I didn’t find true happiness until I clipped into a set of bike pedals.  I’m not suggesting you run out and drop $2,000 on a bike, shorts, shoes and pedals.  I’m not saying that my way is the right way.  I wasted a lot of years thinking that I needed to do whatever the quickest, best thing happened to be at the time to be fit.  What I really needed was to find something I could love because that gives me an advantage:  Desire.  Find yours and the rest will work out in the wash.  Then laugh at the fads.

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15 Comments

  1. Chatter says:

    This is so true. I did the same thing for years, fad after fad and I had no clue what I was doing. Then I started running, adding triathlons and cycling. Once i found my happy place with running, everything else just worked out. My weight has gone down and my happiness is focused on my running and not on couch surfing. Like you, I love my hobby/obsession. Great post my friend, rings true.

  2. Paige says:

    This video makes me LOL!

  3. Sandra says:

    So glad you get so much leeway from drivers. Lincoln has now had five cyclists hit (two killed) so far in the past 10 days. One dude ran from hitting an 11 year old kid–people followed him. He was easy to find with the bike still lodged under his truck. Drunk at 7:30am.

    Our town is messed up.

  4. Niall says:

    Been reading and enjoying your blog for a few months now and getting a lot from it. I’ve been cycling just over a year now and recently switched from a hybrid to a roadbike. I’m about your age and losing weight is my biggest challenge. Have shed approx 25lbs in the year but would like to lose 10 more. You mention here that you find weight loss fairly easy. Can you share some of your success? What do you eat and when? Nutrition for living and cycling isn’t easy to fit in around work, etc! 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Absolutely happy to share my secret… Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee, drive to the office (45 mi), 2 bananas or 1 banana and 1 apple. Lunch: dinner leftovers or a couple of peanut butter & jelly sammiches. Dinner: sensible, meat centric meal, small to medium portions, and a salad… My trick is portions. I DO NOT overeat. I eat slow and when I’m full I am done – no matter what is on my plate. Nothing tastes as good as being trim and fit feels. No soda pop. Zero, no diet soda, no zero soda.

      Now, here’s the capper: 150-210 miles a week and I ride fast.

      • Niall says:

        Wow! Thanks for that. It seems very low in terms of calories and way less than what I eat now. I’m doing less miles than you but the calorie difference is probably my challenge.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I currently eat within 100 calories a day of what I need to maintain my weight, considering how many miles I put in, so I eat a bit more but we’re still only talking about 3-4,000 calories a day depending on the mileage. I have the balance down so well now that I don’t have to count calories and I managed a consistent 170 pounds for the last year. It took a lot of practice and trial and error… I just made sure the error was on the fewer calorie side of the ledger when I was losing. 😉

      • bgddyjim says:

        Oh, my apologies! You’re welcome!

  5. The Guat says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more a lot of my friends have gym memberships and workout with the intention of losing weight. They do their best to “find time” to make this trip to the gym possible, I kind of feel like you should find something you enjoy…really enjoy … swimming, cycling, Zumba whatever and in the end it won’t feel like your finding time to do it, it just becomes a part of you.

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