I am 6′ 0″ tall. This is me at 150 pounds:
I know, the socks are all wrong (so are the shoes if you want to get technical, and the pedals too). That’s not the point. I didn’t know how to eat for all of the miles in this photo. My legs aren’t great in that photo but they were starting to come along. Fast forward four years and I’ve added 25 pounds:
Cycling will have you dropping weight like it’s going out of style – if one is not eating too much. 20 or 30 pounds a season, easy. Easy. Now, often you’ll read advice on how to cut weight so you can be a little faster up a hill and while there’s something to that, it’s gotta be within reason, Grasshopper! I much prefer me at 175 over the 150 pound me, I don’t care how slow the extra weight makes me climb a freaking hill! I’d rather look like the guy in the second photo any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
So, what happens when you go too far, as I clearly did?
I had to learn to eat to fuel the next ride but not so much that I ended up with unwanted poundage. It’s a delicate balancing act to be sure, but it is manageable, and much more so than it is just trying to manage weight by diet.
The flip-side to this beast is eating too much, and believe me it’s very easy to justify a candy bar or some ice cream after riding 20 or 30 miles. If I don’t resist the temptation to overeat and if I don’t forego the vast majority of my cravings, I will manage to gain weight rather than lose it, even at 200 miles a week.
So what’s the balance? Comfortably hungry. All the time. If I’m not some form of hungry at all times, I’ve eaten too much and I have to cut portions back. If I’m ever “full”” after a meal there’s no doubt I’ve gone too far. Now, being in a state of perpetual hunger can be a serious pain in the butt. I get used to it though, and then that becomes the new normal and it doesn’t bug me so much. Getting the balance right is how I make it work. Well, that and a veritable $#!+ ton of miles. We can’t forget the miles!
Oh, just so we’re clear; The easy part is putting the weight back on after I’ve lost a little too much. Four Words: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s. They never fail.