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Fatness, Fitness, Nicotine, Alcohol, Drugs and Recovery

August 2021
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It never ceases to amaze me how much I love food after quitting nicotine – and by “nicotine”, I mean all forms. I smoked, cigarettes and cigars, chewing tobacco, I was even hooked on the stop smoking lozenges for a couple of years. I never had a problem with eating until I gave up the nicotine. I certainly do now, though. Even a properly made peanut butter & jelly sandwich tastes like heaven. Don’t even get me going on some good barbecue, a steak, burger, grilled chicken or salmon, a decent salad with spinach, carrots and cucumbers… I love it all.

I’ve been struggling mightily with being over my ideal weight this year. I like to be about 165 pounds but I’m currently dangling in the high 170’s and I flirted with 190 earlier in the season.

It doesn’t matter how many miles I ride, I can eat enough that, at best, I will maintain my weight. Losing weight, even at 230 miles a week at better than a 19-mph average, has proved most difficult.

I’ve made great strides in recent weeks, though. Adding grilled chicken and salmon to my normal menu has helped immensely.

There have been a few times earlier this year that I entertained the notion of just letting myself go, the way it seems much of our nation has. Then, almost invariably, I see a person who’s been on the wrong side of way too many Double Whopper Combo Meals with an extra side of Chicken Fries struggle just to get from the handicapped parking spot to the electric riding shopping cart and it helps me pop my head out of my ass.

Another thing that has helped keep me on the straight and narrow path is my desire to ride my bikes fast. I’d be plenty happy creeping along at 15-mph, but I love to go fast:

The light blue dotted line is 19.7-mph and that dip well below was climbing hills… the rest was slightly downhill to flat. It is one of my favorite sections of road on our normal routes. As I crested the first hill, I left everyone as I put the hammer down. I was up to 32-1/2-mph and giving it everything I had as I rounded the chicane, leaning my bike so much the pedal would have scraped if my right foot wasn’t up all the way, at 28-mph.

As I exited the final corner, I was smiling ear-to-ear as I waited for the others to catch up. It’s as good as when I was a kid hitting jumps we built in the field across the street from our parents house. It feels like being a kid, only with a lot of money. With twenty or thirty extra pounds, those days are done. I’d never be able to keep that pace up, let alone being able to enjoy keeping that pace, with all of that extra weight.

The recovery is something else altogether, though. Oh, I get to enjoy fitness a little more because I don’t have anything messing that up, but recovery and my relationship with God are a lot deeper than “having fun”. Still, a good bike ride makes recovery more enjoyable, and that makes keeping my spirituality in order all the more important.

If I don’t do what it takes to have a good life, I won’t have one. And that’s the whole point to getting control of how much I’m eating, when it all boils down.

After getting to this point, I’m grateful for being able to understand myself so fully. Sure, I still struggle, but sooner or later, I manage to see the light. I’ll keep coming back, because it keeps getting better.


9 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    FWIW, I have learned some stuff about living a healthy life. The first is that you can’t out ride your fork. If you eat bad stuff, your body will pay the price. A basic concept that I use is – Everything I eat and drink becomes a part of me. “Tastes good” only works till you are five years old. After that, you need to consider the consequences. Good luck!

  2. I’ll gladly donate you 1/2 my weight HaHa! Wow, that’s a ton of miles in a week. Good for you Jim. Yes, I think nicotine was the hardest “vice” to give up. The triggers are readily visible all around us. Good post. Thanks for giving us a deeper glimpse into your cycling and fitness journey.

  3. Haha I just got started biking last year and I’m working on 25 mi/week. You are an inspiration! Thanks for the read 😀

  4. You’re so inspiring! Thanks for sharing this great post with us ❤️

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