Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Weight for Me

Weight is a sensitive subject for cyclists. Most of my cycling tribe knows, down to the .5 lb, how much they weigh, how much they should weigh and how much time each .5lb costs them climbing up to Skyline.

I've weighed about the same, give or take 5 pounds, most of my adult life. There was a brief period that I dropped down to about 135 in law school due to the simultaneous stress of a divorce and the bar exam. It didn't last long once I moved for my first job and compensated with being bored and broke with TV on DVD, food and wine.

Since then, I've been mostly OK with my body. I was much more irritated with the shape of my nose that the shape of my ass. Each winter I backed off the sauce when my pants starting getting snug, but even with all of the triathlon training in the last four years, I never managed to fall below 155.

I weigh in at TAI every Tuesday morning. Yesterday's number: 148.

After I mentioned weight loss in a previous post, I got an email asking me how I did it. So here it is, my unscientific, totally unproven and mostly unadvised guide to weight loss. Like many things I undertake in life, I don't recommend doing things my way.

1. Start by going to Vegas and drinking twice your weight in cheap beer and Jagermeister. In three days. Then look at the cyclocross photos taken two weeks later and realize that you are in the second trimester of a beer baby.

2. Weigh self and pretend to be ok with the number "164.8". For about 2 hours.

3. Join significant other in laying off the sauce. For him, it was 24/7. For me, a beer (or three) on Thursdays and after cross races. Then maybe a small one on Fridays. Or Mondays. This strategy, obviously, totally went to shit after six weeks.

4. I did, however, start halving my portions at meals and eating the other half only if I felt hungry again. Most of the times I wasn't.

#3 and #4 led to about a 5 lb loss in two months. This was good. My goal was 15 in a year. But, as usual, life interfered with this plan.

5. Go through a break-up, a existential job crisis and being snowed in at the same time. Quit eating anything that doesn't come out of a saltine box or soup can for several weeks. Consume most of your calories in bourbon and gingerale drank out of a plastic liter bottle while watching episodes of "Intervention" while wearing a wife beater, ski cap and backwards basketball shorts. Because nothing makes you feel better during a good drunk than contemplating those that "really have a problem" with alcohol.

6. While going through #5, continue to workout like a maniac because its the only thing that is keeping you from going crazy.

#5 and #6 led to a 10lb loss in a less than a month. Stress caused my body to just start eating itself, and it continued to do so for almost six weeks as I got myself sorted out.

7. Train to road race in the dead of winter, a time where you can burn 500 calories an hour just trying to stay warm. Do this for at least 10 hours a week. Preferably on a steel bike that weighs about 23 pounds and while wearing 5 layers of gear.

8. Overschedule your days to the point that you have neither the time nor energy to shower, grocery shop or drink beer.

But seriously, there were some healthy changes that took place during this time. I cook a lot more for myself, bike commute almost every day in addition to my regular workouts and don't drink much during the workweek--mostly because I'm not getting home most nights until almost 9PM.

I am riding almost every day and my body apparently responds to cycling differently that it responds to other activity. I have incorporated two high intensity workouts into my weekly routine and have been taking a core/conditioning class twice a week for over a year. Both have done some amazing things for the shape and strength of my body. Even as I weigh less, I'm carrying more muscle on my body than I ever have. More muscle-more calorie burn in everyday life.

That's all there is. Not magic or advisable or replicable, but the simple truth.

3 comments:

NoPoGirl said...

I hear ya. After I had Hazel, I admit I was pretty obsessed with getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. You know what did it? High intensity exercise and healthy food. Go figure. Works every time.

mikey said...

What -- no photos?

Cycling is the only sport I've ever done made me drop weight while eating everything in sight. And I rarely did more than 200 miles/week.

Lindsay said...

Mikey-The best I can give ya is the race photos from the previous post...Going to a big fundraiser/party Saturday night and if there are any good ones from that I'll send to you.