Note from the Fat Cyclist: I had every intention of being wacky when I started today’s entry, but wound up being both serious and self-indulgent. Sorry. As compensation for this unseemly display, allow me to present my favorite photo of me ever. I call it "1/4 second Til Impact."
I’ve tried a bunch of diets. Whether it’s because of bad eating habits or genetics, my weight drifts toward around 180 (or more, if I start being a complete idiot about food, as in the past year or so). Here’s my critique of them:
Probably my first foray into dieting was well before I started biking: it was about 5 years into my marriage. Both my wife and I wanted to lose weight. My wife’s mom had had success with Jenny Craig, so we both signed up. Within a few months, I had dropped from 180 to 145 — the lightest I had been since high school. The thing with Jenny Craig is, it only works as long as you are eating their food, which cost around $80/wk, if I remember right. As soon as I stopped paying for their food, I started gaining, and didn’t take that long to get back to my old weight. Jenny Craig will get the pounds off you, but you don’t learn how to keep them off at all.
I can’t believe I did this, and yet I did. Basically, eat all the cabbage soup you want, but nothing else. You lose about 10 pounds in a week doing this, after which you have a gag reflex at the very thought of cabbage soup. And then you go on a revenge binge that puts about 15 pounds on you over the next month.
Same deal as Cabbage Soup. Except I don’t gag at the thought of Slim Fast. In fact, I still use it — as a source of quick calories on endurance rides.
OK, here’s the thing. An ephedine / caffeine / aspirin stack has worked better for me than just about anything. Using it, I went from 180 to 150 and stayed in that neighborhood for about three years. And it didn’t just help me lose weight, either — it made me ride faster. The ephedra/caffeine stack has a curious effect: it gives you willpower. Ie, I still felt as hungry as ever, but was able to deal with it. Similarly, going up a long, hard hill on my bike, my legs hurt as much as ever, but I was better able to ignore the pain.
There are a couple of problems with that, though: for the three years I was on "the stack," I slept poorly. And, eventually, I was no longer able to ignore the likelihood that I was probably setting myself up for long term consequences. High blood pressure runs in the family, y’know?
Worst of all, though, I knew that what I was doing was essentially doping.
I quit the stack about the same time we moved out to Washington. I actually expected to have withdrawal symptoms, but didn’t. Maybe that’s because there was plenty of other stuff going on in my life to occupy my mind (I’ll get to that another time).
Not coincidentally, I’m sure, it’s during the year and change since then that I’ve become The Fat Cyclist.
I’ve decided, though, that I’d rather be the Fat Cyclist than be the fast doper cyclist. I’m hoping, though, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
But I don’t.
What I’m trying to do, instead, is make at least the bulk of my food raw fruits and vegetables. In my case, that equates to lots and lots of apples (favorite fruit) and carrots (favorite vegetable). And, above all, I am trying very hard not to go on grazing binges late at night. And I do seem to be losing weight doing this.
Just in case, though, I’ve still got three bottles of Ephedrine in an undisclosed, secure location.
Next up: How to entertain yourself while on an endurance ride/race
Today’s weight: 182.6