I Fear My Bathroom Scale

08.16.2005 | 6:36 pm

This morning,I got all ready to do my daily weigh-in. I got naked, took off my watch and wedding ring, spat in the sink three times, and made sure I had no lint in my belly button.

But then I didn’t weigh myself.

I just couldn’t. I know that with the pre-race taper, as well as (much more importantly) the post-race hogfest, I’m bound to have gained some weight. I know my body well enough to make a guess: I bet I weigh 170 pounds. But I just couldn’t stand the thought of looking at the numbers and knowing for sure.

With the Leadville 100 over ’til next year and no important riding events/races on the horizon, my "carrot" – an important reason, fixed in time, for me to lose weight – is gone. And without the carrot, setting up the "sticks" (negative consequences for my failing to meet my goals) like the daily weigh-in and the Fat Cyclist Sweepstakes have lost their appeal.

In short, I need a new carrot. Maybe a 24 hour MTB race. Maybe an epic road ride or race that I’ve never heard of before – one with lots of climbing. Something I can look forward to, and have a reason to train for.

I’m open to suggestions. And since I’ve blown my biking travel budget for the foreseeable future, having it be located in the NorthWest is a must.

This raises the larger issue: Do I have a prayer of ever reaching a point where I don’t have to combat my eating inclinations in order to ride the way I want to be able to? I mean, suppose I manage to get back to 150 pounds – yay for me! – and then also manage to finish under nine hours at Leadville next year. What happens next? Well, unless I find something new and exciting to give me a reason to stay skinny, I wager that I’d gain about 7 pounds the next month, 5 the following, and be back into the 180s by Thanksgiving.

Wow, I’ve just succeeded in totally bumming myself out.


Today’s weight: OK, I promise. Tomorrow I’ll weigh myself, and I kick off the Fat Cyclist Sweepstakes again. I’ll find a new carrot soon.



  1. Comment by Jodi | 08.16.2005 | 6:58 pm

    You just beautifully described the cycle of addiction. Welcome to the world of never mastering your built in desire, and the life-long struggle to gain some control over it. Lucky it’s food and not meth. Except with meth, you’d be really really skinny. So, maybe….may I suggest smoking crack? No no no. Just a joke. Injecting it works much better for weight loss. Congrats on finishing the race, sounds like it was a beautiful thing. You’re awesome with or without a carrot, and honestly never have looked very fat to me. OK!

  2. Comment by Unknown | 08.16.2005 | 7:28 pm

    One word: Cyclocross. It’s a new way to hurt yourself and starts in September.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 08.16.2005 | 7:29 pm

    New carrot?Epic rides in the Northwest?Cheap?Goal is to burn calories?That’s easy: http://www.rusa.orgA no-brainer, really. After RAMROD and Leadville, you’re ready for the 400 km on the 27th, no sweat. Got lights?

  4. Comment by Selina | 08.16.2005 | 8:20 pm

    i don’t know if you are open to suggestions, but from what i’ve read on your blog you sound like you are. i’m a cat4 road racer from colorado who will hopefully be cat3 sometime next spring. when i need to lose weight, i train for it. it usually takes me a month to lose 7-10 pounds this way and then i don’t have to worry about it for a while. my girlfriend is currently following the same schedule and she’s dropped 4 pounds in the last three weeks; i lost 8 pounds last month after i noticed in the mirror the accumulated consequences of recovery for a year’s worth of criteriums.the idea is very simple. weight loss is accounting, and all the various diet ideas (eg. atkins, low fat, etc.) are just ways to try to speed up the spending. but ultimately, if you are below the number of calories you require in a given day, you will lose weight. you want to stay below your requirements as a rule, but not so far below them that you reduce your requirements by slowing your metabolism. this is very hard to do by guessing, especially since the calorie calculators you find online are full of crap.so i use a spreadsheet and a power tap. i had a metabolic rate profile done (most sports medicine clinics can do this, certainly any place that can measure vo2max) and have determined that i need to eat about 3400 calories in a day for maintenance. my power tap tells me how many joules i have used on my bike, and if you assume about a 28% metabolic efficiency, the joules put into the wheel are approximately the same as the calories burned getting them there. now every time i eat something, i add up the calories and enter it in the spreadsheet; every time i ride, i record the energy reading on the power tap. at the end of the day, i subtract my 3400 maintenance calories to find my deficit for the day.at the top of the page, i keep a running total of the calories burned, and for kicks i even divide them by 3500 to find out how many pounds i should have lost. the scale tends to track the totals surprisingly well, given the fluctuations that are bound to occur with various levels of muscular recovery (ie. the way you’re 5 pounds lighter than you should be the day after a ride that took all the glycogen out of your legs).if this sounds anal … well, it is. but consider that my organization skills are probably about average for a male in his mid-30s, which is to say "poor" to "very poor." i cannot tell you how many times i have tried and failed to keep a training diary. my house never fails to have mail lying around and random bike part clutter, even hours after i’ve cleaned it (under my girlfriend’s supervision, of course). but i still manage to do the spreadsheet thing for a month – it gives you the carrot you’re looking for by giving you an objective measure of your progress, and it discourages cheating because you have to write it all down. it discourages eating out, too, because by doing so you cast doubt on your daily estimate and therefore on the accuracy of your progress.give it a try.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 08.16.2005 | 9:10 pm

    Loooooove the blog- got hooked thanks to the OLN/Liggett spoof during the TdF. :) Congrats on finishing Ledville, BTW!FWIW, it’s not really smart to deliberately try to lose weight while training for an athletic event- you’re asking your body to perform well while in what is essentially starvation mode (fewer calories in while exerting higher effort). The two scenarios that are most likely to happen in my experience are: either you’ll lose the weight and not do well in your race, or you’ll maintain/gain weight and perform well, leading to frustration either way.I do the race-carrot thing myself (I’ve recently developed a thing for an annual marathon), but I’ve found that I function better if I partition my year into three sessions: a weight loss/maintenance phase where I focus on portion control and extra cross-training to keep my weight down, a more rigorous ramped training phase where I’m eating more but carefully to avoid bonking during runs or while at work, and a short recovery phase where I try hard not to pig out in celebration of having survived 26.2. :)I humbly make two suggestions that have helped me get better control of my situation: The Hacker’s Diet and Chris Carmichael’s "Food for Fitness"- both are Google-able, and appealed strongly to my obsessive/non-obsessive attitude towards weight control & running. One uses a spreadsheet to calculate the moving average of your weight (helps separate noise from signal, if that means anything to you), and the other makes some good suggestions on figuring out what and how much to eat while you’re training hard. Hope that you enjoy and/or benefit from these resources!-Kealoha

  6. Comment by Chris | 08.16.2005 | 11:36 pm

    I went from being a fat soccer player to a lean mean soccer played with the help of the Pro Club. I did the full blown 20/20 program, but by far the most helpful part of it for me was learning how to eat in a better way. They have some great staff dieticians that changed the way I eat.I don’t eat perfectly all the time, but on the whole I eat loads better then I used to. For me I just needed a little pro guidance. The result is I lost of ton of weight, and now have kept it off long enough that I feel comfortable keeping it off for the long haul.Specifically I can’t say enough good lings about Lida Buckley. Give them a call and see if they can help.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 08.17.2005 | 4:12 am

    Now wait a minute. You said:>> I wager that I’d gain about 7 pounds the next month, 5 the following, and be back into the 180s by Thanksgiving<<Whoa. Stop there. Take a deep breath. Drink a glass of water. You’ve worked pretty hard to get where you are and — excuse the expression — don’t lose it now.I’m really impressed at some the advice offered here to your post today. Take it. Oh, and lose the Ben & Jerry’s.Hang in there…

  8. Comment by Unknown | 08.17.2005 | 4:22 pm

    That carrot should be next years Leadville 100. If you are 170 now and you want to reach 150 by next august now is the time to do it ! That would be approximately two pounds per month. That way you wouldn’t be pushing it so hard doing the binge/purge cycle. Also, I would suggest sticking with a body fat measurement as your main barometer of success instead of using your gross tonnage. You don’t have to go public with it like your weight if you don’t want.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 08.17.2005 | 4:37 pm

    Wow. Hard to say. I think it depends on how much you can internalize wanting to stay at a given weight. Me, I feel so good every single day. THAT is my reward for losing 80 lbs and getting fit again . . . that’s my carrot. Having the ability to jump on the bike and hammer any day, any time . . . being able to run. Lift weights. Wear the clothes in my closet. These are my daily rewards, and the rest is just gravy.

  10. Comment by Jim | 08.17.2005 | 8:56 pm

    Sounds like what works for you is to have a goal. In the fall I used to do long hikes because I was tired of cycling and then ready to get back on in November and December. One ride I did always in the fall though was to grab some friends and ride the North Cascades Hwy (hwy 20). Right around Sept 20 or so is best and it still takes a bit of fitness as it can be around 90mi or so depending on where you start and finish. It’s gorgeous and the traffic is light that time of year.Otherwise hook up with one of the local racing clubs or Cascade. They are always training year-round and you will be motivated to stay fit so you don’t get dropped!I’ve found that when I train, my body wants me to eat more nutritiously. That’s the positive aspect of the "cycle of addiction"By the way, great blog!

  11. Comment by Paul Beard | 08.17.2005 | 9:51 pm

    Congrats on the Leadville!Next, how about the Cheakamus Challenge (http://www.cheakamuschallenge.com/) in Whistler, Canada? Only 70km – about 5-6 hours.

  12. Comment by Blog, 007 Blog | 08.20.2005 | 6:53 pm

    I like my rality tv show too!I hope you like my blog.

  13. Comment by WENDY | 08.20.2005 | 8:02 pm

    It’s not usually until around Jan or Feb, but the Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge is fun to train for. It is a challenge, for me at least. Lots of hills.


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