Yesterday, I launched a little contest, aiming to do two things:
- Give me the motivation to reverse my serious trend toward winter weight gain, by going public with my own effort while simultaneously getting some additional motivation through blog solidarity.
- Clean out my office.
As I photographed all the stuff I’m giving away, I thought to myself, “There is no way enough people are going to sign up for this contest for me to give all these prizes away.”
And then around 750 of you signed up. So far.
Which means that if we all actually succeed in our “10 Pounds by Christmas” goal, we’ll have collectively lost close to four tons.
Not bad at all.
When I Say Ten, I Mean Ten
There are quite a few comments in yesterday’s post saying things like, “I don’t have ten pounds to lose, so count me in for losing the eight extra ounces I’d like to get rid of.”
Which is awesome. I’m incredibly happy (and by “happy” I of course mean “envious”) that I have some readers that don’t have a lot of weight to lose, and that you’re jumping on this bandwagon to lose that final three pounds or whatever.
But this is a ten-pound challenge, and I created it for those of us who have more than ten pounds to lose, and want to get rid of at least ten pounds by Christmas. In other words, this is a “let’s jumpstart our weight loss” contest. And the people who get prizes will all have lost a minimum of ten pounds.
As we get into Spring or maybe Summer, I like the idea of a “last X pounds” challenge, where — hopefully — a bunch of us will compete to get rid of those final stubborn pounds together. And since those pounds are the hardest to get rid of, I think the incentives might be a little more awesome.
Call For Sponsors
Right now, the “Fatty’s Ten Pounds By Christmas” challenge is not really sponsored. Prizes are just the cool things I happen to already have laying around my office but haven’t given away.
But that doesn’t mean this challenge couldn’t be sponsored. If I were a company with a product that appeals to motivated, engaged cyclists, I think I’d take a look at a contest that obviously has captured a lot of interest in a short time and consider hitching myself to that star, as it were.
As in, if you’d like to make this the “[Your Company Name] / Fat Cyclist Ten Pounds by Christmas Challenge,” email me.
I’m not really looking for money as part of this sponsorship (though I suppose it’d be nice for me to get enough money out of this to cover the shipping costs I’m going to incur by mailing out so much schwag); I’m interested in cool giveaways — either small things that you’re willing to send to a lot of winners, or some grand prizes you’d be willing to send to one or more lucky winners.
Or both. Both would be good.
How to Lose an Extra 0.2 Pounds
This morning, I woke up excited. Yesterday I had accomplished a rare thing: a no-mistakes diet day. So I knew I’d have lost a lot of weight.
I stepped on the scale: 170.8 pounds. A loss of 2.4 pounds in one day. Not bad at all.
But I wanted more.
So I punched the reset button on the scale and climbed on. This time, I got 170.6. What had changed? I wasn’t sure. So I reset the scale again and climbed back on. 170.6 again.
Yes, I know. I should be satisfied with a day’s loss of 2.6 pounds. But that extra 0.2 pounds I seem to have lost over the course of seven seconds left me wanting more.
I got greedy.
Surely, I thought, it must be possible for me to lose yet another 0.2 pounds (my scale increments in 0.2 pounds, or I’d probably have been satisfied with 0.1 pounds). Right now.
Attempt One: Leg Shaving
With ten inches of snow sitting on my lawn, I’m not getting outside in shorts often. My tan is gone; my legs hadn’t been shaved in two weeks.
And you know, I’m a hairy guy. It’s totally possible I’ve got 3.2 ounces (i.e., 0.2 pounds).
So I shaved.
My weight remained — stubbornly — at 170.6.
It occurs to me — now that it’s too late — that my legs are not the only things I can shave. Perhaps if I had shaved my head, arms, armpits, face and chest, I might have been able to bridge that gap to 0.2 pounds through de-hair-ization alone.
Which is something I’ll keep in mind tomorrow.
Attempt Two: Total-Concentration Peeing
Naturally, I peed before weighing myself this morning. But by the time I finished showering, (very, very thoroughly) toweling off, and weighing myself, that I might possibly be able to pee just a little bit more.
Doesn’t need to be a lot. I mean, how much is three ounces (I’m sure that getting rid of the hair must have gotten rid of at least 0.6 ounces, right?) of water? A couple teaspoons? Maybe a quarter cup at most.
And — if you think about it — you’ve almost always got a little bit of pee ready to go.
Except I didn’t. I just stood there for about two minutes, feeling a little bit silly.
No, wait. There it is. And, there, I’m done.
Well, if I didn’t pee out three ounces, I did at least post a new record for “most effort for least pee.”
My weight: still 170.6.
Attempt Three: Brushing Teeth
Have you ever considered that the plaque and other miscellaneous gunk that builds up on your teeth has mass? Well of course it does!
And this morning, I decided that a good teeth brushing might just remove enough of that stuff to tip the scale to 170.4.
So I brushed. Very extensively.
And then I spat. And spat again. And then I gleeked a couple of times (one of my not-very-famous super powers).
And weighed myself. 170.6.
Then, in a burst of inspiration, I reset the scale and climbed back on — but this time inched my toes forward ever so slightly. Because…well…I kind of have this idea that the scale is just a hair friendlier toward the front.
170.2. I have lost an even three pounds my first day of the Challenge.
Fair and square.
This is a bad time of year for those of us who gain weight easily. So many things working against us. The big events we’ve been working toward the whole season are over. It’s dark ’til later, then gets dark again earlier. It’s colder outside, making comfort food more…comforting.
And then there are the holidays. Halloween comes right before Thanksgiving, which comes right before Christmas, which is practically on the same day as New Year’s.
Hey, with all these things working against us, why even try to keep our weight down, right?
This Autumn has been especially bad for me, weight-gain-wise. I’m up to 173.2 pounds, as of this morning, which is 6.8 pounds away from my official “shame weight” — the weight at which I officially have to get out my fat pants and start wearing bulky sweatshirts.
I don’t want to have to do this. But I know that — unless I do something bold — I’m going to have to.
And so, starting today, I am going to spite the Winter Weight Gain god (his friends call him “Melvin”). I am going to use the (nearly) four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to lose ten pounds, instead of putting on another five.
And I’d like you to join me. The solidarity will help.
And as extra incentive, if you’ll commit, I’ll give you something cool for free (which will serve the dual purpose of helping me clean up my office).
What You Can Win
I just went through the pile of stuff laying around in my office — stuff given to me with the express purpose of me giving it away — and frankly I’m a little bit startled. Although I suppose I shouldn’t be, seeing as how I have to step over a big pile anytime I want to get to the computer. And then I have to sweep aside another pile in order to see the monitor.
And in general, I have a lot of stuff I’d feel guilty keeping for myself.
Plus — and this is the really awesome part — The Runner has promised me that she’d take care of the shipping of all these prizes, which has been the stumbling block that’s kept me from giving all this away already.
So, here are the things you might win if you join me in my quest to lose ten pounds before Christmas.
A Timex Ironman Race Trainer Kit
Don’t have a good heart rate monitor? Or a stopwatch? This’ll take care of you. And since it’s a Timex, you know it’s pretty much bombproof. I will be giving away 1 of these.
An Amgen Tour of California jersey, signed by Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Bob Roll
Three legends, one jersey. Pretty darned awesome, I’d say. I’ll be giving away 1 of these.
A 2009 Fat Cyclist jersey, signed by Levi Leipheimer and Bob Roll
I’m going to be honest with you: this jersey is slightly used. But the guy who used it is Chuck Ibis, and if you ask me, that makes this jersey even more collectible. I have 1 of these to give away.
A Garmin-Transitions Jersey
A very nice, lightweight, top-of-the-line full-zip jersey, made by Pearl Izumi, back when Garmin-Transitions and Pearl Izumi were friends. I have 4 of these to give away, in different sizes.
An Amgen Tour of California “Staff” Shirt
You think this would get you past the VIP bouncers? Might be worth a shot. I will be giving away 2 long-sleeved button-ups, and one tech polo.
A 100 Miles of Nowhere T-Shirt
I will be giving away my remaining “leftover” stock of these t-shirts — all 23 of them. If you win one, though, I want you to promise to make it honest by doing a 100 Miles of Nowhere ride of your own.
Pro Bars and Fruition Bars
I love Pro Bars and Fruition bars. They’re pricey, but taste a lot more like real food than your ordinary energy bars. I’ll be giving away 1 box of the Pro Bars and one box of the Fruition bars.
A Twin Six “Ride” t-shirt, featuring Santa Claus
Twin Six designs are the most awesome thing ever. I’ll be giving away 1 of these shirts.
Cycling Hall of Shame Autographed Pedals: Michael Rasmussen, Bernard Kohl
How many people do you know who have a pedal signed by even one disgraced cycling pro? Well, now you can have a mismatched set. This will be your most awesome conversation piece ever. One person gets both of these.
Bare Knuckle Brigade Socks
They’re tall. They’re wool. They’re large. They’re an unholy marriage of the Bare Knuckle Brigade and Twin Six. I will be giving away 1 pair of these socks.
A Wool Fat Cyclist Cycling Cap
To be honest, I think I might’ve worn this a couple times. But my head is kept very clean and is certifiably lice-free.
A Gary Fisher Stocking Cap
You will look so festive in this. I have 1 to give away.
A Bright Pink (Magenta, Even?) LiveStrong T-Shirt
“Bright” doesn’t do this pink justice. Let’s call it “shocking” pink instead.
Miscellaneous Water Bottle Sets
I’m giving these — guaranteed to never have been used before — water bottles away in sets of two, so you’ll have a nice matching set. A Levi’s GranFondo set. A Fat Cyclist set. Two sets of Garmin bottles. A Team LiveStrong set. And even my Leadville Trail 100 set.
A Fat Cyclist Jersey
I have a few Fat Cyclist jerseys from years gone by — one from 2009, two from 2008. Part of me thinks I ought to hang on to them, but I’m giving them away, because I already have enough Fat Cyclist jerseys that I can go a month without wearing the same one twice.
How to Enter
Which of these many, many prizes might you win? That’s the beauty of it — you don’t know. I’ll choose randomly (though if possible, I’ll be happy to send you the correct size of shirt).
And even better, it costs nothing for you to enter this contest, or to win something. All you have to do is leave a comment either today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday) in today’s post , indicating that you’re in. If you’re brave, you should also post your current weight.
When you leave a comment, be sure to include your email address in the email field (don’t worry, that address isn’t public, it’s just so I can contact you and get your address if you win something).
Then, on each weigh-in day, in the comments section, tell me how much you’ve lost so far. Weigh-in days are:
- November 29/30: Initial weigh-in
- December 6: First week weigh-in
- December 13: Second week weigh-in
- December 20: Third week weigh-in
- December 23: Final weigh-in
Note that there are only 3 days between the third week weigh-in and the final weigh in, so don’t plan on losing a ton of weight then.
Out of everyone who successfully loses at least 10 pounds by December 23, I’ll choose random winners for each of the prizes listed above.
To me, it seems pretty likely that if you lose the 10 pounds, you’ll get some prize or other. Considering the entry fee (none), that’s not bad at all.
My Eating Plan
I am not a dietician. I am not a nutritionist. But I know quite about about what works, at least for myself (and I’ve got a pretty ordinary body). If you don’t already have a diet worked out, why don’t you follow my plan? It’s simple, it is usable for busy people in the real world, and if you stay on the wagon, I am almost certain that you will lose more than the ten pounds I’m setting as our communal by-Christmas goal.
Breakfast: I like eggs for breakfast. Here are the two ways I like to prepare them.
- Fried: either 4 egg whites — fried — with a quarter avocado sliced on top, or a 3 egg whites and 1 yolk. Either way, it goes on a slice of wheat toast.
- Scrambled: Saute a quarter onion, a handful of mushrooms, a handful of spinach leaves, and a couple spoonsful of salsa, then scramble in 3 whites and a yolk.
Snack: A grapefruit, or a tomato. Or an apple. Or a banana. Or if I craving something sweet, pears. Basically, any raw fruit or vegetable
Lunch: Tuna, egg whites, or chopped chicken, with fat free mayo, dill relish, celery, tomato, and mustard chopped in. On a slice of wheat bread or a couple of rice cakes.
Snack: Same as previous snack, but only one grapefruit per day. Not because they’re heavy or anything like that. I’ve just noticed my stomach starts to feel too acidic when I go too heavy on the grapefruit (wonderful though it is)
Dinner: Same thing everyone else in the family is having, but with portion control. No more carbs than two slices of bread would be, no more meat than the size of my fist. Keep fats to about a tablespoon.
- Throughout the day: Drink half gallon of water.
- When to stop eating: After dinner, I’m done eating for the night. This makes for very difficult sleeping the first couple nights, after which things are fine. And I’m done drinking, too. Because I hate having to get up to pee four times per night.
- How I Hope to Not Hate My New Eating Habits: Once per week, usually on a Friday or Saturday, I get a non-diet meal. So it’s still possible to go out to eat and indulge in the things I like most. It’s just that doing so will be more of a special occasion, instead of the default.
- My non-dairy-ness isn’t about diet. You’ll notice there’s hardly any dairy in my diet. That’s not because I don’t think dairy can work in a diet. It’s because dairy makes me fart. And I don’t like soy milk, for those of you who were about to suggest it.
My Exercise Plan
This is actually the hardest part of the plan for me, because it’s winter, and I just don’t love riding my bike in the cold (I know, some people thrive on it; I don’t).
So, I plan to ride the rollers for an hour every day. That’s as much as I can stand. I will then supplement that with a rotating schedule of a short run or swim and an upper body day. Upper body days consist of doing the Hundred Pushups plan and pull-ups.
The Runner, by the way, will be doing essentially the same thing as me, but will be doing P90X for her upper-body stuff.
How Fast I’ll Lose Weight
I expect to lose four pounds this first week, then three pounds in the second week, then two pounds in the third week. In the final three days, I’ll lose one more pound. Ten pounds by Christmas. Easy.
Now, I gotta figure out what I’m going to give myself for a prize when I succeed.
Let’s Get Started
OK, we’ve got a timeframe, we’ve got prizes, we’ve got solidarity. Let’s see how much, collectively, we can lose by Christmas. Go weigh yourself, and then leave a comment saying that you are committed.
I am thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my wonderful kids — all smart, all healthy, and all have put up with an awful lot pretty much every year of their lives, but still have maintained their humor, their kindness, and helpfulness, while treating me like a better dad than I am. My family also grew by four this year: The Runner and her three kids, including her daughter joining the household (her two boys are on their own). I wouldn’t have ever imagined the Brady-Bunch-ization of my life would be so awesome.
I am thankful for a year that was crazy-busy, instead of crazy-awful. I got married. I got a new job. I did an Ironman. I did Levi’s GranFondo. I did Leadville. I did the Ride for the Roses. I did the New York City Marathon. I did Six Flags Magic Mountain. I hiked Zions. And a lot more. It’s been so nice to be overwhelmed with really exciting and new adventures, instead of new aspects of an ongoing tragedy.
I am thankful I inherited a big, friendly Malamute. The Runner’s dog looks like a wolf, acts like a princess. She lounges beside me most workdays, and is great company. I love having a dog.
I am thankful for carbon fiber. It’s light. It’s strong, it’s increasingly affordable. It can be any shape you want it to be. A new golden age of bicycles is upon us, and a big part of it is because a lot of smart people have learned to do amazing things with this material.
I am thankful for limes. I used to buy Diet Coke with Lime. Now I buy Diet Coke, and a big bag of limes. Twice as good. Easily.
I am thankful for sleep. The less I get of it, the more I appreciate it.
I am thankful for local singletrack. I have so much good riding I can do right from my house that traveling to go ride somewhere else feels like a waste of time. Why should I drive 45 minutes to go ride the — reputedly fantastic — trail in Payson when I can be riding the fantastic AF Canyon trails in fifteen minutes, or the Corner Canyon trails in five minutes? The problem of “too much awesome singletrack” is not a bad problem to have.
I am thankful for Team Fatty. So many of you have done so much in the fight against cancer this year. You inspire me to stay focused, and you honor Susan’s memory. Thank you.
PS: I am thankful for the 25%-Off Sale at Twin Six. My friends at Twin Six have created the absolutely best set of Fat Cyclist clothing ever this year. That’s not hyperbole, either. I really mean that this year the designs and kinds of cycling (and running!) gear they’ve put together for me is the best they’ve ever done. And today only, it’s all 25% off . I love my short-sleeve jersey, long-sleeved jersey, hoodie, tech-T, and wool socks in particular. Check out all the Fat Cyclist gear here.
PPS: Everything else at Twin Six is 25% off today, too. Which makes today an awesome day to do your Christmas shopping for your cycling friends…and for yourself.
Oh sure, there’s a blizzard warning today for where I live — with exciting phrases like “arctic front” and “4 to 8 inches of snow is likely late this afternoon through tonight.” But I’m pretty sure it’s just a passing thing.
Winter is not here to stay.
And, I suppose, you could make an argument that with tomorrow’s high of 15 degrees (fahrenheit), it may be time for me to consider my off-season cycling options.
But I would counter your argument with the fact that by Saturday, temperatures will be all the way back to a high of 41 degrees! That’s warmer than freezing! Practically balmy, if you ask me.
And, by the way, by “balmy,” I mean “mild and pleasant”, not “mentally irregular.” Just to be clear.
My point is, naturally, that there’s no special reason for me to get out my rollers and start riding them.
You feel the same, I’m sure (except those of you who live in climes which allow you to keep riding, in which case please trade houses with me for the next five months, please).
The following are additional reasons why I feel it is not yet necessary to consider riding my rollers:
- Once I have begun, I must accept the fact that I will — more often than not — be riding rollers pretty much every day of the week for the next several months. And honestly, I just don’t think I can quite wrap my head around that fact quite yet.
- My pants still fit. More or less. After I hand-stretch them and then do a couple of crouches. Which is good exercise anyways, right?
- I do not yet have a TV series or movie trilogy I’m so excited about that it nullifies the daily dread I feel over the thought of another hour on the rollers.
- It’s a good idea to take a break from riding a bike for a while — you know, actually stop riding. By doing that, you prevent yourself from burning out. And from overtraining. And…other stuff.
- OK, fine. I just don’t want to. I really don’t.
Please feel free to use these as your reasons to not ride the rollers yet, as well. Furthermore, please help me out with your own compelling reasons why it’s not yet time to get out the rollers.
Together, I’m sure we can convince each other we’re right.
There’s a guy where I work who keeps some candy in his office. And by “some candy,” I mean that he has a file cabinet (and no, I don’t mean a drawer in his cabinet, I mean the whole freaking cabinet) full of giant bags of fun-size candy bars, along with a plastic tub full of Twizzlers. And another one full of cashews. And yet another with York Peppermint Patties.
Now, on one hand, this guy is one of the greatest guys in the office. He’s smart, he’s nice, he gets tons of work done, and — this is important — he shares.
On the other hand, this guy just totally pisses me off.
Why? Ha. As if you need to ask.
He pisses me off because this guy — in spite of this enormous quantity of junk food he’s got within arm’s reach — has what I would estimate to be 0.0001% body fat.
How is that possible? There can be only three possible explanations:
- He has a crazy-high metabolism, and no matter how much junk he eats, he doesn’t get fat.
- He self discipline, and is able to eat his junk food in moderation.
- He just doesn’t feel a compulsion to — in the event that food is within his grasp — eat and eat and eat until there is no food there anymore.
Which of these is the case for my co-worker? Does it even matter? The important thing is that the guy has a cubic meter of junk food, and is nevertheless thin.
And, By Way of Contrast, There’s Me
I, on the other hand, do not have a file cabinet full of candy at work. Now, I do have a bowl at my desk where candy could go, should I choose to bring some. But it’s almost always a sad, lonely, empty bowl, with no candy at all (though if you bury your nose in the bowl, you may be able to catch a whiff of the candy that most recently — albeit extremely temporarily — occupied the bowl).
Why no candy in my candy bowl? Because of the following two reasons:
- I brought candy in in the morning, intending to share it, but, after deciding I would eat one or two myself, closed the door to my office and gorged until nothing remained but a pile of fun-sized wrappers.
- I did not bring candy in, because I know myself well enough to realize that it would not survive the hour.
What A Bowl (Or Lack Thereof) By Your Desk Says About You
So my co-worker and I occupy near-opposite ends of the office candy spectrum. He has plenty and is glad to share. I either have no candy, or am well on my way to that state.
Of course, the bowl of candy in the office is a widespread phenomenon. What that bowl says about you, however, has thus far remain unexplored.
I shall now correct that oversight.
- If you have a bowl full of candy that remains essentially unchanged over a period of months, you can be confident that, first of all, your candy sucks. Secondly, you can be confident that there is something about you or your office that is preventing your co-workers from coming over and eating your candy. Perhaps it’s that your office smells bad (if you’re a bike commuter, this is the most likely possibility). Or just maybe — if you’re the manager — it’s because they know that if they come into your office, you’ll give them extra work, and the candy isn’t worth the risk.
- If you have a bowl full of unwrapped candy, such as M&Ms, you have high confidence in your co-workers’ propensity to wash their hands reasonably frequently. Or maybe it means that you don’t have any such confidence, and by putting out loose candy, you figure you’ll give your willpower a boost.
- If you have a bowl full of different candy pretty much every day of the week, It means you work in a high-traffic area. Or that you’re really popular. Or that you have no willpower and eat all the candy yourself.
- If you have a bowl full of full-sized chocolate bars, you’re trying too hard. People can tell you’re trying to lure them into your office. Also, you’re trying to make other people gain weight, to offset your own.
- If you have no bowl, you are telling the world that you have no willpower, that any food near you will be eaten. You are saying, in effect, “Not only do I not trust myself to not eat snacks in my general vicinity, but you would be well advised to hide any snacks of your own.”
It’s also possible, I suppose, that you have a bowl full of healthy snacks.
In which case I have nothing to say to you.
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