A Note from Fatty: Thank you to everyone who expressed their support and point of view regarding the future of this blog. A couple weeks of rest from writing has done me a lot of good and I am excited to be posting again.
So this blog’s not going away. In fact, I currently have nine items in my “things to write about” list, which is more than I usually have on tap.
While I was on break, though, I did have a couple of ideas I like about things I could do with this blog, and I’ve started work on them. Once I can tell that they’re going to amount to something, I’ll tell you more. Meanwhile, it’s been a while since I’ve just written for the fun of writing, so I’m pretty excited to post whatever pops into my head.
Also, I am working on a very exciting new project to help in the fight against cancer. I think you’ll be as surprised and excited by what it is as I am. I hope to be able to reveal what it is within the next couple weeks.
Back to My Roots
I started this blog as a way to document my efforts at dropping a bunch of weight. Along the way it’s become about many more things . . . especially as I got my weight to the point where it ought to be.
I mean, in 2011, I did the Leadville 100 in 8:18 — a time I could only accomplish when light and fast.
And in 2012, I did the Leadville 100 in 8:49, winning the singlespeed division. I wasn’t as light, but I was still plenty light.
And then after Leadville, I just kept on doing race after race after race. I was racing and riding so much that I didn’t feel like I needed to worry about what I ate. So I didn’t. And since I kept doing pretty well, results-wise, in those races, I kept on eating as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
The season tapered off. But I didn’t taper off my eating.
In October, I noticed that my size Medium jerseys were no longer comfortable. So I shelved them and began wearing size Large. Same thing for t-shirts.
In November, I noticed that size Large jerseys were no longer comfortable, but I don’t have any XL jerseys, so I kept wearing Large.
And every day, as I put my jeans on, I had started doing special exercises — squats and stretches — to stretch my pants’ waist out enough that my circulation wasn’t cut off.
I did not check my scale to see how bad the damage was. But I could tell it was bad.
I found I was no longer comfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor, because my gut pushed into my lungs. And bending over to tie my shoes caused me to get woozy.
I began walking stairs, rather than running them — as had previously been my custom.
Then I began using the rail to give me an assist.
No, I am not kidding. Also, I continued to not check the scale. Partially because I know my own body well enough that I could make a pretty accurate guess as to my weight.
But also partially because I knew that once I saw the number, I would have to do something about it.
The Hammer — who raced like I did and eats like I do — encouraged me to continue to not look at the scale. “Once you do that, you’re going to have to start trying to lose weight, and starting a weight loss program right before Thanksgiving just won’t work,” she said, correctly.
“Wait ’til New Year’s Day, after all the holidays are past us. Then we’ll get back to the diet.”
“OK,” I said, relieved, and dished myself up another serving of mashed potatoes.
Things got really bad after Christmas. I knew I had one week ’til all the candy I had been gifted would be off-limits, so I made a point of eating all of it during that one week.
Boxes and boxes of candy. Really.
On New Year’s Eve, The Hammer made taco soup. I added many spoonsful of sour cream, fistfuls of cheese and crushed chips galore. Knowing this was my last hurrah.
Except of course for the homemade donuts we made later that night. I, in spite of still being uncomfortably full, ate two. I think I was proving a point, which was that I can eat more than anyone thinks I can.
As if that point continues to need to be proven. As if, further, there were any doubt regarding that point.
Finally, though, it was New Year’s Day. I told The Hammer, “I’m pretty sure my weight is 184,” as I mechanically walked to the scale and — for the first time in half a year — stepped on.
A maelstrom of thoughts barraged me:
- I am fatter, by far, than I have ever been since marrying The Hammer. If I were her, I would demand a refund.
- I am a pound lower than my estimate. Which is kind of like having lost a pound. Which is something to celebrate, right?
- I am going to have the slowest year of cycling ever if I don’t lose some weight
- I am right back where I was when I started writing my blog
Knowing that I needed to take this seriously and make a commitment that I would not back out of, I did what any modern social media-ized person who wants to lose some weight would do, in the following order:
- I decided what weight I wanted to get down to. That was easy. 158 pounds by the beginning of the season. 153 pounds by August.
- I decided how long it should take to lose that first 25 pounds. I did this by using the very scientific method of saying, “three months sounds about right.”
- I added a weight tracker to the sidebar of my blog, which I will update (and have been updating) daily. Check it out; you’ll see it right there.
- I took “Before” pictures, both front- and side-views. I am not presenting these for you to view, because I like you too much. Also, I am observing the time-honored tradition of not showing off a “before” photo until you have a decent “after” photo to show along with it. Which gives rise to the question: what do you suppose is the ratio of “before” photos to “after” photos in the universe? (My guess: 20:1)
- I tweeted about my current weight and announced my intention to lose weight. And I announced this weight loss resolution on January 1, which makes me the biggest Twitter cliche in the whole world.
The Bet Is On
All of this went according to plan. However, a wrinkle in my plans occurred shortly after I tweeted my intentions:
Hmmm. Interesting. A weight loss contest, where each of the contestants starts from the same place and is working toward the same goal, on the same timeline.
We commenced to negotiating, and wound up with the following terms:
- We both have until 3/30 to get to 158lbs.
- If BOTH of us get to 158, we both win and are happy, and should probably reward ourselves by buying something nice (like a pair of really expensive bibshorts).
- If ONE of us gets to 158, that person is the winner, and the loser must buy the winner a pair of ASSOS bibshorts of the winner’s choosing.
- IF NEITHER of us gets to 158, we each must purchase a pair of ASSOS bibshorts for Jim, a guy I’ve never met in person but follow in the blog universe, as well as on Twitter. I put this rule in here so that if both of us fail we still suffer the consequence of having to buy someone else a pair of very expensive bibshorts, compounded by the agony of knowing that this guy didn’t do anything to get even one pair, much less two.
- I’ll tweet my weight daily, and will include a running track of my weight in my blog sidebar. Adam will keep me apprised of his weight by tweeting it daily.
You may be wondering why the contest centers around Assos bibshorts. The reasons are pretty good, actually.
Second, because I would actually really like to try out a pair of Assos bibshorts. I can’t even tell you how many times people have approached me and said, “I know you hate Assos, but their shorts are the best.” The thing is, though, I don’t hate Assos. I’m totally neutral on them (a little Switzerland joke there), because I’ve never had any Assos item (except the chamois creme, and a too-large jersey, signed by Alexandre Vinokourov [yes, really]).
If you read what I’ve written about Assos, I’ve never attacked their products. I have done it was a teardown on their ad. I have done a teardown on Velonews’ craven advertorializing for Assos). But I haven’t attacked their clothes. In fact, I’d like to try out their shorts, just to see if they’re as great as people tell me.
That said, I simply cannot see myself paying that kind of money for shorts. I just can’t.
So, if I win this contest, I get a pair of Assos bibshorts for free, which seems pretty awesome. And if I lose, I have to spend the money on a pair of those shorts, but then don’t even get to wear them.
Are you beginning to see the strength of this incentive?
No? Oh well.
My Weight Loss Strategy
So here I am, 1640 words into a blog post about my new weight loss plan, and I haven’t even mentioned how I plan to lose weight.
That’s because I’ve talked about that strategy before: Egg whites and avocados. Hey, it works for me.
However, there are a few things that are worth mentioning here in conjunction with this plan.
- I now put a little bit of cheese on the egg whites. I read somewhere that this doesn’t affect weight gain or loss. Honestly. And it makes the whole thing taste so much better.
- Sometimes instead of avocados, I include a yolk. Just to mix things up a bit.
- I’m using yolks for disaster prevention, too. Sometimes, when I can feel that my hunger is escalating beyond a dull rumble to a consciousness-dominating roar, I go ahead and cook myself a batch of eggs with two egg yolks, then still add avocados. If I fight back the hunger now with some extra good calories now, I head off the certainty of a binge later.
- Dinner is different: I’m having regular dinner with my family. Last night we had salmon, saffron rice and peas. Tonight, spaghetti and meatballs. Tomorrow night, chicken fajitas. I do not allow myself more than a fist-sized amount of carbohydrate in the dinner meal, though. I am not cutting carbs out of my diet, just cutting way back.
- I go to bed early and get plenty of sleep. This has a few different benefits. First, whenever I’m sleeping, I’m not eating. Second, if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m irritable and grouchy, and I know that I tend to eat more when I’m grouchy: angry eating. And third, if I get enough sleep, I put more into my exercise.
- I expect things will go badly at some point. Right now I’m totally focused and dedicated, just like I am at the beginning of any big weight loss effort. This time, though, I’m anticipating the certainty that at some point I’ll fail. I’ll have a bad day or will be at some conference where we go out to eat and my willpower completely implodes. I am specifically allowing five of these events during this project. Which means that when I have a bad day, I haven’t failed. I’ve just used one of my three tokens. This is a useful way to counteract the “Oh well, I’ve screwed up, may as well give up” impulse.
- I expect things to go really badly this week in particular. I’m stuck in a conference room from early morning to late afternoon, with a nearly infinite number of snacks. Including many that I find pretty much irresistible. I was pretty good (about a 6 on a 1-10 scale) on the first day of the long meeting, but I don’t honestly have much in the way of weight-loss expectations for the rest of this week.
Or possibly I’m just feeling too lazy to really go hard at it.
Hey Kids, Try This At Home
In the past I’ve done weight loss competitions as part of this blog. The problem is, they take a lot of work, and I am indescribably lazy. Or hungry. Yes, right now I’m definitely more hungry than lazy. Either way, though, I’m not going to orchestrate a big weight loss competition this year.
However, if you would like to — in the comments — post how much you’d like to lose, maybe you’ll find someone who would like to join you in a head-to-head competition, for a prize you determine. At which point, you’ve got yourself some brand new motivation to start losing some weight.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat another five eggs, while furiously avoiding making eye contact with the ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD I really want to eat.