I Am In Open Defiance of Physics

03.4.2013 | 12:45 pm

I’ve been working hard on my diet. Between the beginning of January to the end of February, I dropped from 183 pounds to 162.8 pounds. That’s twenty pounds in two months. No, it’s more (0.2 pounds more, but still) than twenty pounds.

Which meant I had only 5 more pounds to lose in the final month of my big 25-pound weight loss contest / challenge / mutual accountability support group thingy I have going with Adam Schwarz.

Easy. Right?

But last weekend, The Hammer and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. And we celebrated it the way we always celebrate it: by going to Zion’s National Park, staying at the Lodge, and hiking and riding our bikes pretty much until we feel like we’re going to pass out from exhaustion.

What, that doesn’t sound like a romantic weekend getaway to you? 

Oh, and in addition to hiking and cycling pretty much all the time, we ate like normal people. Which leads to a problem I observed this morning. I’ll get to that in just a moment.

We Are Very Athletic

So here are the things The Hammer and I did while we were on our vacation.

  • Went on a 100-Mile Bike Ride: Friday, we got on our Shivs and rode from Zion’s National Park to Saint George, and then back. We meant to ride 100 miles but miscalculated and wound up riding 102 or so. With around 5800 feet of climbing. 
  • Went on a 9-Mile Hike: Saturday, we got up and went on a big ol’ hike to a gorgeous overlook of Zion’s National Park. It’s an extremely vertical hike, but more than worth it in terms of the view. Hey, let me show you some pictures:
Yes, I’m wearing running tights and a black wool base layer t-shirt. We were speed hiking, dammit. 

I know, it’s not nice to take pictures of people’s backsides without letting them know. Sorry.

The Hammer at rest

I swear, I am not posing in front of a backdrop. 

  • Went on a Mountain Bike Ride With Kenny and Heather: After our 9-mile hike in the morning, The Hammer and I drove to St George, where we went on a fun mountain bike ride with Kenny and Heather. I had specifically requested we ride the Bearclaw / Poppy trail, because I’ve been itching to make a video of this incredibly fun trail. Unfortunately, this was the first time I had used a chest mount for my camera, and pretty much all my footage looks like this:

Trust me, you don’t want four minutes of this. 

  • Rode the Bike Portion of the St. George Half-Ironman: The Hammer has got it into her head that she would like to try doing a half Ironman. Luckily for her (and possibly unluckily for me), St. George will be hosting its inaugural half ironman May 4. And so yesterday, naturally, we went and rode the bike course (but only the hardest 30 miles of it, because we needed to get home).

So, that’s a fairly active weekend, wouldn’t you say?

We Are Somewhat Hungry

You would think that, with all this exercising and whatnot, we’d be completely free to eat whatever we want.

But no. We are much more responsible than that. Especially since I’m trying really really hard to get down to racing weight by the end of March. And so we tried to keep our appetites in check, with the following items being the main things we ate during this trip:

  • Fajitas at Chili’s: On the way to Zion’s, we stopped in Cedar City and split an order of fajitas. 
  • Free Breakfast: At the complimentary breakfast buffet served at the Zion’s Lodge, we ate a reasonable amount, staying away from the muffins and sausage and hash browns and stuff. Mostly, I just had scrambled eggs each morning.
  • Jazzy’s: Our favorite place to eat at St. George is a little place called Jazzy’s. We stopped there as the halfway point of our 100-mile bike ride and split a California wrap and an order of sweet potato fries.
  • Soup: Trying to be both frugal and nutritionally responsible, we actually brought some leftover chicken soup we had made a few days ago and heated it up for one of our lunches. 
  • Egg Whites: We made egg whites and avocados for at least two of the meals while we were there.
  • Five Guys: Our one truly big splurge was at the end of yesterday’s TT ride, where we each got a burger and split an order of fries at Five Guys. 

I ask you: were we crazily out of control, foodwise, especially when you take into account our activity level? Because it seems to me like we weren’t.

The Damage

So I weighed myself this morning — the first time I’ve been able to since leaving on our trip on February 28 (on which day I weighed 162.8).

I weighed in at 168.6 pounds.

Yes, over this weekend I gained 5.8 pounds. Which, I believe, proves the following:

  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I am able to create mass out nothingness.
  • That whole “To lose weight, simply eat less and exercise more” thing is nonsense.

26 days left, 10.4 pounds to go. Pfffff.


  1. Comment by centurion | 03.4.2013 | 12:53 pm

    Are you taking into account that muscle weighs more than fat? Since you did so much, you added lots of heavy muscle, hence, the weight gain.

  2. Comment by Mukrider | 03.4.2013 | 12:58 pm

    That sounds all too familiar. I am trying to get down to race a weight of about 158. This weekend, I ate fairly well (except for a burger and fries on Sunday), did a bike/run workout on Saturday and ran the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k on Sunday morning. Somehow I gained about 4 pounds in the process. “Mass Out of Nothingness”. Sounds like a good phrase for a future Team Fatty kit.

  3. Comment by Mukrider | 03.4.2013 | 1:00 pm

    Oh, and I did the Hot Chocolate run in my Fat Cyclist long sleeve jersey. Maybe there’s a connection there…

  4. Comment by TomInCO | 03.4.2013 | 1:10 pm

    The centurion may be on to something. However, it is far more likely the weight gain came from the 5Guys burger. They have the same density as the depleted uranium shells the Army uses to destroy tanks (the Army tried using them as a more eco-friendly alternative, but due to their grease laden nature, they slid off the targets). Your caloric intake in that one meal probably equaled everything else you ate all weekend.

  5. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.4.2013 | 1:11 pm

    I have to agree with Mukrider – ““Mass Out of Nothingness”. Sounds like a good phrase for a future Team Fatty kit.” does sound like a good Team Fatty kit slogan.


    Fatty, I have had this happen as well. Marilyn & my “active vacations” are kind of an inverse – huge amounts of very steep, long hikes, as in 18 to 25-miles, interspersed with lessor amounts of cycling, but enough oversall activity to food consumed ratio to expect some weight loss, but instead getting gain.

    Here is my unproven (and possibly unprovable – the very best kind!)theory: when you make a dramatic change in your exercise volume, you make a dramatic change in your sweating, and you do not end up with the same equilibium level of hydration. Your body will adapt, of course, but temporarily it is not yet adapted.

    Let me guess, The Hammer did not gain weight, because she, like most women, does not sweat, at least not enough to count, so her hydration level did not change.

    That proves it. Kind of.

  6. Comment by Mike C | 03.4.2013 | 1:27 pm

    I believe that I too have experienced this phenomenon, Mass Out of Nothingness. That does sound like a good slogan for the Team Fatty kit.

    Of course, by “nothingness”, I am sometimes referring to Chipotle burritos and Banana Cream Pie.

  7. Comment by Charlie | 03.4.2013 | 1:38 pm

    Not being an exercise physiologist or anything remotely like one, my guess is water weight gain. There is no way that diet splurge added nearly 6 lbs to your svelte frame.

  8. Comment by The Hammer | 03.4.2013 | 1:46 pm

    @clydesteve: I also gained 6 lbs. My entire weight loss since January 1st lost in one weekend! But I am unlike most women and sweat profusely! Hopefully, it is just water weight fluctuations! Its just VERY frustrating to see the scale going in the opposite directions!

  9. Comment by Tom in Albany | 03.4.2013 | 1:49 pm

    Did the twins mess with the scale?? ;-)

  10. Comment by mike | 03.4.2013 | 1:52 pm

    Water, water , water…. and that hamburger parked in your colon!!!

  11. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 03.4.2013 | 1:55 pm

    You’ll even out by Wednesday.

  12. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.4.2013 | 2:09 pm

    I’d bet good money that the increased sodium intake has you retaining water like a camel. Go back on your normal weight loss eating plan, drink plenty of water (because oddly, as you know, when you drink more you retain less, give the salty fluids 48-72 hours to flush and I bet that whole 5 pounds is gone in 1-3 days, and maybe even takes a friend or two with it.

    Been there!

  13. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 03.4.2013 | 2:10 pm

    Congratulations Elden and Lisa on your anniversary!

    And as for the tights thing, I’m willing to bet only one of you actually believed is was a ’speed hike’. I’ve seen the Strava, only one of you goes out for 10-14 mile runs in the snow and says Whoopeee!

  14. Comment by Randy | 03.4.2013 | 2:10 pm

    For me, to lose weight through exercise, I have to hit every major muscle group almost every day; legs, core, upper body (and I try to get each large muscle in each group). If not, my body seems to get to a certain point of efficiency and happily keeps a spare tire on board for when the end of civilization (or a government sequester) hits and food is scarce.

    There also seems to be some truth to the muscle confusion approach. Try mixing it up. When you go on these weekend food benders, do more sit-ups, push-ups, and / or anything else you don’t do regularly when home. One of those swim bungees allows you to work out your upper body in even the tiniest motel pool as well.

    It seems to help a lot for me, don’t know if it will work for you.

  15. Comment by Joe | 03.4.2013 | 2:14 pm

    You’re retaining a lot of water weight from all the high sodium food you ate.

    To gain that much weight from food… If you go by the rough estimate of 3500 calories per pound you would have had to eat an excess of 20,300 calories on top of what you needed to sustain yourself over the weekend. That’s almost 40 Quarter Pounder W/Cheeses over what you would need to break even.

  16. Comment by Jeff Bike | 03.4.2013 | 2:22 pm

    I agree with the water weight thing. Remember restaurant prepared food is often very high in salt. The salt will cause your body to retain water. You compound that with body’s starvation reflex, which is when the body is working hard on short calories it will save every single calorie for later. I suspect the body will do the same thing with water as a reflex to dehydration that the body is not accustom to. When you are on your regular diet and fluid intake levels then everything will soon return to normal. I doubt your weight will have gone up any at all.

  17. Comment by Brianne | 03.4.2013 | 2:23 pm

    Water weight! I must always be somewhat dehydrated after century rides, because I’m usually puffy with water for a few days. You’ll be fine!

  18. Comment by TK | 03.4.2013 | 2:25 pm

    I bet you’ll soon find out if your toilet can handle 5.8 lbs of nothingness. God speed and flush frequently!

  19. Comment by DT429 | 03.4.2013 | 2:27 pm

    Love that hike up to Angels Landing but glad there was a chain to hold on to. Up there a few years ago on New Year’s Day. Pretty fantastic way to start the year.

    GoPro chest mount is great for biking but you need to mount it upside down and then change the setting for inverted picture/video. Perhaps you did this but didn’t realize how much you lean forward when mountain biking. Test rides for new mounts is always a good thing (I did this recently with the K-Edge I got after your recommendation a while ago). Also, as I am sure you found out there is an annoying rattling that goes on with the Chesty. I found a post somewhere that recommended putting a piece of electrical tape on the chest mount slot before sliding on the camera. Worked great for me and significantly reduced the rattling.

  20. Comment by Janet B | 03.4.2013 | 3:23 pm

    I’m going to believe that most of the weight gain is water retention because of increased sodium intake. That’s what I always tell myself, and I’m usually right.

  21. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 03.4.2013 | 4:04 pm

    @joe. 40 quarter pounders with cheese!!!!!!! I’m getting hungry! Time for lunch.

  22. Comment by Arizona Guy | 03.4.2013 | 4:17 pm

    Fat one -

    we are on an amazingly similar track, although I cannot match your magical weight losing powers – I am up to the rapid gaining challenge.

    Since Jan 3 – sweetie and I have been on a nice diet and I’ve gone from 185 to 170 – this weekend we had OUR anniversary getaway (a nice round 20) in Phoenix.

    After our weekend of 3 tennis matches, some desert hiking and my own early-AM bike ride (where I lost some weight due to skin loss). With a few margaritas and my first (1/2!) bagel in 2 months – I came back at 177!!

    Is it ok that reading this made me feel better? – FC

  23. Comment by Jenni | 03.4.2013 | 4:25 pm

    Weight shmeight. You won the wife lottery. Have you ever heard of sleeping in and wrapping sparkly things from Tiffany? Two people seem never to have been more perfectly suited!

  24. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.4.2013 | 4:50 pm

    davidh…we think alike! I’m drooling at the prospect of 40 quarter pounder’s…(well, actually I’d much rather have 40 Carls Junior Mushroom n swiss 6$ burgers WITH sweet potato fries). Mmmmmmm….sweet potato fries…mmmmMMMMMMMM! (my local grocery store now carries spicy frozen sweet-tater fries…I WIN!)

  25. Comment by Rob | 03.4.2013 | 4:57 pm

    Joe hit the nail on the head – salt. Restaurant food is packed with salt. Salt makes you retain water. You probably drank a lot of water during those activities.

    I do a 10-day mountain bike trip every summer, where I ride 6+ hours a day and try to eat a reasonable diet. But most of those meals are at restaurants. I gain 5-6 lbs on that trip every year and it always pisses me off.

    Drink a lot of water over the next couple of weeks to purge the salt.

  26. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.4.2013 | 5:16 pm

    Dearest DavidH,

    Lest you follow Fatty’s lead, allow me to stipulate. While I am thrilled Fatty and the Hammer enjoyed a fabulous anniversary, these are not the same means by which I want to build up a good sweat during our upcoming anniversary weekend.

    Just so we’re clear. :-)

  27. Comment by babble on | 03.4.2013 | 5:26 pm

    wife #1 ++!!
    heh heh… a woman after my own heart.

    Fatty, it must be the salt – all that restaurant food. And maybe the Gods are punishing you for not bringing along a sparkly bauble from Tiffany’s. Next time, you should bring one for the Hammer, just to be safe.

    Just suggestin’

  28. Comment by BrewCityChris | 03.4.2013 | 6:09 pm

    Happy Anniversary to you guys. Sounds like a great way to spend the weekend, together and doing what you both enjoy. Awesome scenery too, you are quite fortunate to live in the area you do.


  29. Comment by Josh R | 03.4.2013 | 6:11 pm

    I always puff up by about 5 pounds for a few days after a big effort, and I’m very consistent on weight (no seasonal highs/lows).

  30. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 03.4.2013 | 7:22 pm

    @Wife#1. It does not seem fair to put such pressure on a man of my years.

    I just wish you were more of a Tiffany kind of girl. Then again I would probably have anxiety issues at Tiffany’s also.

    How ’bout I just clean out the gutters?

  31. Comment by FatChickonaBike | 03.4.2013 | 7:24 pm

    Water yes, but likely also the effect of increased carb consumption over what you normally eat. You normally do low carb except during endurance bikerides, yes?

    Though I gotta like babble on’s theory about the sparkly bauble from Tiffany’s :)

  32. Comment by becky | 03.4.2013 | 7:40 pm

    Could it be water weight gain from lactic acid buildup? I do that when I go all out hard. Irritates me.

  33. Comment by guerch | 03.4.2013 | 7:46 pm

    With all due respect to clydesteve, I must in fact disagree and point out that women do no sweat, they perspire, a point which I unfortunately misspoke once and suffered greatly as a result.

  34. Comment by Allison | 03.4.2013 | 8:42 pm

    Yup, salt. It will go away I bet.

  35. Comment by Sleepy | 03.4.2013 | 9:27 pm

    Many here are already correct- salt is a big part of the problem. Additionally, you’ve got the big effort that will cause your body to retain water, not to mention that you were also probably glycogen depleted from your egg white and avocado diet. Your body stores 3-4 grams of water for every gram of glycogen- that’s why the nonsense Atkins diet works so well- when you starve the body of carbs/glucose, you’re not actually losing much weight, just a ton of water that will be back as soon as you eat a plate of pasta- or fries. Travel can impact weight significantly as well, especially flying. It’ll all be gone in a couple days.

  36. Comment by MikeL | 03.4.2013 | 9:32 pm

    Sounds like my life.
    Along with the salt I will bet you are A-R. Don’t worry. It to shall pass.

  37. Comment by bart | 03.5.2013 | 2:16 am

    sounds paradoxal, but in order to lose weight with exersize you have to eat enough.
    This would however not explain the weightgain over a weekend.
    In this case maybe your ego grew ?

  38. Comment by Dabberdog | 03.5.2013 | 8:47 am

    Just went through a winter weight gain of astronomical proportions myself. First road ride on Sunday felt like dragging a freight train up the slightest hill. I attribute the monumental weight gain ironically to my best season ever last year causing major muscle growth. The new fat just stands up on top of it so blatantly now. ugh! Love the blog.

  39. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.5.2013 | 8:52 am

    davidh…you old smoothie…”how ’bout I just clean out the gutters?”…that’s BRILLIANT! I bet wife#1 is weak at the knees after hearing that…

  40. Comment by slowRider | 03.5.2013 | 9:14 am

    I feel for you, Fatty. I started riding again after taking a few months off and have gained 10 pounds since starting… I don’t THINK I’ve been eating more than normal.

    I’m just telling myself it’s muscle. Muscle that sits around my midsection and makes my shirts hang awkwardly.

  41. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.5.2013 | 11:14 am

    @MarsupialMatt… I’m just really hoping that “clean out the gutters” is a euphamism! :-)

  42. Comment by Les | 03.5.2013 | 11:32 am

    Seven days of the transrockies working my but off and gsined six pounds:-( I feel your gain.

  43. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.5.2013 | 11:55 am

    @MikeC I was thinking a mexican theme menu for Friday night in Davis, let me add Banana Cream Pie (I believe a Fatty favorite as well) to the plan and we’ll be all set for a power ride!!!!

  44. Comment by bikemike | 03.5.2013 | 1:00 pm

    The people at CERN would like to have a word with you about some missing Higgs Boson particles.

  45. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.5.2013 | 1:01 pm

    @Wife#1…you’re cracking me up! I’ve heard of cleaning out the pipes before…but well, think I’ll just leave this one alone and change the subject…How bout that Fabian? Marked by Sagan and with essentially no help in the Strade Bianche finale last Sat, he still takes 4th!

    @davidh….Banana Cream is ALWAYS good! (it’s my #2 fav…just behind Macadamia creme…which was a local pie when I lived in Hawaii). I snarf a couple pieces of pie and I’m all set for a POWER NAP, not RIDE!

  46. Comment by Geo | 03.5.2013 | 1:20 pm

    It’s all that high-calorie desert air.

  47. Comment by Wife#1 | 03.5.2013 | 1:32 pm

    @MarsupialMatt … ooooh… I can talk about Fabulous Cancellara all day. Those thighs! Oh wait, that’s not the direction you wanted to take this, rght? ;-)

  48. Comment by Marsupial Matt (formerly known as MattC) | 03.5.2013 | 1:50 pm

    @Wife#1….sheesh…get your mind out of the gutter! (oops…forgot, we’re avoiding THAT topic)…

  49. Comment by Anonymous | 03.5.2013 | 2:41 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, my husband gained 5 pounds while prepping for a colonoscopy. We can’t figure it out…

  50. Comment by EdwinH | 03.5.2013 | 9:58 pm

    And you uncovered a bug in the Beeminder Progress Chart!
    Those rose-colored dots should never go up when your goal is to go down?

  51. Comment by Kiwi | 03.6.2013 | 1:54 am

    Congrats on the anniversary!
    Water weight, muscle, all that stuff probably added to the weight gain.

    As to the Chesty mount on the gopro… I actually used one of the extenders to poke it out a little further. I found I tried to get it to be level with my head when in riding position.
    at 2:48 I have a shot very much like your pic! LOL

  52. Comment by Waymage | 03.6.2013 | 10:43 am

    Sure, all the biking and hiking are good for you – but if you really want to drop the pounds – you can go for the Six Fiberbar Challenge (eat six fiberbars in rapid succession, go on a long bike ride and pray to survive the next 8 hours).

  53. Comment by Elizabeth | 03.6.2013 | 8:25 pm

    I’m trying to lose weight too. The simple equation is the following: figure out how many calories you want to eat a day and lose weight even if you don’t exercise.

    Subtract the amount of calories you expend on exercise, then eat enough so you will still eat that same amount of calories as if you didn’t exercise.

    It seems to me that you went into starvation mode and your metabolism slowed down. You can’t exercise that much and not eat. I lose more weight when I eat enough. The less I eat (under my calorie #) I don’t lose weight. Sometimes I gain, which makes me furious.

    Eat, Drink Water, Exercise (but make sure you eat enough!!!)

  54. Comment by Crank Shaft | 03.9.2013 | 6:29 pm

    Thank you, for providing me with the ultimate and everlasting definition of the term “Self Absorbed, All Important, Little Douche Bag”.

    Truly, you take the cake, game, set, match. I do a ’slow clap standing ovation’ to your infinite arrogance (and utter lack of shame).

    But then, I see you are from over in Utah, so that just fits in with all you present to the world.

  55. Comment by CH | 03.14.2013 | 9:02 am

    Zion’s is a bank.
    “This is Zion’s Bank”
    The name of the bank is actually a possessive, used to describe the bank that serves Zion.

    Zion is a park.
    “I live in Zion”

    Zion is a variation of an old Hebrew word, used as a synonym for Jerusalem, a place name. It’s a pretty common mistake to switch to the possessive version, as so many of our parks have plural names that can be confused with possessive – Arches, Canyonlands.

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