The Weight of Things

01.5.2015 | 1:14 pm

Last night, for dinner, I had lasagna. And chicken fetuccine alfredo. And a really heavily-dressed salad. (I also had two mid-sized broccoli florets.)

Then, for dessert, I had homemade Oreo ice cream on top of homemade brownies.

I am not making even the tiniest bit of this up. 

“But Fatty,” I expect you are asking, “That’s grossly, excessively excessive. Why would you do this?”

A fair question. Which, I have an answer for. 

I did it because, starting today, I am resuming my diet. As such, this was a “last hurrah.” Or it may have been more of a “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” when you consider exactly how much I ate.

But there was a strategy to it. And this strategy is important to understand if you really want to get inside my head and grasp exactly how twisted and otherwise messed up my thinking is about weight gain, eating responsibly, and weight loss.

I’ve Been Here Before

First, though, here’s how much I weighed when I weighed myself this morning: 

177.8 pounds.

That is up almost exactly twenty pounds since the racing season. And to be honest, I’m trying to figure out how I ought to feel about this. Should I feel outraged at myself? Yes! Should I feel shame at my lack of discipline? For sure! Should I feel astonished that I somehow manage to pack on so many pounds so quickly after the race season?

No. No, I should not feel even a tiny bit astonished. And if you’ve been following this blog for a year or ten, you shouldn’t feel astonished either. At least not astonished in a surprised kind of a way (though astonished in a repulsed kind of way…well, I’ll give you that).

Mostly, I just feel resigned. This is my pattern: I fight off the weight, I train like a madman and race my brains out, I finish the season, and I keep eating like I’m still racing and riding at full tilt.

So, to be honest, I look at 178 pounds and think, “Hey, that’s actually about five pounds better than most years.”

This Year’s Contest

Last year, I did a big contest with Beeminder where we all worked together on a big weight loss contest. That was fun. But it was also a considerable amount of work. And right now, I’ve got other projects that I need to focus on — managing a big challenge just feels like more work than I’m capable of taking on.

However, I am having a contest. With one person. And it’s worth mentioning now, because I’ll certainly be talking about it again.

First, though, I have to back up a bit.

As you almost certainly know, The Rockwell Relay is my favorite race of the year. As you likely also know, The Hammer and I have had Kenny and Heather as our teammates every year we’ve raced it.

Until this year. This year, they’re going to go to the wedding of two close friends instead. Which means, of course, that The Hammer and I are also going to that wedding. had to find new teammates.


We’re bummed to not be riding with Kenny and Heather, but were very glad to have our friends Cory and Lynette—friends you’ve seen mentioned in this blog before as our teammates this year.

More to the point, I’m very glad to have Cory to compete with in a weight-loss challenge. The rules are:

  1. The challenge begins now and ends May 15, approximately one month before the Rockwell Relay. We both have incentive to hit our goals, because neither of us wants to be the boat anchor in this event. Even more importantly, neither of us wants our very fast and competitive wives to call us out for being fat and slow during this event.
  2. We each selected our weight goals. Mine is 155 pounds (~23 pounds to lose). Cory’s is 180 pounds (45 pounds to lose). 
  3. If one of us succeeds and the other fails, our Rockwell Relay team shall be just the name of the winner’s brand (I.e., “Team Fatty” if I win, or “Team SBR” if he wins).  And all racers will wear the winner’s brand on all daylight legs. 
  4. If we both succeed, we come up with a combination team name, we’ll come up with a name we all can agree upon. I personally am partial to “Team 201,” because that’s our combined age, and I would like the teams we’re crushing to know that our average age is above 50.  Or maybe we could just be “Team Fogey.”

Back to Last Night

So, why’d I eat so much last night, even though I knew it was sabotaging my diet before it even began? 


I did it because it would make my weight artificially high for today’s weigh-in, which would set me up for a big drop over the course of this first week’s weigh-ins. 

Which would, in turn make me feel good about myself and thus give me first good momentum for my diet going forward. 

Yes, that’s right. I ate a lot in order to gain weight in order to lose weight. 

My mind is that twisted.

But it will work. Just watch. By the end of February, I’ll be able to squeeze back into a medium-sized jersey. By April, medium will fit fine. 

And by June, I’ll be ready to race. 

PS: And by next November, I’ll be fat again.


  1. Comment by Tom in Albany | 01.5.2015 | 1:28 pm

    I’m always astonished at your ability to consume large quantities. I guess that’s just why they call them ’superpowers!’

  2. Comment by leroy | 01.5.2015 | 1:53 pm

    My dog has been walking behind playing a tuba.

    I think he’s trying to tell me something.

    Had salmon and salad for lunch.

    Look forward to hearing about your diet — stunt or healthy.

  3. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.5.2015 | 2:01 pm

    I wonder if we did not recycle the year every year, but instead, came up with a whole new set of months, if we could avoid recycling our last years’ weight gains? Just skip “New” Years, and keep on with the old one, adding 12 new months.

  4. Comment by Brian in VA | 01.5.2015 | 3:10 pm

    I’ve started back to eating healthily in order to lose 20 pounds or so, simply because I’m tired of getting dropped like first period calculus on every stinking climb of a group ride. If I was the oldest, I’d at least have an excuse but I’m close to the youngest (57) of this bunch of geezers I ride along side.

    Good luck, Fatty!

    P.S. Love the book and love my new winter jersey; my first Team Fatty swag!

  5. Comment by Danny of Beeminder | 01.5.2015 | 3:16 pm

    Sad about no big contest! (We’re totally up for it when you are.)

  6. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 01.5.2015 | 3:16 pm

    As long as I keep from becoming a horizontal rectangle when buying jeans I don’t need to diet too much. So for now I am safe, thank goodness my inseam is 36″. The rectangle challenge was never in doubt when my waist was 32 when I was a newlywed, now 20+ years down the road I have reached the square, but the horizontal shift has so far been avoided. Small victory, but I’ll take them where I can.

  7. Comment by BigRedClydesdale | 01.5.2015 | 3:37 pm

    I came up with a good plan as the cycling season came to a close. Plan A, road bike + trainer + indoor class. Plan B, mountain bike + studded tires + outside (winter).

    For me the stakes were pretty high; not only had I lost a lot of weight, I also reversed my diabetes, and I was not going to give that up!

    So now I still eat like I did in the summer. But between the trainer and Ontario winter, I’m earning every single bite.

  8. Comment by MikeL | 01.5.2015 | 3:46 pm

    If it makes you feel better you are not alone in the world. I have been a little luckier in that my weight gain was only 10 pounds but it gets harder to lose every year as you will find when you hit 50 and beyond. So off to the trainer I go.

  9. Comment by ac | 01.5.2015 | 4:02 pm

    I just read this this morning. Want to change habits? Your environment has lots of automatic cues you probably don’t even realise. If you can bypass/short-circuit these cues your success rate can vastly improve. They don’t have many suggestions but eating with your non-dominant hand is one.

  10. Comment by leroy | 01.5.2015 | 4:46 pm

    My dog informs me that, insofar as eating is concerned, both my hands are dominant.

  11. Comment by Fat Bike Racer | 01.5.2015 | 5:12 pm

    How odd, I gorged yesterday and haven’t ate anything in 24 hrs. My goal is same as Corey’s, so count me in and keep us updated. My goofy diet is to have coffee with a little sugar when I get lightheaded or develop diet-rage. 1 day down.

  12. Comment by Fellowfattychris | 01.5.2015 | 5:15 pm

    I weighed myself for a few weeks after the last race season ended. I had gained 5 pounds over that period. Then I just stopped weighing myself and haven’t weighed myself since. It’s probably been somewhere between 2-3 months since I weighed myself. I think it’s true what they say, ignorance is bliss. It really has been.

  13. Comment by Mike Kennedy | 01.5.2015 | 5:52 pm

    I just thought you had an uncontrollable urge!

  14. Comment by Derek | 01.5.2015 | 7:19 pm

    I also have the exact same goal as Corey, and the exact same timeframe (half triathalong on May 17). Lets do this!

  15. Comment by Edwin | 01.5.2015 | 7:43 pm

    and if you both fail at reaching your weight goals … your readers can propose and vote for a fitting team name…?

  16. Comment by Justin L | 01.5.2015 | 8:46 pm

    I just started using diet better,, as long as i lose the 10 percent weight over 6 months, i am guarenteed to minimum get my money back i put in, but it says most make 1.5 times to 2 times. I don’t care about winning, but i don’t want to lose my money and this is the first time i have been able to stay on track. We can even open a fat cyclist competition on it and compete with ourselves.

  17. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 01.5.2015 | 9:33 pm

    Fatty, I suggest that it’s time to dust of the latest and greatest incarnation of your “eggvocado” recipe to share with the team.

  18. Comment by D Street | 01.5.2015 | 9:58 pm

    Fatty, as a firefighter, a crusty old timer once told a me that “anyone can eat when they are hungry, it takes a REEEEAAAALLLL Man,(emphasis on real) to eat when he is full.” He did this just as he took his third super large helping of a old fire house traditional recipe called “Grease Pie”. If you are interested I will make the “healthy” version for you and the Hammer in Leadville this summer!

  19. Comment by Kevin | 01.6.2015 | 12:51 am

    There is little that can withstand a man who can conquer himself.

    Louis XIV

  20. Comment by HavenKT | 01.6.2015 | 2:04 am

    My scale ran out of batteries so I don’t know how much I weigh right now. But I know I’ve gained something over the holidays, so I’m working on getting rid of it or at least turning it into muscle so I can get something out of it.

    Mainly, I don’t want to start the spring with no fitness, and I have a half marathon I decided to sign up for in August. GOALS, man. Good to have.

    Good luck, Fatty, I hope you win!

  21. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 01.6.2015 | 6:46 am

    Gain weight to loose weight. Pure genius. It’s like saving money when you buy something BECAUSE its on sale!

  22. Comment by Tom in Albany | 01.6.2015 | 7:16 am

    I think ‘john’ (three posts up) just threw up that extra helping…

  23. Comment by Dave T | 01.6.2015 | 9:05 am

    I find myself in the same place as last year +20 after the holidays. Starting my oatmeal and banana breakfast and no more going out for lunch. Great to hear that Cory and Lynette will be joining you guys for Rockwell. That will be fun.

  24. Comment by George | 01.6.2015 | 10:55 am

    Take a load off Fannie
    Take a load for free
    Take a load off Fannie
    And you put the load right on me
    (You put the load right on me)

  25. Comment by mflbikes | 01.6.2015 | 11:44 am

    Exactly the reason why I ate pancakes with Nutella and syrup last night for dinner.

  26. Comment by Jacob | 01.6.2015 | 12:14 pm

    I know the pattern, although mine is kind of like a Christmas in Antarctica: in the summer. I lose weight during the fall and winter while I focus on training for big running races and then get lazy in the late spring and summer when the heat and humidity make even being on the bike less fun.

    But then, we average highs in the winter of 60s and 70s and it’s our driest season normally, so the weather is awesome for running and not even bad for the bike, so there’s less reason to take a break than if I were in a colder, more miserable place. I’ve heard Cleveland sucks in the winter.

  27. Comment by Nate | 01.6.2015 | 1:30 pm

    I was just checking in to re-read the Axioms of Dieting from a post of yours back in 2013 and saw this. I’ve signed up for the 1/2 growler mountain bike race in Gunnison, CO Memorial Day weekend and I’m planning to drop ~30 lbs between now and then to be racing at around your current weight. I’d like to knock some time off of my ~4:32 time from last year. I also may have signed up for a 1/2 marathon the week before, I really have my work cut out for me.

  28. Comment by Flying Ute | 01.6.2015 | 2:57 pm

    How is having Cory lose twice as much weight and even challenge?

    (I skipped down to comment and maybe this has already been addressed)

  29. Comment by MattC | 01.6.2015 | 4:01 pm

    I’d think to be FAIR the weight loss calculations should be done in terms of % total body weight…that way it’s an even fight (sorry Fatty…just my 2 cents worth).

    And Fatty…your new book was awesome! Finished reading it (the kindle version) during the holidays. Loved reliving those post’s from yesteryear and having new insight into the thought process. Though I do admit I wish you could put the footnotes at the bottom of the page they are referencing…had to do a LOT of back and forth (especially on my small screen kindle). And got my autographed paper-copy too…it’s sitting proudly on my bookshelf (in the “fiction” section…somewhat close to Floyd’s autographed “Absolutely Positive” book…in which the only apparent true part is the title).

  30. Comment by Charlie Young | 01.6.2015 | 6:34 pm

    The good news: I found personally that even at 50, I could still drop the weight to a reasonable level and increase my speed and stamina during the riding season. The bad news: by 52, the weight stuck with me more stubbornly. The speed and stamina returned, but I couldn’t drop the weight. So, Fatty, hopefully you won’t fall into my pattern.

  31. Comment by EricGu | 01.6.2015 | 7:45 pm

    Dude, you weigh 0.8 lbs more than I do, despite my special commitment to sugar cookies and gingerbread peoples.

  32. Comment by Anonymous | 01.6.2015 | 10:56 pm

    Ditto what Charlie Y. said…

  33. Comment by Tes | 01.12.2015 | 7:42 pm

    Lasagna… Mmmm


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