Saturday, January 02, 2010

Training - Diet Update

In mid October of 2009, I embarked on a mission to lose weight.

I'd been racing obliviously at 10 pounds over my perceived weight (due to a very optimistic scale in my bathroom). When I realized that I wasn't a "svelte" 171 lbs but was in fact weighing in at 181, I decided that if I really wasn't 171, I'd become 171.

(This conveniently ignores the fact that my "171" was a "race" weight, my lightest for the year. Usually I was 10 over that, even during the summer. I usually broke a perceived 190 lbs during the winter... which really meant I was regularly climbing into the 200 pound range. It makes my perceived 200-205 in 2003 an astounding 210-215 lbs.)

I dieted.

When the weight started coming down pretty quickly, I started thinking a bit more dramatically. Some time on the calculator, doing some wattage per kilogram estimates, and I decided that I needed to do more.

Losing weight is about a net loss of calories. A pound of fat is worth about 3500 calories, so I'd have to run a deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat.

I felt like I should be 20 pounds lighter than I was in October. This means I had to lose about 70,000 calories worth of weight to hit my target.

70,000 calories.

And, to be totally honest, I'm looking for another 10 pounds. So about 100,000 calories worth of deficit.

Deficit spending, unfortunately, is harder to do when dealing with food as opposed to money. I simply had to limit my intake.

How you do that, at some level, is besides the point. True, it's not a good idea to just starve yourself (although apparently Floyd would skip eating for a day or two if he needed to "lose weight"). You need whatever nutrients. You should maintain some level of exercise so your body doesn't go into hibernation (pack on the pounds) mode. Blah blah blah.

But the bottom line? You gotta cut calories.


Since I raced well at 155-160 lbs and I've been suffering immensely for the past 5-7 years, 155 became my goal. The other thing is my BMI was usually around "obese", and "normal" would mean 159 lbs.

So my absolute minimum goal would be 159 lbs, and I'd want to be down at 155 or so.

Using a diet/calorie guide, I decided that I'd go for an 1800 calorie daily target, holding to that number until the end of the year. I'd ride whenever I felt like it. And, come 2010, I'd see where I was and adjust things (goals, methods, etc.) from there.

I didn't want to force myself to train hard because, frankly, I expected to be feeling weak and lackadaisical. Therefore I felt that both my weight and my form would decline during the remainder of the 2009 year. At the beginning of 2010 I could start tapering my weight loss and work on regaining some of that lost strength.

No one who knew me would accuse me of having a healthy diet, at least until now. For me it was an easy process - it became a game of reducing calories however I could, watching what I ate, and trying to fill up on calorically empty foods (like green beans) or at least low/no fat foods (like pasta or lean meats).

For me that meant no more fried calamari, no more full rack of ribs. No more 2 huge burgers at a time, 5 McD burgers at a time, desert every time we went out to eat, 1 pound of pasta at a sitting, big bag of peanuts "to get me through till lunch" (700 cal in that alone). No 3-4-5-6 donuts at a sitting, no full bacon/egg/cheese/bagel sandwiches.

A lot of my former life's "snacks" and meals were 1000-1500 calories EACH (!!!). My standard "calamari and ribs" would sock me a good 2000 calories, another 500-1000 if I had a desert, and that's not including the veggies drenched in butter, the garlic bread drenched in butter... you get the picture.

Instead I've been eating (and appreciating and enjoying) smarter, more efficient food. I'm usually between 1700-1900 calories per day, 35-45 grams of fat. My sodium intake is out of control, ditto carbs. Whatever, it's okay by me. I don't want to make the effort to fix those things and I don't care about it.

Little changes means big differences. I eat stuff like low cal whole grain bread. I add veggies to most of my dishes to add bulk without too many calories. Egg Beaters instead of eggs. Less sugar in each coffee. Skinless boneless chicken breast instead of a "family pack of wings" (I used to eat about 3/4 of said pack in one sitting, like 20-30 wings).

The differences add up, even with the minor things like Egg Beaters. I'm not going to even talk about the wings (which are 2+ grams of fat apiece).

3 or 4 or 5 grams of fat may not seem like a lot, but it becomes significant when it's the difference for each of 3 or 4 things at one meal. So lower fat bread, lower fat meat, lower fat "accessories", avoid certain things, etc etc.

If I'm hungry I eat, even if it'll put me over. This isn't intervals, and suffering more won't help me in the long run. I want a sustainable weight loss, not just some number I can generate by not eating for a week. I figure that starving myself isn't good, else my body will hoard everything I eat. I just try and eat better. My late night snacks are usually a banana, not a 3rd dinner.

I've been using a straight-forward calorie counting site, my-calorie-counter (which is too busy right now - I guess a lot of New Year Resolution stuff going on).

The "activities" section has a lot of stuff, and the cycling is based on (believe it or not) wattage. I usually select 150w avg since most of my rides are 170-190w, but I don't give myself those calories for the day. This means I don't say, "Hey, I rode 1500 calories worth, I can eat 1500 more". I figure the calories burnt number is optimistic so I ignore it. I'm taking more days off, yeah, and usually I end up over my calorie count when I ride, but I focus on calories in, not allegedly expended.

I did have to ease up on this "math method" when I was riding consistently in Florida. I felt the need to eat some of the family-made food, with lots of people putting lots of effort into the dishes. Unfortunately, even small servings of butter-laden food have lots of calories and lots of fat, so my caloric intake ballooned to an average of about 2400 calories a day. Those "1500 calories burned" while riding suddenly became a bit more significant.

I started to figure out what I need to eat so I don't bonk on longer rides, or so I don't lose strength over the course of a few hard days in a row. A recent addition to my book collection, courtesy my sister-in-law - Coggan and Hunter's Training With Power actually addresses this problem, so I should have some good info to work with for my next training trip.

And, yeah, this means I got a book on training. Watch for flying pigs. Snowball fights in Hell.

So far I'm pretty good - same kind of fitness as I had at the end of the summer, just a lot lighter. I could do some 2 hour rides without too much problem, but I think I need to work on the fuel thing for longer rides.

I've worked pretty steadily on the diet, and, fortunately for me, I'm seeing some results. For example, when I bent over to pick up a bag a few weeks ago, my pants fell down. Hehe. Luckily it was at my dad's house, in the driveway, at night, no lights. But still, it was kinda funny. I avoid those pants now.

And on the first of this year I finally broke through the elusive 160 pound barrier. I figure I have another 5 lbs or so to lose before it gets stupid, but it's interesting to see how the whole thing's been progressing.


Anonymous said...

Since going through Chemo in May, June, July and finishing on last day of July, the anti nausea meds packed the pounds on me, as they were filled with a shit ton of steroids. I never puked on chemo 3 X 3 week sessions. But, the pounds packed on because eating was the only way i could fight off death, literally. So i went from race weight of 145 lbs to 165 lbs through august. In august i realized i was going to survive, but could no longer fit into any of my clothes. The clubs up here in portland maine had a double loop world championship ride the weekend of thanksgiving, 52 miles and 600$ worth of sprints. Since i worked fulltime going through chemo and rode to work everyday, without passing out, i knew making the ride was attainable. Long story short, my diet was drastically changed come August. I made the double loop - easily and ride with cat 2-3 and an old pro from Europe for my training since surviving my summer of hell.

how did i do this. commuting to work everyday, for starters........always on the bike. I stopped eating any carbohydrates. period. No pasta, no rice, no crackers, no soy, no WHEAT in any form.

I eat strictly Meat, meat, meat and more meat, salad - usually cooked with meat, and vegetables and a shit ton of nuts. No farkin' carbs. I will be in the 140 lbs by January.

I also don't eat breakfast, just coffee, skip lunch and eat a large meat infested meal when my kids get home at 3:00 and finish it off at night with a salad at night with oil and vinegar.

only diet coke when i need a sugar rush, not real sugar - just wood alcohol named aspartame. for Myself, dieting is about starving yourself, always being hungry and being used to the feeling, as your head continually tries to trick you and make you stuff your face.

Enough of my rant. Aki, very nice to be back in touch. Mike Hartley is near my parents and i am in constant contact with him and have his cell, his life has drastically changed and will blow you away with the story, mine has also, as stated above.

what is you email, or phone



Aki said...

What the flock, as the missus just said.

Check here:

My email is in there somewhere.