Saturday, 1 October 2011

You know who you are

There are lots of good reasons to go cycling, and losing weight isn't one of the best. However, it is what got me re-started. Without any scientific evidence whatsoever, here are my tips for anyone else who wants to lose weight cycling. In no particular order:

  • It's probably bulk that matters to you, rather than weight. So assess progress by the length of your waistband rather than your weight. This is a more visible measure, and improvements are likely to be more predictable, so progress is more satisfying. And it avoids any need to explain that increased weight is due to converting fat into muscle 
  • Find a good greasy spoon about 5 miles away, and ride there for a bacon sandwich whenever you fancy one. You get to eat all the bacon sandwiches you want (at about 350 calories each) but you burn off more than that in getting there and back
  • Work out a standard half hour route, and try to ride it on more days than you don't. It's really easy to think of excuses to avoid more ambitious rides, but it's hard to invent excuses for avoiding something which is so quick and easy
  • Write down some goals, and tell people about them. It doesn't really matter what they are. What matters is that you write them down and tell people. Anyone with a bit of imagination can fool themselves into thinking they are achieving a goal that they haven't written down or shared.
  • Once you've told people about your goals, it's important that you brag about achieving them. If you find you can't achieve them, then just change them to something easier. If they turn out to be so easy that you are embarrassed to brag about them, then change them to something harder
  • Getting a bike solves nothing. You are going to have to ride it. And unless you are having fun you won't. So find some better reasons than weight loss for going for a ride 


Anne said...

'tis a pity exercise is a useless way to lose weight so, yes, get out there for some other reason. Fitness overall helps generally.

Oh, and get a bike that actually fits you & your riding style. Amazing, the difference that makes.

Chris Hill said...

I think weight, diet, exercise and fitness are linked, but only loosely. If you want to lose weight, eat less. If you want to get fitter, exercise more. The idea that exercise alone helps to lose weight is repeated over and over in many guises (go to the gym, go for a run etc) and is shown to be flawed by millions of people's experience every year. If you eat too much you will not lose weight however much you exercise. Fitness, through exercise, is a good thing, but it encourages more eating making weight loss harder. If you want to lose weight concentrate on the food you eat. If you want to be fitter, take exercise. The two things are only loosely related. If you enjoy cycling, enjoy it for its own sake. Linking it to weight loss is flawed and will spoil your enjoyment because when you sometimes fail to lose weight the failure gets linked to cycling and can spoil the experience.

Doug said...

The two comments above are very interesting and thought provoking; particularly from what Chris Hill said.
I lost quite a lot of weight fairly quickly a few years ago when I decided to get fit. It was, I believe, the combination of being careful what food I had to eat, running and cycling - all alongside each other. It worked for me because it was all happening at the same time. Roll forward a few years and I thoroughly enjoy all three to maintain my weight and fitness level which has turned out to be a very delicate balance and which is all too easily disrupted. I find I pay a high price with weight gain for a few days of indulgence!

Downfader said...

Good blog!

My routine is thus:
- watch the calories (cut back on sugars and saturated fats)
- eat more brown breads, pastas and rice (good excuse for a curry I 'spose)
- ride for between 30-60 minutes minimum and atleast 3 times a week. I can usually do 20 miles in an hour on one of my loops. You have to get breathless and raise the heartrate. Build up a sweat. Key indicators that you're doing it right.

- see a doctor and ask for advice. Many dont and push too hard, too soon. A reasonable progression into harder riding is better than riding flat out from the off.

townmouse said...

Beware - moving to the countryside can have a bad effect on the waistline: I put a stone on in the first year just because we were driving more and not having to carry home on foot everything we ate. In the end I got rid of most of it by using my bike more to replace car trips when I could. No real sweat or breathlessness if I could avoid it, just the same sort of low-intensity steady everyday exercise that walking around in London provided, only over longer distances...