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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-22-11, 11:50 PM   #1
mtalinm
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riding *less* for weight loss?

confession time: I've gained back half of the 40# I lost when I started cycling a couple of years ago.

I'm wondering whether it can be traced to me riding too much. here's why:

I have a 13-15 mile commute each way. When I started out, and when I lost most of the weight, I was riding in and then taking the train home because I simply didn't have the energy to do both ways every day.

over time I built up the strength to do the 26-30 mile round trip ride, which got me excited. but I also found the following. my ride *to* work was exciting/exhilarating, while the ride home was exhausting and left me crazy hungry by the time I got home.

am I shooting myself in the foot? particularly as winter arrives and the commute home involves riding in the dark, I am thinking that maybe I should make my commute a one-way endeavor. that would leave me less ravenous when I get home and hopefully help me make progress on the waistline.
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Old 10-22-11, 11:54 PM   #2
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It's up to you to decide whether to cut down on your mileage.

Here's what I've experienced. I lost 100lbs. My first year I rode about 3500 miles. Since then I've been riding 5000 miles per year. I've gained back about 30 of those pounds. I also know that my weight gain is due to poor eating habits, poor impulse control, and a lot of beer, pizza, and snacks from coffee shops.

Then again, my commute is about 7.5 miles round-trip. My commute doesn't make me hungry. I used to have a longer commute (33 mile round-trip), and it did make me hungry, but my eating habits were under control.

So, How are your eating habits?
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Old 10-22-11, 11:58 PM   #3
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So, How are your eating habits?
reasonable in general, but better if I am doing enough riding to get the "buzz" that makes you want to eat healthy. riding 2+ hours leaves me really hungry though for extended periods of time. that's why I'm thinking I'm overdoing it
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Old 10-23-11, 12:02 AM   #4
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When you are really hungry, eat something nutrient rich, not calorie rich. Easier said than done though.
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Old 10-23-11, 12:14 AM   #5
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Control your cravings and count every calorie you eat. Loseit.com (or comparable) are great for that.

Depending on your speed/time, you're burning somewhere around 400-700 calories. Ideally, you would be consuming 200-250 calories about an hour before that time (so you don't get tired). I'm assuming you eat breakfast at 7am, lunch at 12-1pm and dinner at 6pm when you get home. Eat sensible meals, but it seems that you should east a protein/granola bar, or a piece or two of fruit to keep your energy during your commute. You're "adding 200 calories" to "burn off" 400-700 calories. That would be a net loss of 200-500 calories, but that's how it should be. Exercising on an empty stomach is not good for you, neither is stuffing your face after exercising. I can eat an entire pizza when I get back from long rides (and definitely have the calories to do so because I can only eat 150 per hour at the MOST), but that's does nothing to help your body or your diet. That much food will sit in your stomach for hours!
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Old 10-23-11, 04:28 AM   #6
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three things works for me:

1- counting EVERY calorie and logging it
2- watching everything that goes into my mouth. I dont tell myself I cant have it, I just need to be thoughtful and if I want something indulgent, I know that I will need to make it up a little in the gym
3- body and muscel confusion: I dont just ride, I hit the gym for other cardio like tredmil, eliptical or a workout class. I went to a step n jam class last week and it KILLED me.

Again, this is only what is working for you. Most of the time, it is the ability and need to watch what you are eating and getting quality calories in.

I also use the bodybugg to help me and it has been amazing.
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Old 10-23-11, 06:45 AM   #7
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Agreed with all the food comments.

My cycling makes me ravenous. After a long ride I tend to indulge myself. I've got to learn to stop that... I'm not losing weight as fast as I would like.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:04 AM   #8
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You have discovered that exercising makes you very hungry. I think that most will agree with you as I do. I try to limit my exercising to the point that I don't get the very hungry and very weak feelings. I seem to lose weight better by being a little hungry all the time as opposed to being very hungry and then eating until I am no longer hungry. It seems that this fat burning process is very slow and maybe it should be called a fat smouldering process.

So I agree with you that riding too much can hinder your weight loss goals by making you too hungry.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:10 AM   #9
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I'd suggest to go to this site: http://www.fat2fitradio.com/tools/bmr/ and punch in some numbers (they also have a calculator to figure out your body fat as well). I'm guessing by what you're saying that you aren't eating enough calories. I don't know about you, but I never learned to listen to my body with food. In order for me to learn, I have to do what the other folks are saying and monitor my food intake. Now that I've learned a bit more I'm still yo-yo'ing, but I know why I'm yo-yo'ing. But that's another post for another time.

To answer the original question, you can ride as much as you want, but you need to correctly fuel your body to be able to maintain it.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:22 AM   #10
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You may have gotten more efficient at riding. There is a certain amount of technique to cycling. Not as much as, say, swimming, but some. And just as an efficient swimmer can cruise easily through 1.5 minute 100s while an inefficient one might be gasping for breath at half the speed, an efficient rider will use fewer calories for a given distance and speed because it just isn't as hard to do.
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Old 10-23-11, 09:34 AM   #11
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It isn't the riding that's causing the weight gain. It's the eating. Control the eating.
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Old 10-23-11, 09:53 AM   #12
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All of those miles have also added muscle to your legs as well. Do your clothes still fit close to the same, or did you have to buy a whole new wardrobe? Im not saying you gained 20 pounds of muscle, but you did gain SOME.
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Old 10-23-11, 11:26 AM   #13
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What research there is indicates that those who maintain weight loss are those who exercise, who pay attention to what they eat, who weigh themselves, and, who eat breakfast. http://xnet.kp.org/permanentejournal.../registry.html Frankly, I think you have to remain absolutely obsessed with your weight and with exercise for the rest of your life. I don't think it is the exercise driving you to eat. It is the fact you lost weight which is driving you to eat.

The elephant in the room is that early everyone gains their weight back. http://janetto.bol.ucla.edu/index_fi...etal2007AP.pdf.

Here are thoughts from one of the leading obesity researchers, Jeffrey Friedman, one of the discovers of leptin, a hormone important in weight regulation:


"There can be no meaningful discussion of obesity until we resist the impulse to assign blame. Nor can we hold to the simple belief that with willpower alone, one can consciously resist the allure of food and precisely control one’s weight."

“Twin studies, adoption studies, and studies of familial aggregation confirm a major contribution of genes to the development of obesity. Indeed, the heritability of obesity is equivalent to that of height and exceeds that of many disorders for which a genetic basis is generally accepted. It is worth noting that height has also increased significantly in Western countries in the 20th Century.”

“In general, obesity genes encode the molecular components of the physiologic system that regulates energy balance. This system precisely matches energy intake (food) to energy expenditure to maintain constant energy stores, principally fat. That there must be a system balancing food intake and energy expenditure is suggested by the following analysis. Over the course of a decade, a typical persons consumes approximately 10 million calories, generally with only a modest change in weight. To accomplish this, food intake must precisely match energy output within 0.17% over that decade. This extraordinary level of precision exceeds by several orders of magnitude the ability of nutritionists to count calories and suggests that conscious factors alone are incapable of precisely regulating caloric intake.”

“Feeding is a complex motivational behavior, meaning that many factors influence the likelihood that the behavior will be initiated. These factors include the unconscious urge to eat that is regulated by leptin and other hormones, the conscious desire to eat less (or more), sensory factors such as smell or taste, emotional state, and others. The greater the weight loss, the greater the hunger and, sooner or later for most dieters, a primal hunger trumps the conscious desire to be thin.”

The increase in weight is not evenly distributed in the population. “In modern times, some individuals have manifested a much greater increase of BMI than others, strongly suggesting the possibility that in our population (species) there is a subgroup that is genetically susceptible to obesity and a different subgroup that is relatively resistant.”

“Obesity is not a personal failing. In trying to lose weight, the obese are fighting a difficult battle. It is a battle against biology, a battle that only the intrepid take on and one in which only a few prevail.
http://www.downeyobesityreport.com/t...frey-friedman/

Going up and down on weight is bad for you. You have to decide--can you one of the very tiny minority that keeps off the weight? Are you willing to be obsessed for the rest of your life, to go against what your brain and body want to do? If not, you are better off staying where you are and just getting as much exercise as you can and being as healthy as you can as an overweight person.

I am in the maintenance phase of weight loss. I am driven to eat. So far I control it by counting calories, watching the scale and exercising. Thankfully exercise is rewarding. A few other things seem to help. I tend to lower carb foods, after reading the summary of the research by Gary Taubes. I am trying whey protein drinks before supper, my big eating time of the day. (There is at least some evidence whey powder drinks before meals will reduce the amount of calories you ingest: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/whe...CTION=evidence). I aim to hang around people who aren't big eaters (at least that is what I will do when I head south with the birds.) I want to be one of the tiny minority but I know the odds aren't with me.

I know people get irritated when I talk this way because it is such a downer and people like to think they are in control of their eating. But maybe understanding much of how you eat is unconscious will help keep some of us who want to lose weight or stay thin stay on our toes. And not beat ourselves up so much for getting fat in the first place.
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Old 10-23-11, 11:44 AM   #14
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I tend to lower carb foods, after reading the summary of the research by Gary Taubes.
I agree with your whole post except for this. Gary Taubes seems to be criticizing the low-fat model and calories in/calories out for lack of research, but tells people they need to follow his model even though there's a lack of research for his hypothesis as well. I'm also cautious about taking nutritional advice from a journalist.

For a more professional opinion, Harriet Hall MD wrote about him on the Science-Based Medicine blog here: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/...hy-we-get-fat/

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Old 10-23-11, 12:04 PM   #15
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I agree with your whole post except for this. Gary Taubes seems to be criticizing the low-fat model and calories in/calories out for lack of research, but tells people they need to follow his model even though there's a lack of research for his hypothesis as well. I'm also cautious about taking nutritional advice from a journalist.

For a more professional opinion, Harriet Hall MD wrote about him on the Science-Based Medicine blog here: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/...hy-we-get-fat/
I don't entirely disagree and I have read Harriet Hall's critique, which I think is fair. I do not in any way believe that if we all converted to low carb none of us would be fat. He doesn't have the evidence for that. It isn't a matter of taking nutritional advice from a journalist as Taubes was good about providing citations to the actual research, which is what I am interested in. I am hardly a rah rah low carber, but I do believe lowering carbs will help with insulin regulation for those of us exhibiting insulin resistance and may be important in appetite regulation. But I also do not believe that you can ignore the calories in/calorie out. I am a meticulous calorie counter (to the extent that is possible). I eat far more fruits that the low carbers would have me eat, but I do stay away from refined sugars, bread, rice and potatoes for the most part. And I think the issue of eating fat is up in the air. And at least we all agree that vegetables are good.

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Old 10-23-11, 05:57 PM   #16
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You have discovered that exercising makes you very hungry. I think that most will agree with you as I do. I try to limit my exercising to the point that I don't get the very hungry and very weak feelings. I seem to lose weight better by being a little hungry all the time as opposed to being very hungry and then eating until I am no longer hungry. It seems that this fat burning process is very slow and maybe it should be called a fat smouldering process.

So I agree with you that riding too much can hinder your weight loss goals by making you too hungry.
right - lots of exercise makes me very hungry. I binge when I'm very hungry. maybe I will try to limit the cycling a bit
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Old 10-24-11, 08:58 AM   #17
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right - lots of exercise makes me very hungry. I binge when I'm very hungry. maybe I will try to limit the cycling a bit
One experiment to try is mixing whey powder (sugar free kind!) with milk after you ride. Maybe 200 to 275 calories, depending on the milk you use. There is some evidence that it will help with the hunger. The brand I use tastes pretty fine, chocolate sweetened with some fake sugar. I am trying this. For me, the jury is still out on whether it makes a difference.
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Old 10-24-11, 09:17 AM   #18
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I think it's worth a try to commute half way each day. You seem to be able to control your impulses better that way.

One alternative might be to have something ready, or nearly so, when you get home. It doesn't need to be a full meal, but maybe something like a mug of hot chocolate would keep you from chasing down the cat and stir-frying it.

I have a hard time trying to lose weight while riding a lot. My break point seems to be somewhere between 120-150 miles a week. Below that, I can (with some effort) lose weight. Above that, I lose energy, so I eat carbs; even though I track them all, I either maintain my weight or creep up a bit. It's a hard choice -- increase my speed and endurance, becoming a better bicyclist; or take off weight so I can climb better, becoming a better bicyclist. Choose one. (Or have a pumpkin spice Krispy Kreme doughnut, choice 3!)
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Old 10-25-11, 10:34 PM   #19
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reasonable in general, but better if I am doing enough riding to get the "buzz" that makes you want to eat healthy. riding 2+ hours leaves me really hungry though for extended periods of time. that's why I'm thinking I'm overdoing it
I'm convinced that moderate exercise enhances a weight loss program that's primarily based on controlling diet, and that excessive exercise is actually counter-productive because of (a) the time it takes, and (b) the effects you mention.

I've sabotaged several attempts to lose weight in the last couple of years by taking on exercise programs that just don't fit into a busy life, and that leave me feeling drained and ravenous. My new rule of thumb is 45 minutes per day. It's not going to make me a competitive racer, or give me Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles, but it helps me lose weight faster than the same diet would without exercise, and helps me feel better.
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Old 10-25-11, 11:34 PM   #20
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thanks Tony. I think I am in the same boat. now I have to decide whether to ride one way, or move closer to work.

if I dropped a bunch of weight then I might be able to do the commute in 1:30 round trip, which would be maybe manageable.

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I'm convinced that moderate exercise enhances a weight loss program that's primarily based on controlling diet, and that excessive exercise is actually counter-productive because of (a) the time it takes, and (b) the effects you mention.

I've sabotaged several attempts to lose weight in the last couple of years by taking on exercise programs that just don't fit into a busy life, and that leave me feeling drained and ravenous. My new rule of thumb is 45 minutes per day. It's not going to make me a competitive racer, or give me Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles, but it helps me lose weight faster than the same diet would without exercise, and helps me feel better.
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Old 10-26-11, 12:05 AM   #21
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I really like Gary Taubes and Michael Eades. I believe these Drs., along with the "Paleo diet" crowd have great programs for general nutrition -- HOWEVER, I don't think low carb works for cycling.

You need your glycogen stores to be constant when you ride for longer distances. Everyone should have enough glycogen stored for an hour to an hour & 1/2 without extra nutrition. This means you don't need any extra nutrition for the first 1hr - 1.5 hrs. of a ride. After 1.5 hrs. you will need to add 250-275 calories in quality carbs for each hour you ride. (Your body can only metabolize 250-275 calories an hour so if you burn 500+ calories an hour during the ride, everything over the 250-275 cals. is fat loss. { If you eat more than the 250-275 cal. the extra calories will reduce the amount of fat you burn so watch your intake - no more than 250-275 ** You can eat jells, powders, 1/2 a cliff bar, peanut butter sandwiches or whatever suits you (just make sure the peanut butter has the right amount of calories - I tend to make mine way too large!).

When you ride for over 1 1/2 hours you must have a nutrition plan or you will binge when you get home. All the will power in the world won't help - it's simply your body screaming to replace its glycogen stores. Once you get home eat a small snack (200-300 calories) with good carbohydrates right away - before you take your jersey off. This will help you recover and improve performance. 2 hours after your ride you can have a regular meal.

Once again, you don't need to do this for rides of less than an 1-1/2 to 2 hours. More than that you must have nutrition or you will binge later.

More people gain wait because they don't eat enough calories and their metabolism goes into starvation/storage mode. You can be on a very low calorie diet with lots of exercise but your body will still store fat because you're sending starvation signals. The key is to get in a "lean burn" where your blood sugar (glycogen/insulin) stays consistant, even during exercise. Eat 5 or 6 small meals during the day of 200 - 300 calories each. (Nothing white, ie; white bread, white potato, white rice, flour, etc.) Compensate during longer rides so you replenish your glycogen (your "now" energy) as you ride. Eat a recovery meal as soon as you finish your ride.

Also, don't confuse nutrition with hydration. Your drinking needs will be separate from your nutrition needs.
________________________________________________________________________

I've been doing lots of research to understand this. I'm not a Dr. or nutritionist but the above is a fair summary of what I believe I've learned. But like anything on the internet - be sure you check this out for yourself. I don't want to cause anyone problems just because I think this is correct.

I'm sure many of you are much better informed than I am and I would really appreciate your sharing your insights.

(While I've reviewed lots of material -, For simplicity I really like Rick Kattouf -- www.teamkattouf.com.)

Thanks

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Old 10-26-11, 12:23 AM   #22
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You have discovered that exercising makes you very hungry. I think that most will agree with you as I do.
I find that the more I exercise, the less I want to eat...

The only time I feel ravenously hungry after exercise is if I haven't eaten enough before or during my work-out. Lack of fuel before a work-out leaves me feeling lethargic during and extremely hungry for hours afterward. I shoot for the standard 250 calories/hour while riding. If the start of my ride is more than 1-2 hours after a meal, I make sure to eat a bit before I get on the bike. Typically, I'll eat half the first hour's food (ex: half a Clif bar or 1-2 servings of HammerGel) at least 10-20 minutes before riding. Fueling my rides with foods that have a lower glycemic index or a bit of protein also seems to help.
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Old 10-26-11, 08:29 AM   #23
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You can't outride a bad diet.

When you're hungry when you get home, eat something balanced - protein, fat, AND carbs (if your dietary restrictions permit).

Your body needs some of each.
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Old 10-26-11, 10:06 AM   #24
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OP..... it is never one thing....... it sounds like you might need to have a snack before the ride....or are maybe eating lunch and then not eating until after your commute. A little info on the what/when your are eating may help poeple focus in on some more specific ideas.
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Old 10-26-11, 10:14 AM   #25
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Try adding a small carb load before the ride home and a protein shake after the ride. This should give your body what it is wanting, when it is wanting it.
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