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  1. #1
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    New Athena, Looking for general weightloss tips

    Okay, so in a couple of months or so I'm going to have myself a shiny new Schwinn Voyageur World 21 Commuter(try saying that five times fast). Not only did it handle my weight well, come in a nice color, and fit me most importantly, but in my current state of 200lbs(at only 5' 1", that's a lot more than you think) it's just not comfortable to lean over drop bars, so the comfort position is great. Plus, free rack and fenders! Who doesn't love those?

    Instead of just commuting like I was planning on, I decided to make this my big attempt to loose weight. I'm tired of getting worn out just from walking, I'm tired of being in pain after every shift because of all the weight on my feet. I'm tired of having to pay extra for clothes. However, I know losing weight is only part exercise. So I know I need to start eating better.

    I wanted to know what kind of 'diet' plan you guys follow. I want to be able to eat interesting food instead of eating constantly like a rabbit, though I realize some things I love will have to go. I also don't have much money to play with(I work part time in retail, it was the best job I could find, well, more like the only job really, though I do like it more than food service) so something I can do on a budget would be fantastic.

    Every time I've tried dieting before, I've felt like I was starving, yet not losing anything to show for my efforts. Two years of ROTC physical training, walking to and from school, not eating lunch, and going to the gym and pool every wednesday in addition to the ROTC training, and I never saw any improvement.

    Also, I've had some things told to me before, but I couldn't find anything on the internet when I was trying to google it, so if you have a link, that would be great.

  2. #2
    Senior Member john4789's Avatar
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    You have the right frame of mind and that is all I can say.

    Ride that bike like a way of life. Learn how to spin and be efficient. Learn how to maintain it and keep it going. Be your own mechanic. Keep your machine going and use it in all walks of life. Before you know it you will simply be a cyclist and weight loss will not be a choice.

    Your bicycle is your weapon, keep it clean, keep it true, keep it in the forefront of your new lift approach.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I'm working on the doing stuff myself; I've looked up how to clean the drivetrain and how to change a tire at this point, lol. When I've lost a little weight(and saved up a few more bucks) I might treat myself to a road bike of some kind. Maybe off BikesDirect simply so I can get some experience assembling something.

    No doubt it'll be a way of life; it'll be my only transportation! I couldn't afford driver's ed in school, and I can't afford a car, so the healthier option is my only option. And just a couple of miles down the road there's a nice bike path I can ride on my days off for fun. I'm thinking to combine it with something I already love treating myself to a ContourROAM camera somewhere down the road so I can make some music videos from my riding. ((Among other things. I have a love of video editing.))

  4. #4
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    Be honest with yourself and weigh in every day. There's no such thing as "anecdotal" weight loss. Unless you are keeping track of the numbers, it won't do any good. I know that when I was going through this stage, I was almost afraid of the scale. It really was a mental barrier for a while. However, your weight is what it is, regardless of what you want it to be, so you might as well accept it as a fact, rather than a hope. I made a nice spreadsheet that I tracked my progress in. It made it very easy to see that progress that I was (or wasn't at times) making. Note: Your weight will fluctuate every day - don't be surprised to have a weigh in that is 3 lbs heavier than the previous day, and stay that way for 3 days, before you go back to normal. Then all the sudden you weigh in and lose 2 lbs every day for a few days, ect...

    I used myfitnesspal to track my food. For about 4 months last year, starting about this time, I tracked my food on an insane level. If it went into my mouth, it was logged there. Most foods can be found on there, and if they aren't, it's not too hard to add them in yourself. I set my calorie goal with about a 1000 calorie per day deficit, and it's tough. I was hungry a lot of the time, most of the time. I was determined though, and just wrote it off as something I would have to endure for a while. I made sure that what I did eat filled me up, and gave me the best nutritional bang for the caloric intake. After a while, I felt like I was adjusting my portion size to what it should have been in the first place anyways.

    Just for some general facts about my experience - I was on about a net 1300 calorie a day diet, rode anywhere from 10-20 miles a day (when it wasn't raining), got outside and did some other stuff, and I averaged (very linearly) about a .2 lb weight drop per day over that 4 month or so span. It is possible, just have to make it happen.

    Edit: I forgot to say that the 1000 calorie deficit was after exercise. Meaning, If my goal was 1300 calories, and I burnt off 500, I made sure to consume 1800 calories.
    Last edited by KBentley57; 04-24-12 at 11:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    I suggest using myfitnesspal.com as well as it is free. It helps you to monitor your caloric intake and be honest. It also helps you to think..."do I really need to eat that?". I use myfitnesspal and find it helpful. One caveat...when you enter your exercise there I think it calculates too high...so be careful "eating back" the exercise calories.

    Since you are going to exercise...you will need to provide fuel. Try to eat whole foods...whole grains that have not bbeen processed to death. Eat fruit and veggies too. Watch your fat intake. Again this is a huge benefit of myfitnesspal in that it helps you to see nutritional info.

    Hydrate with water, cut out empty calories as much as possible and cut out soda pop even diet as much as you can.

    I got a book thru bicycling magazine called "Ride Your Way Lean". I read thru it and it has useful info.
    http://www.tofighthiv.org/site/TR/Events/AIDSLifeCycleCenter?px=2914622&pg=personal&fr_id=1770

  6. #6
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Also I disagree with daily weigh ins. The scale can be discouraging and cause you to give up. Weigh no more than 1x week, same time of day. Keep a log or just use myfitnesspal to track the weight loss. Another reason not to weigh daily is the fact water weight can fluctuate wildly especially on women. The scale is not the sole thing to monitor....take measurements and monitor those in addition to the way your clothes fit and how you feel.

    You are going to be exercising...that will possibly increase muscle. Muscle is denser than fat and takes up less space. You could be gaining muscle and losing fat but the scale isn't moving....A pound of muscle weights the same as a pound of fat, HOWEVER, it's the "space" it takes up. A good way to compare the two is a one pound rock versus one pound of popcorn.

    I am a tracking data sort so I have a spreadsheet that I track my mileage on my bikes and my weight.

    When you can afford it might I suggest something like fitbit to help you track calories expended thru nor,al movement during the day as well as exercise. There are other things like it but the fitbit is relatively inexpensive.
    Last edited by Beachgrad05; 04-25-12 at 12:23 AM.
    http://www.tofighthiv.org/site/TR/Events/AIDSLifeCycleCenter?px=2914622&pg=personal&fr_id=1770

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Track. Your. Food. And don't lie to yourself. Are you weighing what you're eating? IF not, how do you know how much you're eating? Developing a sense of what is appropriate is 50% of the battle.

    Don't diet. Pick a caloric intake that will net you about 400 calories a day deficit from what you should be eating and then eat that much. Do not add in calories for exercise (although if you go for a 80 mile ride, you're going to have to eat something, it's ok to go over on days like that. I'm just suggesting that you don't eat an additional 300 calories for biking 30 minutes.)

    Eat things that you know will help you meet your goals. I eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and a can of progresso soup for lunch and some cheezits. I count out the cheezits. 25 is one serving, so I eat 25. One small piece of pizza is 300-500 calories, a bowl of soup is less than that and leaves me feeling fuller.

    Snack, but healthy snacks. Banana, Orange, Apple.

    Exercise. Now do some more. Vary your exercise (ie don't ride 10 miles every day, ride 20 every other day and walk on your "off" days). Go farther than you think is humanly possible, I swear it's fun.

    Onward. Most of us here are in your same boat, we'll be understanding.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chesha Neko's Avatar
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    I recommend this book as a starting point:

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-...bes/1021632930
    "I stick to my basic plan of simply keeping the pedals turning."
    -- Kent Peterson, The Way of the Mountain Turtle

  9. #9
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    My only problem with varied exercise is I don't have much available to me. All I have(or going to have I should say) is my bike and my own body; I can't really afford a gym membership at present and I don't even have any weights or anything.

    Also, while I'm here, my boyfriend wants to get a bike to bike with me when his knee heals(dislocated patella has him out of commission for a while and thus dwindling funds), but he's 300lbs. Any bikes y'all would recommend in a reasonable price range for someone on a $9.00 an hour wage? (He works full time when he's not injured.) I've glanced at some on nashbar and bikesdirect, but the prospect of building a bike myself is daunting however far in the future it is, and the boyfriend is not at all mechanically inclined. We have a PerformanceBike, REI, and Richardson Bike Mart (http://bikemart.com) nearby. We both want to lose weight, but unfortunately he's even more fatalistic than I am. Plus, he likes to sit and play videogames all the time. I do too, but I'm so tired of being, well, fat.

  10. #10
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Biking and walking are fantastic and plenty varied for what you need.

    As for your boyfriend, there are a lot of threads here from new people who are 300+ looking for a new or used bike. I'd suggest perusing those for a starting point.

    I finally realized that the reason skinny people were skinnier than I was related to their lifestyles. (not always). They just tend to be more active. You just *can't* sit on your duff all day, eat crappy food and then blame somebody else for your weight. Your last sentence is very telling. Make it work for you!

  11. #11
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    Ha, tell that to a friend of mine. She can eat burgers and greasy foods all day and never break 100 lbs, and she's only a few inches shorter than me. It goes to show what kind of person she is though when she insists that I'm the pretty one when I'm twice her. There's a reason she's my best friend, lol. As 'typical teen' as she can be, she's got a good heart.

    As far as used, not happening, haha. The used market around me is full of people that think their bike is still worth the MSRP value. I find tons of people that slap 'vintage' in the name of their bike and use that as an excuse to charge five hundred bucks for a single speed cruiser, no lie.

  12. #12
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    Some good advice in here. In my experience, I've lost 50 and put back on 30, then lost 25 again. The "put back on" phase was when I stopped tracking my food. If exercise is not part of your weekly routine (yet), then it's even more vital that you do not "diet", but rather you change your eating lifestyle. Tracking your caloric intake is a GREAT way to learn what it is that you are eating. I know that my wife would constantly point out things that she felt were "bad" that honestly were not from a calorie perspective, and things that she though were fairly healthy were extremely high in calories. Obviously calories aren't the only measurement when it comes to measuring how healthy a food item is, but for me it is the most important right now.

    Set your daily goal and track the weight. I use Weight Watchers Online because I love their tools and recipes, but I know people that use myfitnesspal and love it. I'd go with weekly weigh-ins, not daily. Your weight can fluctuate so much that it's a much better measurement weekly (always at the same time of day as part of a routine). If you start paying attention to your food, you'll quickly discover what you are eating that is horrible and what you CAN eat that is good. I can still eat anything I want, I just "pay" for it later.

    Some things I've found that really help me manage my caloric intake are getting rid of small things. For instance, I used to start every day with a bowl of cereal and milk. By switching to oatmeal with some frozen (or fresh) fruit in it and a drop or two of vanilla extract because I like the flavor, I could almost cut my breakfast intake in half AND I still felt full. Another huge tip I found is that water is your friend. Diet Sodas are ok, but I don't like the constant fake sugar, so I keep it at a minimum. But I replaced all my other drinks with plain water. It's amazing the amount of calories you can save over a week by not drinking a big glass of milk with dinner each night. Instead, I have one once in a while, or on a day where I'm low on calories.

    Track your food. Don't diet, but rather change your eating lifestyle. Learn what you are eating and why it's bad. Those are the best tips I've ever heard, and they honestly do work....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Hendricks97's Avatar
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    If youre anything like me, I dropped alot of weight the first couple months, then I didnt lose a pound for 6 months, yet my shirts kept getting looser. My legs were becoming solid muscle and the scale didnt take that into account, so dont get discouraged when you hit that plateau.

  14. #14
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've had ups and downs. But I've been pretty good at avoiding some extra-high-fat foods altogether. Stuff like burgers and fries, ice cream. If you don't buy peanut butter, you don't have to resist it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  15. #15
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I don't track my food, my calories, or obsess over the scale. Don't even own a scale. If I did, I think I would find the normal daily fluctuations to be discouraging. How loose my belt fits is a good enough gauge to know if I am achieving progress. I'll get weighed once in a while when I go to the doctor, or I'll stop at the Y near the end of an evening ride.

    What I have done is to (over time) learn what the better food choices are that I like. I don't starve myself, but I have cut out most of the crap from my diet. No sodas, I don't crave candy anymore. For example, breakfast is usually a cup of instant oatmeal, a yogurt and coffee. Snack is a banana or orange. Not that I don't make a poor choice now and then. I went out for dinner after a group ride last night and the basket of tortilla chips was too close to me. Had more than I should have.

    For me the main objective is taking care of my over-50 issues. Blood pressure, cholesterol, mild diabetes. The weight loss is gravy. I've gone from 286 in February of 2011 to 221 about a week ago. Pants size has gone from 48 to 42. My lycra riding shorts that haven't fit me in years are all fitting again, and some are even getting a bit loose fitting now. My riding has gotten back to where I am again doing the kind of riding I was in my 20's. Regular 30-40 milers and even a 50+ miler now and then. Mileage increases come more easily than speed increases.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  16. #16
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    All the above is good but I'll still chime in.

    I like to eat. I don't have a compulsion to eat but I just enjoy it. I like food that is good for me, bad for me, and all in the middle. I did the following:

    - At the very beginning I just out-exercised my eating. I started to ride my bike just a few miles as often as I could to build the habit and to get my body used to it and ready for more. Soon I started to think about commuting. I would drive to about five miles from work, park, then commute. Then I would find a place a bit further away, etc. and before you know it I was going the whole way. That allowed me to out-exercise my eating.

    - Now that I was working hard at the exercise I started to automatically become conscious of what I was eating. I wanted all that work to pay off even more. So I started to eat smaller portions of the yummy food and fill in the gaps (at the same meal) with something that wasn't as bad for me. Still the same volume and enjoyment of eating. Right at the same time I started taking smaller bites of the good food to make it last longer. Small trick but it works.

    - In time I wouldn't even pick up certain foods at the grocery. Pizza Rolls? Love them. I don't buy them anymore because I'd eat the whole bag. Wife wants to order a pizza? Sure, every now and then but not once a week like we used to, etc.

    I certainly don't eat uber-healthy but just more reasonable with the occasional pig out. My brother is coming up this weekend so I'll get plenty of wings and beer and it will be a setback, but I'm ok with it.

    For this Spring I'm just getting up to my commutes (second one today) but it will really pay off. When you work up to yours you will be happy with the results.

  17. #17
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetNightmare View Post
    Thanks. I'm working on the doing stuff myself; I've looked up how to clean the drivetrain and how to change a tire at this point, lol. When I've lost a little weight(and saved up a few more bucks) I might treat myself to a road bike of some kind. Maybe off BikesDirect simply so I can get some experience assembling something.

    No doubt it'll be a way of life; it'll be my only transportation! I couldn't afford driver's ed in school, and I can't afford a car, so the healthier option is my only option. And just a couple of miles down the road there's a nice bike path I can ride on my days off for fun. I'm thinking to combine it with something I already love treating myself to a ContourROAM camera somewhere down the road so I can make some music videos from my riding. ((Among other things. I have a love of video editing.))
    I just went through the decision of road bike -vs- hybrid for my commute. Opinions varied but generally if you have to carry stuff for the commute a non road-bike works best.... for me.

    How long is your full commute?

  18. #18
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetNightmare View Post
    My only problem with varied exercise is I don't have much available to me. All I have(or going to have I should say) is my bike and my own body; I can't really afford a gym membership at present and I don't even have any weights or anything.

    Also, while I'm here, my boyfriend wants to get a bike to bike with me when his knee heals(dislocated patella has him out of commission for a while and thus dwindling funds), but he's 300lbs. Any bikes y'all would recommend in a reasonable price range for someone on a $9.00 an hour wage? (He works full time when he's not injured.) I've glanced at some on nashbar and bikesdirect, but the prospect of building a bike myself is daunting however far in the future it is, and the boyfriend is not at all mechanically inclined. We have a PerformanceBike, REI, and Richardson Bike Mart (http://bikemart.com) nearby. We both want to lose weight, but unfortunately he's even more fatalistic than I am. Plus, he likes to sit and play videogames all the time. I do too, but I'm so tired of being, well, fat.
    Make sure you look for used bikes.

  19. #19
    mook. rhammons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetNightmare View Post
    My only problem with varied exercise is I don't have much available to me. All I have(or going to have I should say) is my bike and my own body; I can't really afford a gym membership at present and I don't even have any weights or anything.
    There is absolutely so much great advice in here! We're all in this battle together. The only thing I can add, especially in regards with this statement, is that what you've listed is all you need to lose the weight. I've been doing basically everything that's been said, and have found that those things plus what you listed above is all you need to lose weight and stay there. Just like you're planning, the bike was my gateway into leaning down and becoming fit enough to do more and get me farther. I dropped an initial 15-20 lbs. just cycling moderately for mid-range distances (20-30 miles max, mostly 10-15 mile trips on the weekends). That got me down to a weight and a level of fitness where I could then do some interval runs on the treadmill and around the block. Next I was combining the gains from those two things getting me to the point where I can now run a 10k fairly regularly and am working at regular centuries on the bike. In the mix of all that, and what really helped with dropping the weight, I was able to start doing push-ups, sit-ups, and other calisthenics without any gym equipment what-so-ever. Working my way up to multiple reps of push-ups and sit-ups a day built up muscle which then coincidentally burns more calories than fat. It all works in conjunction and will help you so much along the way. Just remember to log all your food/calories ( this is hugely important ). Do not eat-back your exercise calories (unless you did a half marathon, half-century or more, etc.). And don't be afraid to mix it up. You're never limited by the gym equipment you don't have, that's for sure.

  20. #20
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    You may have to experiment on yourself to see what works for you. Some thoughts:

    1. Weighing yourself. Some suggest weighing every day. If you do that you need to be prepared for some wild fluctuations. We are primarily water and water weight is going to vary a lot. I have lost my weight but I weigh every day to keep a running average. This tells me my weight trends, whether up or down. Tools to keep track of your trends can be found here: https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/HackDiet/

    Even though I now weigh every day I did not do that when I was losing weight. The first three months I had no scale and just counted calories. After that, I weighed weekly. That worked out well for me.

    2. Keeping track of what you eat. Whether you count calories or join Weight Watchers and count points, you need to know how much you are eating. Writing it down also keeps you accountable. There are various online counters, like www.myfitnesspal.com and http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/. Myfitnesspal and Livestrong also have tools to help you figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight at your activity level. Reduce by 500 calories a day and you will lose a pound a week. A pound to maybe at most two pounds a week early in your weight loss, is a good goal and you won't be sending yourself into starvation mode.

    3. What to eat. I have come to the conclusion that the type of diet is not as important as some have thought, with a few caveats. I think you can chose to go low carb, or low fat, or balanced and they all can be fine. Do what you can stick with. However, I would stay away from sugars and probably refined, quick acting carbs. I mostly stay away from sweets (other than non-processed fruit) and used only sugar substitutes. I use Truvia, which is a mix of Stevia and Erythritol, both natural sugar substitutes. There is some evidence that a higher protein diet may help curb appetite so you might want to be sure that you have plenty of protein in your diet. What I did is go pretty low carb to start and at foods I really wanted to eat. I spoiled myself. I ate lobster. I ate Salmon pinwheels. I hate to cook so I bought prepared salads and pre-chopped veggies. I ate blueberries because I love them, even when expensive. I figured that even if my food budget went up substantially the health "savings" were worth it.

    If you go the low fat higher carb route you may need to eat more frequent, but smaller meals, to help with hunger. You can do what works for you. Pay attention to how you feel.

    4. Break connection to eating triggers. Our brains are wired such that if you eat at a certain time or under certain circumstances, when that time comes around or when those circumstances occur, you will be hungry even if you don't need food. For example, you may snack when watching television. What can end up occurring is that you get hungry when watching tv, tv became a stimulus that triggers an eating response. I cut down my tv watching dramatically and this helped with hunger. I also never ate in front of the tv, to help break the connection. When I watched tv I did bead work to keep my hands busy. I also just did what I could to keep busy doing things where I would not ordinarily eat. I was lucky, I am retired. I went on an extensive trip and spent a lot of time outside doing outside things. I was busy enough that I did not think about food. Biking can help with that. Walking. Spending time doing things where you do not ordinarily eat.

    I also find that I am more likely to overeat, even binge, on certain foods. Sweets like cookies, candy and bars, as well as breads is it for me. I stayed away from them entirely for the first six months of losing weight and then phased in bread products a bit. I still stay away from cookies and candy like things because I find it almost impossible for me to stop eating them when I start and they just make me hungrier.

    To use conditioning to your advantage it is a good idea to eat the same time each day. If possible, at the table or in the kitchen, some place where you don't spend non-eating time.

    5. New rewards. Behavioral psychology has shown that addictive behaviors are less rewarding over time. For example, the alcoholic does not get a whole lot of pleasure from drinking. Instead, the alcoholic gets less pain. However, some activities have the opposite effect and the more you do them the more you value them and get pleasure from them. Generally, these are activities where you are learning a skill, from learning to play chess to riding a bicycle to listening to a new type of music. I have increased my birding skills, which is very rewarding to me.

    5. Exercise. Riding a bike or other forms of physical activity are self rewarding and the rewards get greater the more you do them and the better you get at it. And, these rewards increase as you lose weight and are maintained or increased as you keep that weight off. It is good to not only do cardio like biking, but to do weight training to help minimize muscle loss as you lose weight. There is research which shows that people who do weight training when losing weight lose less muscle than those who do just cardio or nothing. Also, doing exercises that strengthen you core muscles, like your back and abdominal muscles will help you on the bike. Here are some core exercises I like: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/core-strength/SM00047 Here is information on starting weight training: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wei...aining/SM00041 Walking is really good too, as it is weight bearing. So, mix up the cycling with other forms of exercise.

    Exercise while rewarding also makes you hungry. Be sure to budget calories appropriate for you exercise level and consider exercising before a regular meal time to help deal with post exercise hunger. I found that a glass of milk with whey protein right after vigorous exercise helped with the hunger and the protein is good for me too.

    5. Support. There is evidence that there is an inverse relationship between addictive behavior including overeating and social activity. (See, The Science of Self Control, http://www.amazon.com/Science-Self-C.../dp/0674013573 and the studies cited in that book). Having a good social support network will help you lose weight and keep it off. But, if all your friends are overweight and if socializing revolves around food, you need to find a network that supports your efforts. This forum is one. Weight Watchers is another possibility.

    6. Enjoy yourself. If exercise becomes a mission, and you don't also have fun with it you may quit. I stick with cycling because I love the experience. I love flying down the road, faster than my feet could ever carry me. I love going down a trail listening to birds and smelling springtime, connecting with nature.

  21. #21
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetNightmare View Post
    My only problem with varied exercise is I don't have much available to me. All I have(or going to have I should say) is my bike and my own body; I can't really afford a gym membership at present and I don't even have any weights or anything.
    In my tediously long prior post I mentioned the importance of weight bearing exercises. You don't need a gym. I do resistance exercises in my motorhome. I do have some inexpensive free weights and a cheap exercise ball. You do not even need anything other than you own body to start. The core exercises I linked to require no equipment. You can do things like squats and calf stretches without any weights or other equipment.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 04-26-12 at 11:34 AM.

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