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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 06-26-12, 04:07 PM   #1
dsb137
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Heresy

When I finally started my weight loss/fitness program a few years back I had a BMI of 39, it was probably higher than that at some point, but there was a time that I wouldn't step on a scale for love nor money, so 39 is the highest I can confirm...

My current BMI is 23... Not 'cyclist skinny' by any means, but no longer overweight/obese...

Over this time I have tried any number of nutritional interventions, some more successfully than others...

I have ridden 27 hours in a week and gained weight, as well as riding as few as 6 hours and lost weight...

I have come to understand that you cannot out exercise a bad diet...

One such intervention that I'm sure I'm not alone in having tried is ketosis, but I never used it longer than about 30 days because I believed that it wouldn't support the riding that I was trying to do...

Around the first of this year I came across a website that was called 'war on insulin' where Dr. Peter Attia explained what he was doing nutrition wise, and exercise wise...

The site is now called 'The Eating Academy' and you can find it here...

From reading that site as well as The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Drs. Volek and Phinney I came to understand that ketosis was in fact sustainable and in some ways preferrable to my previous carb based diet with regard to my cycling...

The proof is in the pudding as they say, and I have been in ketosis since February, the final exam for me was the recent Jackson County Brevet...

I completed the 101.46 miles, that included 5377 feet of climbing in 6:08:24, not fast by any means, but I completed it while consuming 2 oz of salted nuts, 2 pepperoni stix, and 4 bottles of Nuun, for a grand total of 620 Kcal, 10g carbohydrate, 56g of Fat, and 22g of Protein...

If you're interested, I've written about it here...

Understand, I'm not recommending this nutritional approach, nor am I making any judgements about this or any other approach, merely giving a data point...

I didn't believe this was possible, until I read Attia's stuff, then I had to work it out for myself...

I continue to use this intervention in my quest to attain my version of 'cycling skinny', whatever that turns out to be...

I wish I'd have known sooner...
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Old 06-26-12, 04:35 PM   #2
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I've done the ketosis thing - at age 25 or so, I stayed on level one of the old Atkins diet for almost a year. I never found that it impaired my energy or endurance. (Of course, I WAS 25 at the time...) The thing it did do was to raise my cholesterol to over 300 in that one year. It's never even been close to that since - even when I was obese, it hangs out at about 125ish. So I do blame the diet.

So - what IS "cyclist skinny"? My BMI is 25.3 now, and I'm expecting to get to 23 within the next month or so, and stop losing at that point. I think that, at lower than that, I'd look like a walking skeleton.
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Old 06-26-12, 04:59 PM   #3
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I've done the ketosis thing - at age 25 or so, I stayed on level one of the old Atkins diet for almost a year. I never found that it impaired my energy or endurance. (Of course, I WAS 25 at the time...) The thing it did do was to raise my cholesterol to over 300 in that one year. It's never even been close to that since - even when I was obese, it hangs out at about 125ish. So I do blame the diet.

So - what IS "cyclist skinny"? My BMI is 25.3 now, and I'm expecting to get to 23 within the next month or so, and stop losing at that point. I think that, at lower than that, I'd look like a walking skeleton.
Like I said, I'm not recommending anything... But for completeness, I had a blood panel done 25 May 2012 and didn't have any sort of elevated cholesterol...

Dr. Attia talks about cholesterol here...

Yeah, I don't know what 'cyclist skinny' really is either, but I figure I'll continue to lose as long as my W/Kg continues to improve...
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Old 06-26-12, 05:22 PM   #4
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I have come to understand that you cannot out exercise a bad diet...
Amen. Truer words have never been spoken.
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Old 06-26-12, 05:35 PM   #5
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Total Cholesterol is an outdated method of looking at your lipids. It's much more important to know both GOOD and BAD cholesterol numbers. The vast-majority of those on a ketogenic diet increase total cholesterol BUT they lower bad cholesterol and raise good - dramatically so in many cases.

FYI ketosis need NOT impair your cycling... it's not easy while your body adapts, but once keto-adapted ability isn't impaired UNLESS you're at an elite competition level.

I've been in ketosis for nearly 2 years now. (I adopted a ketogenic diet to lose-weight and better-control diabetes). I have no issues with distance cycling, riding up to 400km in a week. I do sub-6 hour centuries (not blazingly fast, but not bad for a neary-50 year old clydesdale) and generally enjoy great health. My blood glucose tests are all NORMAL now, as if I didn't have diabetes (but I do) and my cholesterol is within healthy range.
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Old 06-26-12, 05:39 PM   #6
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Glad to see your post. Another book you might really enjoy is Diet 101 - The Truth about Low Carb Diets, by Jenny Ruhl. The title makes it sound like an anti-low-carb book, but really it's a no hype approach to formulating a low carb way to eat for anyone who has problems metabolizing blood sugar.

I can't consume more than 80 to 100 carbs a day, and usually I do less than 70 a day, so I'm pretty much in ketosis all the time. I do a 65 mile ride every Saturday, and 2 30 to 40 mile rides during the week, and the low carb way of eating hasn't hurt my performance at all, and I'm 64.

Like you, I wish I had known about all this a long time ago.

There's a LOT of money involved with the US agricultural policies and the BS surrounding cholesterol, along with putting millions of people on statins who don't need them.
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Old 06-26-12, 09:18 PM   #7
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Good for you guys. I tried it, and it worked well for me until I pushed to hard. When I was running and my runs got up to 1.5 hours at within 10 or so of my max hr...I would crash so hard it hurt. Once I went back to adding in carbs like sweet potatoes I didn't have that again.
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Old 06-26-12, 10:49 PM   #8
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The site is now called 'The Eating Academy' and you can find it here...
By the way, thank you so much for posting that link. That is a really great site!
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Old 06-27-12, 02:31 AM   #9
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By the way, thank you so much for posting that link. That is a really great site!
+1
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Old 06-27-12, 09:27 PM   #10
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yes thanks for the link .. it changed my view of my eating. I had grown complacent in my diet since I was losing weight
and riding strong but I can see I need to eliminate carbs.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:49 AM   #11
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I had grown complacent in my diet since I was losing weight
and riding strong but I can see I need to eliminate carbs.
I've been mulling this statement, and am still having trouble figuring it out. (Unless it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek...) "I've grown complacent in doing what I've been doing because it's been working well for me, but I now see that I need to do something different that might or might not work as well..."

Not that a low-carb diet doesn't work. Just about anything that gives your body less fuel than it needs to do what it does will work if you stick to it. I'm just intrigued by the feeling that you'd need to change away from what's been working very well.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:05 AM   #12
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The bottom line is that the evidence is not clear and there are individual differences in response to different types of diets so I stay away from religiosity when it comes down to what is the proper diet balance. I did find that reducing my carb intake and increasing my protein intake when I was first working on losing weight did help with appetite. Research though is showing that higher protein effects on appetite tend to disappear over time. I also find that there are some foods which seem to push me to overeating for whatever the reason, whether effect on blood sugar or just plain pleasure of eating these foods. Ice cream. Brownies. Good bread. All are difficult for me.

What I eat seem to have little effect on my blood lipid profile. My LDL is too high. My HDL is middling. My triglycerides are great. Going from obesity to normal weight had no change on my blood profile and I continue to have to take statins to keep the LDL down. What I eat seems to make little if any difference either. Probably genetic, my entire family has the issue and there is lots of heart disease in my family. Every once in a while someone says if you only did x, y and z you would be off the meds for BP and high cholesterol. Well, it doesn't always work that way.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:52 AM   #13
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The bottom line is that the evidence is not clear and there are individual differences in response to different types of diets so I stay away from religiosity when it comes down to what is the proper diet balance. I did find that reducing my carb intake and increasing my protein intake when I was first working on losing weight did help with appetite. Research though is showing that higher protein effects on appetite tend to disappear over time. I also find that there are some foods which seem to push me to overeating for whatever the reason, whether effect on blood sugar or just plain pleasure of eating these foods. Ice cream. Brownies. Good bread. All are difficult for me.
If you have problems metabolizing carbs (insulin resistance, shortage of insulin, etc.) the evidence is pretty clear -- the typical high carb low fat diet is not good for you. There's little disagreement that blood sugar spikes over 140 are bad for you. You can measure your own body's handling of carbs for less than $20. It's well worth it.

Also, a lot of people assume that low carb diet = high protein. That is, or should not be, the case. Low carb should mean more fat, and the lower your carbs, the more you should replace them with fat. That's especially so if you are in ketosis.

One thing that almost all researchers seem to agree on though -- a high carb, high fat diet is definitely bad for you.

As for your statins, I would study up on them before accepting you absolutely need to take them. My mom had an overall cholesterol reading of 275 until the day she died - at age 97. Her doctors were constantly trying to put her on statins, but the last 20 years of her life she refused.

Here is a great analysis of the role of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipids, etc. I wish I could have read something like this before I took statins for 15 years. True, some people really do need statins, especially if their arteries are diseased. But there are millions of people who, like me, take them because doctors think "it's just a good thing to do, and statins won't hurt you, anyway."
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Old 06-28-12, 12:28 PM   #14
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Except for a short period after a year of old Atkins level one, (which was NOT recommended, even at that time - but I was 25, and nobody could tell me anything...), I have never had any trouble with blood lipids, never had any issues with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or anything like that.

I don't do a high-carb, low-fat diet. My percentage mix of total carbs, fiber, protein and fat runs about 50%, 25%, 30%, 20% (it adds up to 125% because the total carbohydrate grams include the fiber). I've done variations where the carbs were lower, and I felt ok, but not as good as I do now. And I've done variations where the carbs were higher, and I definitely suffered from more hunger. This mix seems to work out very well for me. As always, if it ain't broke, don't fix it...
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Old 06-28-12, 01:23 PM   #15
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Sorry for the confusion...losing weight and getting stronger on the bike are nice but my real goal is
to reduce my potential for cardiovascular disease. The link provided by the OP showed me that I still
have 4 of the 5 symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Hence the need to overcome my complacency.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:52 PM   #16
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If you have problems metabolizing carbs (insulin resistance, shortage of insulin, etc.) the evidence is pretty clear -- the typical high carb low fat diet is not good for you. There's little disagreement that blood sugar spikes over 140 are bad for you. You can measure your own body's handling of carbs for less than $20. It's well worth it.


Also, a lot of people assume that low carb diet = high protein. That is, or should not be, the case. Low carb should mean more fat, and the lower your carbs, the more you should replace them with fat. That's especially so if you are in ketosis.


One thing that almost all researchers seem to agree on though -- a high carb, high fat diet is definitely bad for you.


As for your statins, I would study up on them before accepting you absolutely need to take them. My mom had an overall cholesterol reading of 275 until the day she died - at age 97. Her doctors were constantly trying to put her on statins, but the last 20 years of her life she refused.


Here is a great analysis of the role of cholesterol, triglycerides, lipids, etc. I wish I could have read something like this before I took statins for 15 years. True, some people really do need statins, especially if their arteries are diseased. But there are millions of people who, like me, take them because doctors think "it's just a good thing to do, and statins won't hurt you, anyway."

I don't mean to imply that I was substituting protein for carbs. The fat level went up in my diet as well, as typically happens when people reduce carbs. The research is muddy for a wide variety of reasons, such as the fact that there are different kinds of fat, different kinds of carbs (fiber good, sugar bad), serious problems with drop out rates in diet studies, lack of long term studies, and difficulty in setting up adequate controls. I do agree that if you tend to insulin resistance cutting the carbs is worth trying to see how it effects you. To what extent and for how long is a big issue. However, for the short time in general high fat/low carb diets are likely safe. But, it is far from clear that a low carb/high fat diet is necessarily the best for insulin resistance. A person with metabolic syndrome might do just fine on a high carb, low fat diet. And it might clean out their arteries too. We do both agree though that high refined carb, high non-omega 3 fat diet is a bad mix. And we probably both agree that losing weight is good for metabolic syndrome.


As far as the utility of statins, it is a risk/benefit analysis based on population statistics as applied to your own situation. There certainly are plenty of people who have a bad lipid profile and never have a cardiac event. And there are plenty of people who have good lipid profiles and have heart attacks or strokes. But based on populations of people taking statins, if you have certain risk factors your risk of cardiac events can be reduced. This is not to say statins themselves are without risk. It is just something to weigh when you decide whether you should take them or not. Given my lipid profile and my absolutely horrible family history and the absence of negative side effects, I chose to take the statins.

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Old 06-29-12, 04:17 AM   #17
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You can measure your own body's handling of carbs for less than $20. It's well worth it.
How can I go about doing this?
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Old 06-29-12, 08:51 AM   #18
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How can I go about doing this?
Just go to a Walgreen's or CVS and buy a glucose monitor. You can get one for $20 that includes 10 test strips. Try doing it on a day when you are going to be eating a relatively high carb breakfast. Take your fasting glucose before breakfast or consuming anything. Then, 1 hour after your meal, test again. Then test a third time 2 hours after your meal. If you never go above 140, you can probably tolerate the "normal" high carb, low fat diet. However, if your blood sugar goes above 140, that's an indication that you may have problems metabolizing carbs.

Ideally, your fasting glucose should be under 100; your 1 hour glucose should be under 140; and your 2 hour glucose should be under 120.

You also may discover from this testing that fasting glucose numbers are deceiving you. For example, you may have fasting glucose of 105 (slightly too high), but your 1 hour level may go up to 180. That's why the fasting glucose test alone is a poor predictor of who will develop diabetes later on.

Of course, one test is probably not enough, but if your numbers are not that great on the first test, more testing is probably warranted. You should especially get an A1C test, which you can't do yourself. However, you can get one at your local health food supermarket or drugstore (at least we can here in CA). The A1C results are also a very good predictor for heart attack risk.

The nice thing about this approach is that you can develop a diet (by that I mean a long term way of eating, not a short term program to lose weight) that is tailored to your body's ability to process carbs. You may find that consuming up to 150 carbs a day doesn't raise your levels above 140, or you may find you have to keep them under 100. There's no one solution for every person. you can find a lot more information on this approach here.

Standard disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice!
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Old 04-22-13, 10:21 PM   #19
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Volek, Phinney, and Attia are full of crap. Read my 1 start review of the formers' book. They seem to have a terrible understanding of exercise physiology, and just cherry pick instances and avoid discussing basic principles. There are no black and white answers, but carbs/glycogen are a major source of energy across intensities for physiological reasons - they produce ATP at a higher rate than fat oxidation.
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Old 04-23-13, 09:13 AM   #20
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As for your statins, I would study up on them before accepting you absolutely need to take them.
I'll never take statins myself. I've become convinced that there's no benefit to artificially lowering cholesterol, and that the drugs themselves are downright harmful.

If anyone is on statins and has some time, watch Statin Nation

Also, for the OP I've had my best bike rides on low carb. Six hours in I realized I should probably eat something. I ate because I thought I should, not for lack of energy. But I ride pretty slow most of the time, so this is not a high intensity effort.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:30 PM   #21
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Ok, I just want to rail against BMI for a second. BMI requires an "average" body in order to have any relevance to a discussion. If you have a thicker body structure, it is not relevant. If you are an former football player with extra muscle mass, not relevant as well.

If you have a thin structure, you are probably under estimating things.

They really should modify the formula to account for body structure. Tips of the shoulders is probably the best measurement point.
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