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  1. #1
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    Losing Weight Over Winter

    I have a question about getting into shape for next spring. First, over the past 3 years, I have lost, and kept off, 72 pounds from cycling -- has totally changed my life around! I still need to lose about 20 more to be in optimal shape for triathlon. The first 72 pounds were not that hard to lose and I have kept them off, but now, I can't seem to lose the last 20. I have been told by several people that I need to change my diet to put my body in shock. The weight that I have lost was from eating healthier by cutting out fats and eating high carbs for cycling.

    My question is, if I go on the atkins diet over the winter and then get off of it next spring for cycling, will I put the weight back on all of a sudden? I have never been an advocate of this diet. I have seen so many people get on it and lose weight, but the moment they came off, bamm, the weight was right back on. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I've not studied it in detail, but from what I've read on other forums, Atkins does not make sense for cyclists, or other endurance athletes. Carbs are our fuel, and restricting them risks bonking.

    I don't think there's any magic formula to weight loss. If you're eating less than you're burning, your weight will go down.

    As for losing weight over the winter...I find that very difficult. This time of year, I'm happy just to keep my weight stable, and not pack on pounds.

    After the first of the year, I start to focus on my cycling goals for the year, and one of them is usually my weight. I try to record my weight twice a week (Monday and Friday mornings), on a Tanita scale that's accurate to 0.2 lbs. By keeping track of my weight fairly frequently, and graphing the results (using my CycliStats program), I'm able to know how I'm doing and whether or not I need to cut back on food intake or portion size and/or put in more miles on the bike. For me, those twice weekly "weigh-ins", and the resulting graphs, are sufficient motivation to watch what I eat.

    BTW - congrats on your weight loss so far...that's awesome.
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    Losing weight is impossible in winter, IMHO!!

    The darkness, extreme cold, short days, etc., greatly limits my exercising, and I think your body goes into a "winter mode" where it conserves body fat to protect you from the cold.

    I have no scientific basis for the above, just my humble opinion.

    I am trying to ride the trainer 45 minutes/day, but it just is not the same as outdoors biking.

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    I would focus on balancing the diet with frequent small meals and eating for your activity level maintaining a small to moderate calorie deficit.This would entail more carbs when your activity level is high and less when it is low.With this approach if your activity level is close to sedentary your diet might look close to Adkins but I don't like to view my eating habits in marketing terms.At this point you do not want to shock your body per say as that approach tends to work better when you have more weight to lose.At this point this would risk shutting down your metabolism.The best approach to restart stalled fat loss to lose that last stubborn fat seems to be a higher activity approach with only a small to moderate calorie deficit however if you will be less active during winter months my suggestion would be to increase the intensity of what activity you do and focus on trying to elevate the metabolism with activities such as weight training and interval training etc.By the way what does your planned winter activity level look like?

  5. #5
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    the healthiest way would be to maintain your present weight for a short while (short is almost a year in terms of your hopefully long life)

    do not use atkins because it will wreak havoc with your system when you need the carbs for your hard efforts come spring/summer/fall.....

    muscle eats fat. this would be a good time to muscle up. i know, muscle weighs 3 x as much as fat, but judge by shape, not weight for a few months. you will be able to go longer and faster for it in the springtime, and that ultimately burns more fat.

    your intracellular fat is much harder to get rid of than the excess stuff from overeating. the last 20 is not as a result of excess as much as your genetic disposition and your body adaptation to your former shape and size.

    this is the tough part. maintain and stay focused without letting minor setbacks get at you.

    its is much healthier, mentally and physically to burn it off in the peak time than the wintertime.

    shocking your system will not work. your body wants to preserve its fat because its been losing so much of it.

    enjoy your present body, get in touch with it now and the rest will follow soon.
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    I would suggest you monitor your food intake. I usually have a problem with gaining weight in the winter due to a lack of training. Here is my plan this year.

    I use FITDAY.COM and I log everything I eat everyday. It's a pain in the a__ to do but it records the food intake. I then record any trainer time or possible road time. If I do a spinning class I record the time. I use a HR monitor so it records KCAL burned and I log that. What this does is enable me to watch my food intake and insure I don't take in more calories then I am burning.

    I would also suggest you stay away from the Atkins diet. They do claim a high sucess rate but for our sport it would not be any good on the body. Despite the claims carbs are good for you. I believe that diet IMHO is for the overweight not active person. It works well for them. If your a cyclist you need the carbs. If your not getting much bike time you should still maintain the same diet as before just reduce the calorie intake.
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  7. #7
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    Don't do Adkins! I have done it and you will not lose that last 20 on this diet! Lower your portion size and keep a moderate intake. Total calorie intake and output is where it's at, remember, fat has twice the claories as carbs and it's easy to over do it. Good luck with Christmas coming on! I plan to get serious myself, after the first of the year!

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    I am not an atkins fan, but I do have some theories on carbs that I have picked up from different readings and experiences.

    I had lost 107 total pound as of June. I put on 20 lbs. What I found by looking back into my food journals, is that I abandoned the program that was working for me and introducing high-glycemic carbs.

    Sure, high-glycemic carbs are great energy foods for racing, but my weight goes up and not down. The Cyclists Training Bible talks about this a little. When you have high glucose levels, your body produces more insulin to process the glucose, because hyperglycemia can be a problem for the body. So, the Training Bible says concentrate on protein & fats during the off season, mixed with low-glycemic carbs. You insulin levels will stay down, and your body will burn fat instead of glucose.

    Just a theory and I am wondering what others think.
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    The Cycling Photographer SipperPhoto's Avatar
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    I agree with Iowa there... I just picked up a copy of the South Beach Diet (yeah I know, a lot of it is hype), but there seems to be some fairly decent info on low glycemic carbs and stuff in there... From what I can tell about that plan is that is does NOT eliminate carbs... just the bad ones such as pasta, rice, white bread... basically starchy stuff... it focuses more on lean cuts of meat, and vegetables... you can eat bread, if it is 100% whole wheat, rice, if it is brown... those seem to have more fiber in them and the "effective" carb in it is much lower...

    it;s all a game... the last 20 lbs. are always tough...

    I've been trying to get the last 5 lbs off for about 3 months now... and I've been stuck at around 163 (which isn't bad for me at all)... my goal is upper 150's

    Jeff
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWTD
    I would focus on balancing the diet with frequent small meals and eating for your activity level maintaining a small to moderate calorie deficit.This would entail more carbs when your activity level is high and less when it is low.With this approach if your activity level is close to sedentary your diet might look close to Adkins but I don't like to view my eating habits in marketing terms.At this point you do not want to shock your body per say as that approach tends to work better when you have more weight to lose.At this point this would risk shutting down your metabolism.The best approach to restart stalled fat loss to lose that last stubborn fat seems to be a higher activity approach with only a small to moderate calorie deficit however if you will be less active during winter months my suggestion would be to increase the intensity of what activity you do and focus on trying to elevate the metabolism with activities such as weight training and interval training etc.By the way what does your planned winter activity level look like?
    I am getting ready, in 3 weeks, to start a 10 week, beginners, training plan for triathlon, off of http://www.trinewbies.com/. My goal is to lose at least 13 more pounds before my first sprint triathlon in April. Weight training is going to be one of those things.

  11. #11
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    I will say this, size wise, I am optimal. Right now, I am a size 32. Weight is a totally different issue. I am 5'7" and weight 170.

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    Okay, here's what I'm doing.
    I bought a quick healthy meals cookbook and rice steamer and I make big batches of food twice a week; good tasty stuff. Then I portion the food to around 400 calories, mark it, and freeze it. Each day I eat 4-5 meals depending on my calorie requirements and activity level for the day. So, I just pop something into the microwave, and have fewer dishes to clean up.

    Today I'm having Chicken enchiladas, turkey chili, Tequila lime chicken with papaya chutney and brown rice, and a salad with each meal. I don't ever have to worry about not having something to eat, and I eat so often that I'm never really hungry. This leads to a slow steady reduction of about a lb per week. I'm the envy of my Atkins' dieting friends and my junk food buddies are jealous of the tear drop that's starting to show above my knee.
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    Oh yeah. I ride my bike 5 or so times per week.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SipperPhoto
    I agree with Iowa there... I just picked up a copy of the South Beach Diet (yeah I know, a lot of it is hype), but there seems to be some fairly decent info on low glycemic carbs and stuff in there... From what I can tell about that plan is that is does NOT eliminate carbs... just the bad ones such as pasta, rice, white bread... basically starchy stuff... it focuses more on lean cuts of meat, and vegetables... you can eat bread, if it is 100% whole wheat, rice, if it is brown... those seem to have more fiber in them and the "effective" carb in it is much lower...
    I'm also in agreement here. This seems like a much more healthy alternative
    than Atkins. Jeff, did you notice the part about increasing carb intake before
    events like heavy excersize, races etc.?
    More of a low glycemic diet than low carb diet.
    I'm pretty impressed with it.
    Have you noticed that there are some reports coming out that Atkins
    may not be as healthy for you as previously thought? I mean who would
    have thought that 8 slices of bacon and 4 eggs for breakfast would
    be bad for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SipperPhoto
    I agree with Iowa there... I just picked up a copy of the South Beach Diet (yeah I know, a lot of it is hype), but there seems to be some fairly decent info on low glycemic carbs and stuff in there... From what I can tell about that plan is that is does NOT eliminate carbs... just the bad ones such as pasta, rice, white bread... basically starchy stuff... it focuses more on lean cuts of meat, and vegetables... you can eat bread, if it is 100% whole wheat, rice, if it is brown... those seem to have more fiber in them and the "effective" carb in it is much lower...

    it;s all a game... the last 20 lbs. are always tough...

    I've been trying to get the last 5 lbs off for about 3 months now... and I've been stuck at around 163 (which isn't bad for me at all)... my goal is upper 150's

    Jeff

    Wow, we could be twins. I have used the South Beach Diet to lose 27 pounds since the first of September, and have been trying to get the last 3 POUNDS off for the past 3 weeks.

    As to the cries of doom for using Atkins, I've found that on the days when I ride, if I add a few extra carbs the night before or the morning of, I have no problems whatsoever. In fact, I'm riding faster now, since I'm no longer lugging all those extra pounds around. It's like getting a new TI frame for free. If we were all Lance Armstrongs then the the advice to low-carb it would be fine, but for the majority of us its possible to use Atkins and still ride.

    The bottom line I have figured out in all this is that I don't need to eat as much breads and potatoes as I did, and those that I do, are higher in fiber and complex carbs. I've eliminated most processed sugars and only drink water, or decafinated diet drinks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    I'm also in agreement here. This seems like a much more healthy alternative
    than Atkins. Jeff, did you notice the part about increasing carb intake before
    events like heavy excersize, races etc.?
    More of a low glycemic diet than low carb diet.
    I'm pretty impressed with it.
    Have you noticed that there are some reports coming out that Atkins
    may not be as healthy for you as previously thought? I mean who would
    have thought that 8 slices of bacon and 4 eggs for breakfast would
    be bad for you?

    Marty
    Marty,

    I'm only about 1/3 thru is so far... but so far I haven;t seen anything about increasing carb intake... it makes sense to do so... good carbs anyways... The parts I have read so far all seem to make sense to me

    Jeff
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointyhead
    Wow, we could be twins. I have used the South Beach Diet to lose 27 pounds since the first of September, and have been trying to get the last 3 POUNDS off for the past 3 weeks.

    As to the cries of doom for using Atkins, I've found that on the days when I ride, if I add a few extra carbs the night before or the morning of, I have no problems whatsoever. In fact, I'm riding faster now, since I'm no longer lugging all those extra pounds around. It's like getting a new TI frame for free. If we were all Lance Armstrongs then the the advice to low-carb it would be fine, but for the majority of us its possible to use Atkins and still ride.

    The bottom line I have figured out in all this is that I don't need to eat as much breads and potatoes as I did, and those that I do, are higher in fiber and complex carbs. I've eliminated most processed sugars and only drink water, or decafinated diet drinks.
    Sounds good... I haven't officailyl started the diet yet... I wanted to read the book first... my wife was thinking of doing it.. and I told her I'd go along with it, since it's easier to cook for 2... maybe get some encouragement back and forth... but I have started to implement some of the basic ideas from the book... basically, cutting back on simple carbs... pasta, rice, breads... I had a little bit of pasta last night, but it was the first time in about 2 months... and it wasn;t very much.. but enough to satisfy...

    I think SBD looks like a solid plan... Atkins seems a bit extreme for me... at least with SBD, they encourage you to eat until full... just eat the right things... congrats on the weight loss

    JEff
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    Quote Originally Posted by SipperPhoto
    my wife was thinking of doing it.. and I told her I'd go along with it, since it's easier to cook for 2... maybe get some encouragement back and forth... Atkins seems a bit extreme for me... at least with SBD, they encourage you to eat until full... just eat the right things... congrats on the weight loss

    JEff

    Thanks for the good words. My wife did the diet with me. She has lost 17 pounds, but she is on a drug that has weight gain as a side effect so I am very proud of her for doing that much. She lost 5 pounds the first week and I lost 11. And its great to have two people doing it at the same time. We both had a good time finding new ways to cook and working together in the kitchen.

    We loaned the book to a girl in her old office, and now everyone there is doing the SBD, with dramatic results. The great thing about this diet is that it has dramatic results initally and has taught me a new way to look at eating. And since I have lost 5 inches in the waist and 1 and 1/2 inches in my collar, I've gotten a new wardrobe, so I'll never go back!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pointyhead
    And since I have lost 5 inches in the waist and 1 and 1/2 inches in my collar, I've gotten a new wardrobe, so I'll never go back!
    I just threw out my fat clothes too. Unfortunately, a pile of my gym shorts were put into the pile of fat clothes, so I need to go to goodwill and buy some of my clothes back!

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    Lets see, move to the southern hemisphere? Why does Christmas eating have to occur when we are the least active.

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    pletcgm I think Iowa and the others are right on about avoiding the high glycemic carbs.They are great for high intensity performance but like was said at the expense of shutting off fatburning.Training for maximum performance and maximum fatburning are two totally different things.Once you begin your tri training if you are combining aerobic with anaerobic training your activity level will be way too high to do well on Atkins type diets particularly at your bodyfat level.For the basics for a balanced diet look at the thread started by tvbuster one page back on this forum.Koffee and I both responded with a healthy eating(I don't like to even think in terms of diet)plan at about the same time and it amazed me how similar the foods we mentioned were.While tv actually needed to gain some weight the basic of a sound diet are the same regardless of your goals.I also posted in that thread about training for fatburning versus performance.Basically just eat a balanced whole food diet avoid high glycemic carbs and overly processed/refined foods and create a low to moderate calorie deficit and gradually lose the weight.You can store a finite amount of carbs in your muscle without them contributing to fat in fact they will help you burn fat and spare muscle the key is not to eat more carbs than your muscles can store or they will be stored as fat thus if you adjust the carbs to your activity level you will avoid the fat storage of carbs.Protein and fats need to be adjusted far less as they have other nonenergy functions though I usually up the protein after weight training.One final thought is that 170lbs doesn't sound all that overweight to me at all but I guess I have a hard time visualizing how that translates at a height of 5'7".Still if you've lost all that weight perhaps you ought to start concentrating on adding some muscle in addition to losing any remaining fat soI am glad to see you are training with weights.And remember for endurance type performance it helps to have small cushion of excess fat though more like maybe 5 lbs rather than 20. Anyway good luck.
    Last edited by RWTD; 12-12-03 at 02:04 AM.

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    Many may not agree, but in a 5 month period I lost over 50#, many during the winter months with minimal ... and I mean minimal ... physical activity. I was on and remain on the Weight Watchers program.

    If you follow it it works. It does not tell you that you cannot eat certain things. All food is fair game. You are only limited by the daily/weekly limits of "points". Points are calculated primarily using calorie, fat and fiber content.

    Weight Watchers is now just part of my lifestyle.
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  23. #23
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Jeff,

    I basically did the same thing you did, read the book.
    I wasn't too interested in "dieting" but my wife bought it
    and I picked it up and found it a good, sensible read.
    Recipes are good (I think there was only 1 we hated)
    and there is alot of leeway. We followed the meal plans
    exactly for the first phase. As stated I didn't lose alot
    of weight but then I didn't need to. I believe the amount
    lost initially is proportionate to the amount you need to lose (does that make sense?).
    RTWD, don't know if you've read SBD or seen the menus
    but it isn't a diet per say, it more a lifestyle change. It just eliminates the high glycemic foods, and replaces it with low (or lower) glycemic food. Lots of salads, veggies
    low fat cheeses (mozarella, etc.), fish and lean meats.
    All in all I have to say that I feel better since starting this.
    By the way, I'm not knocking Atkins or any other diets, whatever
    works for a particular person is great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pletcgm
    I will say this, size wise, I am optimal. Right now, I am a size 32. Weight is a totally different issue. I am 5'7" and weight 170.
    Well, at your current weight and height, you Body Mass Index is 26.6. By some standards, this would be considered slightly overweight. But, BMI is somewhat controversial, and if you are very muscular it could be irrelevant.

    Your goal is to lose 13 pounds, which would get you down to 157. At that weight, your Body Mass Index would be 24.6. I'm not in health care or exercise physiology, but that certainly seems like a reasonable goal to me.
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    If you think about it, the fact that weight loss and not weight gain is such a concern to us says a lot about our country. The problem we have is that there is TOO much food! We have it good here.

    An Indian guy was once quoted as saying he wanted to move to America because even the poor people are fat....

    I simply eat 500 calories less than my daily requirement, factoring in cycling time, and I lose about 1-2 pounds a week. I base it on calories and not type of food. Every 3 or 4 days I have something great like Pizza or Chinese food.

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