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Feeling down about my image

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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.

Feeling down about my image

Old 06-02-14, 10:00 AM
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Feeling down about my image

Over the past few weeks I've taken part in some long organized rides, and had been photographed on these occasions. I had been feeling good about myself this year because I'm finally able to ramp up the cycling to levels I previously rode at years ago...

but upon seeing the photographs of my 400 pound self, I was thrown into a sort of depression. It's absolutely staggering to see how fat I am compared to literally everyone else around me. I know I should feel good because on each one of these rides, people were telling me what an amazing job I was doing by keeping up with the leading groups, but I can't help but feel a profound sense of disgust whenever I think of how I look now. Does anyone else here suffer from these image issues? How do you get over them? I know ultimately the solution is to lose weight, but lets face it, I've been pedalling my arse off for 4 years now and have barely made a dent in my overall weight. I know I've got some serious realignment to do with my diet if I want to get anywhere, but that's part of the problem, because I eat more when I'm feeling depressed.

Sigh.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:40 AM
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I understand what you are feeling. I went through the same thing this weekend, looking at pics from my first ride I felt like I looked like the Michelin man. My girlfriend kept telling me how good I looked. I think that we are a lot harder on ourselves than we should be. I don't have any answers on how to get past it. You just have to feel good about yourself for what you are doing. Personally I don't know that I will ever be at a point where I will think my body is where it needs to be. When I was 150 pounds right out of Basic training, I felt I was too thin and not muscular enough, I bulked up and was 180 when I got out but was unhappy because I didn't have six-pack abs. I have decided that I will never be happy with my body. Just have to find a way to be happy with who I am, hope you can find a way to do the same, I'm working on it.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:46 AM
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Diet does more than excersize for weight loss to an extent, ime diet alone doesn't help someone who doesn't do anything but sit around. Don't get down or discouraged, you're out there being active and getting healthy.
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Old 06-02-14, 10:50 AM
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Mithrandir!...Shame on you!

What do you think of people who are born with physical deformities?

Some people are born blind!...Some people have suffered serious physical maladies, from burns, and certain diseases which have scarred them for life! Some people were born with red patches over their faces! Many war vets have returned disfigured and without limbs!

Heck! You're lucky! At least you have the opportunity to lose weight!

Those other people I've mentioned, in most cases can't do a darned thing about their situation.

You should be singing everyday about how blessed you are!

Therefore, don't be sad or depressed!

Be Happy!

With much love,

- West
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Old 06-02-14, 10:56 AM
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You've taken an amazing step toward better health. Perhaps now it's just time for a bit more work on the diet side?

To answer your question: Yes

I'm 200 lbs, great right? No, I'm a tad under 5' 8". I'm almost always the fattest guy on our "B" rides. Cycling clothing rarely fits. I ride over 100 miles/week and still hate to have my picture taken. I'm like Willie Nelson, I belong on the radio ........ oh except I can't sing

But, it's way better than it was 4 years ago and I keep reminding myself I'm making slow steady progress on the weight.

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Old 06-02-14, 10:59 AM
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Ron,
I looked at your Strava stats and you can't discount the almost 9000 miles you have ridden in the last 413 rides.
If you hadn't got off your butt, 9000 miles ago, where do you think you will be.
I understand your not where you want to be, but you are on the right track to get to that point.
Maybe you made to make some changes as you mentioned with realignment in your diet as you mention, but you obviously are smart enough to realize that you want to make a difference and your not willing to give up. The easy thing to do would be to do exactly that. Maybe you don't look like others around you, but I think you should see that as a positive and not a negative. People that ride bikes are either healthy or are heading there. So maybe your not where you want to be, but you are definitely heading there.
I am guessing the weight didn't add up over 4 years, so why do you expect it to be off in 4 years.
Have you seen any difference in any areas of your life since you have been riding.
Focus on those positive things and enjoy the time you ride. If other people have a problem, its their problem.
Allan (Still on a long road back to health, one mine and one ride at a time)
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Old 06-02-14, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
Does anyone else here suffer from these image issues? How do you get over them?
Sure, everytime I pull my bibs up and I see the bulges around my midsection.

Then I put my jersey or tech t-shirt on over the bulges and I go out and ride my bike as best I can.

I've dropped almost 20 pounds this year ... but it's stalled a bit because I haven't been disciplined enough at the lunch/dinner table.

So I figure I can sulk ... and wallow in the "poor me" BS or I can nut up and get better about my diet so that all this time on the bike isn't wasted.

The fact of the matter is, even at 400 pounds, you're doing more than the guy who is 401, or 405 ... there should be some pride in that. I get dropped on my commute every now and then by this skinny roadie. Funny thing though, if I wasn't out on the bike I would get dropped by him while I was sitting on the couch.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
Over the past few weeks I've taken part in some long organized rides, and had been photographed on these occasions. I had been feeling good about myself this year because I'm finally able to ramp up the cycling to levels I previously rode at years ago...

but upon seeing the photographs of my 400 pound self, I was thrown into a sort of depression. It's absolutely staggering to see how fat I am compared to literally everyone else around me. I know I should feel good because on each one of these rides, people were telling me what an amazing job I was doing by keeping up with the leading groups, but I can't help but feel a profound sense of disgust whenever I think of how I look now. Does anyone else here suffer from these image issues? How do you get over them? I know ultimately the solution is to lose weight, but lets face it, I've been pedalling my arse off for 4 years now and have barely made a dent in my overall weight. I know I've got some serious realignment to do with my diet if I want to get anywhere, but that's part of the problem, because I eat more when I'm feeling depressed.

Sigh.
I am with you. When I look at myself in the mirror I fancy myself to be a tall, handsome, svelte, fit racer-boy (I have a specially-made mirror). But when I look at my ride pictures (the last ones were from the 2014 Cruisin' the Conejo ride) I look short, fat and dumpy. I still look handsome, however.

You are riding, that is all that should matter.


Think about all the people who cannot ride their bikes.

Don't worry, be happy.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
You've taken an amazing step toward better health. Perhaps now it's just time for a bit more work on the diet side?

To answer your question: Yes

I'm 200 lbs, great right? No, I'm a tad under 5' 8". I'm almost always the fattest guy on our "B" rides. Cycling clothing rarely fits. I ride over 100 miles/week and still hate to have my picture taken. I'm like Willie Nelson, I belong on the radio ........ oh except I can't sing

But, it's way better than it was 4 years ago and I keep reminding myself I'm making slow steady progress on the weight.
I am with you. I am 5'6" (on a good day) and weigh 192 (down from 240).

I look like a troll mounted on top of my bikes.

That doesn't stop me from riding...and beating out some guys (on climbs of all places) who are taller, younger and skinnier than me.

Maybe it is the riding position that makes us look fatter than we really are.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:49 AM
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The fact that you are on a bike at 400 lbs is amazing! When I was at my highest (last year) at 335 lbs there was no way I would try to ride a bike. When I got to the 280's the most I could do was under 2 miles & I was beat. Yesterday at 225 lbs I rode my first ever event & did 25 miles. It was women only & believe me, I looked around to see if I was the fattest. Most of the women were smaller than me but there were some my size & some a little larger but it felt great to participate in an event like that.

I've struggled with my weight all my life. I've lost the same 70-100 lbs over & over. I always did great getting the weight off but not keeping it off. It takes a combination of exercise AND diet. It's not hard to consume thousands of calories in one day & it takes a lot of effort to burn those calories. Take a good honest look at what you are eating. Without changing your eating habits, use an app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It. Track your normal daily intake for a few days to see where you are then see what changes you can make. It isn't easy, but by eliminating some foods or cutting the quantity you are eating will make a difference. There is no magic bullet, there is no easy way out. It's all on you to make it happen. I'm not trying to sound harsh, believe me, I know all too well how it goes. You just need to make a decision to do it & stick with it. I'm an emotional eater too & when things happen or I feel stressed my first thought is to go eat something. It's been a struggle over the past year but I just had to suck it up and not give in to those feelings & thoughts. For me, losing weight is 100% mental. If my brain isn't in the game then I can't succeed. I found this with biking too. If I come to a challenging hill & have to walk up part of it it's because my brain gave out before my legs did! LOL!
I give you lots of credit for riding as much as you do. Most people have a hard time doing exercise & controlling their eating. Sounds like you have the exercise part well under control. Keep us posted on how you are doing, don't worry about what you look like.
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Old 06-02-14, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
It's absolutely staggering to see how fat I am compared to literally everyone else around me. I know I should feel good because on each one of these rides, people were telling me what an amazing job I was doing by keeping up with the leading groups, but I can't help but feel a profound sense of disgust whenever I think of how I look now. Does anyone else here suffer from these image issues? How do you get over them? I know ultimately the solution is to lose weight, but lets face it, I've been pedalling my arse off for 4 years now and have barely made a dent in my overall weight. I know I've got some serious realignment to do with my diet if I want to get anywhere, but that's part of the problem, because I eat more when I'm feeling depressed.
I think probably everybody who is here who thinks he/she is overweight has the same thoughts you have. I think you should feel a sense of accomplishment for what you have achieved so far (I'm sure your cardio vascular system is much healthier, for one)

However, whatever the cause, you haven't addressed it yet. You don't seem to be making excuses for yourself, and I'm no lifestyle change expert, but it seems like there are other areas of your lifestyle to examine with a careful eye. Maybe you should consider seeking outside assistance to help you along your way (counseling, nutritionist, weight watchers).

Keep at it though.
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Old 06-02-14, 12:45 PM
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I haven't seen a picture of myself riding recently, but at 350 pounds, I am thinking I wouldn't be pleased, but I am able to stay motivated by putting my rides into perspective.

1) I might fail riding, but if I don't ride, I absolutely have failed.

2) On the few organized rides I do, I get positive comments. If you do as well, hold onto those.

3) On a recent organized ride, I discovered another motivational tool. A couple was riding a tandem, and were going slightly faster than I was, then I realized that I weighed more than their combined weight, and only one of me was pedaling. Based on that, I decided I was doing damned well!

Something that works for some people... If you really don't like the picture, put it on your refrigerator. In fact, I may have to have someone take a picture of me riding, and do that myself.

There is a shuttle service that allows me to ride a 25 mile rail trail one direction, when I feel like seeing the whole trail instead of doing an out and back for part of the trail. The company also rents bikes (with or without the shuttle ride). The first time my 57 year old large self completed the ride with my 76 year old friend (not nearly as large) completed the ride, we mentioned that it took us quite a while to the mechanic working at the bike shop where we were grabbing the shuttle. He told us that it is not unusual for young people that look fit not to make it.

I have things I would say to anyone who tried to insult me, but that doesn't happen much, and when it does it is from someone in a car or pick-up, that I'm guessing wouldn't survive the 25-30 mile rides I go on when I ride long... But, your battle is with yourself (as is mine at times)... try to embrace the positive. I realize this isn't always easy, but try to turn your mind that way.

We all need a pat on the back, and there is a way to get one. Don't go overboard, but every once in a while put a comment into a discussion with non-cyclists like, "I rode 30 miles on Saturday" to remind you of how long 30 miles is...
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Old 06-02-14, 12:58 PM
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You are an amazing inspiration to all of us. It is a hard trip to get to where you want to be. Don't base your success on appearance alone Look at where you have been versus where you are going. My 18 year old son is about where I was two years ago 6'0 280lbs. He was inspired by my riding and wanted to try it. We loaded up and he made it three miles before he thought "he was going to die". He was embarrased but instantly recognized the work that I had put in to lose 70 lbs and have the ability to ride 50-60 miles. I am hoping he will start training and ride with me more. Most people do not realize how hard it is to do what we are doing but I can assure you the ones that do don't judge you by appearance.

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Old 06-02-14, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
Does anyone else here suffer from these image issues? How do you get over them?
Absolutely. I'm 5'8" and I've been on this 3rd trip down from almost 300 for the last year. I've been hovering about 255-260 and not moving for a while. One of my fitness goals was to start and finish a sprint triathlon. I've been training specifically for this since November. Now, with the lost weight, needing to get smaller uniforms at work, the Dr. cutting back my meds not once, but TWICE... I was feeling really good about myself. I had a really good body image. I felt that there's NO WAY I'll ever be able to make it under 200 because it's just not there to lose... And then I make my goal. On 5-17 I swam 440yds, biked 12 miles and went 3.1 miles on foot. LOL, torn muscle kind of prevented me running. BUT... 1:51:47 later I crossed the line... I almost passed out, but IT FELT GOOD and I FELT GOOD... then a few days later, my world came crashing down... I saw the pics of me racing. The one that kills me is the one just out of the water heading to T1 for the bike:




I look like a broken down old man with everything flapping and jiggling in the wind (at least that's my feelings about it. So, no... you are not the only one to have this happen to them. All we can do is buckle down and keep moving in the right direction.

****sorry if I caused anyone to stick sharp objects in their eyes!

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Old 06-02-14, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WestPablo
Mithrandir!...Shame on you!

What do you think of people who are born with physical deformities?

Some people are born blind!...Some people have suffered serious physical maladies, from burns, and certain diseases which have scarred them for life! Some people were born with red patches over their faces! Many war vets have returned disfigured and without limbs!

Heck! You're lucky! At least you have the opportunity to lose weight!

Those other people I've mentioned, in most cases can't do a darned thing about their situation.

You should be singing everyday about how blessed you are!

Therefore, don't be sad or depressed!

Be Happy!

With much love,

- West

I take your point, and it's a good one, yes. I feel silly to be vain and superficial. But at the end of the day, the difference between those people and myself is that my issues are self-inflicted, and thus exposes (what I and many others see as) a character flaw that I'm as of yet too weak to overcome.
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Old 06-02-14, 03:57 PM
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Keep on riding and join weight watchers. I joined and started checking the point value of some of my lunches( not to mention the few beer I had most nights) and its no wonder I had gained so much weight.
I use it online as a tool to keep my eating under control and IF I track my meals and am honest I lose weight.

I weigh myself each Sunday morning and I post the results right here on the " I joined weight watchers" thread. You have many options but this works for me. Good luck and keep on riding!
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Old 06-02-14, 04:18 PM
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I get what you are saying - I'm another of those short guys (around 5' 8) but I weigh in just under 200. Like you I've been riding for 4 years and while I've lost some weight, not anywhere near what I should have.

But the good news for both of us is that we are much healthier than we would be without the activity. I think of it as the first of many steps. The diet can be addressed! Many other people have faced this challenge and succeeded, and we can too!

Lastly, I should note that photos can lie. At least I find that I'm often viewing photos of myself through a brutally critical lens that is far harsher than reality.

Be encouraged by your progress! It's not easy, but you've already taken the hard steps by starting and persevering. You are on a journey to improve your life and it will continue to improve.
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Old 06-02-14, 04:51 PM
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I know EXACTLY how you feel! When I stopped losing weight several months ago, I got help from a nutritionist at our local Diabetes Center. I started reading up on different foods and getting help! I still get depressed sometimes but I have a plan now! So I replace the depression with exercise, cycling and reading some of the motivational stories here in the forum!

Reach out to your doctor. Get your A1C check. Could be something that's keeping the weight on that's correctable! Don't get down on yourself...We didn't become Clydes and Athenas overnight!!!! God Bless and good luck!!
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Old 06-02-14, 05:02 PM
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Yep, photos suck. I'm much better looking when there are no cameras around.

Try not to let it get to you too much. Photos can be motivational tools but if you obsess about them they can have the opposite effect. If you worry excessively about photos, etc. you can develop a warped body image in which you always see yourself as being heavier and/or less attractive than other people see you. Remember to look at the big picture (no pun intended) that includes how you feel and changes to your health. Your waistline isn't the only measure of health and fitness.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:13 PM
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You can be like me and stay away from full length mirrors and only have photos of you that are head shots . Oh yeah, I also sound like Pavarotti while in the shower; life's good .
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Old 06-02-14, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
I take your point, and it's a good one, yes. I feel silly to be vain and superficial. But at the end of the day, the difference between those people and myself is that my issues are self-inflicted, and thus exposes (what I and many others see as) a character flaw that I'm as of yet too weak to overcome.
So, what are you supposed to be, perfect?...

I don't think so! Nobody here within this forum is perfect. We're all human beings with weaknesses...

Right now there are well over 7 million drug addicts currently living here in the United States. Some of these people once had thriving businesses where they were making hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, they let it all slip away, due to drug abuse. They just couldn't stop under their own will power. OTOH, there were those who realized what harm they were causing to themselves and their families. After some introspective deliberation, they decided to become completely devoted to their goal. To become completely drug-free.

My sister was once one of these people. She was making over $200K annually. She then became addicted to over the counter drugs. She then step down to heroin. She went from an executive to a prostitute within a matter of only two years. However one day, she had an epiphany. She suddenly realized what she was really doing to both herself and her family. She is now on track to becoming a business consultant for a major electronics firm overseas. However, she could have not overcome her demons without taking a deep look into her soul. She now looks positively upon herself, her future, her family, and her friends.

Nobody brightened her future, but herself. She looked into the depths of her own soul and she once again saw the light. The same light that was there before drugs, was still there awaiting her to look inside once again, just to see the wealth of love that she could be sharing with the world.

Share your light with us, Mithrandir! Share your light with your friends and family. Most of all, bask in the light of your own, and feel the warmth of a love-filled heart that wants to mutually share with others.

Look inside yourself, Mithrandir! See the beauty within...

Keep exercising, riding your bike, and maintaining your diet. Stick with your goals and each day will get a little brighter..You'll see! If my sister could rise from the depths of Haydes by keeping her goals, then you can most certainly step up and out of the valley of depression, by keeping yours...

With Much Love,

- West

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-03-14 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 06-03-14, 09:42 AM
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It is nice to read a thread like this... whenever someone around here expresses depression or any other negative emotion, there are dozens of different ways that our friends use to help us look at the issues differently and/or lift ourselves out of the dumps.

This is a nice place to hang out.
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Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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Old 06-03-14, 10:27 AM
  #23  
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Yeah- I'm by no means skinny girl, but I can smoke most of them and drop them on a ride! I'd much rather be a fitter, fatter Athena then a thinner, slower cyclist huffing and puffing the hills. In fact, I love doing the hill rides because even if the skinny ones beat me going up the hill, I use my weight to my advantage going downhill and pass them. Every time. I barely move my legs. I tell them I'm resting as I zoom down the hill, and it feels good.
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Old 06-03-14, 10:41 AM
  #24  
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I ain't skinny, I ain't pretty... that said I went and bought a jersey to ride in "Cranky Bastard Bicycle club"... basically others who want to call me fat can kiss my tucas. You have ridden further than I and am doing something by riding for health benefits. Not everyone is made from the same mold.

Keep riding, and give the finger to anyone who wants to poke fun at your physical shape. Keep your mental shape strong

Dave
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Old 06-03-14, 01:20 PM
  #25  
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Who gives a crap about what you look like! Be happy you are active, and competitive.
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