cycling

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

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My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.

The Whole Way!

flowers

I’m trying to remember last summer…it was honestly a blur of chaos and wedding planning and details. I remember my brain feeling “full” all the time. Full of details, worries, excitement, planning…I was also going to the Warrior Room a lot. And cycling kind of took a back seat to everything else. My knees just weren’t ready for long rides and I don’t think I ever biked the entire commute. I *think* I stuck with the park and ride and biked from there. Honestly I didn’t mind. Like I said, my life was full and I just couldn’t add anything else. This summer? My hope was that I could go back to biking from home and doing it more than once a week.

I wasn’t sure if my healing back injury would let me but like I said in last week’s post, my body was feeling pretty good and I was feeling like biking from the park and ride wasn’t challenging enough. Due to a scheduling conflict with Michael (he needed the car on the day I wanted to ride) I decided to move up my timeline and bike from home a week earlier than I’d planned.

It was a little cool but the afternoon was supposed to be 90 degrees so I didn’t want to put on tights and a jacket. I wore my arm warmers and decided to wear my compression socks because they go to my knees. It was a better option than wearing heaving pants/jacket but it looked rather silly. Oh well.

It was a bit hard to bike from home but I was feeling okay. Fatigued, but okay. The minor hills got my heart racing and I was a little slower than I was in the past, but it was my first time.

I saw a deer on the Springwater trail! Unfortunately I was going too fast to stop in time and take a picture. Next time.

opera

This time I biked on the new path (it was closed last summer) that went by the Opera House. The path is really nice!

bridge

I also got a close-up view of the new bridge. It it supposed to be open this Fall for walkers, bikers and the new Max line. I crossed the Hawthorne Bridge and made it to work.

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Morning Stats:
Time: 52 minutes
Distance: 11.56
Calories Burned: 515

I like that burn! During my lunch break I went for a short walk (just under 2 miles). It was so nice outside but starting to get a little warm. Okay, now the food.

Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, a slice of Walnut Sourdough bread toasted with butter and apple cactus jam, unsweetened iced tea and coffee with creamer when I got to work. Calories: 394

Snack: My new favorite snack. Cottage cheese and blueberries. Calories: 118

Lunch: Lean Cuisine (chicken with rice, veggies and almonds) and some yogurt covered pretzels. Calories: 385

Snack: Baby carrots and sugar snap peas with Laughing Cow cheese and a 90 calorie fruit bar from Trader Joe’s. Calories: 172

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Afternoon Ride

Michael gave me the option to ride part way and hitch a ride home with him if I didn’t feel up to biking home the whole way. I was slightly tempted, but I really wanted to try biking the whole way home.

It went really well and wasn’t too uncomfortably hot. I was pretty close to home when I got stopped by this:

train

Yep, train. And it was about a 5 minute wait for it to go by. At least it was in the shade. I should have taken the shortcut that goes around the train intersection…next time.

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Despite the train, it didn’t take me that long to get home, even though I felt like I was really slow and I took a lot of water breaks.

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Afternoon Stats:
Time: 51 minutes
Distance: 11.18
Total Distance: 22.74 
Calories Burned: 509

I was STARVING when I got home. I had some tortilla chips while I made dinner (seriously wanted to eat everything in sight). Dinner was a big salad with green leaf lettuce, spinach, avocado, orange and yellow peppers, carrots, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, blueberries, 4 ounces baked chicken and vinaigrette dressing. Calories: 671

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It was a really filling dinner and good for a hot day. Dessert was some vanilla ice cream topped with fresh blackberries picked from my yard.