Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

A not-so-successful weight losing program!

neilr4neilr4 Posts: 160
edited September 2015 in Training, fitness and health
Hi all,

Having returned to cycling last year after a 12 year hiatus and a significant increase in weight I set out to turn myself around so to speak.

Having quit cycling in 2002 due to a combination of the stress of a divorce, moved country I ended up slowly but surely back smoking, no longer conscious of healthy eating etc. I took the bull by the horns in 2010 and quit smoking which was for me the 'Green light', the 'Big start' so to speak..... With plenty of willpower I succeeded at the first attempt. Unfortunately my weight ballooned by 12kg over a 6 month period and even though I wasn't riding every week I thought "I'll shift it eventually through diet (healthy eating) and excercise!!

After a few 'stop/starts' January 2014 I sold the second car and started out cycling to work 2 days per week 70km round trip. Then in march joined a club and started riding at weekends starting out with 50km and going up to 120km by the end of the summer, at thiss stage I was down from 91kg in january to 76kg through a combination of slow steady fat-burning rides and intensive rides. By this time because of my cycling history I was riding clubmates off my wheel and realised that in a touring club that this type of riding was sort of distructive so I decided to set a goal for 2015 of taking out a racing license for the first time in 20 years in order to help me release my excess energy! My diet consists of a balance of fruit, veg, lean meats and unrefined carbs (slow release) with a couple of beers or a glass of wine at weekends (nothing excessive!)

Even though my weight at the start of the year was 78kg (height 169cm (5' 7")) my waist was 104cm. Now when you consider that above 94cm is deemed as dangerously unhealthy for a man that the whole combination of cycling a minimum of 4 times a week alternating between steady fat-burning and faster group rides and an intensive roadrace every week that eventually my waistline would start to shrink!!!

I'm 45 years old so I understand that there are certain limitations compared to ten years ago and my past regressions regarding my lifestyle are of my own making but (vanity aside!) to be lining up for a race, clad in lycra looking like (what feels like) Danny DeVito!!!

I've followed a lot of threads on this and other forums regarding the subject of losing weight and perfectly understand that it all takes time and not to be expecting results quickly. With my weight back at 80kg due to having to take a month off the bike due to illness it's sort of to the point where I'm fighting a losing battle..... Now 16 days back cycling, have been keeping calorie intake below output, restriced carbs on days I don't ride. Ride every second day, mostly 1 hour commute to work in HR zones 1-2 and yesterday 150km club ride. Stood on the scales this morning thinking maybe have lost 1kg in the past 16 days (be happy with that!) but the scales displayed 80kg.... Hadn't lost one [email protected]*king gram :roll:

From information I've gathered regarding my waistline my stomach muscles when tensed are fairly near the surface and I've no loose flabby fat so what's causing my 'belly' is behind my muscles..... ''Visceral fat" fat on or around my organs! I've read on the internet, so I've been for the past year I've been following advice in order to shift it but no bloody change what-so-ever!!!!!

I realise that some of the cause of the condition could be genetic but unfortunately I have no control over that. I was hoping to shift the weight and expecting that my waistline would shrink as a consequence in order to ride La Marmotte in 2016 but I've come to the realisation that this is an unachievable goal..... I'm not going to aattempt to haul 76kg (even if I can reach it!) over 3 cols.

Any suggestions are welcome but I'm extremely sceptical that I will hear anything I haven't already heard/read. I've invested a lot of hours on research, tried low-carb diet (helped short term!), the 5:2 fasting diet, you name it I've tried it. Been tested for gluten, lactose, allergies but all negative.

I'm off to ride my bike for a steady 2.5hr spin simply because I enjoy it..... Will have to learn to live with the slagging and comments ragarding my appearance from clubmates who can't hold my wheel.

For all the scientific knowledge out there regarding diet and excercise there is much still to be learned.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! It feels good to have gotten it off my chest however depressing it comes across :| .

Neil.
'REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE ARE ALIVE
SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT THEM'

Posts

  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Don't give up! I know how frustrating it can be to try to lose weight and everyone who has tried it has sometimes stood on those scales only to be bitterly disappointed with the lack of progress. DON'T lose heart!

    Two comments:

    1) Forget the idea of 'fat burning' rides. It's not better to ride gently in order to burn fat. Just ride at the hardest pace that's comfortable for the distance you're doing. You will burn more calories riding harder. That doesn't mean blasting around and then finding you can't ride so often because you're too exhausted - but don't hold back in the belief that somehow you're burning fat better because you're keeping the pace down.

    2) Never conclude anything on the basis of one weigh-in. Various things will affect your weight on a day to day basis. I have a pet theory that you're never lighter the day after hard exercise because your tired body retains more fluid than usual - so the day after a 150km clubrun would be the wrong day to hope that your weight would be lower. Instead, weigh yourself daily and take an average over the week. And NEVER get upset about one single weigh-in.

    Ruth
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    If you only started in January 2014 then you can't have tried every diet approach and given it a fair chance.

    I've tried a few things over the years, the approach I've now settled on is no gluten (my digestion is improved without it - try dropping it for a month and see how you feel) and high carb. Most of my meals are just fruit (a meal could be half a watermelon or several bananas and a box of blueberries) but I eat a couple of regular meals a day with potatoes/rice and lots of vegetables. Whilst it was never a plan to lose weight, I've ended up on the verge of a sick pack for the first time in my life (age 36).
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I know you list the 5:2 diet as one of the things you've tried, but hear me out...

    I always put weight on over the Christmas break and if we have an all-inclusive summer holiday. I used to be able to shift the added weight fairly quickly by eating normally again and upping the exercise a bit. Not so any more. From my mid 50s the weight gains became incremental and I was steadily getting heavier despite my attempts to eat less and exercise more. In January this year I weighed 11st 4lbs, which is the heaviest I've ever been (I'm only 5'6") and that shocked me into trying something different.

    I'd seen Michael Mosely's Eat, Fast, Live Longer documentary when it was first broadcast, found it fascinating then but didn't think it applied to me. Now it did.

    So I started on the 5:2 diet mid Feb. Mondays and Thursdays I eat nothing till my evening meal, and then only have 2 poached eggs or beans on toast. (I can't be doing with some of the tiny / odd meal suggestions in the 5:2 diet book where they try to split the calories into 2 meals and a snack; I'd rather wait and have a single, normal, satisfying meal) Exercise remained unchanged; 2 or 3 rides a week, only 50-70 miles in total. By early June I'd lost 18 pounds and was down to 10st for the first time in years.

    It's the only thing that's sustainable for me. I can get through the fast days knowing I can eat the next day. I can't cope with calorie counting all the time. This way I can lose weight and still enjoy a beer and a massive pulled pork bap at the weekend. For instance.

    So I'm interested to know if you gave the 5:2 diet a fair trial? Were you actually restricting yourself to 600 calories 2 days a week? And if yes, I can only assume you had to be over-eating on the other 5 days if you failed to lose weight.

    I'd say that if you want to avoid the disappointment of the weigh-in, record your weight daily and just look at the long term trend. (Cyclists usually like data) More data points means that you won't be misled by the occasional blip.

    I'm staying on the 5:2 indefinitely; I'm persuaded that it may have benefits in addition to weight loss. My intractably high cholesterol and triglyceride levels have dropped dramatically and the doc is no longer threatening me with medication.

    I do climb hills a lot faster weighing 18 pounds less, and the lycra fits me so much better as well!
  • crispybug2crispybug2 Posts: 2,915
    The 5:2 diet also worked well for me, I lost 28kg in a little under six months. I always struggled with the concept of counting calories and would often over eat, whereas when I knew that I could only eat a very small amount on the fasting days this was somehow easier to deal with!
    On the exercise front I found that doing a thirty minute ride with 30 second intervals every five minutes worked really well.

    p.s. diet tip from my wife that I found really useful, carry a small bottle of Listerine and swill some around your mouth when you feel hungry, you don't feel like eating with a strong taste of mint!!
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    What am i missing with these diets, formulas and programmes? If a healthy human consumes less calories than he expends, he/she will be losing weight, surely?

    I would say - persevere with what you're doing, don't get swayed by magic bullet fads and money making schemes. On your side you have willpower, strong enough to quit smoking, and understanding, that a decade of alcohol and bad food abuse would not be undone in one year at the age of 45.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    "If a healthy human consumes less calories than he expends, he/she will be losing weight, surely?"

    You're missing nothing; that's my understanding too.

    And the obvious conclusion to draw if somebody is not losing weight while claiming to consume fewer calories than are being expended....

    either a) they are underestimating the number of calories being consumed,

    b) they are overestimating the number of calories being expended, or

    c) a bit of both. They are both easy to get wrong.


    That's why I like the 5:2. All I've had to do is identify a few meal / drink options that keep me more or less within the 600 cal fast day allowance, and that's it! No calorie counting, food measuring or exercise logging to worry about. It's not a magic bullet or a fad diet, and it's cost me censored -all. (Though I'm sure Dr Mosely has made a few quid from the book; my sister bought a copy and passed it on to me when she'd decided she didn't like it)

    For somebody who's managed to give up smoking I'd have thought the 5:2 would be a doddle. But each to his / her own
  • ajmitchellajmitchell Posts: 203
    I was down from 91kg in january to 76kg through a combination of slow steady fat-burning rides and intensive rides.

    I would take a lot of positives from your story. You lost 15kg with your riding and dieting, thats awesome. You have already shown you can lose weight by cycling. You have a lot of cycling power and ability so those muscles will really burn off the calories better than most. However your waist is large thats probably viceral intra-abdominal fat which accumulates in males especially in midl-life and takes a long time to get rid off. You body is designed to hang on to fat stores as much as possible, but given time you will get there. In my opinion you have all the tools you need to get to your target. I agree your diet could probably be slightly improved, but have confidence keep going, enjoy the ride!
  • stu-bimstu-bim Posts: 406
    Have you tried using myfitnesspal

    Its a simple app that you log all your food into, no more than 30 seconds per meal as it learns your meals. You can even scan barcodes from packages to get full details of food

    Lets you know what is good or bad and is certainly an eye-openeer
    Raleigh RX 2.0
    Diamondback Outlook
    Planet X Pro Carbon
  • nezzanezza Posts: 13
    One more thing to add to the above comments.

    In reality you may not want to lose weight, rather you might prefer to lose body fat. Now, I understand that many cyclists are not too bothered if they lose a bit of muscle from their upper bodies so the following may not be completely relevant.

    But my understanding is that skeletal muscle is more metabolically expensive than fat. In a period of extended calorie deficit, underutilised skeletal muscle is metabolised in preference to fat stores. Clearly you are cycling so your leg muscles are presumably safe, but consider doing some upper body weights to maintain muscle mass.

    Also consider that in the short term your weight may reduce due to dehydration or consumption of glycogen stores, neither of which is beneficial or sustainable.

    [ For context, I went from 102.9kg to 87.7 in 12 weeks at the end of 2013. My lean mass went from 73.9kg to 74.4 over the same period, so body fat went from 28% to 15% over this period (caveat here: these figs are all as derived from a Tanita scale which may or may not be accurate). I did this by doing the following:-

    * extremely careful tracking of calorie intake
    * drinking 3 litres water per day (I had a 1.5l bottle on my desk which I filled and drank over the course of the morning, then refilled it and drank again over the course of the afternoon)
    * setting a baseline calorie budget
    * tracking cardio exercise (in may case 2x 20 minute bike rides to/from the station which were about 250 cals each)
    * 2x 20 min upper body weights sessions per week (maintenance only - not attempting to increase strength)
    * daily weight monitoring (but just to keep track, not to sweat it if it went up on the odd day)

    I did not give up alcohol, chocolate, meat, Sunday lunch, nights out in the pub etc. but I was careful to make sure my calorie intake was below the limit for as many days as possible. Also, if I went over on the occasional day then that wasn't a problem as long as the overall plan stayed in place.]
  • neilr4neilr4 Posts: 160
    I know you list the 5:2 diet as one of the things you've tried, but hear me out...

    I always put weight on over the Christmas break and if we have an all-inclusive summer holiday. I used to be able to shift the added weight fairly quickly by eating normally again and upping the exercise a bit. Not so any more. From my mid 50s the weight gains became incremental and I was steadily getting heavier despite my attempts to eat less and exercise more. In January this year I weighed 11st 4lbs, which is the heaviest I've ever been (I'm only 5'6") and that shocked me into trying something different.

    I'd seen Michael Mosely's Eat, Fast, Live Longer documentary when it was first broadcast, found it fascinating then but didn't think it applied to me. Now it did.

    So I started on the 5:2 diet mid Feb. Mondays and Thursdays I eat nothing till my evening meal, and then only have 2 poached eggs or beans on toast. (I can't be doing with some of the tiny / odd meal suggestions in the 5:2 diet book where they try to split the calories into 2 meals and a snack; I'd rather wait and have a single, normal, satisfying meal) Exercise remained unchanged; 2 or 3 rides a week, only 50-70 miles in total. By early June I'd lost 18 pounds and was down to 10st for the first time in years.

    It's the only thing that's sustainable for me. I can get through the fast days knowing I can eat the next day. I can't cope with calorie counting all the time. This way I can lose weight and still enjoy a beer and a massive pulled pork bap at the weekend. For instance.

    So I'm interested to know if you gave the 5:2 diet a fair trial? Were you actually restricting yourself to 600 calories 2 days a week? And if yes, I can only assume you had to be over-eating on the other 5 days if you failed to lose weight.

    I'd say that if you want to avoid the disappointment of the weigh-in, record your weight daily and just look at the long term trend. (Cyclists usually like data) More data points means that you won't be misled by the occasional blip.

    I'm staying on the 5:2 indefinitely; I'm persuaded that it may have benefits in addition to weight loss. My intractably high cholesterol and triglyceride levels have dropped dramatically and the doc is no longer threatening me with medication.

    I do climb hills a lot faster weighing 18 pounds less, and the lycra fits me so much better as well!

    Hi all,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my OP and replying. I've gotten some great ideas from various replies!!

    I've decided to give the 5:2 fasting thing a proper run for its money as recommended by keef66..... Started on Monday and surprisingly easier than I expected, ate nothing all day only drank coffee (black), herbal tea and water and had half of a dinner at work in the evening. We have food supplied by employer and very healthy I must say, rice, steamed veg and chicken freshly made!!

    Tuesday: Cycled to work 52km round trip in zone D2 (burned 860 CAL) and ate as normal,
    Breakfast: Porridge with honey and milk, black coffee.
    Lunch: Two slices of wholemeal bread with lettuce, brie and honey.
    Dinner: Wholewheat pasta, steamed spinach and fresh fish, strawberry yoghurt.
    Evening snack: One orange.

    Wednesday:
    Breakfast: Similar to tuesday.
    Lunch: Fried eggs, bacon and tomato in coconut oil.
    Dinner: Rice, veg and vegeterian meatballs.
    Evening: 750ml Beer (really needed to unwind after stressful evening at work!)

    Thursday: Cycled to work 52km round trip in zone D2 with 5x6 min intervals in zone D3/D4 (burned 948 CAL)
    Breakfast: 100g low fat yoghurt and a banana. (Needed something before bike ride)
    Dinner: 150 gram rice, 200 gram steamed veg, 150 gram chicken in sauce. (no idea of calories!)
    Evening: Cup of tea with milk.

    Weighed myself this morning (Friday) down 1.5kg on last sunday.

    Fasting days Monday and thursday will be doing this every week until the end of October.

    Need to scource 600 CAL meal suggestions for when I eat evening meals at home.

    Thank you all so much for your support :wink:

    Neil.
    'REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE ARE ALIVE
    SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT THEM'
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Well done on a promising start!

    Saving all your calories for the evening makes it pretty easy. My evening meals on fasting days are pretty low tech convenience food, and as long as they are in the 600 cal ballpark I'm not too worried:

    2 poached eggs on 2 slices of toast
    Half a tin of baked beans on 2 slices of toast
    Half a vegetarian pizza with salad
    Half a quiche with salad
    Breaded fish with veg

    By the time I reach my evening meal I've gone 24 hours since the last food so I figure I've already done some good, and if I then eat 600 or 800 calories, it's still a lot less than the 2000-2500 I might be eating on a normal day, so I'll still be losing weight.

    Stick with it!
  • lochindaallochindaal Posts: 443
    As was said before it is a simple calories in versus calories out calculation.

    Whilst you have focused on the intake you missed out on the reply from Ruth at the beginning. In your OP you said most of your rides are a 1hr commute done in Zone1-2. If this is the case your calories out are small. Most fat burning rides are done for 3-4hrs+. Ride harder on your commute.

    Secondly as someone who has ridden the Marmotte and weighs 80kg don't give up on that. We're not all whippet like climbers
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    What I would add (as one for whom the 5:2 allied to low carb - and lowish fat as I have gallstones! - seems to work) is this. Calorie counting is to a certain extent a waste of time. It's not that you need to use more calories than you eat, it's that you need to use more calories than your body can absorb from the food you eat. Not the same thing at all. Calorific value is a scientific measure. You take an amount of a substance, desiccate it totally, burn it, and measure the energy produced. But take something high in dietary fibre. None of that fibre can be absorbed by your body, so no matter the calorific value (it'll burn), you won't get any energy from it - it'll just pass through. In a similar way, studies have shown that we are less good at digesting rare meat than well cooked meat. So your 250kcal steak is better rare than well done (cooking a lot mimics the breaking down of meat fibres that happens in the gut, so the body basically has to work harder to get the calories from rare meat than it does from well cooked meat).

    So it's not a simple a lower calories. I saw you ate yogurts. Low fat maybe, but probably sweetened with easily accessible sugars. Eat plain / greek style yogurts instead.

    I saw Keefs 600kcal meals - beans (full of sugar, unless he buys the "healthy" version 8) ), pizza, quiche, breaded chicken (I assume bought processed foods - with relatively high fat and sugar and refined carbs). All accessible calories, and he probably gets full benefit of them :D

    You can eat more food and get less energy from it if you choose carefully. And best is learn to cook and make your meals from scratch (or eat a lot of salad as I do!)

    As to whats the best diet for you, I chose mine after watching, then taking the "tests" that were discussed on this Horizon programme. I don't suppose it's still on iPlayer, but the website is still there, along with recipe suggestions.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ddsd9

    Good luck! (oh, and just sitting around all day can burn 500kcals, so don't despair)
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    edited August 2015
    "I saw Keefs 600kcal meals - beans (full of sugar, unless he buys the "healthy" version 8) ), pizza, quiche, breaded chicken (I assume bought processed foods - with relatively high fat and sugar and refined carbs). All accessible calories, and he probably gets full benefit of them :D "

    It's all from Waitrose, but yes, guilty as charged. And none of them are the "healthy" versions.

    I'm not diabetic so I'm not worried about spikes in blood sugar, so within reason I just look at the total calorie content of my fast day foods. They are just quick snacks to see me through to the next eating day. And I do benefit from each and every calorie :D

    On the other 5 days we eat a lot of food freshly prepared from basic ingredients. Lots of fresh fish and salads at this time of year.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I'm another 5:2er, though I'm more of a 6:1 nowadays as I lost a bit too much on it. It may have been said, but exercise is never the easy way to drop weight.

    Its 80% about what you eat, 20% exercise.

    The belly could be a bit of lordosis, its something I used to have a bit and it will ruin your six pack. Good posture, proper whole body stretching and strength training can make a big difference.

    The other thing as well as the 5:2 is to try to up your BMR a bit by increasing lean muscle mass. It won't make you a better endurance cyclist but will give you a few calories to play with.

    On fasting day I go all day without eating anything and then at about 5PM I will have about 30g of porridge with water, I'll then do my training (about 1:45 normally) then I'll have the other 400 kcal in a soup or salad as late in the evening as I can. I normally hold back some of my 600kcal to allow me skimmed milk in my coffee.
  • My weight loss plateaued a month or so ago, tried all my usual tricks when I plateau but nothing worked.

    Stopped eating refined sugar 10 days ago. 1kg off and I only trained 7 hours compared to my normal 10-13 last week.

    It's pretty grim for the first 48-72 hours but it gets easier. Seems to be working for me.

    Give it a go, just remember it's only refined sugar. so all the fun stuff, sweets, chocolate, beer, cakes. But fruit and veg which has lots of sugar in is OK providing you eat it frresh (unrefined...simple hey)
  • neilr4neilr4 Posts: 160
    Ok just completed 2 weeks on the 5:2 diet as recommended by Keefs and other users on this forum, down 3kg through a combination of fasting on Monday and Thursday (max 600 calories per day) and riding approx. 250km per week at varied intensities, even managed a 60km round trip commute to work on a fast day including interval training on the return trip without having consumed 1 calorie all day, only drank herbal tea, black coffee and water!! I had emergency food with me for interval training (Banana, energy gel) in case I depleted my reserves and got dizzy but nothing was required and didn't have dinner until an hour after I got home.

    The other days I just eat healthy and some evenings have a glass of wine or a couple of beers and even hit the chipper once a week. The kilo's coming off is great but the biggest difference has been the measurements...... Noticeable 4cm on circumference of belly also the underside of my thighs used to lightly brush against the seat post, when I looked down at my gears the other day I noticed my thighs had shrunk (flab gone!) and my leg muscles are more visible. This was not what I expected to happen when I decided to give the 5:2 thing a proper go but an unexpected bonus.

    The advantage of the 5:2 is that you only really HAVE to diet 2 days a week..... I tell myself if I get hungry on a fasting day that the other 5 days I can basically stuff myself but never end up doing so as I've become much more conscious of what goes into my mouth! I used to, two or three times a week open a bag of crisps or salted peanuts whilst watching TV in the evenings and since I've been on the 5:2 and researching what calories are in various foods I've realized that I was taking in approx. 1000 cal from crisps/peanuts alone :shock: so basically that was one of the major contributing factors to my predicament!!!

    I remember reading Tyler Hamilton's book about doping during his career and him saying that they basically ate nothing during the day whilst on a course of doping, that the only thing that's important is what's in the blood. Now obviously I wouldn't dream of putting any type of poison into my body in order to cycle faster (I don't even take paracetamol unless absolutely necessary!) but on thursday after coming home from work having done intervals and 60km on an empty stomach it sort of got me thinking about what I'd read in the book..... I eat enough of the right stuff to get iron and other minerals and sufficient carbs, protein and fats to keep me going on other days.

    I think the key for everybody is to find out what works for them....... Some people can't train on a day that they're fasting on. I've read on a 5:2 forum that some people who don't do any exercise getting dizzy on fasting days.

    I just thought I'd share my experiences up until this point, you all took the time to give me advice and I'm more than grateful for your time and helpful advice.

    I'll post again in a couple of weeks to keep those of you who are interested up-to-date!!

    Thanks
    Neil.
    'REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE ARE ALIVE
    SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT THEM'
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I don't have any problem exercising on fasting day. I do get a little light headed though when doing squats in the gym on a fasting day.

    Make sure you eat plenty of protein on eat days and if the weight is tumbling, think about some bodyweight toning workouts. They won't help cycling much, but will reduce the loss of lean mass, which can be an issue for folk on the 5:2 long term.
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    Well done Neil :D . The hard bit is when the weight loss plateaus out, and for me it always seems to at some point. It's startling just how little food (of the right sort) one has to consume to keep going!

    Never had any dizziness issues, even at the gym on a fasting day. Do make sure you drink plenty of water on those days though.
  • 5:2 starts for us next week I think, should have been MOnday but the B-I-L is coming round to discuss our skiing trip.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
Sign In or Register to comment.