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  1. #1
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    Counting calories = DEPRESSING.

    So about 9 days ago I officially began counting calories and trying to stick to a daily limit. I started using the website/iPhone app MyFitnessPal (one of the more popular ones, huge food database, etc.)

    When I started, I weighed 224lbs, and set what I thought was a reasonable goal of losing 1lb/week (I've always read that the slower you take it off, the slower it'll come back.) I'm 48 years old, by the way—and already in decent shape. I had a full physical this past fall and passed with flying colors—perfect health, low blood pressure, low cholesterol.

    My daily calorie goal (as calculated by the website) is 1,860 calories.

    So here's the bummer: after 9 days of sticking to that goal, I weigh MORE! WTF? I tipped the scales this morning at 228. (And yes—I've been counting my calories pretty accurately and not cheating. If I have to estimate, I always err on the high side.)

    It's not like I've been eating junk—I generally eat things like bananas, yogurt, cereal, turkey sandwiches on wheat bread, chicken breasts, etc. (But no—I'm not eating celery sticks and raw carrots—I can't eat like a frickin' rabbit!)

    In that same 9-day period, I rode hard on 4 days (I try to ride roughly every other day.)

    So, aside from the fact that I'm probably a nutritional dunce...do I just need to ride more?

    Is my problem the ratio of carbs/fat/protein?

    Or is my daily calorie goal too high? I mean, I could go hardcore and attempt to eat celery 3 times a day...but I'm pretty sure that would be bad for me.

    I guess I'm just finding it challenging to limit my caloric intake while also still trying to ride hard. When I eat less, I feel like I don't have the energy to ride! (It's a catch-22.)

    For what it's worth, my weight hasn't varied more than +/-2lbs in over a decade—meaning my normal weight (224lbs) is very "well established and stable" with my body and with regular weekly exercise.

    Any suggestions?
    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
    Old Punk
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    Thermogenic fat burners work for me(hydroxycut, jut fuel, ect). You need a good multivitamin to take, they can bleach your body of vitamins. I take them in the morning, at lunch, before and during a ride. When I hit my target weight, I just take them before and during workouts. Gets my energy level up during long road rides(30mi+), and definitely burns fat. If you already have your diet and workout on track, give it a try.
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  3. #3
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    your bmr is 2040ish calories per day to maintain your weight. so you're trimming off roughly 200 calories per day. yet you gained weight?

    how long are your rides per day?

  4. #4
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    Stop counting calories.
    Stop eating processed foods.

  5. #5
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    Ha! Interesting advice...I know zilch about thermogenic fat-burners...are they safe?

    As for workout length...not as long as I'd like. In the past several days, I did 3 MTB rides, each lasting about an hour and going pretty hard (lots of climbing, heartrate always way up there). Then I did a 9-mile hike on rough trails hauling my baby girl on my back.

    I may stop counting calories...seems like a good way to obsess too much over what I eat.

    Stop eating processed foods? I'll have to determine exactly what processed means. For example, is yogurt a processed food? Is cereal? (I'm guessing "processeD" just means anything not made from scratch from it's raw, 100% natural ingredients?)

    I admit I still eat the occasional fast food hamburger...but that's only a small percentage of what I eat. And I generally have 3-4 tablespoons of raw sugar each day in a couple cups of coffee...

    The truth is, I never found my weight to be a problem until I started having to walk up some steep climbs. That's why I decided it would be nice to drop 10-15lbs.

    I'm thinking more though I just need to say "to heck with counting calories" and just ride longer and harder...

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  6. #6
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    you could always do intervals?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Ha! Interesting advice...I know zilch about thermogenic fat-burners...are they safe?

    As for workout length...not as long as I'd like. In the past several days, I did 3 MTB rides, each lasting about an hour and going pretty hard (lots of climbing, heartrate always way up there). Then I did a 9-mile hike on rough trails hauling my baby girl on my back.

    I may stop counting calories...seems like a good way to obsess too much over what I eat.

    Stop eating processed foods? I'll have to determine exactly what processed means. For example, is yogurt a processed food? Is cereal? (I'm guessing "processeD" just means anything not made from scratch from it's raw, 100% natural ingredients?)

    I admit I still eat the occasional fast food hamburger...but that's only a small percentage of what I eat. And I generally have 3-4 tablespoons of raw sugar each day in a couple cups of coffee...

    The truth is, I never found my weight to be a problem until I started having to walk up some steep climbs. That's why I decided it would be nice to drop 10-15lbs.

    I'm thinking more though I just need to say "to heck with counting calories" and just ride longer and harder...

    Scott
    4 tablespoons of sugar just in your coffee?
    Fast food?

    You want to loose weight or not?


    Yogurt is OK if it is plain jane, but get those little prepared cups and you are getting either sugar or carcinogenic sweeteners.

    Processed foods...think of it like this - if it was invented in the last 100 years, don't eat it.

    You might have to work to condition yourself to move food away from an emotional/craving to just being an energy and nutritional input, because that is what it really should be.

    Good luck on your quest man, I have seen you post up several frustrations about your weight. FWIW, I am down to 209 from a high of 245 and am riding stronger and harder than ever. Breakfast is a small bowl of fruit, lunch is a green smoothie and dinner is fish/bird and veggies. I occasionally indulge in some pizza or something, but really, simple is how I eat. And I take my coffee black, after years of sweeting/creaming the coffee taste right out of it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks CharacterZero...sounds like you accomplished something.

    Your point about food being just a source of fuel instead of an emotional craving is a good one. And for me it's mostly that (a source of fuel)...but hey, who doesn't enjoy having a few beers and a grilled steak with some friends, followed by some good ice cream?

    I really haven't been upset with my weight (I've been the same weight for a long time and still stayed very active). I just figured losing some would definitely help me climb better—which is really my only goal. (Speed is not a goal, and I can ride for 10-12 hours straight, so endurance isn't a problem.)

    I do agree that you can condition yourself to like almost anything...so I need to start doing that.

    IMO, a huge part of eating well is NOT having a soul-crushing job. When you sit at a desk staring at a computer for 8hrs/day and only get 1hr for lunch...you really want to experience SHEER JOY for that one hour (hence the often bad-for-you lunches).

    When I was my own boss working from home, it was a lot easier to eat well. (For me anyway...)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    IMO, a huge part of eating well is NOT having a soul-crushing job. When you sit at a desk staring at a computer for 8hrs/day and only get 1hr for lunch...you really want to experience SHEER JOY for that one hour (hence the often bad-for-you lunches).

    When I was my own boss working from home, it was a lot easier to eat well. (For me anyway...)

    Scott
    Just trying to help out man. I don't think the road I have been on has been entirely healthy, but I am certainly recovering. Yeah, beers shouldn't be avoided! Now I seem to have traded my sweet tooth for a hop-tooth in college, so that makes the icecream a non issue.

    Just a thought about the desk job...have you considered a standing desk? I noted a marked increase in my climbing in about a month after going from a sitting desk to a standing one, as did my friends that were used to leaving me behind. They say that sitting is the main contributor to a sedentary life style, so I just try to avoid it.

    But yes, the job thing is a huge contributor.

    And I wish I had that endurance...not so sure I can do 10hrs straight, but then again, I don't think the wife and kids would let me.

  10. #10
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    I would agree with CharacterZero for the most part, however for me the strict Paleo Diet that he is referring too dosen't fit me well. I have tried it and I can never seem to be satisfied with my energy levels. My body responds much better to carbs so I have no issue eating whole wheat breads, cereal, pasta, etc.

    3 years ago I was weighing in at 200+ which for me was the heaviest I have ever been. Something like 28% BF as well. So instead of dieting I just started to eat clean and responsibly. I cut out sugars completely for the first year. I now eat plenty of meats, veggies and fruit. Tons and tons of fruit. I have not had fast food or soda of any kind for 2+ years. I dont eat fried food, etc. Skip the ice cream sundaes, and doughnuts, and candy. My one vice I will allow myself a square of high quality dark chocolate every once in while if I am feeling the need.

    Basically its about eating smart and staying active. I have no problem maintaining my desired weight 170-175 and I can keep my BF% within a range acceptable to me 7-13%. I care more about BF% than weight, considering muscle weighs more than fat.

    Good Luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    but hey, who doesn't enjoy having a few beers and a grilled steak with some friends, followed by some good ice cream?
    Oh yea....and I abstain from beer/alcohol whenever possible. Not to say that I don't occasionally have a sip, but for me its a once every few months thing. Not a choice for everyone, but I prefer it!

    I ride with guys that drink beer and really enjoy the science of it and they don't care so much about there diet, and this is a.o.k. too! It has to be a personal decision!

  12. #12
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    So, I have an observation to make. I've read a few of your threads as a lurker, and I think you're going about this the really wrong way.

    You mention that you used to kayak, giving you a huge amount of upper body strength that you find to be detrimental to your climbs. You also mention that you passed a physical with flying colors. Sounds like you don't really have a weight problem to me, which is what your approach is going to solve. You're obese? Cut calories. You have a spare tire? Ride a bit longer and skip that chocolate cake after dinner. But you are none of these things. You're an older guy with a VERY specific goal in mind - and you're already pretty fit.

    You're out of low-hanging fruit. You're have a specific purpose for your nutritional goals, and just trimming 200 calories out of your diet isn't going to cut it - especially at your age. You're into the athletic training zone here, where elite athletes work with nutritionists and personal trainers to understand their bodies, how they metabolize, and what they can do to obtain the specific results they want. Just casually skipping that cookie at lunch isn't going to get you where you want to be.

    I think at this point, it's just a question of how badly you want to improve your times up that hill...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero

    Just a thought about the desk job...have you considered a standing desk? I noted a marked increase in my climbing in about a month after going from a sitting desk to a standing one, as did my friends that were used to leaving me behind. They say that sitting is the main contributor to a sedentary life style, so I just try to avoid it.
    That's an awesome idea. I need to look into one. I do hate sitting for long periods of time...

    Quote Originally Posted by canonshooter
    3 years ago I was weighing in at 200+ which for me was the heaviest I have ever been. Something like 28% BF as well. So instead of dieting I just started to eat clean and responsibly. I cut out sugars completely for the first year. I now eat plenty of meats, veggies and fruit. Tons and tons of fruit. I have not had fast food or soda of any kind for 2+ years. I dont eat fried food, etc. Skip the ice cream sundaes, and doughnuts, and candy. My one vice I will allow myself a square of high quality dark chocolate every once in while if I am feeling the need.
    That's an awesome accomplishment! you've motivated me to try to cut the sugar out!

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by penguinpwrdbox
    So, I have an observation to make. I've read a few of your threads as a lurker, and I think you're going about this the really wrong way.

    You mention that you used to kayak, giving you a huge amount of upper body strength that you find to be detrimental to your climbs. You also mention that you passed a physical with flying colors. Sounds like you don't really have a weight problem to me, which is what your approach is going to solve. You're obese? Cut calories. You have a spare tire? Ride a bit longer and skip that chocolate cake after dinner. But you are none of these things. You're an older guy with a VERY specific goal in mind - and you're already pretty fit.

    You're out of low-hanging fruit. You're have a specific purpose for your nutritional goals, and just trimming 200 calories out of your diet isn't going to cut it - especially at your age. You're into the athletic training zone here, where elite athletes work with nutritionists and personal trainers to understand their bodies, how they metabolize, and what they can do to obtain the specific results they want. Just casually skipping that cookie at lunch isn't going to get you where you want to be.

    I think at this point, it's just a question of how badly you want to improve your times up that hill...
    Great comments, and you've articulated what I think I've known (in the back of my mind). In fact, I've asked myself—with regard to the specific climbs I want to be able to ride—"Should I just be okay with walking these hills?"

    I've always valued exercise over diet. Put differently, I've always been able to pretty much eat whatever the hell I want and stay healthy—as long as I keep exercising. And it's true that if I (or anyone) want something badly enough, I'll do it. (So the question really becomes, do I want to lose weight badly enough? The answer is...I dunno yet, LOL.

    Last November, I became a father for the 2nd time at age 48. Needless to say, it was a big life change. I'm happy with the new baby...but she's definitely cut way into my normal workout/ride time—or forced me to move riding and working out to crazy-early morning or crazy-late-evening times...which is tough to do...

    What I really want to do is make bigger life changes that will allow me to spend time with my new daughter AND still work out every day. By "big life changes" I mean things like getting a new job that doesn't eat up 90 minutes of my day commuting....and I'm working on that (I have a big interview next week!)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

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    So, I think this is really not something you have the luxury of spending the time on now. Some climbs have to be walked. This is why the d/h guys use lifts. Some of them are really hardcore, but not so hardcore as to pedal their way up to that staging area...

    The child changes your priorities. Your concern should be staying healthy long term for your sake, and that of your new baby. You want to walk her down the aisle when the time comes, and you can't devote time to her as a child, and yourself as an athlete, on top of a full time gig - nevermind your commute.

    Continue to stay in shape - it's great for everyone involved. But just walk the climbs when you have to, and spend the time that you would have wasted eeking out two-more-tenths-of-a-percent of body fat watching your little girl grow up.

  16. #16
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    Wide advice. Thanks. I'll take it to heart—really.












    (...and I'll continue to hurl myself at these damned climbs in the hopes that one day I'll be able to pedal all the way up! LOL)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  17. #17
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    Couple of things to think about:

    1. Do you eat more on days you ride? You should be factoring exercise into your 1800 calorie target. If you burn 2000 calories on a ride then you need to eat more (not necessarily all of it) to compensate.

    2. Could be adding some muscle on the legs... You might find it swings the other way after a while.

    3. Stress, poor sleep, sudden change in diet, not enough water... These can all be factors.

  18. #18
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    Less sugar, less bread, less cold cereals (eat your oatmeal!), eat more calories.

    You haven't accounted for your activity levels in your calorie limits, eat about 2200-2500 and I bet you see more results.

  19. #19
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    If you are interested in the thermogenic/supplement route, i suggest you talk with your dr or a nutritionalist. They can be harmful if you go way overboard.

    The new job can also bring a huge change. For 12 years I stood in front of a mill or lathe as a tool & die machinist. I'm now an industrial maintenance tech for a large tire company and I ride a Worksman tri-cycle w/ 200lbs of tools on it. Some days I ride as much as 10mi during a 12hr shift. Sure beats standing all day.
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  20. #20
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    The Real Diet of Man

    Very interesting read. I've lost 23 lbs in 8 weeks eating like I'm trying to gain weight. I'm 56, 6'2", down to 210 and never remember feeling this good. I'm just now getting back on the bike after a back injury 8 years ago.

  21. #21
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    Couple of things

    When you "pump" your muscles they will take on water and that can add weight quickly.

    Also time of day matters when you weigh yourself.....

    In the end many things can change your weight, but obviously month in month out a gain or loss should be apparent.

    So what should you do???

    Continue to eat healthy and ride alot...

    When you ride, you must get out of your comfort zone for a good fraction of the ride...

    Unless it is a recovery ride.


    Weigh yourself in the morning after your dump, before drinking water, this will be just about your lowest weight for the day and tends to take out a lot of doubt out of the measurement.

  22. #22
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    Good advice jeffscott, thanks.

    So rdrice—what exactly have you been eating? (Just curious if it's a relatively "normal" diet? Or have you gone radical and eliminated sugars, or carbs?)

    And are you riding like a maniac?

    I just got back from a 1-hour lunchtime road ride. Did about 17 miles at 16mph avg, included some hard climbs.

    Then I went straight to Chipotle and got a burrito bowl with rice, pinto beans, chicken, tomato salsa, and lettuce.

    That's pretty good fuel, isn't it?

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  23. #23
    @adelorenzo
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    There are lots of diets out there but really only one equation matters:

    calories eaten = BMR (calories your body burns to stay alive) + calories burned by activity + calories excreted

    If you take that equation out of balance one way or the other you will gain or lose weight.

    There are better and worse things to eat but if you eat reasonably balanced, get enough water and fiber in your diet, you'll be OK.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Good advice jeffscott, thanks.

    So rdrice—what exactly have you been eating? (Just curious if it's a relatively "normal" diet? Or have you gone radical and eliminated sugars, or carbs?)

    And are you riding like a maniac?

    I just got back from a 1-hour lunchtime road ride. Did about 17 miles at 16mph avg, included some hard climbs.

    Then I went straight to Chipotle and got a burrito bowl with rice, pinto beans, chicken, tomato salsa, and lettuce.

    That's pretty good fuel, isn't it?

    Scott

    I see myself as pretty radical. But I think what we call normal today is really quite radical by historical standards. Whether you believe in a Creator or in evolution, our bodies were not designed for the processed foods of today. Take breathing. As long as you get the right air, you never have to count breaths. Your body will take care of it for you. If you try to control breathing your body will fight you and it WILL win! I think the same goes for eating.

    I’ve given up all processed food and eat vegetables eggs fish and meat. I like to eat out so I don’t always eat the grass fed meat but I stick to the meat and vegetables. The trick is to eat lots and lots of vegetables, mostly raw.

    Eating this way my body tells me when I’ve had enough. I don’t have any cravings and I lost the weight sitting at a computer 8 hours a day.

    I just started riding again so I don’t know how this will affect my performance although in the past I’ve never been able to lose weight riding.

    The bottom line is nothing tastes as good as the way I feel right now

  25. #25
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    My initial take is that you are eating too few calories with your ride and your body is storing. I do best when I eat lots of really healthy foods evenly spaced in small amounts while riding. Otherwise my body will store fat and water. Obviously cutting cals and upping the amount you burn should cause you to drop fat over time so maybe your time was just too short but honestly if you are already healthy and not too overweight that sounds like too few cals if your rides are moderately difficult

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