Health, Fatness and Training


Here for rides.
actually less of the training, it is, after all, a form of cheating.

The lovely Helen has ordained she would like me to lose the gut, the beer belly, the spare tyre, in short I am to put off the middle-aged middle I've spent years, an considerable expense, acquiring.

Not going to single mindedly try and lose weight, per se, more try redistribute what I already have, as I've some off-road goals that require better core/upper body condition. But inevitably weight will come off. I'm currently, and officially, according to my GP, one of the fat-fit. BMI is borderline obese and certainly overweight but it ain't stopping me doing owt and I've a pretty active lifestyle.

I have been given a copy of "How to lose your middle-aged middle" by one who has worked a remarkable transformation on himself by following its principles. It's basically a low-carb diet.

Hands up if you've done a low-carb diet and found it compatible with cycling? My normal workload is 40km/2 hours round trip three four times a week commuting and the odd 100 - 200km road ride once or twice a month at weekends, and a 50km road or 35km off road ride at least once each of the other weekends. I don't drink Sunday night to Friday afternoon. From the middle of this month I'll be helping out on a learn-to-run course three times a week (if my hip will let me).

What has been your experience of racking up the miles whilst dropping the pounds? Is low carb a no-no? Should I engage with the tedium that is calorie counting? Should I fast Tuesday and Thursdays? Do I just need to accept feeling hungry all the time?


It's a bit more complicated than that...
Should I engage with the tedium that is calorie counting? Should I fast Tuesday and Thursdays? Do I just need to accept feeling hungry all the time?
Yes. No. No.

Strict, tedious calorie counting (whether weightwatchers points or pure calories) is the only thing that has ever worked for me - to the tune of 5 or 6 stone over the same number of years. And we have similar physiques, similar likes and similar physical regimes (although you ride more and I go to the gym under the supervision of a PT).

I find that if I eat (and drink) less I want to to eat less - although the desire for alcohol doesn't go away. So I have to be absolutely strict about cutting out the booze too (which is good for me in other ways).

I'm no great scientist, but low-carb diets sound to me like absolute junk science - especially for someone active. And now I've got LonJoG, my birthday and my ride to Paris out of the way I am due to start again with proper restricted eating.


Well-Known Member
I find that keeping a food diary helps, be honest and put everything down. It's surprising but I find it works, even though you're the only one reading it
you think twice about picking up those crisps or chocolate knowing that it's has to go in the diary.


Cycling Excusiast
Greg, I really think that the low carb thing will be a very bad idea with your activity levels. By all means reduce the carb and portion size and introduce more protein and a bit more healthy fats (nuts/olive oil etc) Food diary Fatwheeler suggested sounds like a good idea - you might just be eating too much of things that aren't good for you.

If there's anyway to link up with others so that there's some sort of accountability with the weight loss? A buddy system or something online?

Good luck, this stuff isn't easy but you've lost a fair amount already- just the last bit and some solid discipline. You can do it!


It's a bit more complicated than that...
If there's anyway to link up with others so that there's some sort of accountability with the weight loss? A buddy system or something online?

I have a suspicion the Fridays weight-loss circle might be forming itself - but first I've got some prosecco and a curry to eat and drink.


Somerset UK
In my healthier and stronger past I found the best way to remove the Michelin Man spread was to cut out alcoholic drink - completely. If that wasn't fast enough then reducing fat intake was next. clearly the bad fats, the saturated ones, should be first out of the diet, but the others are also very high energy.

The one bit of the diet that I could never reduce much was carbs. I don't like sugary sweet things, and don't add sugar to tea or coffee, so that was never an issue, but if I cut out the bread and so on it's a disaster. Not enough energy to ride or even walk up hills properly, loss of stamina, and generally feeling rotten. At times when I've commuted to work by bike reducing carbs (intentionally or not) has always been very bad news.

It's good to get the excess weight off, by adjusting diet and exercise, but your body still needs good quality fuel to make it work properly.


What’s the point
its the carbs in alcohol that do for me. christmas and summer are always a time where normal eating habiots go out the window.

if i can cut out cider on a Sun-Thur and only allow myself a few on Fri night and Sat then i can keep my weight and my bulge where i want it to be I.E not there!


I agree that the low carb diet is a bad idea, and that calorie counting is tedious to the extreme. I find having a good routine really helps, quality cereal or oat based breakfast, fruit and vegetables heavy lunch and very light supper. If I am trying to get to competitive weight - always a struggle especially if it coincides with a lot of high intensity training, as it's wont to do - then suppers get cut out entirely, although obviously recovery fueling needs to be maintained.

Don't be put off by the title and read this. It has a holistic approach that will leave you with lots of ideas of how to go about reconciling fueling needs with weight loss needs, and hints and tips to get around the need to calorie count all the time.

I have gone from 17ish to 12 and a half over the last two years, I also was one of the fat fit. It's amazing how much better being slim fit feels though.

As to your last question about feeling hungry all the time - that is really the crux of the matter - how to understand and use the very effective calorie intake mechanism that is the appetite. Fitzgerald has a very good chapter on this. It has changed the way I feel about what is being hungry, and what is merely wanting a little something.
Another vote for Myfitnesspal here - counting calories is tedious but it really works, and the phone app makes it really quick and easy. I believe Sitting Duck has lost loads using it (correct me if I'm wrong Ant) and I've lost nearly 3 stone since April using it without giving up anything I like, but massively cutting down the booze, white carbs and cheese. I'm doing a fair bit of exercise and haven't noticed a problem, but I am still eating "good" carbs like brown rice and I will eat normally the night before and during bigger rides (40mile +). The only thing I have found is that MFP is quite generous with its estimate of exercise calories so I try not eat everything it tells me I've burnt (unless I'm going out that night!). I definitely couldn't stick to a low carb fad diet but this appears to be working. The other thing that has really helped me over recent weeks is weight training and rowing in the gym - I've never done it before but the results are really noticeable and improving my core has fixed my back pain. Best of luck with it!


Senior Member
St George

I have a suspicion the Fridays weight-loss circle might be forming itself - but first I've got some prosecco and a curry to eat and drink.
Myfitnesspal, strava and portion control. As in eat everything you like but restrict the size of the meals, I cycle to work every day, and burn roughly 1300 calories per day, and have lost 100lb in the last two years, the last 8 months I've used strava to log my miles and it is mostly down to cycling faster and putting a lot more effort into my rides everyday that is responsible for my weight loss. I’ve found I can eat reasonably normal meals including bacon, cheese, steak chips pies, and the like, just not a much or as often as I use to. Riding to work and eating 2300 calories per day average, means I’ve lost 10lb last month and 9lbs the month before (when I was only cycling in to work 3 times a week)


With those kind of miles, I think you would have to do very little bar cutting out the drink to loose weight. I found calorie counting, in a rough estimate kind of way is not tedious and you get a good feel for how much is in stuff after a while so don't need to keep looking things up. As long as your estimates are honest - there's no point kidding yourself. I know it's not far off, because I always seem to loose whatever weight per week I target when I do it.

Drink is terrible, at least for me when one pint leads to seven and a kebab to round off. Not just the calories in the booze, but what it does to your will power to stop eating and and/or go for rides.


Lover of things that come in 3's
Mate, your primary goal has to be finding a routine you can stick to. There's no point in any of the systems if you just give them a bash and then backslide as soon as you hit your goal or sooner.

I'd go for the obvious stuff first, try to take your carbs early in the day and try to avoid the late night meals/snacks. Look at the carbs you do use and then cut away the chips, crisps, etc.

Give yourself a break, relax on a Friday/Saturday...or whatever days suit, and go for it the rest of the week.

If you want a non bike based exercise that will give you the greatest return for the shortest amount of time, then put up a chin up bar...and use it. In the hallway near the toilet is a good spot, or anywhere you'll regularly pass, and just do one or two several times a day. Also hang from the bar and raise your legs to work your waist a bit more. By the way, I find this is about the only thing that really helps regarding some back issues I still carry from my rugby days.
Low-ish carbs (low GI/GL from veg and fruit) most of the day, carbs during/after and sometimes before exercise works for me. I don't have the time to count calories. If I did I'd probably be leaner. At the end of your day your brain needs glucose if your sedentary. When you exercise you will need carbs at some point based on your training. Your body can synthesize from protein but eating it is more fun. Paleo diet for athletes has good advice for carbs around training. Again, don't be put off by the title.
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