Wednesday, October 10

Fatter Than Average

[UPDATE: I want to apologize to my wife for portraying her as my dieting weakness. That, she is not. I do not envy her in that I am an impulsive and picky eater, and therefore almost impossible to shop for, choose for, or to help shop or choose food. She rarely (almost never) suggests we eat pizza. She is the one with a backbone when it comes to food choices. I am not.]

I've destroyed any intestinal fortitude I may have had with truly pathetic eating the past week, gorging myself on Little Caesars, not once but twice, and then the second time trying to counter the effects by eating a bacon cheeseburger at lunch.

No, maybe it wasn't the Little Caesars...maybe it was the free breakfast burritos the Commissioners handed out in appreciation to all County employees. Either way...gastrointestinal distress ensued.

My struggle with weight has less to do with amounts of food and more to do with types of food. When I bemoan my fatness my contemporaries are no help.

"It's okay, you ride your bike a lot."

This is true, but the truth is that if I didn't ride my bike so much I'd be 400 pounds and fantasizing about auditioning for the Biggest Loser.

People aren't doing me any favors by complementing me on my prolific cycling. I'm aware of how many calories I burn by riding. Strava throws it out automatically for me to see. What I'm not aware of is how many calories I ingest in a typical day. My guesstimate is roughly 4,200.

If it doesn't move and even vaguely resembles a cheeseburger I will eat it and three of its closest friends. Later that evening when my wife suggests pizza for dinner I will shamelessly--and very enthusiastically--say yes. I feel guilt only when my belly is full. When its empty I feel hunger. Finger devouring hunger. Ravenous, obsessive, red rage hunger.

Anybody got a Snickers?

The madness must stop. I must reign in the devouring beast. Ox find good fuel. Ox no eat bad fuel! Froot. Sa-lud. Drink wa-wa.


Anyway, diet has been a huge hurdle for me. It doesn't help that I've basically been able to eat anything my entire adult-sized life and maintain a fairly moderate weight. It's only because I stay obsessively active. I've burned a ridiculous amount of calories in my life.

However, what I think is "moderate" gets interpreted differently by others. During my undergraduate sentence (against my will) I took a gen ed health class. We had to do a fitness survey. When the pretty young co-ed noted my BMI she described me...not as "overweight", not as "obese", not as "fit like Brad Pitt", she scribbled on her smug little clipboard: "fatter than average."

What the...?!

I didn't consider myself overweight at all at the time. And so began my runaway decline. I conceded defeat. I was fat. That was the first day I felt my age. I was happily married, still in my early thirties, but this pretty young co-ed heartlessly slashed those words across my heart ("fatter than average" in case you forgot) smashing any illusions I had that I might still be attractive to 18 year old co-eds. I didn't need to be attractive to them, it just helps your ego a bit when they don't completely dismiss you as old and grotesque.

I should have been shamed to ripped abs on that day. I'm shamed that I wasn't more shamed. I probably went home and ate a large pizza by myself while whining to my wife about the mean girl at school.

"Can you believe what she called me...mprhlgarblegulp?!"

My bike commuting the past few years has helped. My Leadville obsession has helped. Nothing seems to help my brain "click" and engage my internal motivators though. I did actually qualify as a Clydesdale (200+lbs) for a brief time. That actually spurred me to action. I resolved to get below 200 and stay there. So far I have.

Like Fatty says: I'd rather be a fat cyclist than just fat. Cause believe me, you take the cyclist out of this guy and you'll get fatter than fatter than average.

 photo by zazoosh
Regardless of my mass, I can still climb a hill; 
from the Crested Butte Alpine Odyssey


  1. I've never really had a weight problem since I started cycling because I basically ride it off. We eat a fairly healthy diet all the time anyway, so I found it pretty easy to stay right around 160, which is where I wanted to be.

    Then, I decided to start tracking calories using a phone app (MyFitnessPal) to support my wife in her never ending battle with those 15 pounds that have come and gone several times over the years. When I did that, talk about an eye opening experience! You wouldn't believe how many empty calories I was getting a day from soft drinks and chips.

    I decided to cut that nonsense out, and immediately dropped 10 pounds like it was a rock. Now, I tracking my calories on a regular basis to ensure I'm getting enough of the right stuff and not too much of the wrong stuff.

    Using the app makes it pretty easy to know when I should/can indulge on that vanilla shake or huge meal versus when I should really try to avoid them. It really becomes a matter of a pretty simple lookup or bar-code scan and letting the app tell me how my calories burned compares to my consumed.

    Something like that might make the process more intuitive for you.

  2. How appropriate. Gen and I have been on a "Journey" this year. Long story short, over the past 4-5 years since we participated in the Las Vegas Marathon, we both put on a significant amount of weight, very slowly, and we weren't in killer shape at that point. I don't know what happened, but I continued to think, "I'm all muscle", or I'm just getting a little spare tire. Boy did I have my blinders on, and I just didn't really know it, well I did, but I was so "meh".

    We have been riding a lot since we moved, but it seemed to have no effect on weight.

    Enter "Myfitnesspal". I'm not sure what we were doing before, but it was bad, and we were both unaware of the magnitude. Now, we watch the numbers, but eat normally. Pizza, burgers, tacos, they still happen. Now we know where we "need" to be, what's going in, out, all of that. I think that has made the most significant difference, and extensive Kickboxing along with riding.

    We can discuss in detail further, off the grid. Gen has extensive photos, good, bad, and ugly.

    For the record, "fatter than average" or not, you are still smoking me up and down the hills.

    Who says that, "fatter than average"? Really, by the numbers, aren't we all?

    1. I was blown away. I think I asked her if that was a technical term. She ignored me. I'm grotesque.

      Anyway, TWO votes for! Got to try it.

      I did have a problem back when I was 140-150 lbs. I was an aspiring rock climber and I could NOT put on muscle. So I bought a tub of creatine and for a solid month I took it and worked out regularly with up to 50 lb weights.

      I noticed a difference. I didn't buy another tub of creatine, but I did start working much harder to build my upper body (can't you tell?). From that point on I was able to gain weight at will. Before that I couldn't gain weight to save my life. And while Past Me would love to punch Now Me in the face for taking a cubicle job, I would love to punch Past Me for trying to gain weight.

      Totally separate train of thought, when I was a kid I thought I was fat because when I would sit down my thighs would splay out. I was still scrawny, but I had some hefty quads even then.

  3. Well, I was going to say "MFP," but I see others have beat me to it! :O) I love that it isn't a "diet" but just a way to know what goes in and what comes out. Dieting doesn't work for me because ultimately a time comes when one wants to not be "on" the diet. Information is just information and we do with it what we like.

    Keep riding like you are... that's really the most important thing.