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Thread: Diet & Cycling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Murfreesboro, TN
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    Diet & Cycling

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    I know this is beating a dead horse but.........

    I am worried that I am doing something wrong. I lost a lot of weight last Spring/Summer doing the low carb diet and working out with resistance machines (pre-cycling). I was resistant to ever add carbs back into the diet. In late Summer, I found the wonderful world of cycling and found out I'd have to add carbs to the diet in order to stay on the bike for any length of time. Well, over time, I've quit watching the diet so closely, and lo-and-behold.........I've put back on 10-15#! I can't seem to get it off even with the increase in activitiy; especially, I am walking almost every night for about 45 min's and cycling 3+times a week. The weight is hanging in there.

    So, I am back on the low carb diet for a while, just to get this extra weight back off. Then what? Does anyone do the South Beach diet? They add carbs back in, but only high fiber carbs like fruits and veggies.........anyone else watch carbs and cycle?

    Also, anyone heard that caffeine is a metabolism buster? I just heard that today and didn't know it. I've been off carbs totally for 2 days and I already feel a difference. Help! I want to ride, too!

    Kim in TN

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Sorry for the randomness of paragraph ordering here. These are a bunch of loosely related thoughts.

    Okay, first of all, if you're exercising, you need carbs. Of course, you know that already.

    My husband saw a report on TV today that the vast majority of people who do the low-carb thing gain the weight back, plus some, after 15 months or so.

    Me, I'm suspicious of just about anything with the word "diet" in it, especially when you're living an active lifestyle. But there is one thing that every medical professional endorses: exercise. If you're not working out, you're not going to be healthy.

    A true low-carb, Atkins diet works by changing your metabolism. It's a lifestyle change from omnivorous to carnivorous, and as little as one pancake breakfast will put your metabolism right back where it started. As such, Atkins is particularly ill-suited for short-term weight loss. And most people who think they're eating low-carb actually aren't -- it's really tough to do.

    Are you sure that your weight gains are fat, not muscle?

    I've seen steady, but very slow, improvements to my health and fat content by eating lots of small meals, vastly upping my raw fruit and veggie intake, and generally trying to eat foods that are lower in fat. Oh, and lest I forget, working out more.

    I know that caffeine is an appetite suppressant -- don't know of its effects on the metabolism. Personally, removing caffeine from my diet has given me much more energy (after getting over withdrawal!) and generally been a big plus.
    monique

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Wisconsin
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    Originally posted by bounceswoosh

    Me, I'm suspicious of just about anything with the word "diet" in it, especially when you're living an active lifestyle. But there is one thing that every medical professional endorses: exercise. If you're not working out, you're not going to be healthy.

    <snip>

    Are you sure that your weight gains are fat, not muscle?

    For what it's worth I concur with bounceswoosh - I am also suspicious of the word 'diet' especially when it is associated with lifestyle. Four years ago my husband and I came to the decision that we were not happy with our decision to have a sedentary lifestyle that included a lot of unhealthy choices in our diet. Over a period of time we made a lot of changes which included the way I shopped for and prepared meals, my husband is making better menu choices when he is out of town on business ... and we both have added exercise as a way of life. When we go out to eat (socially) we're often asked if we are 'on a diet' - our answer is no, we are not dieting but making a lifestyle choice.

    I also saw the story on last night's evening (national) news about low-fat vs. no-carb diet ... bounceswoosh is right that the current research shows that after six months of being on an Adkins type diet you will begin to gain weight as your body will react to being 'starved' of carbs which are essential to your health. In this particular trail, at the end of one year the two diet groups (low fat and Adkins) had lost almost the same amount of weight.

    At my annual physical this spring I questioned both my ob/gyn and my 'G.P.' re: Adkins/South Beach diets and got the same answer ... they are good for a short term way to lose weight but as a lifestyle it is not (in their opinion) advisable. They both said they are suspicious when you remove an entire 'food group' from your daily diet. One of my doctors suggested the book 'Eat, Drink, and be Healthy: the Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating' by Walter P. Willett. I checked it out of the library and learned a lot about what we should and should not be eating (example: my beloved Wheat Thin crackers were a major cause of my elevated tri-glycerides due to the fact that, while they have 'wheat' and would appear healthy ... they are loaded with trans-fats. Just by cutting crackers out of my diet and adding even more olive oil to our diet ... my 'bad cholesterol' was lowered and I raised my 'good cholesterol'). Both doctors also credit my committment to exercise with my chol. numbers.

    Bounceswoosh is also right on target with the fact that if you are exercising on a daily basis you cannot use the numbers on a scale as a guideline. Muscle weighs more than fat. One of the things I have had to overcome on my life journey has been to NOT judge myself by how much I weight or what size my clothes are. When my boys were younger I wore a size 6 .. but then I smoked and if I put on 5# I could take it off in a few days. 30 years later I am not a size 6 the only time I get on the scale is when I am at the dr's office. I weight more now than I did when I was pregnant with my boys. For someone who prided herself at being 'small' that could be depressing if I let it but .. I just celebrated 11 years of quitting cigarettes, my cholesteral numbers are excellent (heart disease runs in my family), blood pressure is great, I bike at least 15 miles a day so there are lots of other things for me to focus on than how much I weight.

    So now that I've given my lecture on diet for the day I'll climb down off my soap box

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Chicago
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    806
    I'm in a similar boat as you, where my weight is steady even though my activity level is up. I did drop off about 7 lbs but gained it all back. I do think that most of this weight gain is muscle versus fat. I've noticed that my legs are more toned, especially my calves. And my stomach is pretty flat. But I get on the scale and it still reads the same weight.

    I've been eating a lot of carbs, especially after the whole ammonia smell incident a few weeks ago. I don't eat a whole lot of carbs the days I don't ride though. I'm a vegetarian so carbs are a staple of my diet, so they're hard to avoid.

    I don't have much diet advice since I'm in a similar boat, and I think I eat pretty healthy. I don't eat fast food or junk food 99% of the time. But wanted to let you know that you're not the only one with this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Iowa
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    I've tried them all - Adkins, South Beach, 3-Day diet, blah, blah, blah. Did I lose? Yah, but it all came back on. Most of my success came from the Body for Life concept by Bill Phillips. I don't follow it to the "T", but I have found that by eating 5-6 smaller meals a day and increasing cardio along with weight training has enabled me to lose 20 lbs and keep it off over two years!

    I have learned alot from this forum as well as talking to other bikers and the conclusion that I have come to is that if you are serious about riding, then you have to be serious about feeding your body properly and low carb is not the answer. I believe that each person has to find the balance of what works for them as in what to eat before a ride, how much, what to drink, etc, but the bottom line is, you have to fuel your body if you want it to perform.

    Don't be a slave to the scale, try those "too tight" jeans on every week, use that as a guide - not the scale. It is not the best way to judge your weight loss, cause if you're building muscle or toning, your body will change, not necessarily the weight.

    My weight has plateaued in the same 10lb range for over 6 months, but my clothes size has gone down. So I've quit beating myself up over the "weight" and go by how my clothes feel. I have a pair of jeans that I use as my baseline and if they start getting too tight - and adjust my activity from there.

    My philosophy is the same as bikingchick - it's a lifestyle, not diet!
    The only limits that you have in life are the ones you impose on yourself. ~author unknown~

  6. #6
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    Aug 2003
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    Murfreesboro, TN
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    Talking

    I have weighed myself for a few weeks and found that although my activity has increased the scales didn't show the decrease. I am not as hung up on weight as I am on body size.

    What are good carbs and what are bad carbs? Carbs turn to sugar in my system. If I don't burn them immediately, I wear them!

    So, If I watch the intake of white flour, white rice and sugar; and add the fruits and veggies back to the diet along with whole wheat pasta and brown rice (does this include wild rice?) will I be able to stay on the bike, but not increase my weight?

    What are good fats and bad fats.......be specific! Olive oil is ok, but veg. oil and animal fats are bad?

    Should I be watching calories and forget about the kind of calories I put in my system?

    You know.......every week, there is something different on tv about eating habits.......who knows what the truth really is?

    I know carbs are the culprit to my weight gain....I mean not burning the carbs.......because my mid section is where I am seeing the increase. I am trying to get a hold on this before it gets out of hand and I am back where I started!

    Thanks guys..........

  7. #7
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    May 2004
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    One thing I that Covert Bailey says that I like: "There are no good foods or bad foods." It's all in how you use them. You *need* fat and carbs to survive.

    One theory you could look into is the glycemic index: http://www.glycemicindex.com/

    The idea is that you want to eat carbs that will not spike your blood sugar level. I think. It's been a while since I read about it.

    As for "good" carbs vs. "bad carbs," the question is, do you want instant energy, or do you want long-term nutrition? If you're starting to feel the shakes on a long ride, sugar is the fastest way to get some energy back into your body. On the other hand, when you're sitting at your desk all day, you probably want to go for complex carbs that take longer to digest and don't spike your blood sugar.

    Good fat vs. bad fat -- there are different theories. Again, you need fat to survive. The RDA for fat is around 50g a day, but you can survive on a lot less than that. I personally shoot for 40g; really aggressive diets might go for 30g. I personally don't watch calories at all; that may or may not be a good thing.

    You do need certain amounts of fat, and the omega fatty acids in salmon, for example, have extra health benefits. But that doesn't mean you need a ton of fat. And I'm pretty sure that almost everyone thinks that unsaturated fats are better for you than saturated -- but that doesn't mean that you should be loading up on unsaturated, either!

    Have you tried eating many small meals rather than two or three big ones? Some people say that this boosts your metabolism. I don't know about that, but I am less cranky eating little things constantly than I am having three meals. Also, if you eat small meals all the time, your stomach will get used to small meals, and even when you pig out, you'll get full faster.
    monique

  8. #8
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    This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart as I lost weight doing a low-carb, higher protein plan (primarily based on the Eades' book Protein Power) a couple of years ago. I only had 15 lbs. to lose, which doesn't seem like much, but on my 5'2" frame made a difference - I went down two sizes. I weight trained and did lots of walking during the weight loss and never had a problem with that level of activity on low carb. About the time I finished losing the weight, I started cycling again - this was fall of 2002.

    What I found was that I did have to up the carbs to do longer rides (anything > 20 miles), and I also have found that over time I have put a few lbs. back on (just 3-4). The good news is that my new clothes still fit me and I am a stronger cyclist, so I think that most of it is muscle, though I know I'm carrying a bit more flab around the waistline/hips than at my lowest weight. However, I also have a lot more energy, so I can put up with that. At 43, I am not going to have the total hardbody of an 18-year old no matter how much I ride and work out, and I just have to accept that.

    All that said, what I do is not worry about carbs on long ride days. I eat plenty of 'em before, during, and after rides. Ride to eat! I often find that my weight inches up 2 lbs. over a weekend, when I ride the most, so during the week, when my rides are shorter, I cut back on carbs to some extent. I don't cut back on veggies but avoid white carbs, potatoes, and sugar. The 2 lbs gained, which I think is caused by the water that carbs cause me to retain, drops off easily during the week, only to return again after the weekend!

    I think the key is to favor complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and try to avoid the "empty" white carbs like white bread, sugar, white rice, etc. unless you're doing a long ride, in which case you can probably indulge without gaining. But perhaps not - you may be one of the people who has to be careful despite a busy riding schedule. It can be hard to get adequate calories/carbs to ride well without going overboard, and I still work on that balance. I think Barry Sears' Zone plan is a good one that can be used by athletes, since it emphasizes a balance of carbs/protein/fat rather than cutting out one group completely. But right now I don't follow any specific plan; I just try to eat healthfully 95% of the time and splurge the other 5%!

    I also cut back on carbs some still over the winter so I don't gain weight. I do Spinervals tapes on the trainer, but it's not the same as the long rides I do on the roads during the season (~150 miles per week).

    Good luck!

    Emily

    P.S. Why does everyone want to spell Atkins, Adkins? I see this everywhere!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2004
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    Iowa
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    P.S. Why does everyone want to spell Atkins, Adkins? I see this everywhere!
    See what happens when you're in a hurry and don't spellcheck!
    The only limits that you have in life are the ones you impose on yourself. ~author unknown~

  10. #10
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    Oct 2002
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    Adkins - because people think it's an ad for a slimmer body.

    V.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Midwest
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    499

    diet schmiet

    I lost 70 lbs on a low-fat, high carb "diet".

    And what does that prove?

    nothin', nada, zip.

    I too am a big fan of Covert Bailey. Calories in vs calories out. "Diets" work (short term) because your food choices are limited and your caloric intake drops.

    I've kept the fat off for ~15 years now, but not because of what I eat...my activity level remains high. I gain a bit of weight(fat) in the winter (now that I live where it snows) and loose it over the summer.

    I think a better measure of your fitness is body fat % than weight.
    Throw away the scale. I like the tight jeans thing too. If they are too tight, eat less, ride more. When they get loose, eat more (but keep riding )

    Oh and if your tight jeans are loose in the waist but get tight around the thighs...that just means you are becoming a
    real cyclist.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2003
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    Murfreesboro, TN
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    Who is Covert Bailey and what is the name of his book?

    Well, my clothes are tight, but getting looser in the waist area. My thighs are bigger, but I don't think it's muscle, yet! I have whittled them away a little.

    I am going for the quick loss right now, just get back into my work clothes! I am watching what I am eating and walking every night and riding about 3 days a week. Once I get the weight back down where I need it...and 15# made a huge difference in how my clothes fit!...then I'll relax on the "diet".

    I don't do well long term on a "diet". If chocolate is in the house, I'm eating it! So, I've got to keep it out of the house. I also have a job that requires me to be on the road quite a bit. So, fast food is a part of my "diet". I have to make good choices when I go thru the drive thru! I don't have time to sit and eat a salad most days, and truthfully, I'd be hungry again in an hour if that's all I ate. I just know I don't want to 'yo-yo' anymore. I need a plan to get the weight off and keep it off!

    My metabolism is minimal due to a thyroid condition. I have about 30% productivity now and have to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. Eventually, the thyroid will have to come out and everyone says you gain weight like crazy once that happens. I just need to get my metabolism kicked in and keep it in!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Longmont, CO
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    Covert Bailey is a nutritionist who advocates a pretty simple exercise and meal routine.

    His website:

    http://www.covertbailey.com/

    I have Ultimate Fit or Fat

    http://www.covertbailey.com/products.asp?id=80

    and Smart Eating

    http://www.covertbailey.com/products.asp?id=90

    UFoF is pretty much his whole theory: lots of aerobic exercise (meaning you can speak short phrases while doing it, but you couldn't deliver a monologue) and a fairly straight forward food plan.

    SE is a little bit more on the food part of the theory, plus a ton of low-fat recipes. I've tried a few of them some are really pretty good.

    Both books are really cheap and you can probably read through them in a night or two.

    What I like about him is that he very much encourages exercise -- he doesn't think you can be healthy without incorporating exercise, no matter how well you eat. I buy that. Also, his food plan seems pretty sensible. And I've felt a lot more energetic with a low-fat meal plan, so aside from any health concerns, it's nice to feel like a kid again. (I know, to many of you, I'm a kid already. But seriously, the first few days I ate low fat, I was climbing around on guard rails and generally just feeling exuberant, looking for things to play on. That's cool.)
    monique

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    the dry side
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    a couple of thoughts.

    *there's a lot of good information that I have run across regarding healthy eating while on the road. Getting out of the fast food mindset can just be a matter of revising your choices when you travel, making substitutions and alternatives. And you do need more than salad to fuel you through the day...

    *Covert Bailey, author of "Fit or Fat" and a few other excellent books.

    *What do you all think of the Dr Phil Weight Loss Series? I'm fascinated, really he's just teaching people that they need to exercise and eat right, which for some of these folks is a major educational undertaking!!!

    penny
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    3
    Well I will throw in my 2 cents. I am growing tired of the low carb craze. (Last nite I saw a sign on the outside of a paint store that was advertising "Lo-carb paint" it gave me a little snicker)
    My thought is, eat close to the earth. Eat what nature intended our bodies to consume and I don't think you can go too far astray.
    I personally am vegan, though I certainly don't expect others around me to comply. I rarely imbibe in sugar, also anything overly processed. Last year I started doing this, lost 10 pounds (I am 5'2) I feel great, have plenty of enegy and eat what I want.

 

 

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