I wrote last week about the Imperial vs. Metric weights and measures. People in the UK still measure their personal weight in Stones. I currently weigh eleven stone, which was my racing weight. There are 14 lbs. in a stone, so eleven stone is 154 lbs. American.
As a teen I was pretty skinny and weighed around ten and a half stone 147 lbs. But by the time I reached my twenties and into my thirties I had added some muscle and was consistently 11 Stone. It was the weight I strived for every spring after packing on a two or three winter pounds.
It was the weight I was when I arrived in New Jersey in 1979. I rode a few races here in the US.
The picture left shows me in my Paris Sport, New Jersey Bicycle Club kit, having my number pinned on before a race.
I didn’t like the US Criterium style racing. Plus guys were openly snorting cocaine in the changing rooms and even on the start line, which hardly seemed fair to me.
The thing I really didn’t like was the way everyone talked about crashing, and showed off scars like it was some kind of achievement.
I rode three maybe four races and at 43 years old, decided it was time to hang up my racing wheels for good. In the years that followed framebuilding took up all my time and there was little time for riding a bike anyway. I was never grossly overweight and I think the most I have ever weighed was 175 lbs.
In recent years, in spite of eating healthy and riding my bike a lot, I seemed to be stuck at 12 stone, (168 lbs.) and I had that annoying belly fat. I came to the conclusion that exercise alone is not enough to lose weight, neither is diet. It has to be a combination of the two.
The first thing I did was check into my Resting Metabolic Rate. (RMR) This is an estimate of the calories I would burn each day if I did nothing but lay in bed or sit on the couch all day. I found this useful calculator. Your RMR depends largely on your gender, age, height and weight. Mine turned out to be around 1,300 calories a day. The cruel reality is, as you get older your RMR goes down.
I started about three months ago. I made sure I consumed no more than 1,300 calories a day, plus I rode my bike between 100 and 150 miles per week. I usually do a 50 or 60 mile ride on Sunday and I try to eat a good meal, with bread or pasta, the night before. I also carry food with me on the ride, just in case I should run out of gas.
I weigh myself every morning as soon as I get out of bed, and keep a log. Looking back at the log, I weighed 168 lbs. when I started. I immediately lost 3 lb. in the first three days. After that I seem to be on a cycle of lose a lb. maintain that weight for a few days then lose another lb. The overall pattern has been one of steadily losing weight.
I have lost a stone or 14 lbs. which was my target. One doesn’t realize how much even 10 lbs. is until you hold it in one hand.
Simple movements like standing up from a chair or climbing steps are so much easier. My belly is now flat and I can get into some clothes that I haven’t worn in years.
Here I am, 36 years after my last race and I’ve reached my “Racing Weight” once more. It's a good feeling.
All I have to do now is maintain it. On the days I don’t ride I just have to make sure I don’t go too much over my RMR. 1,300 calories.
Footnote: Before anyone makes comments about my socks. Three-quarter length cycling socks is the one current trend I refuse to follow. The reason is simple. When I am wearing shorts and sandals in a social setting, (Which is most of the year here in hot, sunny, South Carolina.) I do not need a sun tan line halfway up my calf. I'm sorry, deal with it.
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