Sunday, March 27, 2011


I don't know if anyone remembers this, but after completing RAGBRAI I set two goals for myself. One was to get to 3000 miles on my road bike by the end of the year. The second was to try to "go for the second fat roll" on my belly, ie: lose some weight. Of course, if you're like I am and gaining weight is fast and easy, you know that a big part of the 3000 mile goal was to lose the weight. Well, I didn't get to 3000 miles. My back got upset and frankly having that 3000 mile goal made me like riding my bike less and I didn't like that. But, starting the Monday after Thanksgiving I decided to give the weight loss thing another try. I'd lost 6.5 pounds on RAGBRAI and 4 of that had stayed off. Over the next 4 months I kept my promise to myself to workout 6 days a week and to stay within my calorie budget. I road my bike for transportation and for a few fitness rides. Mostly, I stuck to hard workouts on my LeMond exercise bike, my elliptical, cardio dance and I tried to confuse my muscles as much as possible in my toning work.

Aside from losing 40 pounds total (about 2 pounds a week) which feels amazing and I love fitting into my old thin clothes, I think the most important thing I learned was about setting goals. Everyday, I set the goal to get in my workout and stick to my calorie budget and everyday I did it. At first I set 2 pound weight loss goals because, frankly, I didn't trust myself to really go for the dream. But, as the weight came off, my trust in myself increased and soon I was setting 10 pound goals. Eventually, I just decided to go for it and get off all the weight I had gained in 2009-2010.

Anyway, if you've read my cycling blog for a while you know that I often started off with rather nebulous goals. I'd say things like, "I set off for Mt. Tabor with the nebulous goal of riding it 8 times." I really didn't trust myself to just say, "I set off with the goal of riding Tabor 8 times." This is because I was afraid that if I didn't do it I would feel too bad, or that just by setting the goal I would back away from it, essentially sabotaging myself. Well, I've learned how to do this now! Just set the goal. If it's big, it's big. It's something to strive for, then strive! If for some reason you can't do it, just instantly forgive yourself and move on to the next goal.

Saturday, I went for a Tabor ride. As I was climbing up it with my new, much more slender, body all I kept thinking was "This is SOOOOOOOO easy!" I knew 4 times up Tabor was not going to give me the workout I needed for the day. I hemmed and hawed for about 20 minutes about setting a bigger goal. Then, I just said, "I'm doing it 6 times." I could feel myself completely relax as soon as I said it. I knew that short of my back seizing up and me toppling over on to the ground, that I would keep my promise to myself and do it 6 times. And I did.

The ride felt great and in some ways I'd love to try RAGBRAI again now that I'm thin. I wonder if the heat would give me so much trouble. We've got lots of other travel plans on the books, however, so the weekend Cycle Oregon will have to do. I'm excited to really get out on a long ride somewhere like the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and see what my new lighter body can do. I've definitely learned that while wearing a size 6 is nice and loving the way your arms and abs look is very rewarding, the true gift of a major weight loss is knowing that when the going gets tough that you will choose to be disciplined and tenacious. It's about knowing you can trust yourself to follow through and not let yourself down. In many ways the last four months has been like one long ride. There were days when I just had to dig deep and keep pedaling and at other times it felt really easy. At the end I'm left with the knowledge of how to set goals and make goals which will be a lot of fun as this cycling season unfolds.