Weight Loss and a Recaptured Love of Cycling

Here is the second guest post from Paul at Pacificpedaling.com. In this one he details how he was able to take a former love of his (cycling) and use it again to help him lose over 50 pounds! If you have not had a chance to do so, check out his blog. It is loaded with great cycling info and there are some cool pictures from local races his team has been competing in.

How Cycling Helped Me Lose 50 Pounds
Paul Lopez

paul_260In 1990, the year I got married, I was somewhere just over 190 lbs, which was a few pounds up from my high school days. Fast forward to the year 2007, 16 years later I was tipping the scales at just a pound or two under 260. I’d gained nearly 70 pounds in just under two decades. It was finally time for a change.

Like most people wanting to lose weight, I’ve been on the roller coaster ride of losing a few, and gaining them back, with no real plan of attack besides eating better and trying to get more exercise. The problem with telling yourself that you’ll eat better, is that can be a floating curve. The same is true about simply telling yourself to get a little more exercise. On top of that, I hate exercise, so that plan is bound to fail! But something needed to be done, so I started doing a little research.

I know that counting calories is not the end all, be all solution to losing weight and getting healthy, but for me, it was at least the start of some tangible measurement. When I stopped to add up what my day looked like, it was pretty frightening. Couple bowls of cereal in the morning, latte mid morning, (sometimes with a scone to go with it, ‘regular’ lunch out just about anywhere, and I could easily be pushing 2000 calories only halfway through the day. With another coffee drink, a big dinner, and a snack in the evening, I was regularly having 3000-4000 calorie days.

I set out to make a daily goal of eating less than 2000 calories each day, with the basic knowledge that any calories I didn’t burn, or expel some other way, would transform into additional pounds of fat on my body. Within the first couple weeks I dropped over 10 pounds and was excited about the realization that I could, in fact, control my weight if I simply made a plan and stayed with it.

However, I knew I would need to incorporate other elements into my plan. I started not only counting calories, but evaluating the types of calories I was taking in. I started drinking way more water than I normally did, which had previously been very little. I tried to eat more often during the day, in smaller meals, and I tried to stop eating altogether by 7 pm. To cap it off, I decided it was time to exercise.

As a kid I loved riding bikes, so I purchased a cheap WalMart bike and started getting out around the neighborhood, and immediately discovered that I still loved riding. Within a month or so, the bike started falling apart, so I upgraded to a Trek Navigator comfort bike and started adding in more miles.

Within the first month or so, I had been regularly doing a 12 mile loop near my home, riding in baggy sweats, garden gloves, and tennis shoes. Happily pedaling along on my comfort bike, dressing up in tight, bright clothes and locking my feet down to the pedals were the furthest things from my mind. I would never become one of THOSE cyclists, I was more of the fuddy duddy dad, happy to be on my comfort bike. Then I had a massive paradigm shift.

My younger brother left for two weeks on vacation. Before he left, he suggested I babysit his steel, Italian road bike and see if I like it. It was very much UNlike my comfort bike. It had dropbars instead of a nice upright wide handlebar. Super narrow tires compared to my big wide knobby balloon tires. Zero suspension as opposed to the fork and seat suspension of the Trek. And a seat that looked like it wouldn’t be comfortable to anyone at all, let alone a guy with a big backend, who’d be used to a wider, cushier saddle as he rode. “Looks can be deceiving,” my brother insisted.

The first time I took out the road bike, a hot looking, fire engine red Torelli, it felt foreign and unstable to me. The front end wasredtorellitree squirrely, and I didn’t like leaning over the bike rather than sitting upright. Additionally, my butt and the tiny saddle didn’t agree. However, I noticed one thing that I did really like. The bike really responded to my pedaling. I felt like every ounce of energy I put into a pedal stroke, I was immediately getting back in performance of the bike. I began to realize that the big tires, both shocks, and the extra weight of my comfort bike were sucking up some of my energy. The trade off for a less comfortable ride, was a gain in performance….very much like a sports car vs a luxury sedan. I could get used to this.

The next day I took it out for a 20 mile ride. I had never been 20 miles, but figured I’d give it a shot since I had a ‘real’ bike to do it on. I was still in a funky, mismatched sweats and windbreaker outfit, but the bike looked good. I flew. Ok, in all actuality, I probably was doing 15 miles an hour or under the whole way, but to me, compared to my 10 mile an hour riding on the comfort bike, I was moving like the wind! And by the end of the ride, I was instantly addicted. I went out several days that week, and over the two weeks my brother was gone, logged 200 miles on his bike. After the first week I went to the local shop in town that had put his together for him, and asked him to build me it’s twin, and as quickly as possible!

As I said earlier in my post, I don’t enjoy exercise. I still hold true to that statement, with one exception, I love cycling. I started riding that comfort bike in early spring, and by late September I rode the 70 mile Livestrong Challenge, in a monsoon-like livestrong_rideconditions. Additionally, along the way, with keeping an eye on my caloric intake, drinking water, making smarter food and meal choices and spending time on the bike 2-4 times a week, I had managed to lose 50 lbs, and felt TONS better. In a 6 month period of time, I had managed to turn my health completely around.

Fast forward two years and I still love cycling. I run a cycling blog, sponsor a cycling team, and even competed in multiple race series for the first time ever. My weight has waffled a little here and there, but I’ve managed to keep off 40-50 lbs over the past couple years. I won’t be going back to that crazy place I was at 2 years ago. Finding time to ride can be tricky, but I know how to eat smarter, and work in a couple workouts a week. I love helping other people discover the joy of cycling as well, and love to answer any questions about bikes or riding that I can.

Get out there and ride!

2 Comments on this post


  1. Healthy Cooking ideas said:

    An interesting read and great information, thanks for sharing this post, I’ve already added your blog to my RSS reader. I can see that you are putting a lot of time and effort into your blog and detailed articles. I’ll be sure to come back often to read more updates!

    December 14th, 2009 at 1:22 pm
  2. Century Training said:

    A really inspirational story. Cycling has such an amazing capacity to heal both physicaly and emotionally. I went on a similar journey that saw me use cyling to rebuild my shattered self confidence after a business I owned for 10 years went bust.

    I coach endurance cyclists and I see the constant battle they have with their weight even though they are doing large volumes of exercise. getting the balance right between calorie intake and exercise is the key. I wrote an article recently exploring weight loss strategies in cyclist that you may find interesting


    December 16th, 2009 at 3:44 pm


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