A 10-Year Diet

Super Bowl Sunday is less than three months away.  When it arrives, and assuming I haven’t thrown all of my carefully formed eating habits out of the window in the meantime, I will celebrate the 10th anniversary of what I hope will be a lifetime diet.  As of this morning, I am 59 pounds under my starting weight in early 2001.

It began on Super Bowl Sunday or may have.  I know it was early February 2001, though I don’t exactly recall the date.  I got on the scale and it read 224 pounds.  That was the highest ever for me.  I was 43 years old.  I had gained 49 pounds since I graduated from high school shortly after my 18th birthday, when I weighed 175 pounds.  I figured that 175 was probably my appropriate weight, or thereabouts.  But I soon exceeded it as a college freshman and only dieted back down again twice, once as a college junior and again just before I got married at age 26.

If you graphed my weight over the years, it would look like the Dow Jones Industrial Average since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  There are a couple of major crashes (diets) at age 19 and again at age 25, and lots of smaller ups and downs afterwards.  But the overall trend is steadily upwards.  I was averaging 2 pounds more each year.

It has been said that the human body is a heat producing machine, with the heat measured in calories.  They say that the only proven way to lose weight is to reduce the fuel introduced into the body or increase the rate at which the body burns that fuel.  Eat less, exercise more or, preferably, both.

For me, it was obvious that exercise alone wasn’t doing it.  By February 2001, I had become a regular, if not devoted, exerciser.  I’d just finished 2000 with a total of 3,143 miles on my bike, or more than 60 miles a week.  It was my highest total since 1977, when I rode across the country.  But I found that the more I rode, the hungrier I got, and the more I ate.  To really lose weight, I would have to make some fundamental changes in my relationship with food.

At the beginning, I had only one rule: I would figure out a way to make this diet permanent.  I was looking at this as not a lightning raid, but a guerrilla operation that might (ultimately did) take years. The fight goes on to this day, as I uneasily consider the large beef fried chimichanga I consumed a couple of hours ago.  I don’t eat food like that nearly as often as I did 1o years ago, though.  And I don’t deny myself anything, hard as that might be to believe.  Just smaller amounts please.

My meals are less likely to include a chimichanga and more likely to look like this:

From left to right, my typical breakfast: plain non-fat yogurt, one sliced banana, one tablespoon wheat germ, one tablespoon honey, two slices of whole wheat toast with strawberry jam.  (Not pictured)  8 oz. glass of fresh orange juice.  I am not showing you this to suggest that this is the only or the best way to go.  It’s only worked for me, so far.

One of my cardinal rules, in fact, is to eat a big breakfast each day.  I follow the saying “Eat like a king at breakfast, like a prince at lunch and like a pauper at dinner.”  More on these cardinal rules next time.


The last two weeks have been pretty light, with a couple of exceptions.  I went out with the Princeton Freewheelers hammerheads last weekend and, well, got hammered (i.e., dropped).  As Lance said in the last Tour, sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail.  Today I was back at another PFW ride and this time I stayed with a group of five riders who broke away from other eight over the last 20 minutes or so.  Not dropped, thank goodness.  So I’ve looked at hammers from both sides now, to paraphrase Joni Mitchell back in the 60s.

My training schedule is now basically five workouts a week (Sat. and Sun. on the bike outside for about 5 hours total, two weekdays in the weight room for 45 minutes each and one weekday during 45 minutes on the spinner, with 20 minutes of that at red zone pace).

2 comments to A 10-Year Diet

  1. Dov Koller
    November 10th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    This is a very inspiring story for me. My story is the same as yours, all the years I tried to lose weight.
    I am trying to lose 10 -15 pounds this year but I lose 2 pound then gain 2 pound. The only thing that work for me is counting calories and like you said eat less and bike more!!!
    Dov K.

  2. Jud
    November 11th, 2010 at 4:36 pm


    Hang in there. It took me more than two years to lose the weight and there were plenty of stretches of weeks or months where I was going nowhere. I found I just gradually changed my eating habits until it started paying off. My approach may not work for everyone, but I’ll talk about it some more in future posts.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>