Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 3, 37% Body Fat

"Clipless" Pedal and Shoe for Bike.  Photo from
This set-up is similar to what I have on my bike.
This has been a week of challenges, both physical and mental.

In preparation for my bicycle tour of the Natchez Trace and other parts of Mississippi, I'm slowly getting new gear and equipment installed on my bike (and biking wardrobe).

The latest additions to my bike are "clipless" pedals.  Up until now I've been using flat pedals and canvas tennis shoes on my bike trips. 

Every serious cyclist I know has suggested I invest in clipless pedals to help make me a more powerful/efficient cyclist, especially if I plan to do a lot of long-distance biking. According to one friend,  "clipless pedals are the best shortcut to becoming a better cyclist."  So this week I invested in new pedals and bike shoes for the bike.  The shoes have a cleat on the sole that snap into the pedal, firmly attaching your foot to the pedal.

As a result, I'm having to learn how to ride a bike all over again.  You see, with clipless pedals you can't simply dismount from the bike when you need to stop.  You have to plan ahead, unclip your feet (which takes a twist of the foot) and get your foot free before you can stop the bike.

I installed the pedals on the bike this week and hopped on, and immediately crashed, HARD onto pavement and continued to fall several times (but I did move off pavement and onto grass so the falls didn't hurt so much).

My husband was there to witness my first few attempts with the new pedals, and he was getting more vocal every time I crashed, threatening to take the pedals back off the bike.  After several more falls I moved the show to the back yard and asked my husband not to watch the process.  I finally resorted to clipping in with only one foot and practiced clipping in and out with that one foot..... and still fell a couple of times.

At the end of the day both the bike and I were covered with chain oil, grass stains and scrapes.  I haven't fallen this much since I first learned to ride a bike when I was six or seven!  And let me tell you, I don't bounce back from injuries like I did forty years ago!!

After limping back into the house, battered from my first experience with the pedals, I indulged in a couple glasses of wine, which is not allowed on the diet. I also got extremely hungry on one day (before the new pedals were installed) when I took a 15 mile bike ride and ended up adding several extra IP snacks to what I ate that day.  The extra calories consumed were close enough to the weigh in day that nothing changed from last week in the numbers. They're exactly the same (but my jeans are fitting looser)!
Dieting is not so easy the second time around, for some reason it's easier to go "off plan."  I haven't done enough soul searching to figure out why I am having such a hard time with this, when it was so easy and straight-forward before.  To add to that challenge I am also having to  prepare high-caloric foods for my husband to help him gain strength and body mass back after the damage chemotherapy and radiation did to his body.  It's so freaking hard not to taste those foods when I'm cooking them!!

In both my eating and cycling endeavors, I refuse to give up.  I'm covered in bruises and ache all over my body and I am not dropping weight as quickly as I did before - but I can do this.  I know in my heart I am destined to be a fit, long-distance biker.  Both a fit body and taking long trips on my bike are things I've dreamt of for years and both goals are completely in my reach and are within my ability to achieve.

Sometimes I have to take a few lumps, or learn humility (I'm not the uber dieter I thought I was) along the way, but this is all part of the process.  I have to be willing to fall every once in a while in order to grow and learn from my experience.  Change is never easy.

The bruises will be worth it if I come out of this a better cyclist ... and doing without the extra calories or resisting the temptation of a favorite snack will be worth it when my body fat ratio is down to 25-28%.  And as I've said before, I am totally worth the effort!

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