TT Thursday : Losing weight by cycling; my Weight Loss Challenge Week 30

TT Thursday : Losing weight by cycling; my Weight Loss Challenge Week 30

Losing weight/Becoming fit by Cycling

Today I am highlighting a few folks who used bicycles to become fit and lose weight.  The bottom half is my progress on my own weight loss challenge.

Bicycling did an article, Tempt Yourself Thin, on 6 people who became bicyclists and sweetened the pot with a tangible reward.

Jeff Burress lost 133 pounds: incentive to participate in 2011 race

The first guy is a chef, Jeff Burress, who gained weight partying after long shifts, sleeping and back to work.  He hadn’t weighed himself so when he did, he found he’d gained 100 pounds in eight years.  That 285 pounds was his wake up call.  His inspiration was watching the 2010 Tour de France as a cyclist came from behind out of nowhere and caught up with the lead group.  That famous race had cyclist vying for first as they set out on July 3, 2010 and finished by July 25, 1, 2010.

When Burress went to the bike shop, the owner laughed at him saying, “I think you might be too big for a road bike.”  Many bike manufacturers make bikes with the assumption the rider is moderate to rail thin.  And in fact, some warranties are voided if the rider is over a certain weight.   It’s important to check have the shop check the bikes warranty to make sure the warranty still covers your bike before you purchase it if you are over 200 pounds.  (Actually 220, but let’s play it safe, ok).  Cruiser and mountain bikes are often stronger so they may be a good choice to start (check the warranty!).  Burress found when he first started riding, the back spokes kept snapping.

Burress didn’t give up, not even when an irate driver tried to run him off the road.  By February 2011, he was up to 25 miles three times a week.  He was fit but hadn’t lost much weight as his fat converted to muscle.  When his cyclist girlfriend suggested he join the June 2011 America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 72 mile ride around Lake Tahoe where cyclist would have to climb 4,000 feet, he trained hard, hitting 70 to 80 miles on at least one ride a week.  He also cut out junk food, alcohol, and instead of eating several big meals a day, changed to several small meals, grazing instead of gorging.  By the time the race rolled around, he had dropped 50 pounds.  These days he weighs 172 pounds and remains an avid cyclist.

Anna Farawila lost 110 pounds: incentive a special bike and cycling with her kids

By 14, Anna Farawila was 200 pounds and was pretty accepting of being heavy.  The weight did not deter her from becoming a scientist, marrying, having three kids and trying to do it all.  However, the unacknowledged stress of 10hour days, getting up early to make school lunches and taking them to school and afterwards making dinner, had her climbing to 265.  That extra weight sidelined her, making it hard to join the children in sports and fun activities like roller skating.  She cut back on carbs, her bedtime snacks, and butter.  Her cooking changed to lean meats and veggies.  She also started riding her husband’s cruiser.  It was fun to ride so it became a regular habit.  She lost 70 pounds.

Farawila wanted to lose more but had plateaued so she made a deal with herself.  If she lost 30 pounds, she would buy herself a Specialized Roubaix bicycle.  That was the extra incentive she needed.  The real reward?  Nowadays she can ride with her kids and play soccer.  She couldn’t do that before.

Elizabeth Potter lost 100 pounds pulling her son behind her on a bike trailer

The Weigh We Were did a story on Elizabeth Potter, Bike Riding to Lose Weight Fast

Potter ballooned up to 255 when a series of life events hit her hard.  She became pregnant, split up with the father, developed gestational diabetes, became a single mom, and started taking antidepressants.   Food was also a comforting palliative. Then one day she realized she couldn’t keep up with her son of age 2, Aidan, as he started to walk and run.

Potter wanted to be healthy for her son so she gave up Starbucks, fast food and soda.   She bought a bike and a trailer to pull her son in.  That first 5-mile ride was very difficult and everything ached when she was done.

Nowadays she does 25 miles easily. She is a competitive roadbike racer and has no problem keeping up with her son.  Plus a side effect was she no longer needed the antidepressants.  She said, ““He (Aidan) was my inspiration, and lugging a 25-pound kid in a bike trailer was tougher than any machine at the gym.””

What they had in common

All three were stressed either by long hours or life events and were using junk food, fast food, soda and alcohol as palliatives.

How they lost the weight

  • They started cycling because it was fun.  Every one of them said it’s important to have a physical activity that you enjoy if you’re going to spend hours doing it. For them it was cycling. For you, it might be the dancing, exercising, hiking, walking or even geocaching.  The important thing is that it is a physical activity and not sedentary.  Start slow and build up.
  • They were more focused on becoming fit than losing weight.
  • They cut out unhealthy foods, soda and alcohol.  Sorry, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol has got to go. Although most of them also said they had the occasional treat.
  • They identified an incentive to keep them going.  Whether it’s a race, a bike, spending more time with your children or partner, having that extra incentive helps to keep you going for the long haul.  Becoming fit is not a short-term gig.  It’s a lifelong lifestyle if you want to continue to be healthy.

What you can do if you want to become healthier

  • Try out different physical activities.  Go walking 30 minutes every day for two weeks. I paired my walking with photography in the beginning and that worked for me. I had always loved photography but hadn’t done it in a while so it was like discovering an old friend when I started taking the camera out.  By pairing physical activities with other activities like photography, your mind is distracted from how tired your feet might be at first. If that doesn’t float your boat, try dancing or cycling.  Just experiment.  It might be an activity that you used to love or it might be something you’ve never done.  Swimming is a good one because the water helps carry some of the weight.
  • Initially as people gain muscle, they don’t lose weight or even gain weight.  Being focused on other changes is a better marker for improvement like is your endurance increasing, are your inches decreasing, are you becoming stronger, etc?  If you used to feel like you were going to die after riding for 15 minutes but now can ride three hours uphill pretty comfortably, that’s a good indicator you’ve improved.  If your pants are falling off, that’s a positive indication usually. If you used to sit on the sidelines but now can rollerskate with your kids or partner, that’s good. Sometimes as you become more fit, later the pounds drop off but often weight loss needs to be paired with improved eating habits as well as fitness.
  • If you are eating food heavy in salt, sugar, fat and carbs, it might be difficult to give up everything all at once.  Pick one area to give up like salt.  And then later you can add more categories.  One of the side effects is you’ll probably start enjoying veggies and fruits more.
  • Find an incentive to keep you going for the long haul.  Face it some days you’re going to be frustrated or tired and just want to give up.  Having an incentive helps to keep you going.  Pairing up an emotional incentive (being able to be active with your kids) with a tangible incentive (a bike, a race, winning cash) is particularly effective.

If you have special health issues, talk to your doctor as you negotiate long-term weight loss.  You’ll want a doctor who is supportive without being judgemental.  Some doctors have fat issues and their negative outlook can impact a positive outcome for you.  If you feel your doctor is prejudiced, change doctors.  Doctors are human so find one that is a good fit for you because this is going to be a long haul.

What’s your favorite physical activity?  And why do you love it?  I’ve love to hear about what you like to do.

TT Thursday Part 2: my Weight Loss Challenge Week 30

Oh my gosh! I made it!  I needed to be at 201.9 for the final weigh in on January 2nd for the Big Bucks Losers Jackpot Challenge.  January 1st I was still at 202.9 and I thought this is it.  This is going to be the first 6% challenge I lost.  January 2nd I checked and I was at 201.7.  I hurried to the corner store to get a newspaper before eating anything that day.  You need the day’s paper for the final weigh out to prove the date in the video.  I filmed it and sent it in.  Turns out 2 other challenges were also in their final 2-week weighout window so the video counted for all of them. So I can breath easy until February when Winter Winners is due.

After I sent in the video, I remembered I needed to photograph the weight so I stepped back on the scale.  All that happiness made me lighter and I was at 201.7.  Remember when I started six months ago? I weighed 252.1.  I have officially lost 50 pounds!  Woo hoo!  Thank you, thank you for hanging in there with me.

Here is how I’m doing on my current HealthyWage challenges. (ontrack versus weight of 201.9).  January 9th the winners and winning amount will be announced for Falling Pounds.

name end date goal expected ontrack?
Falling Pounds 12/26 206.7 206.7 done, weighed out
Big Buck Losers 1/2 202.3 202.3 done, weighed out
Healthier Holidays 1/6 202.3 202.3 done, weighed out
Scale Watchers 1/16 202.7 202.7 done, weighed out
Winter Winners 2/20 197.6 204.5 yes
Pound Droppers 2/27 197.6 205.6 yes
WeightLoss Takeoff 3/3 197.6 206.2 yes
Shrinking Scale s 3/6 193.5 202.4 yes
Healthy Wager 6/4 187.1 213.7 yes

These are my past awarded challenges

My past HealthyWage challenges.

name end date goal lost bet paid net
Big Losers 12/3/18 209.7 13.4 lbs $33.33/mo $143.25 $43.25
Poundshedders 12/3/18 209.7 13.4 lbs $20/mo $96.59 $36.59
Going for Goal 11/9/18 219.7 14 lbs $20/mo $92.94 $32.94
Slimming & Winning 8/27/18 237 15.1lbs $20/mo $151.40 $91.40
Totals 42.4 lbs $160 $484.18 $204.14


Healthywage has a friends link where we can share each other’s progress as we lose weight.  This friends link adds a $40 to your HealthyWager award and $40 to my HealthyWager award but not the other challenges like the 6% ones (my favorite ones).  Joining through the friends link also lets you view your friend on the dashboard: you’ll see their name and what % they’ve lost so far but not the actual weight. That’s private unless you make it public for your friends.  If you want to lose weight, I highly recommend HealthyWage as it pairs negative reinforcement (don’t want to lose the money you are paying for the bed) with positive reinforcement (you win money if you succeed during your time period).  I’ll be happy to cheer you on if you join as my friend.

I am also an affiliate for Amazon: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”

A dutch-style bike is often more comfortable when you are first starting to ride because the low bar makes it easier to get on the seat.  Plus the upright riding style is easier to ride than the leaning-forward racing bike style if you have a paunch. Working with a local bike shop may be better than Amazon because they should be able to check if the warranty is voided above a certain weight. Day6 Cycles makes bikes for big people up to 400 pounds. There are probably also other companies that have bikes for big people.  Average Joe Cyclist posted an informative Guide for Fat Cyclists.

Thanks again everybody for hanging in there with me!  I hope you found this post informative.

13 Replies to “TT Thursday : Losing weight by cycling; my Weight Loss Challenge Week 30”

  1. You’ve done so very well and yes exercise is part of weight loss. You need to tone up that body as you lose that weight.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Keep up the great work. ♥

    1. Thank you! And I agree with you. I’m going out to the Santa Cruz mountains again so the plan is to do some hiking. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

      I hope you’re having a great Feline Friday and starting a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, the pants! I dug out a pair I couldn’t wear any more because it didn’t have an elastic waistband. I waited too long! It’s already too big for me. Laughing. That’s a good problem to have as far as I’m concerned. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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