My weekly post about losing weight, exercise, etc.!
Before I get to the numbers, I’m gonna say that this whole experience has confirmed in my head that being overweight is, primarily, a disease. Since part of what creates the disease is bad upbringing, and due to society saying that being overweight is a matter of character and not physiology and psychiatry, for most of my life, I have believed that the flaw was in my heart and soul. That if I had “willpower,” I would be able to overcome my urge to overeat or, at least, exercise a lot more than I had.
Now, though, I’m riding a hundred-plus miles a week. I ride when it’s 30 degrees out; I ride when the winds are blowing at 30 miles an hour; I ride when I’ve got a chest cold and hack up nasty blobs of phlegm every mile. I often lift weights on the same days I ride! I’m, like, “Oh, I’m only riding twenty miles, today, I should do some squats before that.” No shit!
The idea that I lack character or will to do exercise is, frankly, farcical. In a slightly different world, I am confident I would have been a skilled athlete because I love to work out! I’d love a job where I could stay in the gym all damn day!
The reason I hadn’t done it before or hadn’t gotten this kind of effect before was therefore clearly do to circumstances beyond my control: I was sick. It wasn’t like I hadn’t gone through long periods of time in my past where I worked out like a fiend – absolutely part of the reason I’m still in good enough shape to ride bicycles, today, is that I am good at getting to the gym to lift weights. But it wasn’t until I was able to address the cause of the sickness – through bariatric surgery – that I was able to change my circumstances enough to put off large amounts of weight.
So, for my purposes, the issue of being oveweight it settled: it is a disease created by social, familial, and genetic factors. This is true of many diseases. How many people get asthma every year because they live in a family of smokers, work in an industrial town, and have genetic predisposition to asthma? Millions. But no one doubts that they have a disease. The same with weight: I grew up in a family that mistreated psychological pain through eating fatty, sweet foods; that had contempt for exercise; in a society that spends billions of dollars a year to convince people to overeat; and have a genetic predisposition. I could no more overcome that through the generic, fallacious exertion of “willpower” than a person with asthma can breathe better if they just really try.
Now, the numbers!
This week, I only rode 98.6 miles, in part because I was at a con which meant I didn’t ride Friday or Saturday, in part because I have a cold and Sunday we didn’t ride forty miles but nineteen miles. I’ll probably be a little light on miles this coming week, too, and maybe the week after! I have a show Saturday, and then we’ll be in Indiana for a few days during which I won’t have my bike!
During that 98.6 miles, MapMyRide says I used 10,602 calories. My scale says I lost 1.2 pounds, which means I lost 1 pound for every 8835 calories this week – which is, again, profoundly inaccurate.
Of course, there will be week-to-week variation. But, overall, by my calculations, I’m losing 1 pound per 5077 calories. Still, wildly inaccurate. Which suggests that I’m doing a lot more work to lose weight than I “should,” given that a pound of fat has about 3500 calories.
I might also start to keep tabs on how much Strava things I am using, which my initial glance predicts about half of MapMyRide – which would STILL be very inaccurate, at one pound of weight per 2500 calories! That’s not any better! But it might be interesting to compare and contrast the two.
At any rate, I’m not going to be upset, right? Clearly, watching your diet and exercising like a sonofabitch works, since I’ve lost over seven pounds in just over three weeks. Sure, yeah, I needed a surgery, an incredibly comfortable bicycle, a bunch of fiscal security, working for myself, and easy access to hundreds of miles of good bike trails to do it – so a lot of happenstance factors had to be in play for me to get where I am that few people could replicate. So I am aware that this takes an incredible array of conditions to make work!