So, what has been going on?
Good question. The simple answer is I stopped writing and I started gaining weight.
The real answer is far more complex.
It starts really in June of 2014. June 1 to be precise and at about 8:15 AM.
I crashed my bike. I got careless and I crashed my bike. I went wide in a turn and clipped a curb and went over the handlebars.
I didn’t know at the time, and I wouldn’t know for nearly a year, that I had broken my clavicle. Actually I had shattered the tip. I rode through increasing levels of pain and finally had to stop.
It was in March of 2015 that an MRI showed the damage. I tried to keep riding but I wasn’t able to ride much. I canceled several planned rides, rode only on Saturday so my shoulder would be functional by Monday and I saw the length of the rides get shorter and shorter until I was having a good day if I could ride 25 miles.
While my activity level was dropping the quantity of food I was eating increased. I started snacking and the size of the meals got larger. More rice and pasta entered the diet…
My weight climbed and soon I found myself at 259 pounds.
Finally, in October of 2015 I had surgery to repair the damage and correct some structural issues. I was able to start riding again in March of this year and I started out slowly but by May was able to do the 40 miles of the Five-Boro Bike Tour and in June the 62 miles of the Ride for Autism. In September I rode a metric century in Maine.
This year I have about 1800 miles on the bike. More than last year by a thousand but less than I wanted.
The weight continued to be an issue. I kept promising myself that “tomorrow I will get back on the plan”. Tomorrow never comes. I didn’t gain but I didn’t lose and I would see my weight go up and down by five pounds but no real progress was being made.
So it was time to take stock and try to understand what has been going on.
I was able to ride again this year. I have some discomfort in my shoulder but not pain. I really feel it after 50-60 miles…. The 1800 miles or so that I did this year was far less than my goal of 3000 but I am not unhappy. I rode and I rode without pain and that is what I wanted. After two years of pain in the shoulder whenever I rode it was nice to have only a little stiffness at the end of a long ride.
Riding is far more than the exercise, the calorie burn. Riding, for me anyway, is freedom from the everyday. It is my time alone, my time with friends, my time of challenge and my time of accomplishment. Even in failure there is accomplishment on the bike. Maybe I didn’t ride the 75 miles I wanted on a particular ride but I still rode the 62. This is more than I rode sitting on the couch or in front of the computer.
Riding is both a solitary pursuit and a social activity. It depends on the circumstance. Most of my rides are solo. This is my time to let the brain relax and focus on just the task at hand: ride. I also got back to leading entry level/beginner rides this year. That is my time to teach and encourage and meet and socialize.
Riding is my anti-depressant. I need higher and more frequent doses.
Thoughts and processes.
I have never claimed to have found a magic formula to weight loss and weight maintenance. I have always said it is work and a constant effort. I also never said I would not fail or never again fight the weight.
It has always been a struggle and I am relearning that it always will be.
So what happened?
I have always struggled with The Black Dog, my term for depression. Not riding, the pain in the shoulder, issues in my life with friends and family all served to exacerbate this and my succor was food. Just as weight does not come off overnight it does not come back overnight. First it was 220 pounds and my mumbled commitment to get that off. Then it was 230, 240, and finally 259. The depression would come and go and I would be fine and the weight would stabilize for a little and then again it would climb. I found myself eating more than the occasional doughnut, a slice of pizza, the extra serving.
I went hiking less frequently. I sat and played on the computer when I could have been walking. I passed on bike rides when the shoulder was a little stiff. I found excuses to not do what had worked so well for so long.
I know I have beaten the odds so far. Statistics will tell you that 95% of people who lose more than a third of their body weight will gain back 80% within three years. I lost 110 pounds and I gained back 50 three years after I started. Ok. Not good, OK.
Giving in to sloth. Giving in to lazy. Giving in.
The one steady was I am still not eating red meats or poultry. Only occasional fish. Trust me when I tell you that you can get plenty fat on a vegetarian diet….
So I have had to reassess. I have had to look at relationships and put some behind me. It has been hard, and continues to be hard, to walk away from some of these friendships but I had to. I have had to relook at my approach to food and exercise. I have had to find the motivation to get back to the Plan and back to “eat Right, Eat Less, Move More”.
I am making progress.
Six pounds down.
Goal is 210. As it was.
I also have come to recognize how important this blog was for me in staying on The Plan. With that in mind I am going to get back to writing this blog. I am also going to try to write more prose and I hope you won’t mind if I post some of them in the blog.
So I am back. I am back on The Plan. Eat Right, Eat Less, Move More. The details of the plan will change. The goal will not.
Thanks for reading.