The title of this article sounds like every single cheesy weight loss claim on the planet.
“Ride Your Bike! The Weight Will Just Fall Off!”
“I Lost So Much Weight and You Can Too!”
If only it were that simple, right?
Well actually, it is pretty simple. You CAN lose weight cycling.
The process is simple.
Knowing what you need to do? Actually pretty simple!
Finding the right process and the right motivation to do it? To love yourself and your body AT THE BEGINNING of it and not just promising yourself you will be happy when you reach your goal? Whatever that weight loss goal may be?
Now, THAT is the hard part.
In this article, I am going to explain what motivated me to make some changes this year and lose weight cycling. I will also share with you 5 tips that will help YOU lose weight cycling too!
Spoiler: I am not going to tell you that you need to go on this diet, or you need to do this cycling training plan.
Those sorts of things can help! However, first we need to get in the right mindset to lose weight cycling so that we lose the weight, keep it off, and feel good about it. We don’t want to feel like we are depriving ourselves of everything that we love!
Why and how I decided I wanted to lose weight
In January this year, after the holidays, I saw a number on the scale that was higher than I have ever seen.
Well, higher than I have ever seen when I wasn’t actively carrying another human.
I suppose, for dramatic effect, I could say I was horrified, but I really, truly wasn’t.
First of all, I actually wasn’t particularly surprised since I hadn’t been making my health a priority for a while and had been eating quite a bit without being very active.
Secondly, I love my body. It can do pretty amazing things. I have learned that no matter what it looks like, or what the number is on the scale, that I am pretty awesome and so is my body.
The number really was just a number. My body carried and gave birth to my son. It could DO things! Despite my larger size I knew I could get on my bike and ride and lose weight cycling. I knew I could put on a YouTube HIIT workout and crush it.
I knew I was able to do all of this because I had done it before. I had challenged myself to do athletic things that I never thought were possible, and I had done them.
I knew that I once thought that I couldn’t run. I once thought that there was no way I could last more than a mile or two on a bike (and I didn’t even want to!).
But, a friend encouraged me to start running, and I slowly went through a walk/run program and was eventually able to run a 5K. And in my about page here you can read all about how I came to conquer my fears of riding a bike.
I knew that if I wanted to, I could make a change. And I know that if you want to, you can too.
I believe in you.
I also knew that some of the health problems I had been having lately (namely a lot of heartburn) were likely directly related to the extra weight I had put on. I didn’t want to be on Prilosec for the rest of my life, and didn’t want it to become part of my subscribe and save cart on amazon, so I decided to lose some weight and be a healthier version of me moving forward.
Below you will find some tips if you would like to lose weight cycling too! Honestly these tips are great for just about anyone who is interested in losing weight. It doesn’t have to be through cycling!
Tip #1: Decide to Lose Weight Cycling From a Place of Love
Okay Stacy. What kind of hippie crap are you trying to sell me here?
I am simply trying to say that if you don’t love yourself and your body NOW, that you will struggle.
It will likely be harder for you to lose weight, harder to keep the weight off, and even if you do lose weight AND keep it off, you aren’t likely to really feel any better about yourself.
Wow that sounds harsh. Well, it’s meant to.
Because you are awesome.
And so is your body.
If you appreciate yourself for what you are NOW, and appreciate YOUR BODY for what it is now, then you are setting yourself up to succeed.
Your mindset is, quite frankly, EVERYTHING.
If you think of your body as a project you need to DO SOMETHING about, think of it as something that is broken and needs to be fixed, you are truly selling yourself and your body short. You aren’t appreciating it for what it is and all that it can do.
If you are respectful of your body, of yourself, and if you are coming from a place of love, then you are that much more likely to make good choices about what you put into your body and what you ask your body to do.
Tip #2: Set a Goal to Lose Weight Cycling. A Freaking BIG One!
Set a goal that seems, well, kind of impossible.
“But Stacy, I have heard that setting goals that are unattainable is just setting myself up for failure!”
Seriously, hear me out.
You have probably heard of SMART goals which are purposefully small and measurable. I believe that setting SMART goals along the way to an impossible goal is AWESOME. Changing your habits a little bit at a time will have cumulative amazing results.
But just having a SMART goal is simply not always enough. Not if you don’t have an overarching plan of where you are headed.
This is why I want you to set an IMPOSSIBLE goal.
Impossible goals ARE attainable, but they are something that seems just slightly out of the scope.
I actually found myself setting two impossible goals in January 2020. One was to complete a century ride (100 miles) with at least 2500 ft of climbing, at the pace of 15 mph.
You really are only supposed to set one impossible goal at a time for maximum results, and I am sad to say that I am really not even close to accomplishing this goal right now, and THAT’S OK!
It is still a goal, and I am still working towards it. It’s still a sticky note on my computer (though it’s a little more beat up now than it is in this photo!) and it will stay there until I accomplish it.
My other impossible goal of 2020, the one I didn’t share here because I was a little too scared to share it out loud, and with others, was to lose 50 pounds.
I know, I broke the rules. I tell you to only set one impossible goal at a time, but I let myself set two goals this year because I thought they could go hand in hand, and work together.
Ironically, the goal I was too scared to share, the one that I thought was just way too impossible, is the one that I have made the most progress on! I only have about 15-20 pounds to go!
And, I will get there.
I probably won’t get there this year since there are only two months left in 2020, but that’s OK.
Impossible goals don’t need a firm deadline, they just need to be something that you are working towards and are seeing progress towards.
Also, I should note that losing 50 pounds was a healthy goal for me, because I was at least 50 pounds or more overweight for my height. Make sure that you are setting a HEALTHY goal for you and your weight. Maybe your goal has nothing to do with weight and is more about increasing muscle mass. That’s AWESOME! Make sure you choose something that works for you.
To learn more about setting Impossible Cycling Goals, please check out my article on Impossible Goals here!
Tip #3: Lose Weight Cycling by Playing the Long Game
This all brings me to tip #3, which is to play the long game.
We are talking about changing your eating habits, your lifestyle, and your mindset. Forever. This isn’t about putting a million restrictions on yourself all at once so that you can lose 5 lbs cycling in one week and every week after that.
Now, I can hear you saying, “Stacy, uh, forever is a long time!”
Why yes, it most certainly is.
That is why we are playing the long game. We are making small changes, every day, that will bring us that much closer to our Impossible Goal, and change our eating and exercise habits forever.
As I mentioned before, the number on the scale truly didn’t matter to me. It just gives me some information of where I am at. If it goes up it doesn’t mean I am a failure. If it goes down it doesn’t mean I am suddenly awesome and a success. It’s just a starting point and one piece of information.
Over this year I watched my weight go up and down. Some months my weight stayed the same for an entire month. If I was hyper-fixated on that number imagine what that would have done to my motivation?
Sometimes my weight would go up…likely because I retained a bit more water, ate a bit more food, or was putting on a little more muscle. I didn’t let that bother me at all. Again, it was all just information.
This year, I have had months when I am more active, and months where I am less active. I have had days when my eating and nutrition has been awesome, and days where I have made some pretty bad food choices.
The important thing is that in general I have made good food choices more often than I have made bad ones. I have had more cycling days and active days than I have had less. All of this adds up to me losing over 30 pounds in 10 months.
Tip #3: Brainstorm Setbacks to Losing Weight While Cycling AND How You will Deal With Them
This is a huge one.
You need to think about the things that will get in the way of your goal, and how to work around them OR how to work them into your life in a more limited way.
For example, this can be family trips to get ice cream in the summer. Once this summer I remember saying to my husband, Chris, “Did we get ice cream yesterday?” He said, “Yeah, why?” I said, “Oh, because I want another hot fudge sundae.” He said, “We can go again.”
I would love to say that I said no…but I think you all know what I actually said.
And despite this, I am still on my way to losing 50 pounds. Because this happened only once this summer, not every single night. Especially with Covid we have been eating out/getting ice cream a lot less, so this was the EXCEPTION, not the rule.
Also, I know that for me, ice cream is something I really enjoy. Cutting it out of my life completely is just not something I am interested in doing right now.
Maybe one day, but NOT TODAY! So I plan for it, and make sure that if I have ice cream in my plan that I am doing something somewhere to balance it.
Here’s an example! Last Friday I had a plan to meet a friend for ice cream after work. So I also planned a healthy dinner for after the ice cream, and planned to not have dessert after dinner since I was essentially having dessert before.
Does it mean it might take me a bit longer to lose 50 lbs if I occasionally have some ice cream?
Am I OK with that?
There are so many little things that can derail our progress, and if we keep letting them add them up then they can put us off achieving our goals altogether.
You need to brainstorm what sorts of things will get in the way of your healthy food choices and your time that you set aside to exercise and plan around them. A great way to do this is to use a calendar to plan your food and exercise for the week.
I currently have my cycling workouts and my dinners all planned out in google calendar for this week. Planning both in advance helps me make good choices, and helps me commit to all of my rides.
Tip #4: Stay Motivated
Oh my goodness this can be one of the HARDEST things. Remember in tip #2, you are playing the long game.
That means that there will be days where you just don’t want to. Where you don’t want to get off the couch.
Where you want to stop at the grocery store and eat an entire bag of cheddar and sour cream chips on the way home from work. You know, the normal sized bag, not the snack size. Not that I have ever done this…cough, cough.
In the moment, ask yourself, “Is this bringing me any closer to my goal?”
If the answer is no, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But the idea is to stay on track and keep motivated even when it’s hard.
I promise you, the more good decisions you make for your body and your health, the more you will say it’s not worth it, and progress towards your goal to lose weight cycling.
For more tips on motivating yourself to complete your cycling workouts, check out my article on indoor cycling motivation here!
One of my biggest tips to staying motivated is to join an accountability group. This can be through social media or in person, whatever works for you! Even just having a friend that you check in with, or simply telling someone what you’re going to do can help you stay on track.
For example, yesterday I scheduled a ride in the afternoon when I got home from work.
The LAST thing I wanted to do when I walked in the door was put my bike on the trainer and ride indoors. So when Chris said “you’re home early” I said, “Yeah I came home to ride my bike.”
That small little sentence kept me on track, and got me on the bike, and helped me in my journey to lose weight cycling!
Tip #5: Be Kind to Yourself
This tip goes hand in hand with Tip #1 which is to make sure you are starting from a place of love.
You need to allow yourself to make mistakes and bad choices and NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP over them.
Do take time to ask “what went wrong?”
Do strategize how to do things differently next time.
Do NOT think that you are a failure if something goes wrong. Self doubt is not going to bring you any closer to your goals.
September was a really hard month for me. It always is, every year, because it is the start of my year of teaching. I am shifting from “Summer Stacy” to “School Year Stacy” and it’s HARD. My schedule changes, my son’s schedule changes, EVERYTHING CHANGES.
You would think after all of the years I have been teaching I would handle this better, plan for it, and be on top of it, but somehow it always catches up with me. With COVID we are faced with new teaching challenges and it was rough.
I ate poorly in September. I barely rode my bike at all. And if I am honest with myself, last year it went the same way. And the year before that. And the year before that. This September was especially bad in terms of riding because my weekly group rides have been postponed due to COVID safety issues.
But, there is a big difference between last year and this year. Last year I let that September Slump (as I have now aptly named it) slip into October, November, and December. I gained a lot of weight, was less active, and lost motivation to be the healthy person I ultimately want to be.
That was a choice. It was my choice, and I own it.
And I love the “me” who made that choice.
That was what she wanted to do and what worked for her for those months and that’s OK. I don’t hate the girl who made those choices, I love her.
The “me” I am today is simply choosing a different path. I am choosing to leave the September Slump behind and make different food and cycling workout choices for October, November, December, and beyond.
I joined a healthy eating Facebook group. Well, two of them actually! I volunteered to lead a cycling challenge for the month of November (You can join me! More coming on that soon!).
I am choosing to step it up a bit now because that is what works for me.
The holidays are coming and though I am working on getting more joy and pleasure from my life than I get from food let’s face it, I get a heck of a lot of joy out of thanksgiving dinner. And thanksgiving pie. And Christmas dinner. And Christmas cookies. And…well you get the picture and might be able to relate!
So, this, in a nutshell, is an overview of how I lost weight cycling, specifically lost over 30 pounds cycling this year.
All in all it has been a mindset change, and a lifestyle change.
It has come from a place of love for myself, for my body, and for what it can do. I want to be healthy, and I want to be able to keep up with my husband and son as much as humanly possible.
So, what are your cycling goals? Have you wanted to lose weight cycling? Are you already losing weight cycling? What’s working? What isn’t?
I would love to hear from you, and love to hear about your cycling weight loss goals!
Maybe you aren’t even focused on losing weight, maybe you want to get stronger so that you can cycle faster and harder. Maybe you want it all!
Leave a comment down below, or send me an email at [email protected]. I am here to help you, and here to support you!
Ride on my friends!