For literally decades, I thought that weight loss was supposed to be hard.
If I wanted to lose weight, I would have to work really hard. I thought that I had to exercise constantly and live off of celery sticks and lean protein.
Once I started riding my bike, I thought that I would have to ride my bike constantly and cut calorie consumption if I had any chance of actually changing my body.
My body had to become my biggest project. I would need to put in a lot of time and effort. I thought I had to get super serious about being amazingly healthy every single day.
We weren’t thinking about riding because we love it, though. Instead, we were thinking about riding in terms of racking up miles so that we can out-ride whatever calories we were taking in.
I used to think there was this magical formula of food that I was supposed to eat that would give me the energy I needed to ride. That I should eat nothing more, and nothing less. I became obsessed with the scale.
I am guessing, if you are reading this, you have felt the exact same way.
And, after a week or two of this, inevitably we find it to be unsustainable. We spend every waking moment thinking about food, thinking about riding.
We get tired of it all, we feel like we have failed, and we give up.
Our bike collects dust, we forget what we love about riding, and we find ourselves elbow deep in a bag of chips.
We decide that we just don’t have time to lose weight or ride our bikes.
We are busy, and this, quite frankly, sucks.
The reality, though, is that we are burnt out on weight loss and cycling before we have even had a chance to begin. It does suck to do it this way!
It sucks, because, without even realizing it, we set ourselves up to fail because we made weight loss too hard. We sucked all the joy out of it.
Weight loss can be easy. Weight loss should be fun.
It should light us up with the possibilities of everything we can accomplish, not make us feel like we have failed.
Interested in learning more? Read on for five quick tips on how to make weight loss easy.
Tip #1: Plan to Eat Easy to Prep Foods You Actually Like
So many times we think that if we want to lose weight we have to clean out our pantry.
You don’t need to clean out anything or go out and buy all healthy foods. Healthy foods are awesome, but all food can have a place in your plan.
I lost almost 50 pounds in 2020. I ate kielbasa every day. I ate cookies and tea with real half and half and sugar every day.
I decided in advance how much kielbasa I would eat. How many cookies I would have.
This is where I started…with the foods I love. Since then I have swapped the kielbasa for chicken sausage. I no longer have cookies every day (though I do still have cookies!). I have a big salad with every dinner.
I made some changes over time but I didn’t start there. And I still lost weight. A lot of it.
Start with what you are eating right now. Do you like the food? If so, keep eating it!
Simply decide in advance about how much you are going to eat (like 3 cookies after dinner), and eat what you planned.
The key is that your food should be easy, and it should be stuff you actually like. You don’t want to make this part hard or unsustainable.
We aren’t overweight because we have a couple of oreos every once in a while. The problem isn’t the oreos, the problem is that we overeat them when we are stressed or unhappy.
Tip #2: Stop counting calories…that crap is hard! Plan Your Meals in Advance Instead.
Now if you are obsessed with data, and love to count calories, and enter every little thing into some app somewhere, I am certainly not going to stand in your way!
But, if you’re anything like me you are really good about this for about a day or two then you give up.
It gets tedious. You are super hungry and you “run out” of calories for the day.
It quickly becomes unsustainable. You find that all you are ever doing is thinking about food when you want to be living your life.
Instead of counting calories, intentionally plan your food each day. Decide what you will have for your meals, your snacks, your desserts.
Then, follow the plan. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you had enough food. Ask yourself if you were actually hungry when you were eating. Ask if you felt like you needed all of the food you ate.
Have a big ride? Plan extra food to fuel the ride in advance.
No big ride? Don’t plan as much food.
If this sounds simple to you, it is. You don’t need to plan every single calorie. You just need a plan for what you are going to eat, only eat what you need, and stop when you have had enough.
Tip #3: Ride your bike because you love it, not to lose weight
Riding your bike should never be a punishment for a big meal. It shouldn’t be a punishment for anything.
We don’t ride our bikes to burn off the calories. We ride our bikes because it’s freaking fun. Because we love it.
We love to get out there and feel strong. To see what our bodies can do. To enjoy some awesome weather and feel what it’s like to get from one place to another on our own power.
Ride for the adventure…either solo or with friends!
Separate weight loss from cycling in your mind completely. Weight loss has so little to do with getting on our bikes, and so much to do with what we put in our mouths.
Stop looking at riding your bike as anything other than what it is, and that’s a sense of complete love and joy for yourself. Ride it because you want to have a strong body to live your life. Don’t ride it to lose weight.
Focus on the fun and the joy of cycling. This is what keeps us coming back to the bike again and again. If we see riding as just something we should do as opposed to something we enjoy, we are that much less likely to continue to want to do it.
Tip #4: Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water
Hydration is an essential cornerstone of weight loss and cycling.
For weight loss, we need water to fuel our metabolism and to burn fat. Drinking water is one of the easiest things we can do to lose weight.
We often think of water as one of those things we know that’s good for us, but we don’t realize just how good it is, or how essential it is if we want to lose weight.
Oftentimes we think we are hungry, but we are actually thirsty. This happened to me this morning! I felt like I needed a little bit of food, but the reality is that I forgot to fill up my water cup before I left for work.
I didn’t have my usual amount of water, and I thought I was hungry. Low and behold, once I filled up my cup and got the water I needed, I wasn’t hungry anymore.
If you are trying to lose weight, but you aren’t getting enough water, you are making it so much harder. It’s like you’re making your body climb this truly difficult hill when it could just be enjoying a flat road!
Tip # 5: Get Enough Sleep
Like drinking water, getting enough sleep is one of those fundamental, easy things we can do to facilitate weight loss.
When we are asleep our body is recovering from the day. We need to be fully recovered for our bodies and our metabolism to work properly.
It’s just like water, if we aren’t getting enough sleep, we are essentially trying to climb that beastly hill when we could be riding on the flats in terms of weight loss.
Additionally, not getting enough sleep can make us more hungry. It can make us cranky, and when we are cranky we are that much more likely to emotionally eat.
Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you can’t sleep, make sure that you are at least getting 7-9 hours of rest.
Simply getting enough sleep is a very simple way to make weight loss quicker and easier.
A Final Note
Weight loss, if you let it, can feel like this super complex puzzle that you just don’t have the energy to solve.
We can find that we are just spinning our wheels (pun totally intended). Sometimes it can seem like we are just constantly gaining and losing that same five pounds without making any actual progress.
By planning foods you love without counting calories, riding your bike because you love it, and getting enough water and sleep you will make weight loss so much easier.
These are easy, simple tips that you can start bringing into your life right now to lose weight and actually have fun through the process.