When I first started biking I was SO excited. It was SO much fun! I felt like I had FINALLY found the exercise for me.
You know, the workout that doesn’t feel like a workout.
The workout that you look forward to and can’t wait to experience!
Additionally, I was overweight and I thought that this would finally be the ticket to losing weight and keeping it off.
Guess what happened?
I did not lose weight. In fact. I gained weight.
And, my friend, this was not the whole “Oh! I am working out so I am gaining muscle! Muscle weighs more than fat!” kind of gaining weight situation.
I was having trouble fitting into my clothes. You see, I felt AMAZING because I was moving my body for the first time, but the gaining weight part did NOT feel amazing.
The problem was that I was moving my body, but I was still overeating.
In fact, I was overeating more than ever because I was finally moving my body regularly. I was HUNGRY. And not only that? I figured that because I was working out so much it didn’t really matter what or how much I ate.
Spoiler: It matters. A lot.
In this article I am going to share some tips that will help you stop overeating so that you can lose weight biking for the last time.
Tip #1: Stop Dieting
One of the big reasons we overeat is because we diet. With just the word diet we have so many thoughts that come up. Most of these thoughts have to do with restriction.
We restrict what we eat. How much we eat. We follow this plan or that plan.
The problem is that it is always someone else’s plan.
I mean, how many times have you downloaded a meal plan and a shopping list and it is full of foods that either you or your family won’t eat? How on earth is that helpful?
Diets also encourage us to ignore when we are actually hungry. This is not helpful either!
I struggled with my weight for decades, and tried so many diets. None of the crazy restrictive ones because I like food, but pretty much all of the calorie counting ones.
The calories, the points, etc. would dry up before the day was over, and I was hungry. My diet always said “Tough noogies, Stacy! You are DONE eating for the day whether you are hungry or not!”
I would either go to bed hungry OR I would eat my face off, say screw it, and abandon the diet altogether.
This makes for a roller coaster, a yo-yo. It does not create sustainable weight loss.
Tip #2: Plan Your Food In Advance
Instead of dieting, plan what you are going to eat each day. If you know me at all (no worries if you don’t…you will!) you know that I am all about planning.
I plan my rides and other movement weekly, and I plan my food daily.
By planning what you are going to eat each day, in the morning, with your sensible, non-emotional brain, you are going to make your best decisions.
This takes all of the guesswork out of what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. as your days go on and your brain gets burnt out on making all of the decisions!
This planning doesn’t have to take a long time, and it is not a diet! It is a plan. Just spend five minutes a day in the morning writing down what you plan to eat for the day.
Plan food you normally eat, and food you like. At first plan even MORE food than you need so you get in the habit of planning and not feeling like planning sucks! It is fine if you don’t eat something on your plan if you’re not hungry for it.
What’s not fine is coming home from work and diving head first into the fridge because you had a crappy day and you have no idea what to eat or if you are even hungry.
Tip #3: Eat When You Are Actually Hungry
Which brings me to my next tip. Eat when you are actually hungry.
One of the big reasons why we overeat is because we eat when we aren’t hungry.
This can be in the form of emotional eating (eating when we are bored, sad, lonely, angry, etc.), eating because what we are currently eating “tastes so good,” or eating when we aren’t even really aware of the fact that we are eating.
Before you eat something, pause. Take a breath. Ask yourself if you are hungry or not. If you aren’t hungry? Don’t eat.
If you are feeling an emotion, label it. Sit with it. Let yourself actually feel it.
There was a time when my husband was traveling for business, and my son had just turned two. My husband was gone the entire workweek. I was working full-time, picking up my son from daycare, and parenting him solo until bedtime.
I was exhausted. LONELY. Bored. I needed an adult!
So what did I do? I ate. And ate. then I ate some more. Eating didn’t really even make me feel better, it just kind of made me feel numb to the other emotions. At the time that was good enough.
My behavior wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t bad. At the time, it’s just what it was.
I started to recognize my overeating was emotional eating. Then, I was able to sit with my emotions and actually feel them instead of trying to avoid them by eating them.
Additionally, we can overeat without even realizing it. It can be that food that is left in the work break room that you grab as you go by. Or the bits of food left in the pots as you are putting away dinner. We can overeat like this when we aren’t even actually hungry.
Truly, the only reason you should be eating when you aren’t hungry is if a) you are on a tight schedule and know that you won’t be able to eat again until you’re hangry or b) eating because you need to fuel for a ride.
Tip #4: Fuel For Your Rides
One of the big reasons women who ride bikes overeat and gain weight is because we don’t fuel properly for our rides.
Under-fueling is a HUGE problem when you are riding bikes. The more you ride, the bigger a problem it can be.
Let me set the scene. You have a long ride planned either outdoors or indoors on a stationary bike/Peloton/indoor trainer.
Long means it’s a long ride for YOU. Either longer in distance, time, or both than what you normally do. Or. maybe you are one of those people (bless you!) that have no off switch and ride like crazy all of the time every day because it’s so much fun.
Calories, carbs…they are your fuel. And if you don’t give your body enough of them before, during, AND after a ride? You are doing your body and your weight loss efforts a huge disservice.
Not only can this cause you to gain weight because your body is freaked out by the activity and holding onto everything it can, but it can also make you absolutely FAMISHED after your ride, or the next day.
I know that if I have a long ride planned I not only have to fuel for it well leading up to the ride (either the day or night before), but I also will likely be incredibly hungry the next day.
Tip #5: Reflect, Be Kind, and Plan For Tomorrow
This last tip is SO important. You don’t want to just blindly follow anyone’s advice…even if it’s mine!
A key part in weight loss and identifying and overcoming overeating is to reflect on what’s going on with you and your efforts. Your life. Your weight loss journey.
Ideally you want to reflect every single day. Ask yourself what worked yesterday. What didn’t. Ask yourself what you want or need to change moving forward.
I found out a lot about my body (such as the fact that I am going to be inclined to want to eat my face off the day after a long ride) just by paying attention to hunger cues and how my body feels.
You see, I learned what worked for my body, what didn’t, and I planned for it. I did this with kindness.
By being mindful, I stopped beating myself up after every overeat and got curious about it.
I didn’t lose almost 50 pounds and keep it off by beating myself up for every overeat or giving myself a hard time if I gained a little weight.
I lost it by knowing that I was human, that I was going to screw up, but that I was going to focus on making small changes that over time led to big results.
A Final Note
Recognizing and stopping overeating is absolutely one of the most important things you can do to finally lose weight biking for the last time.
Know that there will be days you overeat. That you will be stressed, frustrated, and emotional and turn to food. You absolutely will keep eating something when you’re out to eat that just tastes SO good.
This is all normal. You are just fine. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken. You are human.
Reflect. Forgive yourself. Move on. Make a plan for tomorrow, and make tomorrow just a little bit better than today.
You’ve got this. I believe in you. Stick with me, and I will absolutely help you stop overeating and lose weight riding your bike for the last time.