A lot of times when we set out to lose some weight we get overwhelmed really fast.
You see, we all know pretty much what we need to do.
We need to eat fruits, veggies and whole grains.
To lose weight, we have to drink a lot of water and get a good night’s sleep.
But THEN we start to make it more complicated. We think that we need to ride our bike constantly (nope!) or that we need a super restrictive diet (absolutely not!).
The reality is that losing weight is actually relatively simple. At the end of the day, we are overweight because we overeat.
OK…so how does biking fit into the equation?
Well, actually? It doesn’t.
You don’t NEED to ride your bike to lose weight.
What you need to do is listen to your body, stop overeating, and ride your bike because it makes you and your body feel GOOD.
Curious as to which mistakes you want to avoid making while trying to lose weight biking? Read on for 3 of the big ones!
#1: Trying to Do ALL the Things ALL at Once
It is totally normal when you decide to lose weight to want to go all in.
And honestly? That’s a GOOD thing!!!
The problem, though, is that we try to instantly go in on ALL the things and do them ALL at once. That’s simply not sustainable.
I know in the past that the old version of me would look in the mirror, feel disgust, decide she had to DO something, and click on My Fitness Pal and start tracking ALL of the things.
I would track my food. Track my exercise. Count calories. Try to drink all my water. Try to get enough sleep. Work on avoiding too many carbs. Avoid eating too much. OR avoid eating too little.
Does any of this sound familiar? I bet it does, because I bet you have done the EXACT SAME THING.
And chances are, if you are anything like me, you ended up with the exact same results. You did a great job with all of the things for a day or two, and before you knew it something started to slide.
Maybe you skipped a ride. Or you went out to dinner and ate your face off. Maybe it was BOTH of those things!
The bottom line is you tried to do all of the things all at once and you just couldn’t do it. You felt bad. You gave up.
Instead of trying to do all of the things, all at once, pick one thing to work on this week. Maybe all you are going to do THIS week is get enough water in.
Pick the EASIEST thing on your list to do. Remember, something is always better than nothing. If you end up getting all of your water in every day this week AND you ride your bike a couple times? That’s awesome!
But if you just do the water? That’s fine too. Once you are confident with the low hanging fruit item on your list then you can add in something else.
Until then, start with whatever you can do that is the easiest and most accessible to you right now and build on that.
#2 Thinking You Get to Eat Because You “Earned It” By Riding Your Bike
Thinking that you NEED to ride your bike to EARN your food is one of the quickest, easiest ways to lose motivation for both your bike rides and paying attention to your food.
Think about it! You are setting up bike riding as a punishment and food as a reward.
This means that you only get to eat good things if you feel like you have earned them on the bike. And you will deny yourself the foods you love if you aren’t able to ride.
Also, it means that bike riding becomes a lot less about the joy of spinning your legs and celebrating what your body can do.
It becomes this thing you HAVE to do in order to lose weight.
My friend, that is NOT fun. That is a surefire way to sap all of the joy out of bike riding, which totally SUCKS.
Do NOT DO THIS. First of all, you don’t need to actually ride your bike AT ALL to lose weight.
People lose weight all of the time without exercising because they stop overeating.
Ride your bike because you love it. Because it makes you strong. Ride because it means that as a grandma you can get down on the ground and play with your grandkids because you have taken care of your body.
Also, it’s important to mention that a lot of times when we think we have “earned” the right to eat we tend to overeat. We eat way more than we need because we feel entitled to it because we rode our bikes. This ends up actually in many instances causing us to gain weight because we find ourselves eating more than we actually need.
You do not need to earn your food. You simply need to not eat when you’re not hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. This brings me to the next big mistake…
#3: Ignoring Your Hunger Cues After a Long/Hard Ride (Even If They Don’t Hit Until the Next Day)
We don’t want to think of riding as a way to earn food, we don’t want to go overboard when we feel like we have earned it, but we also don’t want to IGNORE our hunger cues after a long/hard ride.
Now I am not talking an “easy ride.”
What do I mean by “easy?”
What feels easy to you. For many of us this will be a leisurely ride around the neighborhood, or even an intense but relatively short ride.
Generally speaking, if you are riding under an hour at a relatively moderate pace you are not going to need a lot of extra food before or after.
But if you are riding longer and harder you are going to need more fuel before and after the ride, and it’s really best to eat if you are hungry.
Here’s an example. I generally do a longer ride on Wednesday nights when I lead group rides. By longer I mean it’s usually 2-2 ½ hours which is much longer than my usual ride.
As a result, I need to eat a bit more carbs throughout the day Wednesday to fuel for the ride.
After the rides I am not very hungry, and I usually just have a protein shake.
Thursdays, however? The day after these rides? I am HUNGRY. It’s important to listen to those hunger cues. If I try to ignore them what ends up happening is I get to a point where I am HANGRY and am likely to make less than ideal choices and eat all of the things.
This is not an ideal situation. Now that I know that I am going to be hungry the day after a hard ride in the evening, I can plan for this. This keeps me satisfied and keeps me from overeating.
A Final Note
At the end of the day we can get so caught up in all of the “rules” regarding weight loss that we forget to listen to ourselves and listen to our bodies.
We think that it’s the whole math equation that we have to figure out while ignoring how our body actually feels, and that’s simply never going to work out long term.
If you want to lose weight riding your bike for the last time, you need to take it slow. Build on those good habits one habit at a time.
Don’t think that your bike is a means to earn food. It’s not. You can lose weight without ever hopping into the saddle.
Think of your bike as a means to feeling fit, healthy, and good.
And when you do a really long and hard ride? And your body is screaming for food? Make sure your body gets it. Your body will thank you. Your weight loss efforts will thank you.
I believe in you. You’ve got this. I know you can do this.