I remember returning to work back in 2020 after a long pandemic break from teaching.
People were…shall we say…shocked?
You see, at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic even started, I committed to losing 50 pounds.
I kind of went about certain parts of it all wrong. First of all, I was scared of sharing my goal and kept it a secret. I didn’t tell anyone when I really should have been shouting it from the rooftops and getting a bunch of support.
I didn’t really have much of a plan (and you KNOW how much I like plans!).
I still thought that I had to ride my bike to lose weight, even though I now know that had nothing to do with my weight loss. Now I ride my bike for FUN and it’s amazing.
But anyway, as I was saying, when I showed up at work after 6 months of no one seeing me regularly I had lost more than half of those 50 pounds and I looked and felt incredible.
You see, what I was doing right, and starting to figure out, was that weight loss came from small, doable, consistent changes that over time add up to HUGE results.
I also had stopped talking to myself like a jerk, developed a great reason to lose weight (to be around a long time for my son), and I really started to believe I could do it!
When my co-workers asked what I was doing, that is exactly what I told them. And fundamentally, this is absolutely it!
But, what a lot of my followers and program members want to know about are some of the specific actions I took to lose weight.
Interested? Read on for 5 of my quick, simple food hacks I used to lose weight biking and keep it off.
#1: I Eat Stuff I Actually Like to Eat
One big thing that I figured out early on is that it was less about what I was eating, and more about how much.
As a result, I lost 50 pounds eating foods I actually liked to eat. I stopped labeling food as good and bad, and instead ate what I liked.
I knew that I hated sugar substitutes. They taste artificial and give me a headache. So I put real sugar in my tea.
I also hated tea with skim milk, or even whole milk, so I put half and half in my tea.
My real issue with food was that I was an emotional eater. I ate to reward myself. When I was stressed. When I was sad. I ate when I had a good day to celebrate, and I ate when I had a bad one to comfort myself.
When I was bored? You guessed it. I ate. I would open the pantry and randomly pull stuff out without even paying attention to what I was doing.
The thing is that once I started just eating food I liked instead of eating food that I thought was “healthy” I realized that I didn’t need to deprive myself or restrict myself in order to lose weight.
I could eat what I liked, just eat less of it, and still feel satisfied. Over time I started finding foods that felt better in my body and switched to those, but I didn’t start this way. And the switches I made? You guessed it, I still like them, and they still taste good.
And if you’re wondering if I still put real sugar and half and half in my tea/coffee? The answer is HELL YES. But, I don’t feel like I need to put in quite as much sugar as I used to.
You see, I made small, doable changes to my food choices over time that I feel work for me and I can live with for the rest of my life.
#2: I Eat the Same Few Things for Breakfast and Lunch
How many times have you ever gotten a meal plan made by someone else that had so much variety?
Something different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day?
On the one hand you could be very YES about this and excited. But when I see a meal plan like that I am TOTALLY overwhelmed.
Half the time there are things on there I don’t like/won’t eat. Then, if I do find this unicorn meal plan of stuff that my family and I both love I realize there is never any sort of way I can execute it.
I have a family! I have a job! I have a BIKE TO RIDE for crying out loud.
I learned to keep it simple. That I didn’t need a lot of variety in my breakfast and lunch. I just needed it to be easy and taste good.
I started experimenting with different foods to see how they feel.
What I discovered, over time, especially when I am driving to work again post-pandemic, is that it’s best for me to have the same thing for breakfast and lunch pretty much every day.
I didn’t want to have to put any kind of mental energy towards this at all.
So, I started eating kielbasa for breakfast in a warp with green beans or broccoli every day.
And I love chicken soup, so I have a homemade chicken soup packed with veggies every day for lunch.
Sometimes there are slight variations to this (over time I replaced the kielbasa with chicken sausage or chicken bacon), but for the most part? This is what works for me.
Try limiting your choices for at least 1-2 meals a day. Keep it simple. Alternate between a couple of things that you like and that feel good in your body.
It makes weight loss so much easier when you don’t have your mind constantly cluttered with food choices.
#3: I Eat What My Family is Eating For Dinner BUT Fill Half My Plate With Salad
While I am OK with the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, I would probably lose my mind if I also always had the same thing for dinner.
My family also would absolutely revolt!
So, I plan a different, delicious dinner for every night of the week (yes I cook almost every night, you don’t HAVE to do this, but I like to).
We have all sorts of things in the rotation…pasta, shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie, stir fry, chicken/rice dishes…you name it. Some of them are probably healthier than others, but again, it’s less about what you eat and more about how much you are eating.
I fill half my plate with salad or a bunch of veggies every night for dinner, and I eat those first. Sometimes it’s more like ¾ of the plate actually.
This helps me fill up on stuff that feels good in my body first, and it keeps me from overeating the things that taste great but don’t feel as good.
I don’t want to make myself a different dinner than my family, and I want to enjoy the good food that I make, so this works out great for me. Best of both worlds!
#4: If I Think I am Hungry I Drink Water FIRST
This one is SO important. One of the things that I realized early on in my weight loss journey is that I truly had no idea what actual hunger was.
I was so worried about being hungry that I would preemptively eat just to load up and make sure there wasn’t a chance that I would get hungry later.
What I started to realize is that a lot of times what I was thinking was hunger was actually thirst.
I started to get in the habit of reaching for water when I started to feel hungry. If I drank some water and was still hungry? I ate.
It seems SO simple, but for me this hack had such a huge impact on beginning to understand what hunger actually feels like.
Going along with this I also started to realize that I didn’t need to be “unbutton my pants” full to feel satisfied with the amount of food I ate. That I could feel satisfied with less.
#5: I Maximize Protein and Stop Demonizing Fat
I remember all the way back to college in the late 90s a friend mentioned that she would seek out protein. I thought at the time this was SO weird.
Now the importance of protein is much more common knowledge in terms of nutrition, but it took me a while before I really embraced it.
You see I love carbs. And I don’t cut them from my food choices. Carbs are fuel, which is especially important for fueling your bike rides!
But at the same time I knew that I wasn’t really getting enough protein and have found more ways to incorporate it. It definitely seems to help me feel more satisfied, and I know how important it is for my muscle recovery.
Fat is important too. For so many years of my life I thought that fat was so bad (I am sure you can relate). Fat also helps me feel satisfied, and by not eliminating it from my diet I don’t feel like I need to shovel in a bunch of extra food to get the same kind of feeling.
A Final Note
So there you have it! 5 Simple food hacks that I used to lose 50 pounds biking and keep it off.
I am always on the lookout for ways to make weight loss simple and easy for myself and my clients, and these are 5 things that you can incorporate in your life today that will help you get on the right track towards biking weight loss.
Our brains like to over-complicate weight loss and make it so HARD. All we need to do is step in and say, “Brain, we’ve got this. We can do this. We don’t need to get overwhelmed and make it hard.”
What we need is consistent, small, doable changes that over time lead up to massive results. Like losing 50 pounds biking.
You’ve got this, my friend. I know that you can do this. I believe in you.