Tuesday Trippin’ Aug 2

It’s been a tough week, triple tough, training, technology and personal problems were the trifecta.

Training/The Rides

I’ve been dragging this week. Don’t know if it’s the heat, the diet, the combo, or everything all together.

Thursday was the “I showed up, what more do you want?” ride. I took it easy and it was a little short. After some time, I felt like I had more in me, but my knee has been bothering me lately, in that way that gets better quick if you use the extension strength training machine. That dawned on me just after I cancelled my membership to the Y. They kept giving me a new account when my marital status, name or who lived in my house changed, but I’ve been a member at the Y for over 30 years. I always felt good about my membership with a gym that subsidizes memberships for people who wouldn’t have one without the support. Canceling felt a little like a break up, but the people most comfortable with a lot of exertion and heavy breathing in a closed building are largely the same people comfortable remaining unvaccinated and going without masks and I’ve scarcely been since the pandemic.

The Friday ride was ok, but I cleared the path of large limbs and saw some riders take a curve fast and wide causing a woman to fall. It was, in part, the walker taking up too much space with dogs on retractable leashes. But, that happens on this trail, and it’s better to stop than to run someone off the trail and onto the ground.

Saturday, well I’m going to post this early and move on to a second post all its own about Saturday.

Technology

My laptop fizzled. I don’t know if it’s a screen problem or a dead computer problem. I have my tech guy working on it. I don’t have a budget for a replacement. The plan was for it to last another year and get a year end clearance of the second year of a new model. Best laid plans.

I don’t change computer habits quickly. There are less expensive options, both in brand and features than what I’m using, but ever since the work in GIS, I’ve had powerful machines and we need power for video and photo work for the project. Switching OS would make me need to do some relearning at a time when I’m ultra busy and learning new software too.

The big owie is that we were in the push to get this **** project out the door and in front of people. Not getting it out this weekend pushes it until August and I wanted to be actively organizing our first weeks before September. That really hurts.

The Personal Stuff

I had really unpleasant interactions with three different people who are pretty important to me and they left me feeling not at all important to them. It was defeating. Yesterday I thought about binge eating, but it was just a thought. I didn’t actually have the impulse. Realizing that I didn’t even want to may have been the single bright point in the week.

I thought about going to the mountains alone and hiking as many miles as I could, but it is so very hot and buggy. I wouldn’t have lasted through the catharsis that I needed. I thought about trying to find a get away where I could hide from everyone and work on that novel I’ve been editing in my head for almost my whole life, but there’s no budget for that either.

And, while I really wanted to be alone to lick my wounds, at the same time, there’s never really a time that I want to be without Russ for any length of time. So, I guess the option I’m left with is to suck it up and carry on. It would be nice to feel better while I’m doing it though.

Tuesday Trippin’ July 26

A Google notification told me I rode 200 miles at 10 miles an hour last month. I was shocked. I remembered leaving my phone at least once, and that was the month I started my diet. I did cut back a lot, but had a hard time believing it was that much. The phone/Google has told me I was in places hundreds or thousands of miles from anywhere I had actually been, but that was years ago.

I couldn’t remember it being grossly wrong recently, but I haven’t logged those ride stats, so I had nothing to check it against. People with road racer bodies and a few other people pass me, but most of those people are exceeding the 15 MPH Greenway speed limit when they do. I wondered if the 10 MPH figure counted the break that I now take to eat a protein bar before turning around. I’m doing 147 miles a week this month, and it wasn’t such a jump. I’m pushing hard, but most of that is due to the calorie deficit.

This was in the back of my mind when we rode together Saturday morning. It was the first time I had been able to ride early while it was cool in several days and I was just relaxing an enjoying the ride. We stopped for a bathroom break and I asked Russ what our speed was. He said “7 MPH” I thought he was joking, but with my Google shock on the brain, I had to confirm. He said “probably” then he actually checked. We were going 14.7 MPH and now Russ was shocked. He had been beating himself up about not getting out with me as much as he wanted and had no idea he was doing that well.

We will plan things differently on the project rides, but when we are on trails or sections that I would ride alone, Russ has blanket approval to take off and leave me. He’s stronger. He needs a good work out too. He usually asks before he does. Russ was so excited to see that he was riding a respectable speed that I actually had to work to keep up with him when he got back on the bike. The next day he was still pumped and riding well too. There’s no telling what he could accomplish with a sports psychologist, me too for that matter. And a life coach, we’d do even more. But, for now, on our own, it’s time to think about going back out to the Silver Comet and ride sections without a speed limit.

Until next week, have a glorious day and we’ll see you on the trail.

Hydration, Nutrition, Weight Woes

I’ve been working on this piece since I posted in the cycling group asking for advice on weight loss. Crowd sourcing a health issue is not really like me, but In spite of all the training I reached within 10 pounds of my lifetime high in weight and it wasn’t good for me or the project. This was a group of people who are doing the sport I do at the age I am (and older). I got tons of advice and plenty to research and find out more about. Like my weight loss experience, this post is a work in progress.

Hydration

I’m really good about hydration. I usually drink a glass of water when I get up in the morning. I drink water or unsweet tea frequently throughout the day, and a bottle of water as I drive out to the trail. I take hydration seriously while exercising, and drink another glass of water before bed. I’ve done the bedtime drink ever since I read an article years ago linking stroke to overnight dehydration. Who knows where that original article might be found, but here’s one on the link between stroke and dehydration in general. There are so many things that go wrong when you don’t get properly hydrated, and now I’m paying more attention to electrolytes as well.

Nutrition

Americans are, as a whole, poorly informed about nutrition and our food labeling is a byproduct of lobbying and compromise, not good science or good health communication. My former FIL was a MD and he would be the first to tell you that they don’t teach nutrition in medical school either. But, he and his wife paid attention. Every meal I ever had at their house was balanced. Every. One. What that means has been tweaked over the years. Here’s what Harvard says now about what a balanced diet looks like.

Doc also had a theory that there might be important undiscovered micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and that by eating a balanced variety of foods you might be doing yourself a big favor. His later years were better for longer with fewer medical bills than most people. Having that influence in my life, I thought I knew more than I actually did. But, a fear of kidney disease has kept me incurious about keto diets for some time, and I was also unaware of what ketosis actually is. I love my carbs too. That didn’t help. In fact I’m kind of addicted to processed sugar. Seriously. I’ve been on a blood sugar roller coaster since before my due date.

They Used to Feed Karo to Newborns

I was one of them. My sister was born in the 1950s when “fat babies” were “healthy babies”. At that time, breast feeding was not popular and mothers put Karo syrup in babies’ bottles with evaporated cow milk. It was marketing and Dr approved. That’s a teaspoon of sugar in a quarter cup (4 oz) bottle of evaporated milk.

The only thing more surprising than this weird bit of history (a Dr approved fad) is that when I was looking up a link to share, I found current serious minded pre-current formula shortage instructions for how to make it now (not sharing that link). Mom wasn’t so bad about the fat baby thing, but she was still on the Karo plan when I came along, and, brought it up as a viable solution to the recent formula crisis. I was an induced baby, two weeks early. So, beginning two weeks before I was supposed to be born, my blood sugar highs were unnaturally high.

I’ve given up processed sugar 6 times in my life, the first time was for a year during and after my first pregnancy. There were no complications. It wasn’t prescribed. I just wanted to be healthy and have a healthy child. My son’s father didn’t like that because I wasn’t cooking with sugar in food for both of us anymore. So, when I gave it up during the second pregnancy, it was for a shorter time.

Then I gave up processed sugar a third time when I did a Dr supervised protein shake diet in my late 20s. The 4th and 5th times were when I gave up all white sugar, white processed flour and fried foods for Lent twice. I’m not Catholic, but most religions have at least one good idea. On those occasions, I still used small amounts of brown sugar, honey and maple syrup.

The most recent time is, of course, now. The exceptions to my recent hiatus have been when I was inattentive at label reading on protein bars.

Maybe Giving up the Sugar Should be Mostly Permanent

For a few years now, I’ve cut the stuff with ultra high glycemic indexes almost completely out. I make candy for the people who love it every winter, and I scarcely eat a piece any more. Then, a few months ago I noticed reactions like blurry eyes after large meals (like an after the ride burger with fries and a soda). I started looking things up and decided it was time to start counting my sugar intake. I took added sugar down to levels recommended for diabetics, ate fewer after the ride calories and started having a cool down at the end with walking for a few minutes after the ride so the finish is easier on the endocrine system because of what it says after the “5” here.

While I’ve never been diagnosed as diabetic, I was having issues that show up across that literature and there is no down side to taking the first steps that a Dr would prescribe first to see if it helps. Then if you need the Dr, you have more data to give him and can maybe move on to step 2 on that first visit.

I was hoping all of this would have weight loss as a side effect. No Joy. Some people loose weight when they make these changes. Some loose weight when they are as active as me. So far the art of shrinking was eluding me though. The challenge of loosing weight while maintaining the ability to ride seemed a unique problem, so I joined a cycling group and posted to ask. It’s a good group with a lot of positive people. I got a lot of great advice. A lot of it revolved around giving up more complex carbohydrates too. That was May 28.

Counting Macros

A lot of people said to count macros. I’ve counted calories and Weight Watchers points before, but never macros. I just relied on calories and the food pyramid. Back when the Keto diet hit big I did a little reading. Ketoacidosis, not cool. I pretty much ignored everything keto since.

I refocused on the word for burning fat “ketosis” when I read the answer to my post below and started looking at more and more information on protein in the diet. The part I missed when I stopped updating myself on all things keto is the current focus on protein for my age group. Perhaps I’d have missed that anyway. I mean protein drinks are for my Mom, right?

While there are many recommendations from/for different people, purposes and sources, the recommendation for adults over 50 is higher than USDA recommendations for the average adult. I thought a couple of eggs would cover my protein needs for a day. I mean it’s a neat little package that has everything needed to create a little avian life in there. It seems like that would be enough to keep a human going for a day. I was also surprised to note now little protein there is in so many “high protein” foods.

One of the important things here is that I didn’t just take the word of some guy on Facebook (and you shouldn’t just take mine). Look at these links, they’re good sources, but also find your own. There are so many different protein recommendations based on age, sex, goals and habits. You have to settle on the source you trust and an amount you can tolerate.

And, here’s what the guy had to say:

The best way to ‘hit the switch’ and get into fat-burning mode is to fast for a day. Start by eating dinner and then no more food until the second morning… 32 hours out. You can drink water or black coffee, and should take electrolytes (Nuun, Enduralyte, etc.) when you are thirsty (I like Nuun… easy and convenient).

“You will find that, rather than being weak, you will feel as if you are full of energy… clear-headed… even though you may have a slight headache from ‘carb withdrawal.’ When you wake up on that second morning you will feel really good, although maybe a little tired. This is when you start an intermittent fasting program… confine your eating to an 8-hour window so you have at least 16 hours from the last meal on one day to the first meal on the next day.

Remember, low (no more than 150 calories, or even less) carbs, 500 to 600 calories of protein, 500 to 600 calories of fat, and restrict your calories to no more than 1500, down to 1200 if possible.

Some people do this with two 500-calorie meals and then 200 to 300 for supper, some split it into five meals (300 cal breakfast, 200 cal snack, 300 cal lunch, 200 cal snack, 200 to 300 cal supper), and this is important… don’t go on 100 mile rides! You cannot ride 100 miles without eating unless you want to suffer miserably AND lose muscle mass because your body will start eating your muscles.

The body has two main ways to regulate weight that have evolved over 2 million years, via the use of insulin to store excess calories as fat, and via the use of cortisol to get excess fat and turn it into energy that your muscles can utilize. What switches you from one mode to the other is your blood sugar level. High blood sugar, what you get just after you eat and especially with carbs, results in the secretion of insulin to lower blood sugar levels by storing the glucose in fat cells. Low blood sugar, what you get hours after your last meal or after exercise, results in the secretion of cortisol, and results in the extraction of energy from fat cells which is converted from fatty acids to glucose. So, the key to weight loss is to keep your blood sugar levels low enough to invoke the secretion of cortisol which causes your body to burn fat for energy.

The best way to ‘hit the switch’ and get into fat-burning mode is to fast for a day. Start by eating dinner and then no more food until the second morning… 32 hours out. You can drink water or black coffee, and should take electrolytes (Nuun, Enduralyte, etc.) when you are thirsty (I like Nuun… easy and convenient).

You will find that, rather than being weak, you will feel as if you are full of energy… clear-headed… even though you may have a slight headache from ‘carb withdrawal.’ When you wake up on that second morning you will feel really good, although maybe a little tired. This is when you start an intermittent fasting program… confine your eating to an 8-hour window so you have at least 16 hours from the last meal on one day to the first meal on the next day.

Remember, low (no more than 150 calories, or even less) carbs, 500 to 600 calories of protein, 500 to 600 calories of fat, and restrict your calories to no more than 1500, down to 1200 if possible.

Some people do this with two 500-calorie meals and then 200 to 300 for supper, some split it into five meals (300 cal breakfast, 200 cal snack, 300 cal lunch, 200 cal snack, 200 to 300 cal supper), and this is important… don’t go on 100 mile rides! You cannot ride 100 miles without eating unless you want to suffer miserably AND lose muscle mass because your body will start eating your muscles.

Ride your bike daily for no more than 45 minutes. This will burn any carbs you’ve eaten without making you bonk or requiring you to eat more calories for the long ride… your body will store up to 1500 calories of glucose as it rebuilds its glucose stores. You might also want to start a light bodyweight program… women’s pushups (even if they’re while upright against a wall), bodyweight squats, calf raises, bent rows and shoulder presses with light dumbbells. The goal here is to stimulate your muscles enough so that the protein you eat is used to preserve muscle mass.

Most of us will burn 1500 to 2000 calories just to be awake and moving… the extra exercise will not only burn the necessary fat but will also burn extra fat as the body uses it for maintenance… and the body is not 100% efficient in turning fat into energy so there will be additional losses.

Try this for 30 days and see if you don’t lose 12 to 15 pounds without a lot of discomfort. Once you get to your desired body weight, you can increase calories but keep to the 8 hour eating window… and yes, consume calories on long rides.”

So, what Did I Actually Do?

I got a lot of good answers to my question about what works for weight loss while trying to increase my miles. I joined every group anyone mentioned and have been following them all.

A lot of people said to do a 8/16 Intermittent Fast. The answer I quoted above included that and was a pretty complete plan, so I started there and I started researching high protein diets from science and medical sources.

I did not jump start with the 36 hour fast. I happen to know that if I don’t eat all day, I crash around 4:00 P.M. I didn’t have a day when I could afford to veg or nap or have my brain work badly at 4:00 P.M, and I wasn’t going to get one anytime soon. But, I didn’t want to wait either, so I started on the 8/16 intermittent fasting. Eating all my food inside 8 hours was not such a big change that I didn’t feel comfortable making it while I researched all my questions.

I converted the calorie recommendations to grams just to make it easier with food labels.

I have the most trouble getting protein at the level above while also limiting the carbs. I could have done that pretty easily in maintenance mode, but that’s not where I am.

If I get to choose when I ride, I ride fasted.

I reduced my miles as recommended, at first. Then I adjusted. The reduction in miles was fine through the adjustment, but too low afterward. The compromise was to be sure I had a protein bar in case I needed it, and rest for 15 minutes at the turn around spot.

There have been ups and downs, but doing all of my eating during the same eight hours every day has been the most scheduled and regular I’ve been in some time. That’s probably a good thing.

The First Three Weeks

I got knock you over with a feather Keto breath the first 10 days or so. My grand daughter who sometimes has boundary issues didn’t have any trouble staying out of my face. I got some headaches too, but no real carb withdrawal. Maybe because I had already cut the simple carbs so low months ago.

My weight dropped like it does at the beginning of a diet. I was really busy the first few days and helping out with a move. It was hard to be specialized in my intake and I had several days of taking in half the calories I was supposed to. It wasn’t intentional, I just didn’t realize it until I took a breath and started recording.

After that I had a lot of trouble conforming to the proportions of macro nutrients recommended above. The protein is hard to get while keeping the carbs low enough, and the fat isn’t really stressing me, but it’s usually over. My daily calorie intake has been between 600 and 1800. The 1800 was a Friday when I decided to eat a Jim and Nicks Brisket and Blue salad without dressing for supper.

It was really hard to gauge the progress at first. The weight loss after three weeks is exactly what I lost last time I tossed cookies for 3 days, but some clothes are definitely looser. I live life in yoga pants. I ride in bike tights. I have a few things that don’t stretch, but I hadn’t worn them in a while. My bras were getting looser. I noticed shirts that once rested on my hips were hanging free.

In a lot of ways I feel better. That’s a plus.

Measurements

I have Weight Watchers serving spoons. The measurement they hold is stamped right into the spoon handle and I level it with a knife instead of letting it heap. I even checked the 1/4 cup against other measuring cups because it looked pretty generous. Once I see about what a serving is, If something has 2 or 4 servings I’m willing to guess. As long as it lasts the appropriate number of servings, it will average out over the use of the container.

I’m not measuring me. It would be one way to gauge success, especially with the difficulty I was having telling how I was doing in the beginning, but I’m not Mrs. Maisel. I have enough to keep up with. I’m just going to keep working the plan, and tweaking as I need to, until I think I’m the right weight. I won’t be deciding what that is with a tape measure.

Mistakes

Not recording or getting enough calories or nutrients in the first days.

I kept looking for high protein vegetables instead of low carb vegetables. Before this diet (BTD), I’d often have a sack of “High protein” vegetables for supper, but those have more that a days allowance of carbs.

Stress eating

The Good Stuff I Was Already Doing

Eat most salads without dressing

Don’t use artificial sweeteners

I started this one recently. When Russ received a Garmin Watch as a gift, it was telling him when he needed to be active. I really wanted one too. So, what I did instead was to set alarms every hour to hour and a half. When the alarm goes off I get up from the computer, or stop whatever I’m doing and do the title of the alarm. I have alarms titled things like “sit-ups”, “plantar stretches” and “arms”.

The Bad Stuff I Was Doing Before

Occasionally Binging Carbs

Not realizing how much protein I need

Not realizing that the timing of calories and social late snacks were a significant problem

Joining in with someone who is stress eating

The Big Ugly Problem

Per my ophthalmologist, I take 100 calories worth of Omega 3 to help with Dry Eye. When he prescribed it I was thinking about that old saying “100 calories a day is 10 pounds a year” and really bummed on reading the label, but after a year, I was unable to tell it was causing me weight issues. Perhaps I adjusted my eating. I don’t know.

While the label only said “Take 2 per day”, I started by spreading the 2 capsules out as close to 12 hours apart as convenience allowed. When the intermittent fasting came into play, I took them during eating hours, but from reading what I could find, it wouldn’t have been “breaking the fast” to take them when ever I wanted.

Early in the diet my eyes went crazy. I was intensely aware of my blinks and using the lubricating drops the ophthalmologist also gave me every hour, maybe more. I was miserable and about to go back in to see the him when it eased. That was right about the time I started getting closer to the number of calories I was supposed to be having. I think my calorie intake, when it was very low, must have caused those Omega 3s not to be getting to my eyes.

I could be wrong. Well see if there are any more problems and if they coincide with ultra low caloric intake, but this is the hard fast limit. If severe dry eye is related to the diet and I can’t regulate it, things will seriously slow down. Taking care of my eyes will have to be the priority. My calorie deficit is still quite large right now, but my eyes are pretty important to me.

What’s Next?

I’m days away from the 60 day mark. I’ve lost 19 pounds. My original goal was 50 pounds of weight loss to reach 150 pounds. In the next two weeks I expect to reach half of that goal

This site says I’m burning 1300+ calories on my rides. I’m taking in around 1500 calories in food most days and around 120 calories in supplements, which I’m working to be sure not to forget because of the eye issues.

It’s a pretty stressful level of output. I’ve been thankful for a few rain days, and If I’m feeling drained, I give it a break, whether that’s an easy ride or a day off.

I haven’t actually recorded my food since the break I mentioned in one of my Tuesday posts, but I’m recording my weight most mornings.

I’ve shifted toward eating a few more vegetables, even when that means more carbs (think peas, not potatoes) I plan to keep on going the way I’m going as long as it works. I should reach 150 pounds before I’m trying to transform my current mileage into the number of days and length of ride that the project requires. I plan to pay attention to my energy levels and training intervals to make sure I don’t get stressed in any way that take a long recovery. I’m optimistic and fairly happy with how things are going.

Tuesday Trippin’ July 12 & 19

The Diet

I did the week of 21 miles per day as expected. I took a four day break after that, and also took a diet break. I got stressed about having said I’d do 21 miles a day for a week, and then remembered that the planned break didn’t start until after the week was over. It’s nice that some worries are dispensed with so quickly. The low calories and the strict everyday rides were adding up. I was ready for it.

In this case, a diet break, means that I ate more vegetables and didn’t actually write down my intake. That put me higher on carbs than the keto recommendations I’ve been following (the ones I was having a very hard time meeting in the first place). I still did the 8/16 IF (or something close to that) and believe that I had 1500 or fewer calories on those days. So, a break, but still restricted calories and I walked every day (to keep from experiencing an endorphin sink and enjoy nature).

The weight loss didn’t suffer as I was afraid it might, and I took one more day of break (food, not riding) to have a slice of pizza with a gift card I was given. I’m a little shocked. I was afraid that the weight loss was only happening when eating 1100 or fewer calories and that even then, it was waning. If that was the case, I didn’t really see how I could keep it up, and I think the weight loss is important to the project right now. In truth, I might not have averaged much more than 1100 calories per day while on break, but weight loss has been tough for me lately and paranoia is strong with this one. And the other thing is that once you take a break, you want to take 5 more of them.

The Heat

Heat tolerance is a big reason I’m working on weight loss right now. I see people my age and older in the biking groups that ride in much hotter conditions. Part of that is that they are riding in places where you don’t really need to take a wet bulb temperature to keep your athletes alive. Another part is that many of them were athletic since their 20s. I never expect to match the performance of many of them. I have Raynaud’s Syndrome and I suspect that poor response in microcirculation is part of why I am less tolerant.

My tolerance has slowly increased with time in the saddle though. Three years ago when my rides were short enough, I coped with summer heat by starting near dawn and finishing before temps got out of the 70s, and didn’t ride if I couldn’t keep most of my ride under 80 degrees. Then I shifted to being able to tollerate the 80s. Now I will ride in the low 90s, but I prefer not to. At that temp my face turns bright red and strangers will ask me if I’m alright. I have an absolute stop signal though. If I ever reach the point where my face feels like it is on fire, I’m at risk of a migraine or worse. Sometimes I don’t notice that I’m that hot until I stop riding and feel the absence of air flow.

Because I can control eating, but not the Raynaud’s, that’s where my next level focus is, and I’m comforted by the fact that I won’t have to do 100 mile rides in July until I’ve been doing them for 9 months. July is also one of the months when we have a break scheduled, so between weight loss, more time riding and having a break planned, I should be able to make it through next July, and fill in any gap with rides I take the following year while winding down gradually.

The Rides

Yesterday I rode in the rain and skipped the slippery boardwalks. There was still a lot of wetness, but I was careful and remembered every time I hit my brakes that my project bike will have disc brakes. I rode past a dozen deer, but once I got the camera out most were hiding in the twilight shadows and I didn’t even take the shot.

I prefer wet to hot, no surprise. My shoes filled with water the way a wet suit insulates you with a layer of water, except that this was a lot more water and my feet didn’t warm it up, Raynaud’s… I didn’t notice while riding, but the water balloons on my feet were unmissable when I started walking and my feet felt cold for most of the night,

Tonights’s ride was damp and cool too. There’s a man who swings a cane around in every direction. There may be a pattern to it. I haven’t noticed if there is. It has been a very long time since I’ve seen him, way pre-pandemic. My guess is that he’s protecting the full width of his lane, but once when I passed him, he swung toward me beyond the boundary of his lane. It has been so long since I’ve seen him, that I forgot about him. I’m sad and surprised that he’s still out there, or more correctly, that he’s still doing it. It seems like it’s risky enough that he would have had problems that got him in trouble between now and the last time I saw him.

Well, that’s it for the new, the old and the odd.

Happy trails!

Tuesday Trippin’ July 6

I’m adjusting to the reduced caloric intake and bringing the miles back up slowly. There isn’t as much variation in day to day stamina as there was when the diet started. I’ll be a lot happier when my goal is a balance of calories rather than a deficit though.

Next week I’ll be in a good spot miles wise. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I’ll do a full week of daily 21 mile rides. 21 miles a day is 147 miles a week. That’s almost 150% of the required weekly project miles, but only 75% of the miles for my personal goal of cycling in both directions (making this a greener low impact project, and at the same time doubling the amount of video shot). I’m well positioned to make the project work, but I’d rather be doing the longer rides I was making before the diet.

I’ve lost about as much weight as our recording and other equipment will weigh. If the weight loss over the next four weeks matches the last four weeks, I’ll be halfway to goal. That’s a big “if”. Weight loss is usually faster at the beginning and I wasn’t getting enough calories the first 7-10 days of the diet, so that should have made it even faster.

It’s been a while since I’ve been really specific about individual rides, so maybe it’s time.

Wednesday June 29

I felt rotten. Other responsibilities and weather kept me from 2 recent daily rides. Exercise stimulates ketone production, so it’s even more energizing while dieting. Missing that twice in short order made me low energy and stiff. I was also pretty ticked. That was related to my personal life.

I rode anyway because that’s how you turn things around. I’m better about taking a break before I return now that I’m paying attention to glucose/ketones and working on weight loss. 8 miles out was the limit for my “rotten day” riding. I had a Pro One protein Bar and turned. About 10 minutes later I felt the bar kick in. It was the first time I’d ever noticed something like that. Riding got easier. I really picked up my pace and pushed it harder than I had any idea I would when I started. I’m guessing that lasted 4 miles. It went away a little more slowly than it came on. I still kept up the pace fairly well after it was gone. I’ve been testing different bars. It is hard to find one with fewer carbs and more protein. I liked the taste of this one, but the carbs wipe out a full day’s carb allowance, and I noticed later that the carbs in this bar are sugar, disappointing since I’m doing the keto thing at the moment. I can’t foresee myself ever going to the glucose pouch, but one I’m at a healthy weight and doing full centuries, I could see myself using this bar during the ride. 16 miles

Thursday June 30

I felt a lot better in most ways, but as I did my morning stretches, I noted how I’m stiff more often lately. It’s not the amount of riding. Before the diet I was doing longer rides.

I forgot that it stormed the night before and wen to the lot at Big Creek Park, the southern terminus of the Greenway. I love the scenery around the retention ponds, but when the boardwalks are wet, I park further north and skip that section.

Half of my lifetime falls were on the “Slippery When Wet” boardwalks in Roswell, mostly while avoiding people who slipped in front of me and I’ve only been riding there for 7 years. I still have the tiny remains of a fibrosed bruise that shrinks a little more every year from the first one. The boardwalks are not just slippery. There are some weird unnecessary turns. If I’m not doing a fullI ride, it is Roswell I skip, even when it’s dry.

I tried a different protein bar with a third of the calories and no noticeable effect. I’m not so sure I need one during these rides, If I’m understanding things correctly, riding 20 miles burns around 1000 calories and I should have 1500 calories available at any given time…unless I haven’t allowed recovery time since depletion.

I have been riding fasted and time the bar/turn-around for the end of my fast if the weather is cool enough to ride that late. The risk I was warned about with keto is muscle loss if you can’t produce enough energy.

Friday

We accepted that Russ can’t ride at the same level as me until the project makes, but he still hasn’t been riding as much as either of us would like. He has a busy season at work that keeps him working the longest hours on the longest days. But, he got off early for the holiday weekend and we rode together. He remembered I was doing the 45 minute rides recommended to me for the weight loss plan and paced himself accordingly, but now I’m pushing the distance back up, so I rode a little further than he did.

I know it will be okay. Russ will build his miles quickly. He’s stronger, younger and builds stamina faster. I really want to minimize how much back up he has to do in the car though. Car back up is doable. It even has some advantages, but not the best efficiency of resources. 16 miles

Saturday

More frustrations of all kinds for Russ and he hasn’t been doing daily rides lately. He had some equipment problems and turned back early. I finished while he did some errands. We’re really feeling the rub and hope we’ll have the video and the submission completed in the coming week. 17 miles

Sunday

We loaded and unloaded furniture before our ride. Then when we got to the trail I started while he was still getting ready. We were past my break fast before I was rolling. I had a 90 calorie protein bar at my turn around and met him at a lunch place before we rode back to the car together. 19 miles

Monday

I rode alone. I’ve been trying to figure out if I really need a snack, forgetting to reload made that decision for me and I was fine. Good ride. 21 Miles

Tuesday

Another day, another bar. I got a little excited about this bar because it had a lot of fiber and protein without many carbs, but it did have palm oil, so I was bummed about that. The trail was quiet (the first weekday after a holiday weekend) and the wildlife was out. It made me remember how nice this trail is at it’s best. There was also some flooding, but not enough to be impassible. 21 miles

Diet Status

I’ve been doing the keto thing for 5 weeks now. In the first four weeks I lost 12 of the 12-15 pounds I was told I would, or 24% of the 50 pounds that is my initial goal. I say initial goal, because that’s what I’m guessing now, but I realize it could change. I’m 5′ 8′. My lowest adult weight was 115. My high school weight was 125. During those years I didn’t have the kind of muscle mass I expect to have when I meet 150 lbs this time, but we’ll see. I may choose to keep going. Cyclists don’t bulk up naturally and I don’t like bulk for the sake of bulk, not on women or men. I should feel successful in my progress. Nearly a quarter of my goal met in 4 weeks. It’s promising.

I’m frustrated with the amount of meat and dairy this diet requires though (unless you going to choose highly processed food substitutes). The research on this stuff is consuming, a real time sink, but I’m not going to just change drastically on the word of someone from the internet without doing any. And, while this diet has thus far performed as claimed, recent weight loss has been ultra slower than the stuff that comes off fast in the beginning of the process. I’ve started recording a daily weight so I don’t loose track and miss signals.

When I asked my FB group for weight loss suggestions, I went through and joined every group that was recommended, including one for people doing the polar opposite of keto. I joined one for vegetarian endurance athletes. I still shy hard from calling myself an athlete, but there’s no denying that what I want to accomplish will require the skills of an endurance athlete.

Tuesday after noting my stiffness, I saw a thread asking people what changes they noticed after going Veg. The resounding answer was lack of stiffness and quicker recoveries. I wasn’t vegetarian before I jumped on the keto bandwagon, but I remain open to it. Sometime in the last week I read an article that vegetarians in the octogenarian and older group were less frail than omnivores. Frailty is a big risk in aging, and waiting until I reach 80 is too late to start that trip.

All these things combined with being tired of eating so much meat and dairy made me really consider jumping ship. I found a resource and ordered books and cookbooks. We’ll see how creative I can get with keeping the carbs down and the protein up, because this diet is working.

I plan to hang with the 8/16 intermittent fasting regardless of the keto/vegetarian choice I’ll be making. It’s not at all hard for me to compress the eating window to 8 hours so that I can experience some of the keto benefits.

Until next time, have a glorious day, and we’ll see you on the trail.

Tuesday Trippin’ June 21 & 28

Last week was a strange and unusual cycling week, soooo hot. Early June isn’t usually the time for this heat. My rides have been as soon as I can get out the door in the morning, except Monday. Monday I was finishing up at noon. I overheated a little and while I was cooling down I brought up the weather to check for how long I was going to need to do less of my morning routine before heading out. I really hope his isn’t going to be how it going to be for the whole summer, and I hope even more that next summer when I’m filming the trails full length is going to be nothing like this at all.

Even more unusual, Wednesday after my ride I went to REI. As I left I found myself in the middle of Home Goods employees and shoppers who were evacuating due to a disgruntled employee with a gun. Of course, I had no idea why these people were walking toward and past me. “One said “There’s been an incident. You might want to get in your car”.

Guys, if you don’t know this already, that’s not when you ask questions. That’s when you get in your car and leave in the same direction that the people who know what’s going on are moving. Later I did search to see what was happening while I was there. Thankfully it was resolved as well as possible and with no loss of life.

Thursday I arrived in my recently regular parking lot to a tow truck. I talked to the driver to see if the car he had was being taken for a parking issue because I use the lot often and so do a lot of other cyclists and walkers. He was nice, but they aren’t supposed to tell you, and he didn’t.

THEN, At the end of that ride two different excited people told be to be careful because there was a car out driving on the trail. Usually warnings on the trail are calm and informational. People may be disappointed when a big tree removal truck blocks the trail, or sad if it’s an ambulance, but no one really get’s excited. I’ve seen some disallowed traffic on the more remote trails, but not here. Again, this is not when I ask a lot of questions. I get off the trail ASAP. If I wanted to dodge automobiles, there’s always road biking.

This more recent week was about refining the weight loss plan and doing the miles. This morning that meant being on the trail when it opened at sunrise. I don’t enjoy getting up for sunrise, but I enjoy being up for sunrise. It was a nice ride. I’ve been sticking to Big Creek/ Alpharetta Greenway because it’s a bit closer, it has no remote areas and it’s been a pretty dry summer, so flooding has been at a minimum. The segment I do is 10.5 miles, so there and back is 21. The mileage really dropped when I was supposed to do no ore than 45 minutes of exercise a day. I’m shifting out of that and did the full 21 this week. I’m heavily committed to the weight loss, but having done some reading, I’m not following the exact plan that was suggested. The trail has a 15 mph speed limit and some trail user traffic jams that slow down over all speed. 15 miles a day is 105 per week, but it is more than an hour a day when there’s a speed limit and congestion. I started opting for the compromise of a rest and a high protein snack bar in the middle. I’m experimenting to see which snack bar is truly high protein and low carb and tolerable, and this week I made it back up to the full trail, but not back up to my pre weight loss plan highs. I’m concerned, but not worried. It is doable, and I will do it, and I’ll find which parts of the eating plan I can live with for the rest of my life and make that work too.

Until next time, see you on the trail, and have a glorious day!

Tuesday Trippin’ June 14

The Move

We needed to get some Etsy overflow and other things out of my son’s storage unit so he could cancel it. What that means is that the “Great Move” has lasted longer for us than it has for him. It feels like I’ve been talking about the move in this segment forever. That’s because of the pressure I feel to get to the point where this project is published and getting that trial by fire that I both welcome and fear. I’m trying to give myself something of a break. While I feel pressure to be as full time and performing now as I will be when the project funds, the fact is, I couldn’t, even if life didn’t sometimes gets in the way.

When my son moved in with his work from home office (that took up more space than his personal stuff did) he was single and when he moved out he had a family. It’s not just moving him either, but also restoring the house back to previous status. But, hey, I’ll have a guest room again!

Training and the “Eating Plan”

I didn’t wait till the move was over to start the weight loss eating plan. It had been a couple of months since I had denounced added sugar and I thought that would result in at least some weight loss. When it didn’t I joined a group and was anxious to get started. Different people said it in different ways, but the recommendations from the cycling group added up to increasing my protein intake by quite a lot, decreasing carbs by quite a lot and to restrict the hours of intake. I plunged in, but was doing research from reliable sources too, not just taking the word of FB strangers, ’cause we all know that FB is a bastion of “misinformation” for people who don’t.

Starting something new with a lot of restrictions at a time when I was ultra busy and away from the house a lot resulted in me having some days where my caloric intake was half of target. I wasn’t hungry and wasn’t recording things at first, so I didn’t notice right away. With all the protein, I can be pretty satisfied on 600 calories a day, but I’m pushing myself to double that so I actually get the recommended level of protein, among other things.

I made sure I rode nearly every day too. It was a pretty big adjustment and I was using some new information. I was unaware of newer protein recommendations, especially for people in my age bracket. It left me weak and worn at times, but I didn’t want to put things off. I want to be prepared to ramp up fast when funding happens, and even though it’s a stressful delay right now, I’ll be glad I did it later. More about that in a separate post, one that I lost my most recent edits to :(.

The Etsy Store

I don’t remember if I’ve explicitly said the store was potentially on the chopping block, but it’s probably evident that I morn the dream I once had. I was trying to figure out what I could do about the shipping and other dilemmas. I went in and began to edit. I haven’t been using calculated shipping because I don’t have space to pre box and don’t know what dimensions will be. On top of that, USPS has reduced the size of their priority boxes and many things I ship don’t fit at the old price points anymore. In other words, not only did the price increase for any given box size, the box sizes also decreased. What used to be a “small” is now a little bit smaller. That makes it more likely to break if I try to use it. For the post office, that should add up to more insurance claims. For me, that adds greater size/price uncertainty to existing location uncertainty for my shipping parameters.

Still, I decided to choose a size that I thought most mugs would fit in and convert to calculated shipping for those items. The shipping price jumped $3 over what I had allowed. It took too long to figure out technically how to make those edits and I stopped after the first one. I had my first order in 2 months within 48 hours. I wondered if it was an algorithm reward for switching to their preferred method or if it was that bump I get when I’m about to let all my listings expire, or I suppose it and the other order that came right after could just be random events. Whatever, I was ecstatic. They were even Georgia orders, so the heavy one isn’t going far. The question is, do those two orders give me the inspiration to commit to making the investment in Etsy fees and organization?

Until next time, Have a glorious week, and we’ll see you on the trail.

Tuesday Trippin’ June 7

This week feels like it has been consumed adjusting to the new eating plan and helping the kid and his wife and baby move. I am supposed to ride every day with the plan I’m following, but not supposed to ride more than 45 minutes. I’ve done that most days, but the miles are way down due to the time limit. I’ve had second thoughts, but I believe the best way to assure that I can finish the project is to get the weight under control. There has been some weight loss, but it’s a little early to be saying how things are going. I’m optimistic and think that this is the most important priority moving forward.

Until next time, have a glorious day, and see you on the trail.

Tuesday Trippin’ May 28 (sort of)

Say what you like about Facebook, but if it weren’t for the Memories section, there’s a whole lot of stuff that I’d forget. Like for instance, 8 years ago we were supposed to close on the house we currently live in on the Friday before Memorial Day (which was May 26 in 2014) and the seller didn’t move out. It was pretty memorable, but exactly when it happened slipped my mind.

We went to the appointment for the walk through and the movers that the agent hired (because the seller hadn’t done anything) drove up just before us. We planned to work hard for the whole three day weekend to start making the house livable and loosing that time really hurt. We needed to be able to move in before school started in early August and we had a lot of work ahead. We did close after the seller moved out and Russ ripped the carpet out immediately. You can recycle that BTW, even if it’s in terrible condition. Ripping the carpet out told us how really bad the pet damage was. The seller’s perfumes were gone and large quantities of pet store products were not taking care of the issues. We did the only other thing you can. We Zinssered the whole house. I tell you, that’s some nasty stuff to work with. Nasty! After that there was still so much more to do. Life didn’t slow down for us to finish. hope some day we get caught up, but that day hasn’t come yet.

The odd part? This week has been White Rabbit deja vous. My son was supposed to close on his new house the Friday before this past Memorial day…

While he was away for his closing, I saw this FB memory and realized our late closings happened on the same day. Having a similar situation, even having it at the same time, I was really feeling the pain on his behalf. His story isn’t the same or as bad as ours, and it’s not mine to tell, but all those feelings flooding in from our situation, whether I remembered our same day closings or not, have me wondering if there’s something in the Georgia water.

Vent alert- I don’t get it. If you sell your house, it’s not yours any more. You take the money and go. You move out by the terms of the contract leaving it in the condition agreed upon. Right? You start packing soon enough to be ready on moving day and moving day is before the agreed upon transfer. No really, that the way it’s supposed to work. I mean, inconsiderate people leave them dirty way too often. That’s always been a problem, but not moving out on time? And you know, if they didn’t pack…or…then… they certainly never got around to… I hope it’s a rare coincidence with lottery like odds, I certainly hope it’s not a new trend in home sales.

Professional movers are expensive. I get it. But, If you’re not going to use one, there is significant planning and prep to be done first. And speaking of packing BEFORE you bring the U-Haul home. I’ve helped enough people move, that now I ask before committing. Did you pack it up (well with plenty of padding so things don’t break) and stack boxes around the house already? Great! that’s a job for renting a U-Haul. If you didn’t pack it all up yet, you need to order the Pods container, fill it a bit at the time and move another day. You have to decide which one you will do before moving day, well before.

And the Video Project

This week there was project training too. I joined some cycling groups and crowdsourced solutions to my weight loss woes. I got some good feed back, I’m optimistic, I’ve started the plan, and I’ll say more on that next time. See you on the trail.

What’s the Plant Connection?

I talk about whatever occurs to me here (well, not everything that occurs to me). For going on two years now, I’ve been talking about this video project I want to complete, and sometimes I talk about plants when I’m talking about the project. It’s not just that I personally enjoy plants, or that I enjoy everything more when I learn more about it. Plants are an integral part of the project, even for people who don’t know they have a reason to care.

Sharing nature’s gifts along the trail as much as possible, that’s a major piece of what the project is about. And the way nature supports life on the planet, that matters to everyone. But there is more, from the most obvious things like the tree lined parts of the trail being cooler in summer, but sunnier and warmer in winter, to the most basic. Photosynthesis supports life on earth. It makes you and me possible. Understanding more of the bits that make our planet habitable is self preservation. It’s all connected.

Passion flower, or Passiflora incarnata, native from Oklahoma and Texas up to the Great Lakes and across to the Atlantic regions, down through Florida, it covers, the area where Long Leaf Pine was once prevalent and more.

Plants are at the bottom of the food chain. They support all of the nature and humans on the trail. When we take care to let them do their thing, they return the favor. When they suffer and die, we can ignore it or compensate in some ways for a certain amount of time, but eventually it will catch up. If the ecosystem gets out of balance we get things like “sunny day flooding” in more places.

Some trail users wonder what it is that is blooming and where they can get one for their yard. Fewer people wonder if it’s native, whether it’s invasive, whether they should plant it, or what might be a better choice. Some of those people who don’t think to ask about the effect of planting something like an invasive seen on the trail do actually care about effects and would plant something different if they knew. Maybe there’s something they’d rip up and replace if they knew what it was and what it did and how that effects the trail, the ecosystem or them.

Little things can add up and hopefully people will read a post or more. Maybe someone might end up valuing plants and ecosystems a little more, recognizing the importance of keeping systems that support life healthy. Small things add up.

So, I hope you’re enjoying the talk about plants and we’ll see you out there with the plants and others on the trail.