Warning: This is going to get a little personal.
I recently decided to make a return to the realm of Veganism. I spent a good chunk of my 30’s living meat free, but after returning to eating meat I’ve spent the first few years of my 40’s as a chunk. Dining without restraint for the last few years has been quite an adventure. I’ve eaten the best of the best and the best of the worst from coast to coast, it was an incredible journey which culminated in me starting a Fried Chicken Blog and feeling like shit. I’ve failed miserably at races and rides, have problems being on my feet for more than a few hours, get out of breath easily, and it was pointed out by the Stoker last night that I have felt like shit after almost every meal we have had together as of late. She told me to go to the damn doctor, and to maybe put the batteries back in my scale and weigh in to see where I was at. I started with the scale thing yesterday. Whoa. I was shocked at what I saw.
Health problems are no stranger in my profession, where there is a high rate of alcoholism/addiction, mental health problems, suicide, and a generally unhealthy regimen to eating. Our time is short, stress is high. Meals are eaten at odd hours, lots of inadvertent binge eating happens, fast food rules the roost, we have to taste product (those calories add up), and when you dine out you fucking DINE OUT. It’s awesome, the food, the fun, the networking over beers and whatever, it’s hard to trade those experiences away. BUT there is a point when your body has had enough, and here I was standing on a scale looking directly at the first solid proof that my body has had enough.
I’m not a small person to begin with, but this is absurd. My normal “operating” weight has been around 270 +/-10lbs the last few years, and in my Vegan days it was around 225, which is more in line with what I should weigh. All those years of unfettered food shoveling has finally come to a head. I broke 300lbs. Goddamn. Now I have a good idea why my climbing has been so bad this year, why my endurance has been down considerably even with training and getting miles in during the winter. My joints have been aching, my clothes don’t fit, exhaustion has been setting in after just a little time being active, I get out of breath tying my shoes. It’s been a rough state of affairs, and this number tells me that the changes I’ve instituted in my life are needed now more than ever. I’m the embodiment of the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” BUT I AM AN ACTIVE CYCLIST, WHAT GIVES?
I can’t even imagine where I’d be without cycling. It would seem safe to assume that I would be fatter, sicker, and even more near death. Maybe I would be at 350? 400? More? I can’t. I will say that the last week of plant based eating has me more energetic, positive, and mobile than I have been in a long while, but there is a long way to go before I am out of the health woods. I’m still planning on doing my best to keep to my race and ride plan for this year, but my doctor has final say in this matter. I’m still going to keep plugging away at “training” and I’ve accepted that the next few spring races are going to be really difficult to complete (TIV13 will be impossible, but that’s what it is anyway), and that I may have to spend more time riding shorter rides until I get back to multiple century shape. One of my goals for 2018 was to ride the entire Trans-America Route, and I joked about being the fattest person to finish that Route in under 45 days. That will probably push back to 2020, and I had better not be the fattest at that point.
This isn’t about a number. I’m not just bitching about my weight, this is a statement that I’m making a change for overall fitness. This is also a warning that you are probably going to have some opportunities to read about this portion of my life journey in the future. I have family and friends that would probably like to have me around for more than a few more years. I’ve got BIKES TO RIDE DAMMIT, and so much more life to live, adventures to uh…adventure. I’ve discovered the root of the problem, a root to which I’ve been turning a blind eye, and it’s time to choose life over just living. There’s a difference.