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I kept a food journal. It was amazing to see how much I ate! And once again, having a written record was motivation to do a good job. I don't want to eat crap if I'm gonna have to write it down.

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Calorie counter: It was amazing to see how much I ate! (Photo: Eloy Anzola)

I paid attention. I tried to get a grip on how much food goes into a 2,000 calorie day. After using the food calculator only a few times, I had enormously expanded my knowledge about calories. Previously, I had no idea how much food I was eating or should be eating. Now when I look at a plate of food, I have a general sense of whether it's way too much or too little.

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We've reached the midpoint of the year, and with a lull in my racing schedule I'm enjoying some time off the bike this week. Taking a break is about more than just physical rest; it's a relief from all of the stresses that come with travel and competition. Chief among them is the energy and discipline that go toward maintaining a consistent diet, which can be especially challenging when my surroundings and daily food needs change constantly.

A Pro Cyclist Writes About Eating Healthy Losing Weight

What I learned is that weight control is, for me, more about portions than anything else. I had always avoided junk food but never really paid attention to how much I was eating. All Nike Black Long Sleeve Shirt I knew was that I was exercising like crazy, and I didn't want to be malnourished. But I had absolutely no idea how many calories I was consuming or burning. So I took a few important steps to motivate and educate myself:

Cyclists obsess about weight because of a simple rule of physics: Light equals fast. For the industry, rich people, and the equipment obsessed, this provides a convenient rationale to invest thousands of dollars in flashy ultra lightweight equipment. In my case, it means I've acquired a taste for diet soda and often order from the kids' menu.

As I psych myself up for the end of my break and a return to my Spartan eating habits, I think back to the first time I really tinkered with diet and weight. In the off season before starting with Team Mountain Khakis, I shed an exhilarating 15 pounds, even though my weight had been the same for the previous decade.

Nike Black Long Sleeve Shirt

Nike Black Long Sleeve Shirt

I counted calories. About once a week not every day I would add all the calories up from that day's food journal. There are a lot of really complicated online calorie calculators out there, but an internet search for "calories in ______" is nearly as effective. It was interesting to see how quickly the numbers added up and how just a few seemingly innocent culprits (like almond butter) were spoiling my healthy eating habits.

I weighed myself every day and wrote the number down. Some folks will tell you not to do this because you'll become neurotic and lose motivation. Maybe. But in my case it was a daily reminder that managing my weight is an important goal, and seeing the series of each day's numbers was just the accountability I needed. I also got a sense of how much day to day weight fluctuation is normal.

I learned general principles and didn't get obsessed with details. I used to work with a group of management consultants who preached the 80 20 rule: For any problem you're trying to solve, the first 20 percent of work is where you'll realize 80 percent of the solution. Beyond the initial effort, you'll see far fewer rewards for your work. Rather than getting a PhD in nutrition science and counting every calorie, doing some basic research took me from zero awareness to having pretty good control of my diet.

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that my hunger mechanism overcompensates for activity and that eating the right amount of food usually leaves me just slightly hungry. I also learned that it isn't difficult to consume as many calories as you burn during an enormous ride, so exercising like crazy doesn't justify eating as much as you want.

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Nike Black Long Sleeve Shirt

you go, this American pastime resembles fast food in the effect it can have on your waistline. Unfortunately, I've been a regular customer at the all you can eat buffet for a few months now.

I also paid attention to what the right amount of food feels like how full I should feel after meals Nike Dri Fit Long Sleeve Hoodie

and how hungry I should feel before. In my case, I learned Nike Dri Fit Hoodie Womens

Here's why: A hard 90 minute crit feels just as tiring as a steady daylong training ride, but it requires significantly less energy. A mere PowerBar, bottle of drink mix, and recovery shake is usually enough food to offset the calories burned during the typical crit. However, achy legs and feeling exhausted often prompt me to substitute the kids' menu with a full plate of food, even when I don't need it.

Even so, I'm coming off this last block of racing a couple of pounds heavier than I'd like. I've been doing mostly criteriums, which you could consider the fast food of bike racing. Not only are crits quick and easy to prepare, stimulating to the senses, and similar wherever Nike Windrunner Red Navy

Nike Black Long Sleeve Shirt

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