Saturday, May 06, 2006

Losing weight, and bicycles

I've been trying to lose weight since the beginning of April. The incentive was S.'s wedding -- I didn't want the double chin to show up the way it did in my middle sis's wedding. Not that I'm anywhere near as heavy as I was then -- I was almost up to 200 lbs then. I lost about 75 lbs on Atkins/Protein Power about 7 (?) years ago, but regained a bit of weight and stabilized around 154 / 156 lbs for the last few years. This weight is low enough that I look presentable -- I was even called "skinny" by a coworker, but I think that's mostly a matter of reference -- but that chin thing still shows up in photos.

Our family has a problem with chins. If we put on even a little weight, we get sort of a half-chin (not a double chin, per se) that shows up unflatteringly in photos. I figured that if I lost at least 5 lbs between the beginning and end of April, the chin thing would be mitigated at least a little. I did manage to lose 6 lbs over the course of April, and now am down another 2 lbs, which brings me to 148 lbs. Don't get me wrong -- this has been difficult. And I hope I can maintain the willpower to lose more weight now that the wedding is over.

What I've been doing: I've been restricting my calorie intake to as low as I feel is reasonable and healthy, about 1200 cal. per day. I've also been trying to drink a lot more water, which does make one feel fuller (helps with the food cravings). But losing weight is tough; anyone who tells you differently or tries to make it seem easy is kidding.

According to this calculator, 148 lbs puts me within the healthy range (i.e., not "overweight") for my height. I'm happy about that. People generally don't believe me when I say I'm about 150 lbs., which means either that I carry it well, or that people have an unrealistic expectation of what 150 lbs looks like. I do need to get more exercize, though, since I don't get enough (aside from the occasional bout of gardening, which really is strenuous exercize but isn't something I do every day) and I've been feeling a bit lumpish lately. Which brings me to... bicycles.

I'll freely admit to being frugal, except when it comes to arts/crafts supplies and books. One reason I haven't bought a bike is that I wasn't sure I wanted to spend lots of money only to have it sit unused in the garage. (I'll also admit to being lazy.)

Well, our community yard sale was today, and I found -- a bike! Ok, two bikes. The mountain bike on the left was $10, and was so new that there were still nubs on the tires. The person selling it had bought it, then -- let it sit unused in their garage. For $10, I can afford to have it sitting unused in my garage and not feel guilty. I do intend to use it, however, and have already bought a bicycle helmet, for which I paid more than I paid for the bike (yes, that amuses me). I rode the new bike around the neighborhood today, and it works fine. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy biking.

The second bike was $5, and will be my "beater bike", if I keep it. I'm contemplating painting it and fitting it out with some old-fashioned bicycle baskets, and maybe using it as a WWII period bike. OTOH, I'm watching an actual period bike on Ebay that I would love to buy and restore.

The problem with riding bikes around here is that there really aren't a lot of suitable roads. I can ride around the neighborhood, and they've expanded the road from our subdivision out to the main road, including a bike path, but beyond that, my choices are a) a twisty, narrow two lane road on which people go too fast and don't look for bicycles; and b) a four-lane divided highway with good shoulders, but which is also dangerous because the traffic is fast (50 mph, but people routinely go much faster). They may eventually widen the former road, and it looks like they're adding a bike path where a new development is going in. Whether there will be a path between that development and ours is anyone's guess, though. I hope so, though -- I'd love to be able to bike to the grocery store or the library.

Update, 5/8: of course, it's raining today.


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