ExperiencePlus! - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Bicycle Training and Fitness

A Guide to Weight Loss and Fun by Rick Price, Phd.

by Rick Price - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Guide to Weight Loss and Fun by Rick Price, Phd.

Ok, so this month’s book review is more than just a book review. Let’s call it the ExperiencePlus! Guide to Lifestyle Change. It includes:

 

If you just want the book reviews, click here.

 

Phase 1: Select a Weight Loss Program

My story began when I found I had to struggle to keep up with my 114-pound wife on my bicycle. At 228 pounds I shouldn’t have a problem, right? Then I found I was having trouble keeping up with my walking buddies climbing to 11,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. Never happened before.

 

 

"What’s going on?" I asked my doctor. "Age and weight," he replied, glumly. "You’ve got to reduce one or the other."

 

"I hate diets," I told him, "but the Atkins diet is kind of interesting – all that forbidden food."

 

 

"Give it a try," he responded. So here we go.

 

Those of you who know me know that I love to eat and to travel, mainly bicycling and walking. You also know that I store most of the extra calories I consume for use at some future time. I guess that time is now!

 

 

Book Review Number One:

 

Andrew Weil’s Eating Well For Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating

(Knopf; 1st edition – March 7, 2000)

 

I began thinking about all this while reading Andrew Weil. This is a highly regarded book in the health and nutrition field. Weil addresses the following questions:

 

 

  • What are the proportions of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in an ideal diet?

     

  • Should you change these proportions if you want to lose or gain weight?

     

  • Are there better and worse carbohydrates, fats or proteins and what should the proportions be?

     

 

Weil writes about basic human nutrition and he identifies a handful of "ideal" diets. How about the "paleolithic diet:" wild game, some fruits and nuts in season and very few grains or carbohydrates? The only problem with this diet, he points out, is that stone-age people rarely lived long enough on it to die from serious degenerative diseases. In short, if the diet doesn’t kill you a mastodon will.

 

Maybe you’d prefer the "raw foods diet, the traditional Japanese diet, the ‘Asian’ diet, the vegan diet, or the ‘Mediterranean diet’?" All of these, of course, should be contrasted with the "couch potato diet, the YUPPY diet, and the SUV diet" (are YOU guilty of parking as close to the health club door as you can possibly park when you drive over for your winter workout?)

 

In short, read Weil’s book if you have an interest in this arena. He won’t give you answers, but he’ll sure raise questions and give you a lot to think about.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I have joined the Atkins craze. And just as you’ve read elsewhere, I find that it works. Will it kill me? I don’t know yet. But I’m losing weight. Why have I done this? Because Andrew Weil taught me that I have what he calls "frugal genes," genes that, combined with a slow metabolism, store away all available calories for use at some future date. And because my doctor told me to lose some weight and that the Atkins diet was a fine one to try. So pick up Dr. Atkins’ book and have a look. If it fits your needs, give it a try.

 

Now – you need to understand that the last time I weighed 180 lbs. was when I was 20. That was 35 years ago. Since then my frugal genes have been storing pasta, pastries, chocolate chip cookies, and great homemade bread away in preparation for the next ice age. December 1 I had achieved 228 lbs in my effort to store pasta and potatoes.

 

So along comes Dr. Atkins. Since December 1, I’ve been eating protein and a few vegetables and sautéed mushrooms. I have limited my carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day. That’s 2-3 cups of lettuce and a handful of spinach daily, maybe some marinated artichoke hearts, a few olives, and a rare tomato. I’m down to 198 pounds as I write this on February 1st.

 

Have I been starving? No. Actually, I’ve been having fun eating so many of the legendary "forbidden fruits!" I like the pork chops, the steak, and the roasted chicken. And I’ve gotten used to the heavy table cream (no carbs) in my morning espresso. And I’m becoming addicted to decaf English breakfast tea with whipping cream.

 

Will I stick with Dr. Atkins’ diet? Yes, for a few more months. Here’s how it works.

 

Atkins wants you to understand your own personal metabolism by controlling and limiting carbohydrate intake for two weeks minimum to however long is necessary for you – two months to two years to see results. This is his phase one.

 

Then he wants you to supplement the sparse carbo intake by adding carbohydrates slowly on a weekly basis so you can determine what amount is appropriate for your body and your metabolic rate. This is phase two. Phase three involves identifying the proper balances of fats, carbs and proteins (back to Weil above) for your own lifestyle and nutritional needs.

 

 

Atkins’ premise is that once you’ve gone through this entire program and developed some good eating habits and a good exercise program you’ll be on your way to better nutritional awareness and an ability to control what you eat, how you exercise and how you feel. Makes sense to me. Care to join me?

 

 

Phase 2: Exercise as a part of the ExperiencePlus! Lifestyle Makeover

 

I pedal ten to twenty miles every day, year-round. And when I don’t, I walk or exercise on a stationary bicycle. In winter I’m often limited by boredom to ten miles in the basement (unless there is a really exciting college football game on, in which case I can stand forty-five minutes or more).

 

With my Atkins diet I find that my minimum ten-mile ride combined with my frugal genes keeps me about even. When I add another ten miles or walk 2-3 miles, I begin to take off the pounds. So I’ve upped my exercise regime just a little.

 

 

If you need an exercise program call or write ExperiencePlus! and ask for our professionally designed bicycling or walking fitness plans. These twelve-week programs were designed explicitly for us by nationally known fitness experts Joe Friel (bicycling) and Therese Iknoian (walking). We’ll send you a customized fitness program geared to your age (over or under 50), your current fitness level (based on how much you currently exercise each week), and based on fitness goals.

 

Phase 3: Ten Years’ worth of Vacations

 

Your reward for losing weight and getting in shape in Phases one and two and part of our full service makeover is that you get to take ten vacations with us over the next decade. To encourage you to do this we will:

 

 

  1. Sell you four great adventure vacations in your choice of eight countries around the word.

     

  2. Discount your fifth tour 50% just to thank you for choosing ExperiencePlus!

     

  3. Sell you four more great vacations at a reasonable price.

     

  4. Give you your 10th tour free of charge!

     

 

How to start? Go get Andrew Weil’s or Dr. Atkins books today, call us for your exercise program, and begin searching for your first tour right now. See you in Spain in April? (Click here to start exploring our Tour Finder!)

 

Rick Price - Rick Price, and his wife, Paola Malpezzi Price, founded Bike Across Italy in 1972, Italian Specialty Tours, Inc. in 1985 and ExperiencePlus! Specialty Tours, Inc. in 1993, though they sold the latter over to their daughters Monica and Maria Elena in 2008. Rick holds a Ph.D. in Geography and has designed bike tours all over the world. Finally, in 2009 he realized a lifelong dream of becoming a certified “League Cycling Instructor,” with the League of American Bicyclists. He is now Safe Cycling Coordinator for the Bike Co-op in Fort Collins, Colorado where he also writes a monthly column on Smart Cycling for the Fort Collins, Coloradoan. If you would like to contact Rick or Paola you can e-mail them at Rick(a)ExperiencePlus.com.