Friday, June 25, 2010

Dropping Lance in Stages

As Operation Losing Lance approaches the end of it’s first week, I want to share my approach to dropping a 7 time Tour de France winner from my body. If I sit here and ponder the loss of 156 lbs., The goal seems too big, I mean it’s enormous! I kinda want to go buy a huge bag of potato chips and cry. That would only make things worse, so I’ve broken down the goal into manageable chunks.

It’s a Grand Tour!

Pro bike races fall generally into three categories. One day classics, as the name implies, these races happen in a single day, Paris-Roubaix for example. These races are tough and usually present some unique challenge, whether it’s cobble stones, epic climbs or a very long distance. Another is a stage race. These are usually 5 - 7 day stage races. Think of the Tour of California. Some days are relatively easy, some days are very hilly and there is usually a day for the all out time trial effort. The third type is the Grand Tour. Think Tour de France. A 3 week long stage race where what matters most is endurance, your ability to recover, and a lot of strategy taking into consideration your strengths, weaknesses and the team that surrounds you. Operation Losing Lance is definitely a Grand Tour. It’s going to be long and endurance will be key. I know I’ll make mistakes. The key is to minimize them and recover.

So what’s the strategy going in? In order to make the ultimate goal of dropping 156 lbs. manageable, I’ve broken down the “race” into manageable 10% weight loss stages. In other words, starting at 330 lbs. the first stage will be completed when I drop 10% or 33 lbs. At this point I will weight 297 lbs. Stage 2 will be achieved when I lose 10% of that or 30 lbs (OK, 29.7 but I’m rounding up). You get the picture.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight you know that the first few pounds are somewhat easy to lose, you make a few changes, burn a few extra calories, and bam! The pounds come off. As you move along further, it gets harder. Chunking the overall goal into 10% stages presents a nice solution. I get to reach interim goals and celebrate progress each time having to lose fewer pounds. And I get to make changes to eating and exercise strategies for each stage. I’ve laid out my stages in the chart below:


10% weight loss

Weight goal for stage

Stage 1



Stage 2



Stage 3



Stage 4



Stage 5



Stage 6



l'm thinking that each stage will be marked in some way. Just like at the end of each stage there is a podium ceremony. Details to come, but I'm pretty sure Stage 6 will be celebrated with a nice new expensive carbon fiber bike of some sort like a Specialized Roubaix, but I haven't given it much thought.

How long is this going to take?

Most doctors and diet programs say that losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is the safest way to lose weight. My goal is an average of 2 to 3 pounds per week. So, if I’m dropping Lance (156.5 lbs) at 3 lbs. per week, it would take me roughly 52 weeks. At 2 lbs per week it’s a little over a year and a half. In a perfect world, that's my range. However, I know there will be plateaus and perhaps weeks when weight gain will happen. So I’m giving myself a range of 12 to 20 months.

I know this seems like a very long time to be “on a diet.” But as I said in my first post, diets don’t work. I’m not on a diet. I’m not doing anything drastic (in my own estimation) like a liquid diet, or a protein only diet or some sort of surgery. Those methods offer some great advantages, but also big disadvantages. And while they work for many, I don't think they are for me. I'm looking for a lifetime lifestyle change. Much like I did 9 years ago when I became a vegetarian, ok, technically a "pescaterian." This is about improving my own health. I'm following a middle path. Moderation as opposed to deprivation. My goal is to lose Lance, but more than that, to make the necessary changes in my life, so I never find him again. If this means it might take longer to drop him, so be it.

Saturday will mark the end of week 1. I’ll be posting a progress update probably on Sunday, since Molly and I will be on the road to Arizona on Saturday.

Ride On!

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