Keep off the cookies!

That's what our fitness director at work named a fun contest, that had the goal of preventing us from gaining the 3 pounds of weight the average American gains over the holidays. My goal was simply to maintain my weight, remaining calorie neutral from Thanksgiving through New Year's.

How did I do? Not well! The contest was named very appropriately; I love cookies even more than beer! Call me Cookie Monster.

The director weighed us and did a body-fat analysis before and after the contest period. I went from 151.5 pounds and 6.4% body fat, on 11/23, to 155 pounds and 8.4% body fat, on 1/7. Sigh; we hosted too many parties. Parties lead to, well, partying... and leftovers. Lots of leftovers. Lots of leftover cookies too. We made too much food, visitors left more food behind and I hate wasting food. A very bad combo!

Now I have over 4 pounds to lose! Some of it is water, but there is some fat too. I've already made progress. And a few weeks of self discipline should do the trick.

My usual method of losing weight involves eating well before big rides, but eating as little as I can stand at other times. "Before" means dinner the night before my ride, or breakfast. Not both. For 3- or 4-hour rides I bring food... but try not to eat it unless I can tell I'm getting hypoglycemic or if I can't ride in my targeted power level. For rides under 2 hours I try to eat very little or even nothing.

Using this approach works well for me. I consistently do all of my workouts, hit all of my training goals and recover enough to be ready for my next workout. I attribute this to my efficiency, which may help me burn more fat instead of muscle glycogen, and to my decision to train in the "sweet spot" of my training zones, instead of trying to hit higher levels all the time. I may not be fast but I am consistent!

I recently signed up for my first race of the 2010 season, Snelling Road Race, so that will motivate me to stay on track!