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Wade on the Trail with his dog

Thanks to hours away from the fridge while pedaling this summer, Professor Alan Sivell started the school year almost 30 lbs. lighter than he did last year!

By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger Alan Sivell

Well into my 30s and 40s, I still ate like a teenager. Plenty of pasta (seconds, even), large combo platters (more chips, please) and dessert, which was never skipped (Whiteys, anyone?).

Why not? I figured I could always run it off … which was only kind of true.

The weight I gained during fall and winter I had to try to pound off every spring with exercise.

In fact, my weight has been up and down most of my life, something I inherited from my parents who were on-again, off-again dues-paying Weight Watcher members.

Times change – and so does a body’s ability to lose weight

By my early 50s, I was plagued with terrible, sleep-disturbing knee pain. I eventually needed total knee replacements (thanks, QC ORA!) … and a new lifestyle.

This year, I decided to really take control of my weight, my diet and not let up. I was jumped-started motivationally by a Biggest Loser-style contest run by my former St. Ambrose student and now Bettendorf police office, Josh Paul.

To do well in the contest, I knew I had to manage every meal, every bit of food. Leave nothing to chance. And I hate that. Planning and food discipline have never been strong parts of my lifestyle. To be successful, though, I knew I had to change.

And I did.

The contest began on January 1st and by April 1, I had gone from 191 lbs. to 172. Once school got out in May, serious training for RAGBRAI got me down to 164 lbs. I lost another 2 lbs. on the ride itself.

RAGBRAI training paid off … big

Again, exercise played a part in my weight loss. Training for RAGBRAI covered lots of days and lots of miles and lots of time.

Although I often enjoyed (and occasionally hated) the necessary 4-hour training rides, the riding was only one component getting me into decent shape. But – and this is key – those hours in the saddle also meant hours away from the fridge.

I have FINALLY realized that you need to exercise control over your food to shape your body FIRST. Then, you can exercise your body into better shape. Or, put another way, first you lose weight with better food habits AND then exercise. As we age, it’s not sustainable the other way around.

I’ll post about the contest and my plan next month.