Slim despite fab food on our bike holidays?

January 19, 2014 by
Filed under: Foodie cycling holidays, France 

So how did I lose that weight with all that fab food?

So how did I lose that weight with all that fab food?

Well first some history.

Up to about aged thirteen I was about the same height and weight as everyone else my age.

But from then onwards most of my friends grew taller – and continued to grow. I just grew until I was nearly five foot seven inches – and stayed there. Then the weight started to creep on, even though I was very fit.

A typical week for me was getting up early for a paper round by bike, then bike to school and back again. Lunchtimes in the summer involved running around the athletics track with weights around my wrists and ankles sometimes. This was supposed to make me faster when removed? I was running competitively for the county and higher. I was also in the school rugby team and playing at weekends football (soccer). But, like most youndg people, I ate a lot of chocolate and sweets together with fizzy drinks. I also drank quite a lot of alcohol after leaving school and did a lot less sport. Then I joined a local semi-pro football team.

A typical week then (age around 19):

Tuesday go for a thirty minute solo run as a warm up for training with Saturday team, followed by five a side.
Wednesday go for an hour run (with others) as a warm up training for my Sunday morning team followed by five a side.
Thursday go for a thirty minute solo run as a warm up for training with Saturday team followed by five a side.
Friday play five a side with a work team.
Saturday a full soccer match.
Sunday a full soccer match.
Plus if the games were fairly local I would cycle to them.
In the summer when no football I did more running and cycling.
Of course I was still drinking beer….

John in 1971 - too much fab food.

John in 1971 but very fit?













I never lost any weight from when I was aged fourteen! At one point I even went vegetarian and gave up alcohol for seven years –  still no weight loss.

I’ve continued to play football, run and cycle throughout most of my life only giving up five a side aged about fifty. This was not because I wasn’t fit enough just that it was interfering with my triathlon training!

When I was training for triathlons I took it very seriously (I used to train about twenty two hours a week plus races and at the beginning football) I kept a spreadsheet of all my food and drink intake. But of course I had read all the current info and was carbo loading, having isotonic drinks during training and races to replace water quicker? Also protein replacement and recovery drinks. I still wasn’t losing weight and I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I had a thirty four (five maybe as everything felt tight) inch waist and could not reduce any more. I wasn’t overweight – but I was definitely ‘chunky’!

In September 2006 we moved to France and I carried on running and biking but not as much as before. I put on a bit more weight as I was finishing off the croissants and pain au raisins left over from the guests’ breakfast! Plus the local wine – well it is Malbec! Aileen is also a very, very, good cook and we were both eating pretty much the same  fab food as she cooked for our bike holiday guests.

So just over two years ago Aileen started reading about the Paleo diet and lifestyle on the Mark Sisson Blog  and it all seemed to make a lot of sense to us. Plus I was pretty impressed by his results!

Mark Sisson aged 58 fit and different fab food!

Mark Sisson aged 58













So we started following the Paleo diet.

I remember when I was younger if you were putting on a bit of weight people would say “cut down on the bread and potatoes.” Of course now there is also pasta and rice, pizza and pies, plus a plethora of fast food and packaged goodies everywhere you turn.

Basically on the Paleo diet, you cut out the starchy foods and all grains. I don’t believe we are designed to eat grains.

The first three months I just ate what Aileen cooked for lunch and evening meals keeping my muesli or porridge for breakfast. But I started to lose weight and my waist started to decrease. I also discovered that if I ground up some nuts and added yogurt it replaced my muesli and tasted better – so I kept that up too.

So now I weigh about 150lbs/68 kilos and am a 32in/81cm waist. The slimmest and lightest I’ve been since I was 14!

More details on next post?

Author:  John Despard


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