My Story Can Be Yours, By Summer

My Story Can Be Yours was the first post I wrote for this site on March 21st, 2016. Re-reading it I’m amazed at the strength I found at a very low time, one of the lowest, in my life. It was a dark cell padded with my own body fat that I encased myself in caused by events that can still haunt me if I let them. The fight was bloody hard but worth it!

It took time to work and many times I wanted to quit. I had pain, falls off my bike, cold wet weather that I wanted to avoid and that was just while riding my bicycle. My knees hurt so bad. Coming off of the anti-depressants and sleeping meds was added icing on the bad news cake. Withdrawal added to my eating and sleeping problems.  I was tired of being tired, watching what I ate, waking up sore, and was a moody mess.

From hard times comes real strengths. The kind that stays with you for life.

I’m not here to tell you I have a miracle diet that’s going to make you lose that stubborn weight and keep it off this time. I’m not here to tell you that riding your bicycle is the only thing you’ll need to do to be in shape. There’s no fasting, smoothie drink, pills or treatment that will give you the health you seek. I am here to tell you that once your mind is made up and your body follows it becomes a way of life that will transform you into the best you can be, turning your real age backward.

On February 20th I hit a milestone. My anniversary of biking every other day for 2 years! What I learned in that first year saved my life and sanity. By continuing what I learned through maintenance I became good at it and have kept my weight within 4 pounds of my target weight continuing my healthy journey.

I sleep like a baby, have energy to spare, my memories good, my hair, teeth, and skin are great, my BMI is normal, and I’m limber and strong for my age of 63. In my case, I’ve found the fountain of youth, the missing piece to everyone’s weight-loss puzzle but completing the puzzle is only the start. My life itself hasn’t changed much but my outlook has and that’s made all of the difference.

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This was me in 2016, I had already lost 30 pounds through dieting alone but it wasn’t enough. I was around 170 and you can see the fat on my body.

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Me on my anniversary ride yesterday at 138 pounds. Both my bicycle and I have gone through many changes. Even with my jacket on you can see my bicycle legs and checking out my featured image you can see the fat is gone! Even my workout clothes are smaller and I can wear what I want.

Now that I’ve done it I’d like to help you do it. That’s why I’ve come up with (for lack of a better title) The Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change. Once you make these changes in your life I guarantee that you will lose weight, feel better and be in better shape no matter what age you are. My story could be yours by this summer we have a 3 month start.

The Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change is a 3 part system that addresses more than your diet. We will look at how you eat, how you sleep and rework how you feel about exercise. It is a lifestyle change that will stay with you, meaning once you drop the weight you’ll keep it off. There is nothing fast or easy about doing this, work in equals work out but you will be the best you can be and it gets easier as you go.

Bicycling is a great exercise choice for people of all ages. As long as you have your doctor’s ok it’s actually an aerobic exercise you can do while sitting on a seat. The bicycle isn’t just for the city streets anymore they take you on nature trails and more. There are all kinds of bicycles including recumbent bikes (where you have 3 wheels and lay back) so there really is a bike for everyone. Riding a bicycle isn’t rocket science almost anyone can learn and get comfortable within 6 months. There are also stationary bikes at the local gym.

I think America has a health crisis. Children are fat because they have fat lazy parents. More American’s are overweight than ever and have all of the health problems that come with that choice. I think America has become lazy, fat and crazy. (I used to be all 3.)

We don’t have much time. My next post will introduce my Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change and how we can start to bring about those changes that will help you eat right, sleep well, lose weight and keep it off. This will be the last time you ever have to diet.

Repeat after me, “I will lose weight and be healthier starting this summer!”

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You Are Never Too Old To Ride

I’ve heard a lot of excuses when I ask people why they don’t try cycling for exercise but a big excuse is age. People think they’re too old to bike and that’s just sad. I see people biking who are much older than me (I’m 63) and they swear by it. Once more, they’re healthier than their non-biking counterparts still getting aerobic exercise well into their 80’s and keeping their cores strong.

That handsome fellow in the featured image next to me is Dave, he’s 83 and still going strong. We’ve been biking together occasionally for the last 2 years after meeting on the trail. After seeing me this year me he told me he was impressed with how I look and how my biking has improved since last year. Music to my ears I worked hard for it.

I have a good friend in Oakland, CA whose approaching 70 and he’s been riding for decades. He belongs to the Oakland Yellow Jackets who host rides and more. If you go to the website you’ll see photos of him. He keeps up with the younger riders and is an impressive hill climber.

These are but a few people enjoying the benefits of cycling into old age. Biking has kept us all looking good, moving well and thinking fast. Depending on your comfort level and skill set there is a bike out there that will fit you, personality and all. So what’s stopping you?

Your health is everything!

Most older Americans fear:

  • dementia
  • diabetes
  • heart problems
  • hormones
  • stroke/blood clots
  • heart attacks
  • high blood pressure
  • bad joints/wear and tear
  • falls/bad balance
  • loss of bone density/breaking bones
  • being overweight

If you haven’t figured it out already most of these (if not genetic) are caused by being overweight and spending hours sitting. New studies show that sitting for hours on end is as bad as smoking cigarettes and even modest exercise may not be good enough to combat it. And that’s not all!

As a fellow American, I think we should be ashamed because we are fat when compared to other countries. Roughly two-thirds of adults, nearly 30% of children are overweight or obese.  The numbers continue to rise despite interests in eating better, diet and exercise fads.

Not everyone who has these serious health problems is overweight but the majority are. Even a few extra pounds tipping the scale can be the culprit that’s making you sick. Being overweight could “turn on” your uncle’s bad genes you’re worried about having.

Being fat causes illness.

Being heavy can affect many things you don’t think about:

  • the way you move
  • the way you dress
  • mood/depression
  • skin and hair
  • your back and joints
  • your pain level
  • quality of sleep
  • energy level
  • self-worth
  • relationships

 

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Me in 2015.

In 2015 at 198 pounds and terribly depressed I finally got fed up with myself starting a diet of 1,200 calories a day. I needed both knees replaced and they always hurt. I was having some problems with vertigo, I walked with a cane and couldn’t walk very far. I had a lot of falls.

When I look at this photo it’s still a little painful, I was overweight and covered in fat. I thought I was doing well at this time and only fooling myself. When I went to the doctor my heart would be racing and I had to have EKGs. Heart problems were around the corner and my father had adult-onset diabetes.

I needed to lose weight and I had some hard places to lose it in, like my arms, waist and thighs. I could hold my stomach in both hands, I had back fat that looked terrible in a bra and I was desperate to get rid of it.

That’s when I dragged out my old Schwinn and decided to ride it every other day. It was the hardest thing I ever did-not riding the bike-but making myself do it.

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Me in 2017.

Almost 2 years after “getting serious” I’m proud of myself. My hard work paid off and the changes are remarkable. My doctor just told me I don’t necessarily need knee replacement now because it might be a tendon problem (being treated.) I am strong and so is my heart. The only medicine I take is for my thyroid and sometimes a pain pill. My pain and mood have been much better.

I realized that if I could do this by myself that anyone could. I did it by eating good food, working on getting a better nights sleep and riding my bike regularly. I followed my diet and rode my bike every other day increasing my miles per ride. Soon I could ride up hills, go further and with my experience came confidence. It feels great!

You are never too old to ride a bicycle.

During my rides, I meet and see lots of older people on bicycles. Some of them look comfortable but I still see beginners and reflect back on my first months of riding after years of neglect. I may not know them but feel proud of them for being brave and tough enough to get out there and do it.

Always check with your doctor first, but riding a bike is the best way to get in shape especially for older people. It’s the easiest aerobic exercise you can do (sitting on a saddle and moving your legs up and down) and there’s no need to target any body part because it works on your core taking fat off just about everywhere. It’s one of the top calorie burning exercises, you’re playing outside and if done regularly you won’t have to diet again.

A word to all of you not lucky enough to be able to ride year round or afraid to ride a traditional bicycle outside there are spin classes (riding a stationary bicycle) offered everywhere. There are many kinds of classes to choose from like Soul Cycle and you can find stationary bikes at the gym. Most have recumbent and regular style bikes.

Take your time and start slow.

Remember, I have very bad knees and all it did was make them much better. I can walk 4 miles easy and no more cane or falls. I had problems with my back and once I learned to relax in the saddle that went away too. My heart is strong and my doctors are patting me on the back. I have a new body and attitude.

Don’t be afraid of falling your confidence level will grow and being nervous doesn’t help anything. Take your time and start slow, it took you time to get out of shape and it will take time to get back in shape. You will need to work on your balance, be patient with yourself.

Rest on your days off that’s what they’re for. Eat healthy foods and get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night. The calorie burn and weight-loss start immediately!

Riding outside is much healthier than spinning getting sunshine is an important source of vitamin D for our bodies and balancing a bicycle while riding is a core strengthening exercise. Avoiding bumps and maneuvering a bike around is an important core exercise that includes strengthening the arms. You have to steer a bicycle that helps the arms and overall our whole bodies get into the act.

My rides differ from day to day and I will ride outside even in the rain but if it got too cold for me I’d consider spinning. It’s the next best thing. If you wanted to try spinning before biking outside I’d advise you to get a bike and ride outside first anyway. I know you’ll fall in love especially after seeing the effects it has on you after 6 months. I’ve found it to be a fountain of youth and so amazing which is why I do this website, I want others to feel this great.

If I could I’d get everyone on a bicycle. You don’t have to hunch over the handlebars or get an expensive bike either. Make sure and get the right bicycle for you and it will be the last weight-loss equipment you’ll ever buy. No matter what age you are. You are never too old to ride a bicycle and it’s never too late to get healthy!

Thinner, taller, faster, stronger!

My Bicycle

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My Bicycle

Everywhere I go
it goes too
it keeps me healthy
I’m never blue.

Two rubber wheels
they take me far
there’s no pollution
unlike a car.

It feels like flying
my spirit’s free
wind in my hair
the birds chase me.

It’s good for most everyone
young or gray
practice makes perfect
today’s the day!

My bicycle
can’t be outdone
it keeps me young
while having fun.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2017

I wrote this poem for the 200th anniversary of the bicycle. Had to share it here with you. I took the featured image in a mirror door that I pass during my rides on the Bay Trail. The second is a photograph I used an art filter on.

Visit more of my poetry at Capricious Poet.