Riding to Lose: Paul Prosser is Making it Happen


Talk about Making it Happen, Paul Prosser writes about how riding his bike and a healthy diet enabled him to lose 35 pounds (along with his belly and excess fat), to get to a healthy 22.1 BMI.

Riding to Lose

by Paul Prosser

In February, after an adult conversation with my wife Susan, I started thinking real hard about my body and how I viewed it.  My 55th birthday was approaching fast and I was thinking, “An over-burdened 6’-1” frame with an ample and sagging front porch is not the architecture of longevity.”

So I took stock.  Emotional eating is my number one problem.  I eat when I’m happy, stressed, depressed or angry.  Every emotion had a food as a compliment or comfort.  Portion control was my second big issue.  Too much of a good thing quickly becomes a bad thing.  Number three was too many fatty and carb-heavy foods, two few fruits and vegetables.  Number four was eating too fast for my body to recognize it was full.

Somewhere I read that savoring every bite of food, letting it linger in your mouth as you chew it slowly, helps your body send the appropriate “fullness” signals to your brain.  So I tried that and the additional suggestion that you should think about the source of the food, the people who helped produce or cook it while savoring.  I know this sounds crazy but thinking about the people and the process led me to appreciate the fact that, unlike many, I wasn’t risking hunger every day.  Savoring and appreciating food made eating much more enjoyable.

Calmness slowly became the emotion I associated with food because I was full with less food and, I took the time to enjoy it.  And, I decided that if food was in my mouth longer, it had better be flavorful and healthy.  Since Susan and I are pretty handy in the kitchen, we started spending more time cooking and less time eating out.

Net result: healthy, tasty food + smaller portions + emotional control = more enjoyment and fewer calories per day.  Bonus: more time cooking with Susan.

A friend of mine was asked “ How did you lose that weight?” He replied, “Move more, eat less.”  For me, the “eat less” part of the saying was addressed by savoring, the “move more” part of it is bike related.

Riding my bike is a mental health issue for me.  If I don’t ride I become mentally unstable (cranky old man unstable, not “stabby” unstable).  My wife prefers the non-cranky me.  So when I ride it’s a win-win for us.

Riding with the purpose of losing weight and increasing mental well-being changed the way I approach cycling.  My riding before was confined to three or four rides a week of dubious quality.  Two of those were 20-mile long weekday rides, one was a 40-50 mile Saturday ride and Sunday I “might” ride 25-30 miles if I felt like it.  Most Sundays I didn’t.  That added up to 90 to 120 miles a week, a lot of it at an easier pace and no real purpose but the delivery of endorphins to my brain.

February’s epiphany got me thinking, I didn’t want to just ride a lot and feel worn down all the time.  I wanted to be strong AND fit.  So in about three months time I slowly worked my way up to a 160 to 170 mile per week schedule.

This is the schedule now.  Tuesdays and Thursdays, I ride 20 flat miles at a 120-130 BPM average heart rate.  Wednesdays I ride 30 flat miles at a 135-140 BPM average heart rate.  Saturday is my long ride, 55-60 miles with some hills back at a 135 BPM average heart rate.  Sunday is a 35-40 mile ride at a 130 BPM average heart rate with a little less hill work.

In each of those rides I try to hit the 150-160 BPM range in random intervals.  For 3-5 minutes I’ll go hard on hills or long straits (tailwinds make them more fun).  Sometimes it really hurts, other times I’m killin’ it.

Every day, I stretch post-ride and do some yoga moves for about a half hour.  Monday and Friday, I stretch and do core exercises for about an hour.  Most of the yoga and core work was taken from Bicycling Magazine’s web site.

The end result is not just physical fitness, but peace of mind.

Yes I’ve lost 35 pounds, all of the belly and excess fat to get to a healthy 22.1 BMI.  My abs are visible for the first time in …um…ever.  At 165 lbs, I can safely say I’ve never been this light since long before I reached my final 6’-1” height.  But, those are only physical effects of examining and correcting years of ruinous behavior.  A sustainable physical edifice now houses a more peaceful mind.

The compliments and surprise on the faces of people who have known me for years are great mental rewards. (I’m still learning its okay to accept compliments.) After the wake up call conversation with my wife Susan and the inner struggle with my body image, my self-esteem is on the rise.  The fact that I look pretty good naked helps, but that is not what brings the most inner peace.

What brings inner peace is knowing, I did this myself.  Yes, Susan asked me some tough questions, but she didn’t hold my hand, design a program and monitor me.  Controlling all the moving parts and motivating myself was my responsibility.  My peace now flows from my accomplishment.  My joy comes from riding up and down hills, faster than ever before, on the Cervelo R3 I bought in celebration.

More Information: If you’d like to read more about how to use cycling and good nutrition to lose fat and trim up, download the min-e-book that Kelli and I put out a little while back.

Download Cycling for Optimal Weight.

Enjoy Your Ride

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15 Responses to “ Riding to Lose: Paul Prosser is Making it Happen ”

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  5. IWearSpandex on October 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Paul, awesome job! That is a great, inspirational story. I appreciate you sharing it, but I’m sure it wasn’t difficult to get you to share. I bet you wanted to shout it from the rooftops, as they say. One of my favorite aspects of your story is your age. Not to make you feel old or anything, but you are proof that cycling is great at any age. I continue to believe that age brings smarter and more efficient cyclists, which means that you can kick my butt on hills, flats, and everywhere in between. Great job!

    • Paul Prosser on October 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks. I take great pleasure when I put the hurt on guys 10 or 20 years younger than me. That’s the rooftop shout that means the most to me. You can call me old but you can’t say I’m weak or slow:)

  6. Shawn McAfee on October 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Wow Paul! That is very awesome, congrats on the weight loss. Road cycling is great aerobic activity, working in the intervals for some anaerobic bursts is a great way to increase the fat loss.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. Paul Prosser on October 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thaks to everyone for the positive feedback and comments. Unbeknownst to me I was using the exact same methods mentioned in the ebook linked to this article. I’m independent proof that those training methods work

  8. Emily Smith on October 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Very inspirational! I had to share this one on Facebook. Congratulations Paul — you look great!

  9. Adam on October 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing this story. What a nice accomplishment, Paul.

  10. Jen on October 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    You look great Paul. You have motivated me to keep on working at reaching my weight goals. I’ve been cycling and watching what I eat for the past year and I’m getting closer but still a long way from where I want to be. I am going to keep on rolling along (forgive my pun).

  11. Anthony Lussier on October 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

    There’s nothing better that I like to hear than someone bettering their life with cycling and proper food choices. And I love that you’re doing yoga. So many people under appreciate the value of yoga and what it can do for you. Nice job Paul!

  12. Andrew on October 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Great job Paul! You’re ahead of me on this, but I’ve found I loose most weight when riding 30 miles fasted and at 60-70% of my maximum heart rate – apparently this is the range where the body can be conditioned to burn fat directly. Once you go above that, you are onto burning carbs.

  13. Brent on October 15, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Good job Paul. What a great achievement.

  14. Nancy on October 15, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Wow those pictures really tell the story don’t they? Congratulations Paul your achievements are wonderful. You have helped motivate me to get my own weight loss story in progress. Thank you for providing this e-book as well.

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