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The Secret to Weight Loss and Maintaining Your Target Weight

eebee's picture

Whilst snooping around the personal finance and get-out-of-debt blogs, I tapped into the personal weight-loss blogs. In following the ADHD links to the maze of other such webpages, I found some funny blog titles, like "Over 40, in debt and overweight". Yes, in 2007 there are countless people still struggling in vain to lose excess weight. They all seem to believe that food deprivation and other people's idea of exercise are the only solutions. Will this hopelessly cruel and debilitating cycle ever end?

I have the secret formula! Go yell about it, write a book, start a network of weightloss centers, I don't care, but for crying out loud let's get this out so we can all just get on with our lives and finally have a valid reason to ignore Tony Little, Bill Phillips, Kathy Smith and Oprah. Here it is:

A) Find an activity you are intrigued by or can see yourself getting passionate about* (see below for a list of ideas).

B) Treat yourself to proper gear and professional instruction.

C) Sign up to take part in a competition or event.

That's it.

I could preach here singlemindedly about the benefits of becoming a speedskater, whether you're 33 or 64 years old, but I do know that it's not for everyone, just as I know teamsports are not for me. This is 2007 and the internet is here, so the world of sports and fitness activities is at your fingertips. Gone are the days when it wasn't 'ladylike' to do sports, or that anybody can seriously get away with saying things like 'Well I'm just not athletic...'. Ironically, all those people I ever heard utter that last quote absolutely loved to dance! These are the same type of people who watch me skate and in amazement gasp "I could never do that! I'd just fall!". Funny thing is, I watch in amazement and jealousy while others dance, and gasp "I could never move like that! I'd get laughed off the dancefloor!".

If you're out of shape, overweight, depressed and can't get up off the couch let alone out of the house, here are some thought-provoking questions:

- Can you remember an activity you were interested in or took part in as a child, but never really got serious about? Maybe your parents were too tired or poor to support your interest and your school didn't offer anything you liked? 

- As an adult have you ever felt your heart soar from watching an olympic or extreme sport? Did you look for a local club to join, only to find nothing and give up, thinking things like "How stupid of me to even think something I liked existed here!" and "My parents were right. I should just sit down and shut up"?

- Do you let obstacles such as your kids, time, guilt, shame, difficult websites, lack of information become convenient excuses as to why you don't deserve to find an activity you love with a passion?

My own personal path to making peace with my body might provide inspiration to anybody reading who still doesn't see themselves as an athlete:

The youngest of 4 children, I did not receive time and dedication for sports from my non-athletic parents, as quite frankly, they were to darned exhausted! It was down to me and my school's P.E. department to hook me up with a fun, after school sports club. I was enjoying gymnastics but then our family moved to a brand new town with no established sports clubs around. My parents did kick me out of the house if it wasn't raining though, which forced me to cycle or skate (if you can call it that, on old Street Flyers Roller Skates!). I remember keeping my athletic older sister company on a few of her cross-training runs - older sister's birth order benefiting her physical fitness and career greatly -  and surprisingly coming in 3rd out of about 100 in my high school's cross country run later. I was proud of this but never thought I was entitled to start training at the age of 13, believing wholeheartedly that I was already too old to train and compete with the girls who had been running with their Dads for years! Growing up in Great Britain pretty much ensured miles and miles of walking each day, and after leaving high school and England for Germany, I tried a few times to lose weight by running and starving myself, otherwise known as a 1,000 calorie-a-day diet. It's not a good idea to launch straight into running when you live in a mountainous village. By this time I had a good four years of yo-yo dieting behind me, which started when I was 16. I wasn't fat when I started, but I was from yo-yo dieting 4 years later! The problem? My sole focus was on self-reproach at not starving myself properly. In my 20s I had let myself be sold on the theory that joining a gym and doing monotonous, meaningless repetitions on somebody else's machine I barely understood, inside yet another dang building, was the only way anybody ever lost weight or changed their shape for the better. Unfortunately thong leotards were order of the day no matter how oatmeal-like one's rear-end, and this all sent me sloping off out the gym door in disgust, never to return.

How did I end up inline-speedskating? I owe it all to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Postcard that landed in my mailbox, probably as a result of that pointless women's gym membership! On the purple, white and green card was the answer to a prayer I had cried out many times in tears of self-hatred at not sticking to any exercise program: "Cycle, run, swim, skate!". Huh? Did they say 'skate'? Wadda they mean, 'skate'?!! Part of the deal was the 'athlete' raised charity money to benefit the Leukemia patients, and received professional athletic coaching for free, which would set the athlete up for an event in a few month's time. By the time the 38 mile skating event rolled around, I was hooked on skating and wanted to go beyond just looking like I knew what I was doing, to actually being able to keep up with my new, very competent skater friends. My bodily focus these days involves having strong legs and less upper body flab, for the purpose of keeping up more easily and shortening my event time, instead of obsessing in front of the mirror. The reasons skating lights my candle:

-There's always an aspect of the speedskating stroke that challenges me or needs working on

-There's always another skater to chase or keep up with or chat with

-There's always a new Personal Best time waiting to happen

-It feels to me like an artistic form of expression - like the dancing I will never be able to do!

-A paceline is beautiful to watch and fun to be in

-No other exercise works my butt and rear thighs like hill-climbing on a street skate. Ditch the stairmaster and free weight squats! Wear shorts and jeans with confidence! 

-It would be a fantastic way to get from A to B if America gets with the rest of the world and recognizes skating as a valid, alternative form of transport.  

-There's nothing quite like barrelling down a hill at 35mph

-Tight spandex clothing doesn't scare me any more

-I burn between 600-800 calories each hour I skate and I can skate for hours and love it

-I get exercise endorphins without the bone-joint hell of running

-Cross training makes otherwise tedious exercise strangely lucrative: plyometrics, stationary bike, lunges. Each repetition holds meaningful promise that I can gain a competitive edge over my current nemesis in the next race.

All this renders the overblown obsession with diet into a healthy side-bar, or something I need to do for myself to complement my skate race goals and performance. It makes no sense to go to all that trouble to follow a training program and then eat crappy food. Without an athletic goal or deadline for your body and soul, diet is nothing but unpleasant self-flagellation. And it will fail.

So go out and find your passion! You do have one! You didn't have to be born and raised by olympians to be an athlete now at whatever age you are. Here's a Yahoo list of some sports to spark your imagination*. Take the focus off good-diet-bad-diet and put it back on having fun and living your life. Sure you'll be a complete beginner at 30, 40, 50-something, etc., but SO WHAT?! You'll only be a beginner for a short while. And you can expect the negative voices of your inner fears to be blaring out: "who do you think you are to be doing this at your age?! You look ridiculous, you know. Everybody will point at you and laugh, including your friends and family. How for one minute did you even think you could do this!?". Whatever your fitness passion I betcha there's a website out there to help you get started... 


Hey Eebee, I'm new here

Hey Eebee, I'm new here and just catching up on different topics that seem interesting. I was reading about some other beginners and I have to let you know you inspire me to really get involved with my skating. Especially with this post. I did the same thing you were just talking about. I've been on a diet and lost about 50lbs, and when the time came to really add a habitual workout to my life, I decided that the gym is GREAT.... for rainy days when I want to sit and listen to music. But for normal everyday keeping myself fit, it needs to be fun and actually involve me. As a kid I would skate and feel so natural. It was like flying. My own personal freedom from everyone else. So, I broke out my old skates from high school. (Which still fit... incredibly!) Now I'm looking for good places to skate, and I promise myself each day.. to strap them on, and skate... even if it's just for 20 minutes. I'm in the process now of looking for a professional instructor! Anyways, I wanted to let you know that you and the entire Roadskater team here, so far have really inspired me to relive what I felt when I was younger. Thanks!
eebee's picture

Welcome and Congrats!

Congratulations on losing 50lbs! Welcome to roadskater.net, thanks for signing up, and thanks for posting! Sounds like you're a skate-addict, so you've come to the right place :-)

I had completely forgotten about that post you commented on, which I wrote all of 6 months ago! It's great to hear about inspiring someone to skate more.

Before I say anything else...we are helmet-advocates here, so if you don't have one yet, get one for yourself so you can, as Blake says, 'protect your moneymaking asset'.

Nagging done.

There's a whole network out there of outdoor rec and speed skaters in various parts of the country. In New York, and Atlanta (where I am) there's some sort of group skate almost daily with email groups to give everyone a heads-up. We have skaters registered on this website from Greensboro, Raleigh, Asheboro, as well as other states like Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania. There are other skating websites/forums, both nationally and worldwide.

There are indoor and outdoor speed teams to join and practice with, plus races to sign up for and scare yourself into a training deadline (which works for me each year!). If you'd prefer something more low-key there are several weekend skate festivals around, the bigger ones being the Great EsSkate in Miami (soon! Feb 8-10), the Philly Free Skate, the Athens-to-Atlanta Roadskate, the SkateBoston weekend, and the Big Apple Roll in New York. Depending on the location, you may need downhill skills including speed control and braking.

I don't know of any professional instructors in NC, but perhaps somebody else here does. I was a certified beginning inline skate instructor under the now defunct IISA. However, I am always happy to help beginners with braking, turning, basic stroke. If you're in Atlanta sometime it's well worth getting some instruction from Paul or Cindy of Bohemian Skate School. They were my first coaches, thank God! Skating behind others who didn't really get any instruction when they started skating, I see many bad habits I never had to unlearn because Paul and Cindy started us all off on the right footing in the first place. Well that sounds way too much like I'm bragging - I meant it as a compliment to Paul and Cindy! There's also the Eddy Matzger Roadshow, which is coming to Greensboro in April. This is an absolute blast, with more instruction than most can handle in one weekend.

If you're in NC, you may be interested to know that thanks to the hard work of Blake L and Craig M., inline and roller skaters are more than welcome to take part on skates in the local cycling Tour to Tanglewood Multiple Sclerosis fundraiser. This is a hilly, fun excuse to get out there every Saturday morning in July and August and get your rear in shape on the Training Rides (which are free).

Generally the outdoor speed and rec skaters love ridiculously long mileage. Many of us train for the 90 miles in 2 days Tour to Tanglewood, 87 miles in one day Athens to Atlanta, and Skatey-Mark did 274.3 miles over 24 hours at the Roller Montreal 24 hour race. With that many hours on skates, you can eat as many carbs as you want.

It's so great you posted! Welcome again. What diet did you follow? What type of skates do you have? Do you skate at your local park?

roadskater's picture

Quick Welcome and Suggestion

Hi and welcome, AziBlue, and thanks for thanking eebee and the rest of us. We look forward to meeting you soon. I am not around just now and have been heads down working on a project so I could not answer sooner.

One suggestion is a simple one, to enter Country Park from the northernmost Lawndale entrance, via Orman. Go to the end of that and turn left and veer left into the lot there. It's a flatter, gentler way to get started on loops at Country Park.

Here's a link to the Orman Street lot map.

You may want to go back and forth on the saddle to the left as you face the lake. Generally, traffic on wheels is supposed to go to the right (counterclockwise as viewed from above), but when starting out it's OK to go back and forth in that area, and even further to the left up to the flagpole or so. This will give you a chance to view the downhill there that descends from the parking lot where you practiced the other day.

Also there are some nice parking lots available for something a bit more flat. I've always wondered how the pavement would be on the north side of Target between the store and the huge former Sears warehouse...looks nice and I think the old through street is blocked back there. I also thought that the street behind Target might work too if they didn't kick you out. But Country Park is the best place we know for now, and we stay out of Battleground Park (unless taken through there on a charity ride) as they'll kick you out and there's no need for the negative vibes.

OK I must go but please do post as you go and comment on anything. Thanks a ton for joining. Sometimes we think we might be typing into the vacuum, but we have to believe and express anyway. So far we met Andy because of the site and you'll enjoy meeting him too. We hope you'll start dreaming of 2 days of 45 miles each by September! (No pressure, ha!)

Thanks so much for the warm

Thanks so much for the warm welcome!


A new helmet and pads are already in my budget for next week. (For now I have an old clunky borrowed one.) Any recommendations for helmets or great places to get them? I was gonna check out local bike places. As for my diet, I lost all the weight on the South Beach Diet. Or as I call it, "Mike's Struggle to Like Veggies." Now I'm proud to say I don't flinch at trying new stuff and I do tolerate veggies VERY well. Some could even say I prefer them. I'm happier with where I spend my money on food, the choices I've been making for the last part of last year, and I can't see myself ever being who I was again. (Fast food addict with 2 million excuses.) I hope getting involved in some professional lessons and maybe a group will help me to continue this new lifestyle I've started.


You gotta promise not to laugh at my skates, because they are very old. In March I get a big bonus at work and plan to get new skates, and I'm already looking and excited. The ones I have now are called Bladerunners, and it's Pro 4700. I have no idea what level they are, or if they are any good For rekindling my interest and getting me outside, they are doing a good job. As far as skating at my local park goes, I've went to Country Park since I live close and thought that I would skate in the big parking lot there to get myself familiar with the process again. I was too nervous to go into the park. Those little voices saying how silly I look were talking to me. I was only out there for maybe 30 minutes today and retreated back to the safety of my neighborhood streets. I have to work on being comfortable on my skates in public around people and looking like a lunatic. Haha, hopefully once I find lessons I'll be better about that. Maybe tomorrow I'll actually go INTO the park. Wish me luck!


I plan to post and ask the group about lessons in the area, but when I find possible coaches, what are some good questions to ask to determine if they are any good? Thanks again for the wonderful warm welcome. I know the only way to get involved is to jump in and discuss it with people who know what they are doing, so it's nice to have a group like this, where I won't feel too dumb asking noob stuff. Haha

timv's picture


Hi Mike, and thanks for joining us here. I'm one of those Country Park skaters that Elizabeth mentioned and it would be great if you'd join us.

The big parking lot at the tennis courts (Jaycee Park) unfortunately hasn't been paved in a while so it's fairly rough asphalt with a lot of stones poking through--especially bad if you're going slowly and feeling every little bump. The pavement on the 1.6-mile loop around the lakes is much better, but also more challenging with hills and turns and dogs and children on trikes. But it's not an insurmountable challenge if you have a bit of experience as you seem to. With some time and persistance and maybe an oopsie or two...

Regarding teachers/coaches: None of us gives lessons on a formal basis, but as Eebee says, it's hard to get us to shut up about technique. We've been doing this and talking about it for quite a while and have a number of formal clinics behind us with some very good teachers (Blake has most of those actually) and we'll be glad to help you along best we can. Practice and experience are the main components anyway IMHO.

I've heard very good things about skatey-mark's clinic and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

We don't have much of a schedule these days with the short daylight and cold temps, but I've been trying to get out on reasonably wam afternoons for an hour or so. I was out last Monday (1/7) and had a nice 10-mile skate. Give me a shout next time we have a forecast of 60s or higher and sunny and we can try to arrange something. From spring onward, we'll have one or two evenings per week when we plan to meet up, and other days when we just do.

Regarding helmets: I've crashed and smacked my head hard in a $100 Giro and in a $10 Bell from Wal-Mart. They both broke but they both worked. I wear the $10 ones now because I'll never think twice about replacing one if I even suspect that it might have gotten damaged. (No cycling/skating helmet is designed to take more than one impact.) They look a little shabby if you're a helmet snob, but I do this as a service to the kids who won't have to worry about having the dorkiest helmet at the park as long as I'm around. :-)

Hey Tim! Thanks for the

Hey Tim! Thanks for the warm welcome. Gee, everyone's so nice, especially to someone just getting interested!

Let me know when you all go to the park and I'll try my best to show up. Sometimes I work late, sometimes I don't, so it's all depending on the day. I would LOVE to see what some experianced skaters look like in person, and take as much advice as possible. As for the parking lot up there.... my wheels just LOVED all those rocks! :) They need to be rotated anyways, so I figure not too much damage. :) But I probably will park by the natural science center, so I won't be afraid of the big hill next time. I get over 10 to 15mph, and all I can think is.. "Oh no, what do I do... and how do I not look like an idiot doing it."

Also, I helped a woman who owns the Bicycle Toy and Hobby shop in High Point with some labels at work, so I decided to stop in and see her about helmets. She was so wonderful, fitted me correctly with a helmet, and apparently skaters get a 10% discount. She told me not to mess with my helmet and readjust it, and if it became readjusted, to just come back and she'd help me fit it again. She was really wonderful to talk with, and... I did leave with a helmet of my very own. It's a Trek Vapor something or other. She said most skaters took off the visor. Any reason why? I think it looks awesome... but then again, I'm kind of a dork. :) Anyways, for a $35 (after discount!) helmet, it's not bad looking at all, though, I looked at it in the mirror, andI admit it's a bit goofy to see. I will go back for pads this weekend before I try anything crazy like... skating out of my driveway.

Enough rambling, thank you again for the invitation and I would love to go. My only request is that you laugh with me lots while I fall and trip and look stupid! Any help or advice you all want to give will definately be helpful. Thanks again for the warm welcome and everyone's help!

timv's picture

Good Folks at Bicycle Toy & Hobby

That shop was the host of a training ride for the Tour to Tanglewood last August, the last one before the tour itself. You can read my report on skating it here. They did a great job hosting and have always been extremely friendly and welcoming to us skaters. I'm glad that you had a positive experience there.

Dunno about visors. I've never taken one off but I've never had a helmet that had one to take off!

Sadly the weather forecast looks pretty grim for the near term. Maybe things will turn around toward the end of the month, but over the next ten days or so it looks like we'll be lucky to see 50 degrees. And that's no fun except maybe for an impromptu New Year's Eve midnight skate, and we won't be having another one of those for a while.

But hang tight and we'll find a time to get out there. I'm looking forward to having a new member of the local skating crew.

eebee's picture

South Beach Diet Rocks!

That's so funny. I dropped my last stubborn 10lbs last year in September alone thanks to trying the South Beach Diet for the first time. Although I'll have to say, with the training we were doing, such as 30+ miler bike events (on skates), going without any power gels, gatorade or other starchy carbs would've been a hospital trip waiting to happen. I tried to eat bananas though instead of wheaty stuff on phase I if I had done over an hour of skating. Right now I'm reading Chris Carmichael's Food for Fitness, hoping for a free pass to eat more toast :-)

You could knock out two birds with one stone regarding top-notch quality instruction in the Eddy Matzger Roadshow, if you wanted to do that. Otherwise, I don't believe there is an abundance of inline skate instructors in the Greensboro area. I'd like to be proven wrong on that one. There are several local skaters, however, who have attended the Matzger workshop enough times to pass on tidbits of info to you at the park for free. If you ask, I think you will be inundated with useful gems. I will let others reply as to their Country Park schedules. Otherwise, a good thing to check in an instructor (someone you'd pay) would be whether they have either the old IISA certification, or the newer one from United Skate Schools Group . As far as I'm concerned, those are both good credentials. 

Also obviously it makes sense to be taught by an Inline skate instructor, as opposed to a roller skater or somebody who skates on Landrollers, or even ice.

You should be able to get plenty of good pointers from some of the skaters on this site who skate at Country Park and that'll help you make huge progress, confidence-wise. Which parking lot were you at - did you mean the Tennis Center parking lot or the one in front of the Nature-Science Center? There's another T2T cyclist veteran in GSO who wanted to learn to skate, and I had this dream of helping him out to where he was ready to skate T2T instead of biking it, but he just got married so we probably won't see him again for a few years!

Now that I think about it, Skatey-Mark offers a T2T fundraiser speedskating workshop in the Summer. I hope he does that again this year! I feel very good recommending Mark.

As far as helmets go, Cycles de Oro has plenty. The owner, Dale Brown, has been good to us roadskaters! I think I used a plain old Bell helmet from WalMart, though, for many years. Main thing is it fits well and it cracks when you hit the pavement instead of your skull!

Good for you, getting a bonus, and spending it on skate stuff :-). I can't find any pics of your present skates, but if they got you rolling again, that's excellent!

There are probably things I've forgotten to mention. But posting is free so I'm sure I'll drone on some more soon. I'm honored to have been part of you reconnecting with your deep-rooted inner skater!

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