Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eat to ride or ride to eat?

Ditch the car to keep the pounds off is the headline of a letter to the editor in Saturday's Post by Margaret Wohler. She uses her bike for transportation and doesn't worry too much about what she eats.
I appreciated the information given in Kathleen Parker’s May 9 op-ed column, “Eating our way into a disaster.” It did, however, only consider one side to the thinness issue by discussing caloric input of high-glycemic food. I’m a 49-year-old woman, 5-foot-6 and 113 pounds. I eat and drink whatever I want, taking in more than 2,000 calories a day. I’m able to maintain my low body weight because I gave up driving two years ago in disgust over the BP oil spill disaster.

I ride my bike for all of my personal transportation, typically cycling 150 miles a week. The mileage I previously covered in a heavy, gas-powered car is now provided by my leg muscles; I burn a lot of food.

While most people are filling up their gas tank, I’m filling up my plate, including lots of bread and potatoes. Americans indeed eat too much food and eat too thoughtlessly. Yet, if they would get out of their cars, and walk or cycle instead, they wouldn’t be so fat.

Margaret Wohler, Alexandria
The letter reminded me of a day last week when I had a craving for a pecan sticky bun. It must have contained 1,000 calories but I knew I was riding into DC and back the next day.  The bun was my breakfast, then for lunch I ate a fry bread grill cheese, an apple tart, and some fruit at the National Museum of the American Indian cafeteria.  Oh and I had some of Kerie's bread pudding.

Granted I overdid it a bit that day. However, most people who bike often, riding on some days much longer than on others, learn to listen to their bodies and to regulate their calorie intake accordingly. When expecting to burn more calories we can splurge a little and eat some normally forbidden foods.

I often recall an overweight friend who said "It's very simple, burn more calories than you take in and you'll lose weight." While it's not quite that simple, when discussing the obesity epidemic we need to remember that the problem involves much more than just nutrition.

In case you're wondering, I'm 5'9" and weigh around 145 pounds.

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