Hometown Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Pounds lost cycling 165
Robbie Ewing loved TV. The police show NCIS, in particular, was his escape, his chief form of pleasure. And when he hyperextended his knee in an accident at work, beginning a streak of bad fortune that resulted in four surgeries, plus a left-knee replacement, he had an excuse to sit around clutching the remote and snarfing bad food. "I used the knee replacement as a crutch to eat too much and not exercise," Ewing says. (Are you guilty of any of these Worst Eating Habits?)
There was no a-ha moment when cycling appeared to him as an ideal fix. He simply needed to lose weight, and with his wrecked knees, he realized that bicycling represented his best shot. If a director of one of the programs he watched were to film Ewing's transformation, one key scene undoubtedly would show him walking into a bike shop for the first time. By then, at age 36, he tipped the scales at 403 pounds. "The way those guys in the shop looked at me," he says, "was priceless."
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This was June 2006, and he bought a Cannondale road bike. He lost a little weight by eating better before he was ready to try riding. When he finally set out on a quiet back road, he pedaled for 30 minutes-15 out and 15 back-without worrying about his speed. When he found his knees had held up, he added a few minutes the next time out, and then a few more, until he reached an hour and settled into a routine that included three rides a week. He kept a spreadsheet of his progress, and with this gradual, methodical approach, the pounds fell away. (Check out these Top Diet Myths that are sabotaging your efforts!)
Liberated from his sofa, Ewing now bounds toward a future that looks vastly different. He has lost 165 pounds and is pushing hard to get under 200. He hopes to ride a century with his dad. He just bought a mountain bike for his son, so they can go out together. He hasn't seen an episode of NCIS in years. Instead, Ewing sees the dramatic arc of television shows in his own riding. _After a climb, for example, "you look back and say, 'man, I just did that!' And it makes you feel so good about yourself," he says. "It makes you feel better than watching TV does."
What he's Learned
"Once I'm done with a meal, I'm done. The kitchen is closed."
Pay attention to your body, not what's left on your plate. "I eat at the dining-room table, not in front of the TV, so when I get full, I stop-even if there is some food left on the plate."
When you first set out to ride off extra pounds, resist the urge to do too much too soon. Don't think about speed or what route you should try. Just pedal easy for some reasonable amount of time-Ewing chose 15 minutes-then turn and ride back.
Read about 10 More Weight Loss Successes for the tips that actually work!