Cycling guru and my mentor Selene Yeager crafted an article about my love of cycling and the weight loss that came with it. [I’m down 61 pounds; 5 more to go to make goal.]
Hint: It has two wheels and feels like flying
By SELENE YEAGER DECEMBER 12, 2017
Life comes at you fast sometimes. Perhaps after a few tough personal and professional years you find yourself 66 pounds overweight, drinking martinis, wine, and cognac every night, questioning whether you need some professional help. Then, even though you’re well past the age when parental gifts can save you from life’s lows, you remember that bike your dad gave you. Sure, it’s a trash-picked mountain bike that weighs a metric ton. But it puts you on a path that leads to the thought that maybe this cycling thing is the solution. And 55 pounds down and hundreds of skipped drinks later, you know you’re right.
With a little instruction and structure, she started doing long rides, like a 47-mile ride “down the Cape [Cod]” on the weekends. Those long rides had a snowball effect in the rest of her life. She limited herself to having a drink just one night a week. “You don’t want to be drinking because you want to feel good to ride.”
DeMasi followed the Health Management Resources (HMR) diet plan, which provides meals and snacks in proper portions, for several weeks but found she needed more carbs for her long rides. She eventually dropped the plan but remained vigilant, which was easier because she wasn’t drinking. “I didn’t have the urge to polish off a bag of Chex Mix every night,” she says.
Four and a half months later, she’d dropped 55 pounds, going from what she found to be a very uncomfortable 3XL to a size 16. “I’d like to lose about 11 more pounds to reach 150 pounds, which is a good weight for me,” she says.
Thanks to DeMasi’s newfound love for cycling, she’s confident she’s on the path to hitting that goal. “The thing about cycling is that it’s always a win,” she says. “It’s always an achievement. The best are those times when I’m looking up that hill and going so slowly that I think I’m just going to fall over, but I know what it feels like when you get to the crest and the grade starts to decline and you know you’ve done it. Just knowing what that feels like gets me up a hill every time. No matter how slow I am, I am determined to do it.”
With a New England winter bearing down, DeMasi knows her outdoor riding days may be numbered for a few months, but she doesn’t view that as a negative. “I just started doing indoor cycling classes, which are fantastic,” says DeMasi, who has found that riding a stationary bike helped her become more confident and comfortable with skills like riding out of the saddle, which she says she struggled with because of her weight early on.
“I want to be as fit and skilled as I can be for when I can get outdoors—which I love best,” says DeMasi. “I want to be out there having adventures and hopefully inspiring other women to do the same.”