Greetings, fellow Pranksters! My name’s Paul Lundgren, AKA Cycle Ninja. Why the moniker? Because I’m a very slow cyclist, and the only martial art at which I’m any good is gamepad-fu (Becky’s full of The Awesome, I’m full of The Irony).

The first question that might come to you is, “Why is Aunt Becky letting a career bachelor drive the family blog? Isn’t this supposed to be about diamond-encrusted iPads, TV husbands, and F-bombs?” Well to answer your question, she let me do a guest post because—being the clever and charming chap that I am—I begged her to let me do so in exchange for helping her with yard work. Being the shiftless and lazy bugger that I am, I left the exact time-line of said yard work a bit vague, but anyway, here I am…

When Becky finally took pity on my groveling, however, I was left wondering what I was going to write about. I’m single, I don’t do bling, I’m not crazy about pink, and I don’t have crotch parasites (I am instead helplessly in thrall to The World’s Sweetest Cat). Then I realized Becky and I do have quite a bit in common.

Namely, we’re both at a point in our lives where we’re undergoing self-renewal. You’re aware of her campaign to bring Aunt Becky back. In my case, I turn 40 this year, and have decided it’s time to lose the 100+ pounds I put on since high school. I felt that sharing my goals and techniques would be a fitting way of thanking Becky for the inspiration she’s given me.

To that end, I’ve found two strategies to be highly effective. First, know your stuff when it comes to nutrition. In my case, I consulted a licensed dietitian. I learned there’s a vast difference between dieting and healthy eating. You don’t have to starve yourself; you have to feed yourself properly. That’s an important distinction. Writing down what you eat is invaluable, because watching the numbers add up on a spreadsheet will give you pause.

Second, set an ambitious goal for yourself, preferably one with a fixed date. You could, ohidunno, go on a cruise with Aunt Becky next year to be motivated to want to look good in a swimsuit again. Since I wanted to look at least respectable in bicycling clothes made of Lycra (shudder), I joined a local cycling club. Chasing after people who are younger and fitter than you will give you motivation in spades. I also signed up for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, which—conveniently—takes place 4 days after my 40th birthday. Yes, preparing for a marathon when you’re 100 pounds overweight hurts a lot, thanks for asking. But it’s also making cycling much more enjoyable since I’m 30 pounds lighter than this time last year. It’s also gratifying to meet up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and watching their eyes pop when they see me ?

So I still have quite a ways to go before I look good in a dress suit or feel good in my birthday suit again, but I have the right tools to get there. And I’m grateful to Aunt Becky and Uncle The Daver for reminding us all that we don’t go through challenges like these in a vacuum. Now go heap some love on them, too, please.

Thanks for reading. Peace.


37 thoughts on “Diamonds Really ARE Aunt Becky’s Best Friend (Mostly)

  1. I too will soon be 40. It sure sneaks up on your doesn’t it? What is it about 40 and cruises? We’re taking one next year too – but since we’re taking one with a three year old, I suspect YOU will have WAY MORE FUN.

  2. Good for you!

    My husband lost over 100 lbs a couple of years ago and he started out cycling – it was what his knees could handle at the time. Since he lost the weight, he has ventured into running and has also started adding Tri’s to his marathan regime.

    Good luck to you – keep on, keeping on!

  3. I too find that setting a goal helps keep me on track. Sounds like you’re doing great. Keep up the good work! Just remember that as your training ramps up your caloric needs will change and you may want to go back to the dietitian to make sure this change is taken into account in your meal plans.

  4. You’ve got some great goals! And Kudos for being 30lbs lighter! Dont stress about 40…45 is waaaayyyy worse!


  5. Great work so far! Keep up the great work!

    I’m going through a reinvention myself. I just turned 29 and have 65 lbs to lose. Your strength gives me confidence that I can do it.

    Oh and, thanks for ‘reminding us all that we don’t go through challenges like these in a vacuum’ Days like today I really needed to be reminded of that.

  6. Cycle Ninja is an awesome name! I have an app on my phone that looks up calories in foods for nearly every restaurant out there & my eating habits have changed drastically since I started using it. Instead of asking myself if I really want a latte I find myself wondering if I really want 350 calories. I find I want that latte a lot less when I look at it that way

    1. Oooh, I’m sure they have this for my husband’s phone. I need to get it. He is in desperate need of losing weight, for his health, mainly. He scared himself into thinking he had a heart attack the other day, and it was distinctly NOT full of the Awesome. I am also going to encourage him to get back to the gym, which is something he actually loves, being a former athlete and all. But he used to spend WAY too much time there and we missed him, so he doesn’t go anymore. My bad. We’re going to have to be more supportive so he can be healthier and a great example for the little crotch parasites. Way to go Ninja cycle dude!!! Keep rockin it.

      1. Jennifer, the “Eat This, Not That!” series from Roadale books is also and excellent resource. They show you how to enjoy foods you love by suggesting healthier alternatives and recipes. Good luck.

    2. RE: smartphone apps: yes, there are numerous ones out there, and there are several workout apps that track your proogress through GPS, assuming your phone is sophisticated enough. I won’t make any specific recommendations, but if you find one you like, use the heck out of it–it helps.

  7. Good luck in your journeys….the weight loss one and the marathon one! You’re already so much healthier than you were last year. I would imagine that’s a huge dose of motivation right there! Keep up the good work!

  8. Good luck and congratulations! 40 isnt bad, 41 is harder, I cant remember what my age is now. I THINK I am 41 still. But I always forget.

  9. I am doing the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon having done the marathon two years ago and my training is going well. So well that I may be upping the ante to the marathon. I walk with very little running, but my speed is (IMHO) respectable when fully trained. If you want local support, let Aunt Becky know. She has my email. Otherwise, best of luck! It’s a pretty course.

  10. You go! I know from personal experience how difficult losing the weight is, but now and then I honest-to-God believe that nothing tastes as good as fitting into pants a size smaller feels. Yes! I sound like a motivational refrigerator magnet! But, hark, it is true!

    Bon chance…

  11. You ROCK CycleNinja!! The most important part of taking control of your health is to EAT HEALTHY, as you said….then there’s no reason to fuckinDIEt.

  12. Oh fuck, a swimsuit? I hope you don’t let that stop you from going on the cruise. If you’re not at your goal weight, don’t worry. The whole point of this thing is that no one will judge you. If they do, they can walk th plank. There will be all kinds of people on the cruise who are not physically perfect (like me). My worry is that I will be a little overweight and a bit older. They may not realize that I have dibs on Dexter.
    There is no age or weight limit to becoming a Merry Prankster. Well, maybe if your 90 or weigh 500 lbs.
    Congratulations on your hard work.

  13. Love your stories about your kids, who are simply wonderful. As for your getting into the soccer game? — you just made my Best Mom Ever list at #1!!

  14. My mother contends that her cats are higher maintenance than I was, so maybe you do have something in common with those of us who’ve got crotch parasites. I like the fixed date idea. I will be 40 in 1 year and 6 days (uh, not that I’m counting obsessively) so maybe I should take this post as a hint!

  15. Good luck, Cycle Ninja! You’ve got the tools and the knowledge – you can do this! Looking forward to hearing more about your journey to better health. Rock on!

  16. paul is one of my close friends, and thank you becky for letting him guest-blog. paul has a way with words that is so honest and truly inspires. paul – you have accomplished so much just in the time ive had the opportunity to know you, and i can honestly say you have the world in the palm of your hands…. now on to politics and to take over the world.

  17. Very well said, Cycle Ninja! And I misread this line: “but I have the right tools to get there” — as “but I have the right to get there.” And I like that sentiment too. Way to work toward treating yourself right!

  18. Update: I ended up doing the half-marathon instead because the training didn’t go as well as hoped/planned. I wanted to finish in under 3 hours, and did just that. 2:57:59, which is a lousy time, but better than anyone sitting on the couch today.

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