Newtonian Diet

Feb 19, 2008

self-portly originally uploaded by zen

Unless acted upon by a net external force, a body at dinner, will tend to remain at dinner and a body, fasting, will tend to remain fasting.
- Isaac Newton's first law of dieting

I'm on a diet. I have been a bad boy and greedy with Helen's artful cooking. She makes a sauce that if poured over gravel i would bust my teeth to eat. But even before tasting her ambrosia, in my bachelor years, i wasn't exactly mindful of what i ate. You see up until that point i really didn't like food - and saw eating as a distraction from whatever i was doing at the time, usually computing or photographing. Eating was an interruption. And so my eating habits were of convenience - read: fast food - and a lot of it so i wouldn't have to interrupt whatever i'd be doing in the next few hours. I was thin.

I also fasted. Fasting is easy for me, partly because of my antipathy for food, partly because i saw it as part of spiritual cleansing. But as i grew older, fasting stopped being a monthly event and eventually narrowed to once a year for about a week. The thing is after the 3rd day of a fast, i tend to forget about food, and the very watered-down fruit juices filled my belly without interrupting my industry.

But this is the first time i've ever looked at my growing real-estate of a belly and thought: do i have genitals? Of course i do, but my little paunch had turned into a sprawling billboard advertising my gluttony. Hmmph. I should've been warned by having to buy all new belts after moving in with Helen, but even that didn't do it. My epiphany came when i found a pile of dress-pants at Sams Club with a built-in hidden elastic strip that expanded (for when i eat, right?) and thought "What an amazing invention!" Whoah there, Vlad the Inhaler! Next i'll find myself dressing like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. Not just poor taste, but golf shirts and patterned shorts... I was getting fat. What a short, ugly word that. After discovering it for myself, on myself, i felt fat - and that's even worse.

I had never dieted before and only had narrowed my eyes at Helen when she suggested portion control. Self control isn't my strongest behavior. At work they began a health initiative at work of Lighten Up 4 Life i decided to try it despite my personal distaste 4 using numbers 2 replace words (I really h8 it). At first, educating myself in the values of calories and carbs gave me something to focus on and it was fun, but after a while that wore thin and i wasn't getting thin. But wait, i'm good at fasting, so i'll do that. While that isn't healthy for the long run, at least i would continue losing weight. But Helen isn't fasting and still making culinary art. So what to do?

The weird thing is my mind works best with simple, if strange concepts. If i continue to fast, but allow myself a small meal once in a while, that is attainable. And so that's how i look at it now. Fasting punctuated by portions of food. It's like eating desert only. I get to have the power over my eating by not doing it, but rewarding myself with lunch and dinner. And an occasional yoghurt late at night if i've been good.

So i guess i'm rewarding myself for not eating, by, um, eating. But that's what works for me and i've shed about 20 lbs in the process and will continue on this path probably until it becomes it's own habit. My future reward will allow me to watch myself peeing in the toilet. Not exactly a highlight, but some kind of twisted sense of being healthy.


Nice job with the dieting. It will be interesting to see if it makes our hikes any easier for you.
However, I know realize that on our hikes I will be even MORE noticeable as "the chubby one."

I do have one can you fast and think at the same time? If I go more than a day or two without food, I find it very difficult to concentrate on work, driving, reading. etc.


Anonymous said...
February 20, 2008 at 12:50 PM  


It's the 3rd day of fasting that is the break-even point. The first and second days it's easy to obsess and feel the emptiness of not eating. Sometime during that 3rd day though you body says "aww, forget you. I'll just go into hibernation mode." And that's when you start to be able to think again. Best to do day 1 and 2 on the weekend where the family won't notice that you're not thinking...

zen said...
February 20, 2008 at 10:44 PM  

Congrats! 20 pounds is impressive. I turned 43 and suddenly put on 5 or 6 pounds that I can't seem to shed. I'm hypoglycemic, so I can't fast. Guess I need to cut back on the brewskis!

Edgy Mama said...
February 24, 2008 at 5:16 PM  

Hee, you use more or less the same rubric I do to determine general fatness level. I stand there naked and look down and I should see breasts, belly, bush in that order. If any one of the three are missing, there's an issue that needs to be addressed. ;-)

mygothlaundry said...
February 28, 2008 at 9:29 AM  
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