Category Archives: Health

A Masked Anecdote

I don’t always succeed at looking the other way or being the person I should be. Being thinner and having more confidence brings unexpected problems. I also tend to sometimes follow a thread or story just because I’m curious. Not because I have an agenda.

Today, I was at a business drinking a double shot of espresso. Obviously, I had to pull my mask down for a second. Espresso via a straw is lunacy.

No other person was within 20 feet of me. It’s important to note that several people in the facility had no masks, wore their masks improperly, and some were employees of the facility. I’ve had both covid shots. I also tend to tune out paying attention to those who don’t wear their masks or wear them properly. A couple of weeks ago, at Walmart, a man got furious at me, because he was obviously spoiling for a fight about not wearing a mask. I had not even noticed he didn’t have one on when I acknowledged him and said hello. He was looking for a fight.

Part of the social contract during the pandemic is to avoid being a maskhole in either direction. Truthfully, the safest course of action is to avoid going out. Engaging with those who don’t wear masks is a fool’s errand that will fill your day with argument and stress.

I don’t do it. And though it’s been that way for me for a while, I usually fail to notice whether someone has a mask on or not.

As I pulled my mask down to finish my espresso, an employee approached me. I made eye contact with her. And said hello. To my surprise, she shouted, “Sir pull your mask up!” Which I was already doing as she shouted. Keep in mind that she walked past several people making no attempt whatsoever to wear their masks or wear them properly.

Suspecting she was having a bad day, and also suspecting that me making eye contact is what pissed her off, I locked eyes with her as she passed and shook my head laughing at her. Which really pissed her off more. She wisely kept walking. Also, I was seated. Had she followed her own trajectory, she would not have violated social distancing.

Walking around, I observed people and realized more people than I thought weren’t wearing masks properly. Especially employees. Then I noticed the pissy employee who shouted at me was standing there with her mask down talking a foot away from another employee. I walked up within 10 feet and said excuse me. And then reminded both employees that social distancing and proper mask etiquette were required at all times without exception for employees at the facility. And that hypocrisy was not a good color for an employee to be displaying openly. I smiled, wished them both a good day and walked away. Laughing, of course.

One of the employees cursed at me and called me a son of a b****. I won’t argue the veracity of that. My mom was guilty of the charge. I turned and gave them the thumbs up and walked away.

I know walking up and being smarmy and snarky like that wasn’t the right thing to do. But I also know it wasn’t the wrong thing. And if it results in both employees not being assholes to the people they’re supposed to be helping, my transgression is certainly lesser than theirs.

After observing several other employees engage in similar behaviour, I went and asked to speak to the customer service manager. The employee did not want to help me. I told her I would wait as long as necessary and to not stress. She tried to do everything she could to encourage me to bug off or to explain to her what the issue was.

She looked even more confused when I explained to her that in the interest of time and efficiency for both the business and myself, it would be easier to proceed without needless repetition. I thanked her.

The purported manager approached. I showed her my covid vaccine card and ID and explained what happened.

I tried to avoid identifying the employee. And I certainly did not tell her that they had cursed at me. I wanted her to know that employees were sending mixed messages and causing anger issues needlessly.

She was perplexed when I told her honestly that I was talking to her only to see what her genuine reaction was. While standing there, I got more and more amused my how she was staring at my awesome women’s floral jacket. Her body language and demeanor told me she didn’t care about what I was saying.

And that’s okay. Customer service is a thankless job.

I told her that the objective of me talking to her, other than to observe a reaction, was to remind her that the rules are there to be enforced or not. But to watch out for hypocrisy.

I don’t know what my demeanor was saying to her, but she finally asked me, “Who are you?”

I told her I could be anybody from anywhere. But most importantly that I’m a human being with human reactions. And that employees are no different than customers in a world where we’re all equals. And to be kind, attentive, and happy.

I left her scratching her head. She thought I was somebody, so to speak.

I’m writing this post on my phone. I know I’m probably not capturing the nuance or communicating my points clearly.

All this started simply because I made eye contact with an employee. That’s weird. Weirder than my awesome floral jacket.

It’s Going Fadulous!

This picture amuses me!

“I would lose weight, but I hate losing.” – unknown

Regarding my weight management goals, my body is holding me hostage around 175 lbs. It doesn’t stress me because I expected a plateau. Maybe not at this weight, but it was inevitable. Among the factors at play are insufficient sleep, stress, and my body shifting to defensive mode. I’ve been overweight too long to expect my body to throw in the towel and let me get to my goal weight easily.

So far, I have to say that one of my biggest achievements is that amidst a lot of turmoil and upset, I’ve yet to feel like I’m a victim to my choice to be thinner for the rest of my life. Nothing calamitous has knocked me off course. I am surprised by that, given my history with stress, rough times, and food.

As for continuing to make healthy choices and eat much less, it is still a success. I’m taking the long-term view of the process anyway. Treating food like a heroin addiction helps remind me that I’m not eating healthy for a short-term goal. I’m just finally being the person I should have been my entire adult life.

While I’m getting used to being smaller, I still find ways to surprise myself. I laugh when I catch myself thinking, “Is this how a normal person is supposed to be able to move? What is this bone?” And so on. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but it’s wildly interesting to be able to touch parts of my body without effort. (I didn’t write that sexually, although I am sure it went there for most people.)

Part of my simple system is an insistence that I wouldn’t do anything I might not be able to do the rest of my life. With that in mind, I had no interest in starving myself or letting junk ideas knock me off course. Now that we’ve made it to February, I’ve seen many people crash and burn with their resolutions. I try to take a minute to ask them to consider my way to lose weight. Most people think it has to be hard. It is not. It is math via reduced consumption. That’s it.

The worst consequence of a plateau, even one that lasts a few weeks, is that I will maintain a good weight. While it is not my goal weight, it’s good. I’m about 50 lbs lighter than I was in October. Try picking up and carrying around 6 gallons of milk – which is about the weight of what I’ve lost in that period.

“I’m not losing weight, I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again.”  – unknown

I have yet to have a ‘bad’ day regarding eating. I haven’t binged on anything markedly unhealthy since October. Same with sugar, desserts, and other miscellaneous foods.

Most of the opportunities for me to fail have been exposure to foods and people not focusing on healthy choices. Pretzels, cheese slices, regular chips, etc. It’s not their fault. Making healthy choices is a personal choice and until they see the need or benefit, it’s a losing battle. If I look at those foods as heroin, they are always going to be around me. I will say that if all food where I live was chosen by me, the process would be ridiculously easy. It is an “If only” fantasy, though. I know I would be relentless if I were the only one bringing food where I live. Work gives me the structure to make choosing wisely easy.

I do rely on a routinized selection of foods. In my case, I have a wide variety that keep me full and without experiencing hunger found in almost all healthy eating systems. I’m not deprived. I ate Tex-Mex a couple of days ago, choosing as many better options as possible – not to mention a plate of pico de gallo. Yum! I eat at another Mexican place about once a week. When I do, I eat a delicious yet copious amount of healthy alternatives. That’s part of the danger of going somewhere new: you lose control of the unknowns.

“Successful weight loss takes programming, not willpower.” – Phil McGraw

In the last couple of weeks, I also decided to finally try plasma donation again. Not at the burdensome twice-a-week rate that many people choose. If you approach plasma donation correctly, it forces you to focus on eating well and drinking fluids appropriately. One of the wrinkles of donating plasma is that the donation amount is based on weight. My weight is slightly above the lower limit. Going through the process has given me a LOT of stories about the process and the people I’ve interacted with because of it. Because I wasn’t donating primarily for money, I didn’t have the anxiety that usually comes with donation. I could take it or leave it. That’s a privilege, one I recognize and appreciate. I helped a few people feel better about doing it, including one couple who stayed for their first donation because of me. They were using their donation money to buy groceries, which humbled me.

Going through the weight loss exposes me to a lot of crazy ideas, fad diets, and weird science. If it is interesting, I will look it up. So far, none fare well when compared to the known science of just eating healthy – and less.

I eat fiber. I don’t fry. In general, I don’t eat desserts. I eat a LOT of vegetables. I find things that I LOVE and that are also healthier – and then try to eat them as much as possible. I use a LOT of seasonings, sauces, and flavors. (More than you can imagine.)

In conclusion: the problem is that food is just damned good! That is not going to change, so you’re the problem until you recognize it. And reduce.

“He who indulges, bulges.” – unknown

Nothing Tastes As Good As This Feels

I’m wearing an absurd surgical cap. But I’m also optimistic in the picture, which is worth a lot of words.

She wrote, “And nothing tastes as good as this feels!!!” She sent me a picture of how far she’d come. I found it hard to imagine I was looking at the same person I used to know. She was part of the reason that I imagined I could achieve a lot of success this time. If she could do it with so many obstacles, how hard should it be for me to stop the rationalizations and just do it?

I re-read it. And again.

It struck me as resonantly as “Choose your hard” had many weeks before. Why that one stuck in my head when so much for so many years hadn’t is another mystery.

For her, she meant that all the bad food choices couldn’t compare to the elation and satisfaction of being who she’s supposed to be.

While her comment was focused on her war with eating properly, it also extends to other areas in life. The payoff at the end of the race, the peace of making a long series of decisions that result in a triumph of consequences…

Once you’ve done the work and reached your goal, it really is hard to let yourself fall into the trap again.

At least at first.

The pain of ‘who’ we were before getting to our own pinnacle is still fresh enough to serve as a reminder.

Life intercedes. Time evaporates. Fatigue weakens our resolve. Loneliness and self-esteem issues propel us backward.

It’s why I constantly remind myself that yo-yoing dramatically in weight must be approached in a manner similar to how we deal with addiction.

It is okay to fall off the wagon. Just don’t let it run you over.

In my case, there is more to it. But it certainly isn’t willpower.

Love, X

168

Note: writing these types of posts inevitably comes across as selfish. For that, I’m sorry. Anyone who can lose weight in this crazy world gets a little slack.

I started this healthy eating journey somewhere in the upper 220s less than 3 months ago. I should never be so overweight. It’s part of the reason that I look at my yo-yo eating in the same way someone else might look at heroin. I don’t deserve credit for trying to control something that should have never started.

In other words, this current success is also an accusation of my previous failures. “Look! I stopped doing this stupid thing I’ve been doing.”

A few years ago, in 2017, 2 of my co-workers joined me in an epic weight loss challenge. It contained several layered bets, some monetary, some hilarious. I started at 250, which is ridiculously large. I lost 30 lbs in less than 3 months to finish the challenge over 3 months early. It was a reminder that I’ve always believed that losing weight isn’t hard. It’s keeping it off that’s the terror. Over time, I’ve convinced myself that almost no diets work because people have to return to a sustainable way of eating. Otherwise, it’s a temporary cycle that will plague you for your entire adult life.

Since then, in 2017, I managed to mostly stay inside a range. Still fat. Just not as exaggerated.

In February of 2020, the pandemic gave me the motivation to try again to drop. For all the reasons you’d expect, I got derailed spectacularly. I was lucky! In October, I stopped toying with the idea. Though I’ve written about it before, this occasion was marked by something breaking inside of me. I just knew I was going to drop a lot of weight – and certainly below 200. It wasn’t willpower. It was a certainty. Seeing other people do it, regardless of ‘how,’ demonstrated that I would become one of the success stories.

As for entropy of the potential for eventual failure, it always lurks ahead. We are all complicated, and opposing forces muddy our lives. It doesn’t help that food is incredibly delicious.

I chose my hard. The truth is that it wasn’t hard to begin to eat like a healthy person. And that’s what I did. I had the idea in my head that I wasn’t fat anymore. Everything aligned with it. I melted away. For anyone who has struggled to do something similar, you know what I’m describing. Waking up and realizing I had a sternum, for example. Feeling a space between my thighs. Seeing my face and suddenly realizing part of it was gone. When the comments begin, you intimately understand that people notice that you’re different.

Now, I’m hovering around 180. I weigh 45-50 lbs less than 3 months ago. Yes, I lost weight too fast. Science tells me that losing weight more slowly tends to encourage the body to maintain long-term loss. I initially joked that I was trying the stomach staple diet without the surgery or mimicking a prison camp diet. It’s not inaccurate.

All along, people asked me what my goals were. “Eat healthily and effectively” sounds trite. “Be the person I know myself to be” sounds like a self-help guru has hypnotized me.

Well, here’s the next goal: 168 lbs. While I don’t subscribe to the BMI charts, 168 is the upper region of a healthy weight. (Not giving myself credit for my age.) 168 will put me at losing 1/4 of my total body weight. Can I do it? Yes. Will I? I’m not sure. The absurdity of being unable to make this goal after doing so much would be tragically stupid.

I owe it to myself to get to the weight even if I can’t hold at that weight or drop further. The BMI charts support the idea that my healthy weight range is an absurd 125 to slightly over 168. I don’t know how 125 would be possible. I’d be skeletal. And I don’t plan on running marathons.

I don’t know how long it will take to reach 168. I can calculate the number of calories. But I also recognize that my body is fighting back and resisting at this point, which makes it more interesting, given that I am almost a witness to myself at this point.

For anyone keeping track, I’ve added no exercise. My job is physically very demanding, with a huge range of motion, walking, and lifting. It was that way before, though, and I still got fatter. The only changes I’ve made have been diet, which is the single most significant factor to control for weight management. My insistence on saying so continues to draw criticism. Exercise is essential for a lot of reasons. But you get a bigger bang for the buck by focusing on learning new eating habits without succumbing to changes or diets you can’t maintain.

I’ll see you at 168.

Hell or high water, choose your hard, folks.

It’s all lemons.

Love, X

Choose Your Hard

One piece of obvious advice I would give to anyone wanting to diet, eat healthier, or change a habit: you have to lean into being uncomfortable or behaving differently than you previously did. You might have to request special menu items or (horror!) bringing your food with you at times.

If you aren’t ready to look odd, feel odd, or do things that draw attention to yourself, you’re not quite prepared. That’s okay. For a lot of people, attention is the last thing they want. It’s hard to get anything worthwhile done without drawing scrutiny. Even if you have the best intentions, people will ascribe motives to your actions. You have to practice tuning that out.

While you’re at it, just as you don’t listen to financial advice coming from people who’ve failed to follow it, don’t give naysayers who don’t live and eat healthy your time or attention. If they have a system that requires a membership, a pill, or investment, look elsewhere. The tools we need to eat healthier and be healthier are mostly available, no matter where we are. (Again, it’s important to note that this isn’t universally true.)

Another piece of advice, one most overlooked, is that being healthier isn’t complicated for most people. As always, I will throw out the disclaimer that many people DO have medical or other issues that might impede them; I’m writing for the middle crowd, not the fringes. Most of us in this vast middle owe our bad habits to our choices. Most of the time, it is no secret to us what those bad choices are. We KNOW. But we don’t act.

Everything hinges on choice. Will you choose to reduce how much you consume? Will those options be better choices?

Weight management expressed for an average person: do you consume less fuel than you use over the long-term? You can get weighed down in all manner of complicated diets that require tracking a ridiculous assortment of things. The truth, though: if you significantly reduce the amount you eat and continue to do so long-term, your weight will decrease proportionally.

It’s essential that whatever choices you make, you make the choices for the rest of your life. Not for six months or a year. Forever. That’s the part we tend to stumble with. It is not the dirty secret of eating healthier. Instead, it is the essential truth that explains why almost all dieting fails. Changes must be for the rest of your life. Anything that fails to address healthy eating at its core will not succeed long-term.

Every incremental change you make will cause consequences. There are no exceptions. Maintaining the changes will transform you over a long enough time frame. If you stack enough changes into your life, your goal will be easier to reach.

If you’re looking for massive and quick changes, you’re probably still not ready. But if you’re prepared to change small things to pursue a larger goal, you’re on the right track. Most of us spent decades doing it wrong. To expect a transformative change as the result of a pill, powder, or fad is going to get you into trouble. It might work for you for a while; you’ll have to continue doing whatever you chose forever, though. Otherwise, you’ll yo-yo and fight an endless battle that fails to address lifetime behaviors.

It might be hard for you to do it. A friend of mine beat the phrase “Choose your hard” into my head. Yes, it is hard changing your habits. But so, too, are the consequences of failing to do so. It’s easy to keep doing things wrong. Food is delicious.

I found an old quote of mine: “Old habits don’t die. You must murder them.”

If you have a goal that’s important to you, a little bit of insistence goes a long way. Being fanatical has its benefits. If your tendency to overeat were a heroin addiction, you wouldn’t easily allow someone to convince you to try just a little bit of heroin. So much of our behavior is based on equilibrium. The slightest thing can turn us upside down. Until it is the new normal, it is going to be weird and awkward for you.

If you’re looking to lose weight, you will get the biggest bang for your effort by focusing on your diet. Exercise is essential for many reasons; for weight maintenance, you will be better off learning to eat correctly. If not, you will succumb to the inherent drawbacks of intense exercise. Everyone tends to misquote this. I in no way deny the benefits of exercise. My entire point hinges on weight maintenance and learning new eating habits.

Additionally, unless you will continue your new exercise regimen for the rest of your life, I would advise learning the fundamentals of eating correctly. As for exercise, I recommend avoiding the gym. The best kinds of activity don’t require a location and certainly not an artificial one for the average person. For some, the gym may give you the focus to change long-term. For most of us, though? Probably not. It’s artificial. Most of us can skip the gym and use the travel time to and from to engage in practical activity and exercise.

I know I am oversimplifying, especially since I’m writing for the average person.

I could sell you a book or dress up my arguments.

Learn to eat healthily and track what you eat. You will be shocked.

No matter what you want to do, find a way to do it today, from where you are.

Love, x

Tofurky: Live Life On The Edge

tl;dr: violently unappetizing smell and appearance. Tastes great! (You’ll never see that juxtaposition of words again in your lifetime. Savor them in the same way you savor the door closing when the in-laws depart.)

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ―Orson Welles

Usually, if I say something smells a bit like wet cat food, it wouldn’t be something I’d put in my mouth. In this case, though, the Tofurky Plant-Based Deli Slices 100% smell a bit like wet cat food. Not the elegant kind featured on the tv commercials with well-groomed cats, either. The cats that would eat this type of smell are the ones you’d never stoop down to pet without wondering if you’d need a shot afterward. 

After picking up a packet and looking at it at least a dozen times over the last few months, I bought one today instead of throwing it back in the case. I’m a would-be lazy vegetarian, so this type of product catches my eye. The package claims that the contents are hickory smoked. I don’t see how that is possible, but it must be true; they spent a lot of money on the package’s extra wordage. Take note of the large print on the reverse that proclaims: “Taste Bud High Five!” It could just as easily said, “And Nose/Eye Slap In The Face.” They undoubtedly ran out of money to budget the extra printing.

Note to food manufacturers: brown-orange is not the go-to color I’d recommend for food. Sweet potatoes already have the market cornered on that aesthetic. 

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ―Erma Bombeck

I’m blaming covid for convincing me to try this. My logic is that if a pandemic can get me at any moment, I don’t have a lot to lose by trying something that might smell like cat food and/or taste like used cat litter. Everyone knows that my taste already leans toward “inhuman.” 

The picture I posted doesn’t do justice to the perplexing texture and color of this alternative deli slice. I can’t help but imagine that a team of scientists worked for years, hoping to develop the opposite of whatever appetizing might be. They succeeded. After a lot of thought, NASA engineers associated with the solid waste portion of space travel might have given them ideas. 

If you try this food, do not smell it before putting it on a sandwich, tortilla, or in the cat’s food bowl.

In my case, I used Olé tortillas, lettuce, and horseradish sauce. And another with Sriracha. They were delicious. 

These fake deli slices tasted amazing on them both. 

You might doubt me. I’m sure you doubt me, especially after my review of the alien autopsy fake bacon. (Which is even more amazing cooked on a cookie sheet in a stupidly hot oven.)

To recap: do NOT smell this before trying it. Just put it in your mouth.

“If you use a food app and it calls 911 for you when you input what you’ve eaten, you are at least taking risks, which the happiness experts claim makes a beautiful life out of the most mundane.” – X

Love, X

mmXXi

Exhausted as I was, I was awake again at midnight last night. I didn’t initially fall to sleep at first. I died a little death, one that immersed me into blackness. I certainly wasn’t quietly whispering a prayer for 2020. This was the first year in many that my eyes were open at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

The power went out long enough to cause everything to flicker and beckon to be reset. The cat screamed and demanded attention. Because I live in east Springdale, the locals insisted on going out into the cold and rain and using their finest and largest artillery to announce the New Year. Several of the guns were truly cacophonous. I felt the vibrations in my ribs, like a discordant xylophone. It was amusing to note that I ended the year forty-five pounds lighter than I’d started it, with my sanity along for a wild ride.

For all those who made promises to go to the gym, I can save you a lot of time and money, if you’ll listen. Just ask me. I’m wrong about a lot of things, but not this. Even though we tell ourselves that there must be some external and elegant solution to most of our problems and habits, the truth is that simplicity and focus will get you there more quickly. Get those first. Your best resolution might be to take a long moment, even a month, to consider your life.

Running in place won’t get you where you want to be.

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” – William E. Vaughn

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

“The calendar reminds us when we are. We’d be better served if it told us who we are.” – X

“The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.” — P. J. O’Rourke

“If you’re making a resolution, I’d remind you that the New Year is just a way to make the same old mistakes again. Don’t make a promise to change. Be the person you are supposed to be and the rest will follow, hell or high water.” – X

“Why would I need a resolution to remind myself that I am perfect just the way I am?” – Unknown

“The most negative word of 2020 was the word ‘positive.'” – Unknown

Weight Loss That Works

Everyone knows I’m not an expert regarding nutrition and fitness.

The yearly promise to work out is just about on us. If you want to build strength, that’s great. If you’re going to lose weight, I would ask you to read this first. Then, decide to focus on your food choices, where you will save yourself time, trouble, and money. Skip the gym if you want to lose weight. You can walk anywhere.

As an adult, I have yo-yoed a few times. The lesson I learned makes people skeptical: if you want to lose weight, stop stressing so much about exercise. Just keep food out of your mouth as much as possible. And when you eat, eat foods that fall in the Venn diagram of what you like and what is healthier. Over time, that change alone will work miracles for you.

It’s equally valid that most of us suffer from a misunderstanding regarding the role exercise plays in the realm of weight loss. Our metabolic rate is set already. Most of the energy we expend isn’t variable. Activity is, of course, a portion, but not as significant as most of us believe. Most of our culture is immersed in the ‘exercise more’ mantra. Science demonstrates that weight loss occurs more efficiently through healthier diet choices – even if you don’t increase your activity level. We should focus much more on our public and private food policies.

Note: exercise yields impressive benefits to us physically and psychologically. Stop reading into my point. Exercise isn’t as important as diet, though, in weight maintenance. It is one of the biggest fundamental flaws that plague us. (I imagine Rob reading this and already arguing.)

People of the same body composition, sex, and other factors have markedly different metabolisms, which results in the one using a lot more calories than the other. Despite what some will preach, no one definitively knows why this is the case. Those same two people can engage in the same diet and physical activity – and one of them will weigh less than the other.

https://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html

If you want to increase your basic metabolic rate, the science is settled: greater muscle mass requires much more energy to sustain. I’ll leave it to you to read the literature. Running will burn calories while building muscle mass will burn more calories even while you are resting. A word of caution, though: as you increase your muscle mass, your body will trick you into consuming more fuel to sustain it.

If you’ve tried diets, especially gimmicky ones, it’s not you who failed. They don’t address the science of human physiology and weight. Don’t start any program that you can’t do for the rest of your life! If you can’t imagine yourself making better food choices for the rest of your life, you will not succeed. All long-term weight management plans that work start and end with healthy food choices. It is that simple. Simple observation will remind you that it is EASY to lose weight. It is damn near impossible to keep it off.

We can all agree that our energy intake is based on the food we put into our mouths. If everything is equal, reducing how much you put into your mouth will inevitably cause you to lose. If you go on a starvation diet, you can expect your body to fight back by lowering your metabolic rate. You’ll need to adjust your plan of weight loss accordingly. Not that most people can do it, but the best way to lose weight is to do it on a very long, consistent schedule. I can’t say I didn’t fall victim to the all-or-nothing approach. It gives results. They don’t last, though. That is true for almost everyone who diets to lose weight.

You have to eat to lose weight.

This sounds ridiculously simple.

For a variety of reasons, people tend to eat more after intense exercise. They also tend to overestimate how many calories they’ve burned while exercising. Other behaviors undermine our exercise routines, as well. Regardless of how much you exercise, it takes a vastly disproportionate amount of activity to overcome overeating caloric intake.

I’m in no way saying that we shouldn’t exercise more. Exercise is vital for good health but not as crucial for weight loss and maintenance.

You can read the last paragraph as many times as you’d like.

Poor diet has a more significant impact on obesity and weight than exercise. Science says it. Not me.

I don’t remember where I read it, but someone said, “You can’t outrun a bad diet, no matter how much you run.”

I’ll remind you one more time that I am not saying exercise doesn’t offer benefits; they don’t compare to healthy eating where weight is involved.

This isn’t a justification for laziness. However, it is a bold statement to tell you that if you need to lose weight, whether for weight loss or better health, you will see a significantly greater result if you focus first on diet.

If you do it incrementally, you’ll have a greater chance to maintain the weight you achieve. Fighting your body’s set point comes with significant risk. Very few people can adapt to a new diet and regulate how they do it sufficiently to give their body time to adjust. The longer you were overweight, the greater this tendency will be. Our bodies don’t resist gaining weight nearly as much as they resist losing it, even to go to a normal weight naturally.

Less than 10% of people who commit to losing weight tend to keep it off long term. If you can think of obesity as a disease, you’ll likely adopt lifestyle changes that stick. Even though it isn’t rocket science, some of the changes include avoiding high-fat foods, avoiding needless sugar, some form of exercise, avoiding unnecessary snacking, regularly weighing, eating less for each meal, choosing more filling and healthy alternatives, and maintaining a record or awareness of what you’re eating.

Though it borders on stupidly obvious, most people do best when their activity is based on walking, free and always available. Everything that complicates your ability to exercise and eat healthily will be an impediment if you want to maintain your weight. For this reason, gyms, specialty exercises, and expensive supplements aren’t sustainable long-term for most people.

Please keep it simple.

Find healthy food. Eat it instead of the foods to which you are accustomed – as much as possible. Reduce snacking. If you can do that for six weeks, you will see a loss in weight. Find literature that is based on science, using some of the things I’ve mentioned here.

Here it is, for most people, boiled down to its essence: if you are overweight, you are overeating.

Nothing can change that.

Likewise, though, there is a way out if you are truly willing to look at what you eat and admit it’s a problem.

The Worst Best Thing In The World

A few days ago, I was at Aldi. That’s problematic enough. I have a love/hate relationship with Aldi. It used to be hate/hate, but I’ve softened a bit. I still leave the cart out in the wilderness of the parking lot, though – quarter be damned.

Immediately upon entering, I encountered a little section tucked up into the produce area. In it were several small vials of interesting liquids. Two of them were little vials of Vitalife Kick It In The Ginger / Turmeric. For whatever reason, it caught my attention. The Ginger shot contains cayenne pepper, lemon juice, ginger, and probably cat tears.

Vitalife is the sort of company that creeps me out. I can’t explain why, mainly due to the lawyers. I’m kidding.

This is the sort of thing I would never purchase habitually. But I am a connoisseur of foul-tasting substances; this seemed to be a prime candidate. That it contained lemon juice was the deciding factor. “Lemon anything” is my new go-to formula for happiness. I can’t get enough Lemon in my mouth no matter how I try.

I wanted to drink it then, but unfortunately, store personnel frown upon eating the merchandise before paying. Which, if you think about it, is both completely logical and also highly objectionable.

On the way home, I opened the vial and drank a bit of it. Yes, it tasted rank. Did I like it a lot? Also, yes.

I won’t say what it LOOKS like because everyone who knows me also knows that I am a perfect gentleman in every respect. It’s okay if you’re snarking already at this point.

I know people love spouting the benefits of drinking ginger. I don’t care what the benefits are. For me, the foul taste that I love is enough.

I won’t pay that much for a little vial of horrible taste. I can get that by eating a cricket or tasting anything at Wendy’s or Hardee’s.

If you need to try something that will make you reject your humanity, I highly recommend the Vitalife Kick It In The Ginger Shots.

Just don’t look at it!

Love, X

P.S. I really like it.

Things A Man Can’t Say

Things A Man Can’t Say

After six weeks+ of not biting my nails, I can say that my fingers feel alien to me in a way that a normal person would not find credible. I’ve not gone a week without biting my nails. For my entire life.

Several weeks ago, when I turned the switch off mentally about food, I just decided that I no longer bite my nails. Despite nothing else ever having worked for my nail-biting, not even public shaming or a global pandemic, I just knew I could do it. While my cuticles look odd, I don’t recognize my fingers. I’ve had to adjust a lot in my life for something so simple as suddenly having fingernails. From not using my hands to stir mud and potting soil to avoiding scratching ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. At night, I find myself touching my fingernails with my front teeth. Until you bite your fingernails for fifty years, I don’t think you’d believe me if I accurately describe how odd it is – as if someone put thimbles on each of my fingers and asked me to play the piano.

It occurred to me that if I were sufficiently crazy enough to do so, I could get a manicure. It’s important to note that I don’t know what proper nail care looks like, having gnawed on my talons like The Bachelorette bites the neck on her first date of the season. (Note: I’ve never watched the show. I put that bit in to trick the manicure-crowd into believing I might have.) I have promised my fans I’m going to learn to paint nails properly, though. I’ll let y’all know when I have my first nail-painting party.

I’m not looking for an attaboy. I should not be complimented for no longer doing something that is honestly pretty stupid to begin with, especially after 50 years of it. Much in the same way, it would be imprudent to congratulate me on no longer shooting black tar heroin into my eyeballs. It’s just a bad sign I started to begin with.

That’s my cat in the background. He’s nervous I might start scratching him.

P.S. There’s a link to a post in below, one I made several years ago. It’s stupid – and that’s why I think about it more than I should.

https://xteri.me/2016/04/24/fingerprints-and-finger-prince/