Don’t Die Plan – Pt. 1

I didn’t want to die to soon because I want to feel true happiness and love once more so I have devised the ultimate weight loss and psychology solution for fat guys who are fat because of their genetically inherited massive dinosaur frame or their love of food or whatever so that if you never have been able to improve yourself before hopefully you can start to get better now too like me and get really hot! Part 1 is just an overview of my background with losing weight and a loose theory of what I am doing to myself now of days. No I’m not going to edit this paragraph it’s supposed to be like this. Picture is unrelated to losing weight.

I’ve only managed to lose actual weight once before—in seventh grade—when my mom and I stuck to the same 1200 calorie/day diet and I didn’t bother to account for the fact that I was burning well over that amount each day playing competitive sports. Over the course of the two-week diet I lost fourteen pounds, nearly four times what is supposed to be “healthy”. It was excruciatingly hard but I liked the results. Of course, within another two weeks I was back to normal again. All effects of my diet, physical and mental, were essentially null and void. 

But why?

Well, even I knew at the time that what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. Like I I said, it wasn’t even healthy. I could keep it up for two weeks as a sort of challenge during my spring vacation, but once I went back to school I didn’t feel like being the only one starving all the time when everyone else ate an actual lunch. The severity of the diet that I had put myself through for just two weeks instilled in me the idea that going on a diet was simply too hard. It just isn’t worth it. My youthful misinterpretation of calorie deficits led me from eating somewhere between two to three thousand calories per day to around only one thousand paired with a general increase in physical activity. I literally thought that being on a diet meant that I had to consume a net zero calories. Not in relation to my basal metabolic rate (BMR), but net zero overall. I was eating up to 3500 fewer calories per day than I needed to maintain my then present weight.

Having had friends with serious eating disorders, I would not characterize my mental state during that part of my childhood in this way. My diet was carefully careful and intentional, though technically unhealthy. However it is a part of the larger story pertaining to my struggles with weight loss (and gain) in the way that it asserted that the only real way to get visible results was to kill myself in the other direction. Around that time my doctor told me (played ten hours of hockey/week, ran a seven and a half minute mile, on the varsity tennis team) that I was “morbidly obese”. He said that I had to change something immediately or I was at risk of heart disease, stroke, cancers and diabetes before any of that. Now, going by his color-coded BMI chart, maybe he felt the need to say that. At that point in my life (and for another fifteen years after that) I had never received anything but good news at the doctor, save for my weight. But no doctor had ever looked past my clean blood tests, clear lungs, athleticism and general good health to tell me that I was going to die. I’m not even sure I was thirteen at that point. How was I meant to interpret that?

Maybe I would have taken it better if I had never thought of myself as a fat kid, but unfortunately, I did. I got bullied a lot, especially when I wasn’t even really fat at all. My man tits were ever so slightly visible in a polo shirt and that was more than enough for anyone willing enough to hop in and throw a jab at me. I’m going to be honest I got a really really hot girlfriend in ninth grade and that didn’t even help. Even after people largely stopped making fun of me directly, the idea that I was a fat piece of shit who deserved every pound of it persisted.

Therein lay the conflict that has hampered every effort I make to lose weight: the diet seemed like it would make my life worse to a degree that would just eclipse how bad it already felt. I didn’t just love to eat, I loved to cook. I wanted to be a chef throughout my entire childhood. I cooked for myself, I cooked for friends, I cooked just for fun. I created my own recipes and perfected my own techniques. I taught myself the skills I needed to feed myself dopamine through taste and scent-based memories of my life. Are you really going to tell a teenager who figured out how to make Thai fried rice that he can’t eat it? Food helped me connect with my family, with my friends and with my own self. I was not and will never be prepared to really cut the good shit out of my diet. It’s just not possible. This is one of the fattest things anyone has ever said, but good ass food is a part of my soul and I would rather die before giving it up, going full vegan, gluten-free or not being able to have my god damn coffee drinks when I need them. I’m not allergic to anything so I can say that!

It took me a while to figure out that I wasn’t going to be able to go on any sort of truly restrictive diet. I watched my parents try Atkins and other fad diets to a small amount of success in exchange for what seemed to be far too much effort. After all, I managed to lose weight by counting calories alone. There was never anything wrong with my blood or vitals when I went to the doctor, so maybe I should have assumed that I had no need to change the foods I ate. However, diets like Atkins, Keto, Paleo, cleanse this, adaptogens that all seemed focused on convincing you that using their methods was actually the easier way. I can understand, for someone who doesn’t have the emotional connection or selective preference with food that I do, how Keto actually would be an easy way to drop weight. I believe that part of the psychology behind these scientific fad diets is that no one wants to be hungry. Nine out of ten people will choose the diet where they can eat the same amount and still feel full while still losing weight. People on diets want to be able to go out to eat with their friends. They want to have wings at the super bowl party. They don’t want to be the person saying “Uhhmmm do you mind if we go to a juice bar instead? They don’t have many vegan options here”.

Just as there’s nothing wrong with turning down unhealthy food in favor of something more wholesome, theres also nothing wrong with wanting to continue on living the same life that you have been. No one truly wants to make big life changes until they’re spurred into action. “So you’re saying if I cut out bread and candy and sweets, I can still eat as much steak as I want?” Doesn’t sound like too bad a pitch for most average Americans. My issue with these “boutique” diets has always been that I just don’t believe it. I’ve known since the seventh grade that the only way for me to lose weight was to eat less. Even the amount of physical activity I do doesn’t matter. Okay, it likely matters some, but not in a way that I was ever able to visibly detect. 

This point brings my story into the present day. I am constantly wanting to lose weight, but constantly unable to do so. I attempt to start a diet only to give it up less than a week later. Why? It just never works with my life. Dieting while working in a professional kitchen? Fucking impossible. You eat what you can get your hands on. Some days it’s leftover salad, some days it’s bacon that you dropped in the deep fryer. And the stress you bring home? Definitely not going to starve that away. In fact, you’ll probably want a beer. As is your right! Why should I, constantly compromising my health and well-being and financial solvency under the rule of some small business tyrant, then go home and be slave to my own rules? Why do I have to feel bad when I go home too? I shouldn’t. Actually, I’d argue, that if you feel bad enough, getting Wendy’s on the way home is the right thing to do.

I’m done with the professional kitchen for now. It basically ruined my life. One of the unintended consequences of my time in the kitchen was that for the first time, my health had actually begun to decline. Not having consistent money meant cheaper, junkier food and food that was bought only to make me feel better, eaten whenever I felt I needed it. This continued until I had my first physical of the year in March of 2022, a few months after I moved to New York. I had never gotten back bad blood test results before. Of course, being a hypochondriac I had learned enough about how to read them that I got scared. My cholesterol was up, my white blood cells were up, my blood sugar was low, and my lipids were too high. It was like a test run for my worst nightmare—a more immediately terminal illness.

That was enough to spur me into action like I had never been before. Well, that and the fact that I didn’t have soul-crushing wage slavery weighing on my shoulders every day as I was unable to get a job. Fortunately for me, the stress of trying to find a job is somehow less than actually having one that makes me want to kill myself. This relative idleness opened up a gap in my psyche that I was able to exploit due to the existential fear brought on by the poor blood test results. I wasn’t about to get Diabetes and for the second time in my life I really had a chance to focus on losing weight. Less distractions, less friends, less socializing and a carte blanche to make whatever shopping list I wanted. I thought back to the two weeks of spring vacation in seventh grade when I lost fourteen pounds. I had three times as much weight to lose now. But these days I have a bit more time and the added ability to cook literally anything I want at restaurant quality. High cholesterol meant that I had to cut back on animal fats and shoehorn more whole grains and greens into my diet, but otherwise I felt I had a good opportunity to do my own experiment and try to lose weight on my terms. Fish, farro and arugula are three of my all-time favorite foods, so there wasn’t realistically much shoehorning involved.

Six weeks after that first physical, I’ve lost about 30 pounds. It’s been a little bit of sacrifice here and there, but I’ve come up with a method of losing weight where the results I’m getting far outweigh the effort needed to get them. This is already like 2000 words, so I think I’ll get more into the mathematical details and day-to-day of what I’m doing with my next post, but at least I’ve topically explained the theory behind what I’m doing and why I believe it’s working.