What does that mean in the context of losing weight? I ain’t counting calories, points or starch stats. My friend Richard Nikoley runs a very big Paleo-living blog, FreeTheAnimal.com, and I deeply admire the work he is doing there, but I have zero interest in thinking about food, much less obsessing about it. Food is something I consume while working in order to keep working. That’s all.
The consequences of habituated inattention will accrue, of course, with the result that I have been a slowly blossoming carnation since 1998, the last time I would say I was physically fit.
I started to reverse course a few years ago, losing weight steadily instead of steadily gaining. My diet secret? Not a diet, but simply a long-term change in my habits.
With that as introduction, I will give you my three quick ’n’ easy high-D diet prescriptions:
1. Eat half as much twice as often. Whatever you think you want, eat half that much. If you’re peckish later, eat another small meal. First, you’re not nearly as hungry as your eyes think you are. And second, you won’t make the time to eat too often, so you’ll eat less overall.
2. Avoid sweetened drinks. I include diet drinks and fruit juice, but YMMV. That 64-ounce soda is definitely your enemy, and an 8-ounce glass of OJ is plenty with breakfast. Arguably artificially-sweetened drinks just make you swap in other sugars later, but I’m safe either way, because sacharine tastes like rat poison to me. I drink ice-water mostly, with coffee and tea, no milk, no sugar, for variety.
3. Avoid fancy wheat. Wheat is not food, it’s fodder. That’s why the Roman welfare state was built on a foundation of wheat: You can tell people it’s free food, when it’s really just a way of bulking up a breakfast of roasted rodent. Cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, Doritos, Cheetos, et very cetera, are all just fancy wheat. You’re going to get way more than plenty of wheat without even trying, so making a conscious effort to keep wheat out of your mouth will keep it from accumulating on your ass. Note that beer and whiskey are both just fancy wheat, too. If you crave cake frosting, just eat a spoonful of cake frosting. If fruit juice and alcohol really matter to you, have the two together in a glass of wine.
I will say that it helps if you don’t take any great pleasure from eating. Except for sex, I resent bodily functions as a waste of time. I eat truly boring food, and I can eat the same thing for 180 days in a row. The only time food really calls my name is in the days immediately after eating too much, as with a holiday meal. My theory is that my stomach gets stretched out, and I’m more than usually hungry until it retakes its normal shape. This is a useful goad to avoid over-eating even for special occasions. Similarly, I note that since I started eating half as much per meal, I almost never get heartburn. Big duh, right?
That’s it, the complete list of my weight-loss secrets. I don’t have to think about any of this, which is well, because I refuse to think about food. I keep crap I don’t want in my body out of my house. If I really want a soda, I buy it from the fountain at QuikTrip, so it’s out of my life in one indulgence instead of six or twelve. Likewise for ice cream or other sweets. Mostly I don’t want to waste time or money on that crap, so this strategy pays triple dividends.
My progress is slow and steady, but so was the growth of my girth. And the best news of all for me: I don’t have to think about what I’m doing, I just do what I’ve been doing day by day.