Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Losing weight.

I've been overweight for the majority of my life. No, scratch that... I've been fat for the majority of my life.

I think I'm almost unique in admitting this, but I'm fat because I don't exercise enough and eat like an idiot. My relationship with food has always been simple: It tastes nice, I like it, so I'm going to eat it. I very rarely give any thought to what's actually in the things I eat or how unhealthy they are...because who wants to eat a salad when you can have a double bacon cheeseburger?

However, I do have limits. Every so often I'll catch myself in a mirror and realise that I've gone past 'chubby' and straight into 'heart attack before 40' territory. That's when I decide to lose weight to get down to a healthy level...and I've never had a problem doing this.

For example, Christmas was one of those times, and since December 26th, I've lost a steady 3-4 lbs a week.

Here's the big secret: Losing weight is not complicated. It's the simplest thing on the planet. If I wrote my own diet book, it would be a single sentence: Eat less calories than you burn.

That's it. It's simple physics.

A calorie is a measurement of energy. Food is fuel that contains energy. Any energy you don't expend is stored by your body as fat. If you burn more energy than you eat, your body is going to use that stored fat as fuel.

So, if you burn 2000 calories a day and eat 2500, you're going to gain weight. If you burn 2000 calories a day and eat 1500, you're going to lose weight. It's that simple. You can keep your 'good carbs' and 'bad carbs' and 'metabolism boosting foods'...that's all bullshit. Follow that rule and it's physically impossible not to lose weight.

But if it's so simple, why are there all these people on TV claiming that if you eat a slice of grapefruit before every meal, the 'special enzymes' will burn the fat...or that you can eat as much as you like as long as you avoid dairy or wheat or whatever?

I'll tell you why. Because losing weight is difficult. It means getting off the couch and going for a run, or giving up foods you like and, god forbid, actually being hungry once in a while.

As a species, we don't like difficult...and we prefer a comforting lie over an uncomfortable truth.

It doesn't matter how ridiculous or nonsensical a diet is, if it's easy, people will jump on it like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat. It's like the 'save the children' facebook petitions. It's a way to feel like you're doing something while not doing anything.

We want to lose weight, and we get the feeling of accomplishment from buying the exercise video and diet book, rather than actually exercising or dieting.  

You see, the problem with the diet industry is that it's just that, an industry. It's a business, and the purpose of a business is to make money. It's not about making you thinner and more healthy, it's about keeping you spending.

If there was a quick, simple and easy way to lose weight, there wouldn't be a diet industry. There wouldn't be a need for it. If you really could lose weight by eating a slice of grapefruit before every meal, everyone would do that and wouldn't need all the different books and exercise plans and overly complicated, pseudo-scientific bullshit.

Now, I'm not saying it's some big conspiracy to keep you fat, the diet industry just follows the same rules that any business follows to get and keep customers.

For example, it takes approximately 10,000 hours practice to master any musical instrument, but how many times have you seen books and videos advertised claiming that you can learn the piano or guitar in just 10 easy lessons? The first step in selling anything is to over-promise.

Does any of that sound familiar? How many infomercials have you seen where some super-fit 'health guru' has claimed you can get washboard abs in just 15 minutes a day, or drop a dress size while still eating whatever you want?

Why do they do this? Because 'Washboard abs in 15 minutes a day' sells a lot better than 'washboard abs in about 6 months if you're already in decent shape and spend 3 hours a day at the gym'

It begs the question, if you can get an athelete's physique is just 15 minutes a day with one piece of exercise equipment, why do all the real athletes spend 8 hours a day training?

Over-promising gets you in the door. Then you're given a little bit of success.

If you start any diet when you're significantly overweight, you're going to lose weight in the beginning... If you're 350lbs, you can burn 200 calories by walking a half mile for the simple reason you're carrying so much weight around (the same way a 150lb athlete will burn more calories by carrying a 200lb rucksack)'re also putting in the effort to eat healthier...but once the novelty wears off and you fall back into your old habits, andyou can follow that fad diet all you like, you're not going to lose an ounce

Then to keep you, they make simple things seem complicated.

The diet obviously isn't going to work, so now they start talking about genetics and metabolism and body-chemistry. It's not that you're not losing weight because you're still eating too much and not exercising's for lots of extremely complicated scientific reasons... in fact, it's just about impossible for you to ever lose weight... unless, of course, you go on our advanced diet which is personalised for you and takes your specific body chemistry into account.

Finally, they pull the switch and put you right back to square one.

So the super-mega cheeseburger diet didn't work for you. Obviously it's not your fault, it's your genetics or your metabolism or whatever. It's a good job Doctor Asshat of the totally non-fictional Asshat Institute has discovered and totally new way to lose weight! Never mind a slice of grapefruit, it turns out that if you activate the amino-acids in cheesecake with the fat burning, metabolism boosting enzymes in our specially over-priced yoghurt, you can literally eat whatever you want... but first we need to analyse your genes, so buy this book and video that explains it all, and you too can be slim in weeks!

Long story short, it's all horseshit. You can lose weight in one of two ways: Eat less, exercise more...or better yet, a combination of the two.

Saying you can't lose weight by burning more calories than you eat is like saying your car can't run out of gas no matter how little fuel you put in and how far you drive. However, every day I run into a dieting 'expert' that tells me I'm doing it all wrong.

Let me explain something. If you've been dieting for 20 years and are still overweight, that makes you a failure... not an expert.I don't care how many books you've read, how many videos you've watched, I don't take financial advice from someone £50,000 in the hole, so I'm not taking dieting advice from someone who's morbidly obese.

Here's my diet 'plan': I don't eat breakfast. I never have. I'm not hungry when I wake up and eating before noon makes me feel physically sick. So I'm not going to eat anything. Then, for lunch, I have whatever I want as long as it's less than 300 calories. This is perfect for me. It's the right amount of food to stop me being hungry until dinner. Then, for dinner, I allow myself up to 900 calories. That's a nice big meal... and then after dinner, I don't snack or eat anything.

That's 1200 calories a day, the minimum recommended by actual doctors (That's people with PhD's, not a certificate from a dodgy website and a daytime talk-show) so you can lose weight and get adequate nutrition.

But then...on a regular basis, someone will notice I'm losing weight and ask what my 'secret' is. Then comes the bullshit:

I should never skip breakfast because that 'kick-starts' your metabolism. The large pretzel I had for lunch that day is all bad carbs and gluten. My dinner is too big and should be spread over the day...and stopping eating at 6pm is all wrong because you should eat every 2 hours.

Excuse me? I've lost more weight in the last month than you've lost in 10 years... and you're going to sit there with a straight face and tell me I'm doing it wrong? Doesn't the fact you've got 30 different diet books on your shelf tell you that they just might not, you know, work?

Once again, losing weight is hard, but it's not complicated. Eat less calories than you burn.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Friendzone

Ok, it’s become a bit of a meme, and it’s starting to piss me I’m just gonna come out and say it:

There is no such thing as ‘The Friendzone’. It is impossible to be put there, and it’s impossible to be trapped there.

When you say you’re stuck in the friendzone, what you’re really saying is this:

There’s this girl I like, but I’m way too much of a pussy to tell her I like her or make any sort of move. So, what I’ll do is actively hide my feelings from her while generally just hanging around in the hope one day she’ll fall in love with me and make the first move, despite me showing no romantic interest in her whatsoever... then, one day, when some other guy asks her out and she says yes, I’ll bitch and whine about how nice guys finish last and how girls are only interested in jerks.

Ok, guys, here’s a tip.

Women don’t like jerks. They don’t like douchebags or assholes. What they do like is alpha-males who will take charge once in a while. What women don’t like are passive, doormat yes-men.

I know, you’re calling bullshit on that (probably some women too), but that’s only because I used the term ‘Alpha-male’ and that’s come to mean ‘self-obsessed frat boy douchebag’.

Trust me, you can be an Alpha Male, without being a douchebag. 

Ladies, what do you find more attractive:

Valentine’s Day is coming up, your boyfriend:

              A)     Asks you what gift you want, then buys you that gift. Asks you where you’d like to go to eat, then takes you to that restaurant. If you ask him what he’d like to do, he shrugs and says “I don’t know, whatever you want to do.”

             B)      Turns up at your house and tells you to pack a bag because he’s taking you to Paris for the weekend. He’s already called your boss and arranged for the time off. He’s booked the hotel, a table at a restaurant he heard about online and arranged a tour to show you all the sights Paris has to offer.

Paris, right? 

He’s acting like an Alpha. He’s being confident and taking charge. He’s being exciting. You know what’s not exciting? A guy who does whatever you want, whenever you want and will never make a decision without your approval because he’s too shit scared to upset you.

The friendzone makes no goddamn sense, because the way you escape it is to walk up to your crush and ask them out on a date. You just grow a set of balls, look them in the eye and say “I really like you, I want to be more than friends.”

I know, I know, but you can’t tell her you like her because she means so much to you. If I ask her out and she says no, it’ll ruin our friendship, and I love her so much, I’d rather have her in my life as a friend than not at all.

Step one? Horseshit. Step two? Grow the fuck up.

Here’s the thing, your perfect little princess? She isn’t. She’s a human fucking being and human beingss have flaws. You know that picture in your head of you living in blissful happiness for the rest of your lives? That’s never going to happen...because if you’d ever spent any time in a real relationship, you’d discover that relationships are hard.

Let me explain something. I love my wife as much as it’s possible for one sentient being to love another. I moved halfway around the world twice to be with her. We’ve been though shit together that would have most couples running for the hills. I would take a bullet for her without hesitation and would walk through hell every day to protect her... and you know what? Some days she annoys the shit out of me. There have been days when I’ve actually given thought to where I’m going to hide her body when I beat her to death with a lawn chair...and you know what else? She’s probably fantasised about killing me in my sleep.

You know why? Because we’re people...and because we’re people we have personality quirks and habits that drive the other person crazy. That’s called being in a relationship.

But yeah, I’m married and cynical, and I have no idea what true love really is. So, let’s imagine for a second that you’re not living in a deluded fantasy world where you’re projecting your image of the perfect woman onto a normal human being, and that I’m completely wrong.

Think about what you’re saying.

This is a person that you’re truly in love with, who is the world’s most perfect human being who has ever lived...and you’re willing to risk absolutely nothing to be with her. 

Let’s say you don’t ask her out, there are two possible scenarios:

Scenario 1 : Eventually, she falls in love with you and you end up together: Great, glad that worked out. Good job you didn’t waste years of your life keeping your feelings secret, right? I mean, think about all that fun you would have missed being alone and miserable,  listening to her complain about all those guys she had sex with while you were washing her car and picking up her dry cleaning!

Scenario 2: You live out the rest of your lives with her having no idea that you’re actually interested in her as anything but a friend. Hey, but at least when you watch the love of your life walk down the aisle with another man and move onto a whole new life without you in can assuage the crippling loneliness by reminding yourself that, five years ago, when she actually had time for you, you didn’t ruin your friendship

Now let’s imagine you do ask her out. Again, there’s two possible scenarios.

Scenario 1 : She says yes. No further explanation needed.

Secnario 2: She says no. It hurts like hell for a while, but then you move on, meet someone else...only this time, you ask them out before you build an unrealistic fantasy around them. You have a real relationship and slowly come to realise that you didn’t really know the girl you were so in love with and laugh about how obsessed you were. Even if you are still convinced that girl was the love of your least you know you tried.

There is no such thing as the Friendzone. Only being a completely passive coward with unrealistic expectations.

Grow a pair and ask her out