Me and food, we go wayyyyy back! We are close! And let me tell you, we've had some adventures.... My photo graces the walls of many a restaurants for breaking their world record, eating the 2 pound burger, etc.... I (literally... this is not a figure of speech) have had people stay behind after they finish their dinners just to see how much more I could eat.
Here is one such video (later I talk about strange diets- this one I had 1 hour a week to eat carbs - and I took advantage of that hour) where I break the record at a place.
These are things that I used to be proud of .... but currently, am not so proud of. Now I'd be proud of having good eating habits.
Where were these bad habits formed? I don't know for sure, but I've got my theories:
1)My dad is frugal. His vice is getting a great deal. He'll buy cheap crap that looks/works like shit on Ebay, and when you call him out on it, he'll say "But guess how much I paid for it, including shipping?" So... he would love to take us to the buffet, and like most boys, I tried to make my dad proud. I was the one who made sure that he got his money's worth.
2)I'm a bit of a ham, so... yay, I had another skill that I could show off with.
3)I enjoy eating!
I'm 42 now. When I was a little kid, I was fat (from eating junk food, and large quantities). My parents had a fast food place in the mall, and would bring me food from the store whenever I wanted. I'd of course order large amounts of everything (e.g. 12" philly cheesesteak with Mayo, double cheese, double meat, cheese fries, 32 oz lemonade, mozarella sticks, potato chips.... and also a burger with double meat, double cheese) - it wasn't until 2009 when I ate a salad (other than fruit salads or potato salads... I Don't think those really count as the healthy stuff though).
In 1998, everything changed. A client flew me to Trinidad, and they fed me so much that in 3 weeks I gained 10 pounds, and couldn't fit into my jeans anymore (I could.... but I had to do that thing where you suck in your stomach, hold your breath, and jump until you get your pants to fit). That finally gave me the motivation to work out.... To get past those first few weeks when you can barely lift anything. After about a month, not only did I fit into my jeans, but someone pointed out that a girl's head had turned when I walked into the room. WHAT?? Nah! Really? Yeah bro! -- I was hooked.
I became a meat-head... Made friends with the guys at the gym, had workout buddies... we'd buy the muscle mags, the supplements. I got my benchpress up to 355, leg press over 1,000... And to grow the kind of muscle that I was growing I had to eat. A lot.... 8-14 eggs for breakfast, an entire rotisserie chicken for lunch (with a large sweet potato and long-grain wild rice as the side), a few steaks for dinner, and cans of tuna and granola bars between meals.... But not, rather than looking fat, "I was swole" (I had big muscle). I had a Camaro and a motorcycle.. it was a lifestyle.
The thing is - after 1998, my image of myself changed from a chubby fatty to a muscular guy. Oh yeah-- I forgot to mention, in middle school, I was always late for Phys Ed class, 'cause I'd wait for everyone else to leave the locker room before I'd take my shirt off to change into my gym uniform.... Didn't want them to see my man-boobs. sniffle - Here's me in 2004- working out a little bit here and there:
Then life happened, and I didn't have time to be eating all damn day, and be working out for 2 hours. In fact, it went to no hours for a few years, then on again.... but with lesser results. And when you eat a lot - which I always have - and you don't exercise, the weight goes on as fat. And I didn't enjoy looking at my reflection and wanting to make fun of it. So... then came the diets. I've even done standup comedy about my diets:
I kept my physique mostly fine.... And I always kept a good amount of strength that I liked to surprise people with:
Let's skip listing those out, since that would just take up another few pages... but in 2013 I posted on Facebook that I will try to get 6-pack abs in 5 months. To do that, I lifted weights at my building's gym, did Capoeira (a Brazilian Martial Art - often known as Breakdance fighting - it's intense), jogged, and tried different diets. The last one I was on, which (along with the exercise) got me there was Carb Backloading -- for 5 days I'd eat no carbs at all, then 3 days I would have no carbs in the morning, have a major workout, then have a 4 hour window to spike my insulin.
Spiking your insulin could mean having a glass of apple juice and a sweet potato... but no... I'm a ham... I'm an idiot that loves to mess with people in mischievous ways... Thus, each of those 3 days, after my workout, I'd get 2 pints of ice cream, 2 large energy drinks, and 4 bags of candy. ... After whatever dinner I had. And you know what? I got my abs!
Not only did I get my abs... but I got them by my deadline: my birthday. This is a week before - and I don't even recognize myself-- never had I been this lean:
The problem is that I didn't make it a lifestyle this time... rather, I set a goal by a deadline. I hit that goal... so I took a day off to celebrate my birthday, and that day turned into 2.5 years.... at which time, we're back to "Fuck! I'm fat!" - but now I was in the middle of nowhere, so it was tough to find a gym... then each time I'd move, getting back into it... trying different regiments (since I no longer had a desire to work out for 2 hours a day)... So, I was a beefy guy, I had some fat, but I wore it well.
Then I moved back to Austin (the above story starts in Florida, and goes allllllllll over the map. Like, I'm a friggin pinball bouncing around- I have the travel bug, and I seem to move every few months to a year). and there was a Cain's chicken across the street. Way too tasty and convenient, and I got up to 234lbs. I'm 6 feet tall. When I was lifting weights for 2 hours a day, and eating massive quantities of protien, I was 215 pounds, and solid.... Now I got up to 234, and jiggly. No bueno! And this was even while working out.
You see, "Muscles are made in the kitchen" - depending on who you ask (from the people that know their stuff) you'll get a different answer as to what percentage of fat loss and muscle gain is due to diet- 70%-90% are the answers I recall.
I moved to Mexico, started cooking my own meals, jogging on the beach... I got to about 218. I was pleased with myself, and thought - "Hey! Why don't I try a cleanse... I've lost weight, why not ditch the chemicals that are still hiding in my system." (Fat stores all sorts of bad stuff). Tim Ferriss mentioned the Master Cleanse, so I thought I'd try that one.
The master cleanse is also known as the lemonade diet. You squeeze fresh lemons of limes, add cayenne pepper, and also dark robust maple syrup (Formerly "Grade B" - apparently, the maple industry is quite complex). No solid food!
I tried it out, and I was amazed... not only was I not hungry, but the weight would fall off so quickly that I could see the changes in my reflection... Which only motivated me more. Originally I was thinking I'd do it for a week or so, but since I had so much energy, and was losing so much weight so quickly, I went for 3 weeks - at which point I hit 199.8 pounds. I hadn't been less than 200 pounds since my 36th birthday (184.5)!
I took a day to celebrate my accomplishment... and... oh yeah, you're supposed to ease back into solid foods - 3 days of broth/juice is what's recommended.
What did I do on my day of celebration? Two fried tacos, an entire package of spaghetti, a pound of ground meat, a large coffee, a large can of coffee, a chocolate bar (well.. it's chocolate with jelly inside- these delicious Mexican candies called Bubu Lubu - I friggin love 'em!), a can or two of Jack Daniels drinks, an energy drink, and some Japanese peanuts (you know, the crunchy coated ones. In Israel we call them American Peanuts, but here in Mexico they call them Japanese Peanuts). Not quite easing into it, eh?
You know what? I was fine. Got right back to it the next day... but after all that eating, I kind of lost my motivation (Lost my Steem :D ).
That was in November - and so I started going to the gym the day after, and started on a diet and weights regimen... Except for that I made a mathematical error (I shit you not!) -- You see, I was weighting my 400 grams of Pasta, and I weighted out 400grams dry (uncooked), which... when you cook it, comes out to way more than 400. In December, when I visited my folks, my mom mentioned that she thought I was looking fat.
To top it off, I was working out so hard, that I actually tore some muscles in my lower back, and had to take 3 months off from the gym to exercise.
I thought "Hey! Why not try that cleanse again?" - Did it for 10 days and lost 8 pounds. Then a month or 2 later, I did it again for 12 days, and lost 10 pounds.
A few weeks ago, I got to my folks, and mom wanted to take me to buy some shirts... I fit into a medium, and weighted in at 188 - a full 30 pounds lighter than when she'd called me fat in December.... and I didn't even try that hard.
My parents, who don't usually listen to much of anything that I say, were there with a notebook, taking copious notes about what I did for my diet, because they saw my results, and knew that it was all diet, not exercise. They too got great results on it recently.
When they bought me those shirts though, I had just started my trip... I flew back to Austin, visited my little brother, some friends. People drink. It was national Chicken Wings Day - so my little bro and I went to all you can eat wings..... Then I flew back to the bay area, and of course went out with family.....
I left at 188, and returned at 200. I shit you not, my scale asked if I was the same person, because of the massive and rapid weight change. Yikes! Better Master Cleanse that right off.
Well... I think the Master Cleanse actually has a lot of sugar in it. When you do it, they tell you to just sip on lemonade when you're hungry. That's the entire diet right there..... The recipe I was using was to make 6 cups of lemonade. By day 3 or 4 I was down to just 1 or 2 cups of lemonade, and jogging 10 miles. I was hooked on having a thinner reflection each day.
This time I decided to skip the master cleanse, and just do a water fast. I did that for 3.5 days - just water (and Branch Chain Amino Acids- as to not lose muscle mass).... But, I was a little foggy in the brain, so I started drinking coffee with a few teaspoons of the maple syrup (still have tons of that stuff) for calories to fuel my brain. Less than 200 calories a day, for sure. And I'd walk, or jog.
I did my modified water-fast for 16 days, and lost 16 pounds. I got down to 184.8 - but then my stomach hurt because I sipped on a bunch of sriracha sauce the night before because after 16 days, I was just craving some flavor... and Sriracha has flavor :) -- So I made some rice, to keep it light (and 'cause it was the only thing left in the house) - and today I went and got juices, soups, and bread.... Actually exiting properly this time.
Here's what I look like now (The pants do not actually have the weird midriff thing- that's just a reflection because of the curvature of the mirror!)- Not quite 6 pack abs - but I'm 8 pounds away from that.
Ok... yay, you know how to lose weight quickly now. Just don't eat anything.
But that was just the introduction... The real deal is my thoughts on it.... I am happier, more productive, and have boundless energy when I am on a liquid only diet!
You'd think that 200 calories isn't enough. "They" tell you that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (which, by the way is complete and utter bullshit! Even on my master cleanse I would do it Intermittent Fasting style - I'd only have my lemonade from 2pm-10pm)... They even tell you to have MORE meals every day, that will speed up your metabolism.
For every thing you read, you can find another diet or report that will refute it and tell you the exact opposite thing. It's like diseases-- they're not discovered by doctors, they are made up by marketers that want to sell you pills.
Breakfast wasn't "Breakfast" (eggs, sausage, bacon) until Edward Bernays (a marketing/PR/advertising genius that used the work of his uncle, Sigmund Freud to change the world - he did the breakfast thing, he got women smoking cigarettes, he's fascinating - read up on it) did some marketing magic.. and now when we think breakfast, it's eggs & Bacon. And nobody questions it.
It's no wonder we have an obesity epidemic... We are marketed to so heavily... And there's too much convenient food everywhere (Fast food, processed food, etc).
Before I started the master cleanse, it got to the point where I would eat a meal, then have to take a nap..... That's not a good thing! Being on a liquid diet made me realize that I eat way too much and too often in general.
I've enjoyed the Ketogenic Diet mixed with Intermittent Fasting over the last 2 years or so... The quality of the foods you get makes a big difference. The weight started falling off when I replaced fast food with cooking at home.
When I was on the liquid diets, I could actually tell which processes consumed calories-- e.g. when I had some hard coding problems to solve, I could feel it when I could no longer thing straight -- solution: go sip some maple syrup, and I'm right back in the game.
Right now, I'm trying to come up with a diet that gives me enough calories to build muscle... but I'm also trying to do a mostly liquid diet for the daytime, and then a reasonably sized meal in the evening.
When I was on liquids only, I was making really good decisions. I was making better life choices. I was sticking to my routines better. It showed me how much energy I waste digesting solid foods.
Now I'm not a doctor. In fact, I'm sure that many doctors would tell you that I am an idiot. So... don't take any of this as medical advice.
My brain is the most important thing to me. It stores my jokes and stories, and I use it daily to solve problems, to create. I lead a magical life, and my brain is the tool that I use to create that. And what I realized over the last 9 months is that I waste a lot of energy that my brain could have, on other things... so I make worse choices, and have less will power than I'd like. Will power IS a limited resource - this is scientifically proven.
If I had to summarize, I'd say these (in no particular order)
1)Dont' do things just because that's what everyone else is doing. The majority is usually wrong. You might get some dirty looks, or people concerned about you.
2)If you're going to do something that's different than what everyone else is doing, you might not want to tell people until after you've finished and got your results. If you post on social media that you're going to see how 2 weeks without solid food goes, people will make you feel terrible about it (just like they would if you were telling them that you're leaving your job to start your own business so that you can have a life that you control (I recommend that as well -- my parents still wish I had a regular job).
3)You can choose your food choices based on the performance that you want -- are you going for strength? Brain power?
4)Don't compare yourself to other people... it's the absolute greatest source of misery. Some people don't need to diet, can eat like pigs, and they just burn it off.
5)The most successful people that I know eat pretty healthy, and make sure to have time to exercise. Coincidence? Your body is a machine - take good care of it (sounds funny from the guy that does really dumb things and would eat like crap most of his life).
6)Do what works for you. Try different things out. You'd be amazed at what sort of things that sound really weird will actually work (like my ice cream and candy diet that got me shredded).
7)Eating gives you energy... but digesting takes a lot of energy away as well... More than you might think. If you require a lot of energy, you might want to try to reduce the amount of food (notice I didn't say amount of calories, thought that's a whole other issue).
8)You can go for a very long time without food... not without water... and usually when you feel hungry, you just haven't drank enough.
9)Parents are doing a disservice forcing their kids to finish what's on their plate. Eat till you're not hungry, and stop!
I love to eat. But now, because I've seen how great it can be to not eat, I am eating less often, and now I can sense when I'm no longer hungry.