Thursday, December 28, 2006

Six months later, and change.

So it has been six months, and I'm not sorry. You weren't reading anyway.

I have finished my first semester of medical school. I have dissected a human body. I have memorized the citric acid cycle.

After one semester of medical school, here is my first bit of advice: Starve yourself. Disregard if you have been diagnosed with anorexia or bulemia, but honestly, the anorexics and bulemics are going to have to bite the bullet for the tens of millions of obese Americans. Sorry, majority rules.

America, you are loaded with useless extraneous tissue.

Long ago I posted a link to the layers of a human. Now that I have personally dug through those layers, allow me to recap.

On top you got your skin. It's pretty thick. You'd be surprised.

Under that there is some pinkish, sorta creamy, sorta fibrous stringy stuff, with all of your fat in it. Then under that there is a tough, definitely fibrous layer. And under that fibrous layer there are your muscles. If you're in the belly and you keep going there's another layer before your actual 'guts' (if you will), but enough about that.

Point is, under your skin and above your muscles is where your fat is, and IT ISN'T YOU. Your muscles are organs and stuff are the useful part of your body. That fatty, yellow, creamy stuff is not you. It's junk. Get rid of it. Starve it off. Starve yourself and tell yourself it's over. I won't do it to myself.

Because it isn't you. It's a parasite. And frankly, it's gross. So starve it off.

Sincerely yours,

P.S. Dudes, I am talking 1800 calories. Ladies, you can probably do 1500, unless you're buff. Of course it matters what you eat. Ever hear of a glycemic index? If you haven't, read about it. Eat stuff with a low glycemic index. Examples: Beans, citrus fruit, pumpernickel bread, apples, spaghetti (al dente), lentils, barley. BAD examples: Potatoes, ice cream, white rice. You need calcium for your bones. Make sure you're getting enough. If you're a vegan or something take a supplement, but don't overdo it, you'll get the stone. You don't really need more than 100 grams of protein a day, so take it easy, don't go nuts eating fifty chicken breasts. You do need meat for the vitamin B12, but take it easy. Maybe 5-8 ounces of lean meat per day in addition to your tons of vegetables fibrous grains. When you want a treat have some fruit.

About exercise: Do it. The more of it you do, the more bad stuff you can eat. If you aren't willing to bust your ass for an hour a day, nothing high glycemic index for you. If you run a lot or lift lots of weights, then go ahead and eat a potato, it will actually be good for you in that case.

Your body was made to get its ass busted, i.e., running, climbing, breaking things, raging. If you don't do this type of stuff, you need to watch your diet like a freaking hawk, and you need to starve yourself. But if you start living like an animal, if you can make yourself (with apologies to Full Metal Jacket) born-again hard, then you can eat high glycemic. Otherwise it's barley for you, buddy. Hands off the fries.

Bottom line: Choose your attitude.

"I'm soft and I'm not willing to bust my ass for at least an hour a day."
Prescription: 1800 for a dude, low glycemic, rest of your life, no exceptions, no days off.

"I'm born-again hard."
Prescription: 1800 to much much higher, depending on how hard you bust your ass (find some calorie tables, see how many calories various forms of ass busting use up), and some high glycemic, especially around or during ass-busting times.

Period, it's over, done. No mysteries. Science knows the truth and it ain't pretty.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Two months later: Right on time.

Hello, my perpetually disappointed readers. The last two months have been a time of soul-searching, dieting, and exercise. In this post I'd like to hit on three topics: Motivations, nutrition, and weightlifting. Let's once again go on a quest of poorly substantiated yet earnest ramblings.


To start with something mostly unrelated, there was quite an article published last week in Science. If you're the type who accepts scientific arguments, you may be further humbled by the news that you are merely a very intricate Toyota for germs. The teeming masses (to borrow from C. Adams) live in your gut, and outnumber your own cells by at least an order of magnitude. Don't let anyone ever accuse you of being lazy. You're supporting a family of trillions. Well, more accurately, they're supporting you.

The last exercise program I started (and quit) was this one, which is basically a lot of running and a lot of calisthenics. I quit it because it was too hard. I wanted to approximate the fitness level of a military man, which, in retrospect, was a bad idea. I'm supposed to be more of a healer than a killer, I reckon. I should leave killing and the necessary fitness to the more physically gifted of the world. (Feel the rationalization!)


Mypyramid! Look, you put in like three pieces of information, and it tells you exactly what you should eat every day to get your nutrition. It doesn't get any simpler. Feed your microbes, man! And they will feed you. With microbial love, which we all need to feel whole as Toyotas.


Not trying to brag, but once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, I deadlifted 230 pounds. So yesterday when I went to my local gym and wanted to deadlift again, I figured that 160 pounds would be no big deal. I was wrong.

First rep, wow, that was heavy.

Second rep, this thing is not getting any lighter.

Third rep, wow, this thing is heav-- wait, ow. That's my back. Gotta put this thing down.

So I put it down. More aptly, it put me down. I am walking around now like a very old man with arthritis. Very small steps, hunched over. I should be at work right now but I am taking my sweet time in going in, because it takes time for my back to unwind itself.

So the moral of the story is WALK. For the love of god, just WALK for exercise.

Maybe some day I'll learn.

To recap

Bacteria have convinced me I have consciousness, just because I make a great bus.

Go to mypyramid! It's nifty. Get your grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and meat.

WALK! Don't lift weights. If you do lift weights, don't be an idiot.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lunch: It can make you fat.

This morning's weight: 224.5. Total weight loss in last 3 months: 13 lbs.

I want to talk briefly about lunch. It can make you fat. It's not unusual to eat a big lunch when you're at work. It's like a reward. You don't want to be there, and lunch is the part of your day you get to control. So you associate this control with an ability to reward, and what you think you are doing is rewarding yourself. Well, I feel that over-eating is no reward. In fact, it rather makes me feel like crap after it's over, and then I sit there knowing it's making me fatter, which really, shall we say, disturbs my mojo.

As this lunch-reward philosophy goes, you're working, you need energy, and you deserve it. It is often a social time with co-workers, to boot. There can be pressure to eat a big meal when you're a man, if your co-workers are.

Don't do it. It's too easy to screw yourself at lunch. You work up a good hankering, especially if you're not a breakfast eater, and before you know it you're stuffed. Then when dinner rolls around you're dying of hunger again, and you figure hey, I have only eaten one good meal today, I might as well get stuffed again.

Do not be starving when lunch time rolls around. The fat man, it seems, must master his feelings of fullness and hunger. Be hungry, not starving. Never be starving, never be full. If zero is starving (painful sensation), and 10 is Sweet Lord, I Am A Bad Person, go for 4. That's right. 4. A small bolus. A period of digestion. Another small bolus. Another period of digestion. This is the rhythm of life.

So I caution ye, faithful reader, to beware of lunch. It is an insidious place where progress dies. Eat a small, satisfying lunch. Soup works well. A good serving of soup is 12 ounces. Don't go overboard. Have one piece of bread. Let it soak in. You'll be fine.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Saying Grace

Weight, approximately 228.

Two topics today. Going for a jog, and eating.

As I established in my last post, fat people are fat simply because they eat too much food. There may be some exceptions to this, as there are to any rule, but fat people must face the fact that they are eating, in many cases, a ridiculous amount of food.

So, how do fat people do it? I'll tell you how.

Today, at work, one of the entrees was a turkey dish. Two pieces of turkey and a small bit of stuffing. Not 'a lot' of food. Probably about 550 calories. (Not that we should really care about calories.. more about that in a moment.) I ordered it. The cook asked me if I wanted some potatoes au gratin as well. Now, I didn't need them. But they looked delicious. I don't have to eat all of it, right?

I sat down with my plate and had two bites. Absolutely delicious. But already, I could sense that my mouth, my stomach, my entire body, were responding to the fact that I was eating. I could prattle on (not too long) about enzymes and signal transduction or some other esoteric and (in my humble opinion) fairly mind-numbing topic, but let's leave it at the recognition of that feeling we all know. The feeling of 'I'm eating something.'

Know what the difference between a fat person and a skinny person is at the dinner table? A skinny person (or even a non-fat person), when they have this feeling of 'I'm eating', realize that eating is also going to come to an end as a result of this feeling. Mental force of will is not a factor. It is cute to look at the 4'11" woman who is the hot dog eating champion and talk about force of will, but lunch is not an athletic event. Fat people treat it like it is.

As I made it through my fourth and fifth bites, after I had eaten perhaps 300 calories, I could have stopped. Sure, I would have been hungry in an hour. But it isn't like we live in a starving country. Food is literally everywhere, and it's very cheap. So I continued to eat, to the point that I usually do: Almost Stuffed. Occasionally (more than a few times a week, that is) I foray into Stuffed. On rare days, I go all the way to What The Hell, That Sucked.

Fat people don't know when to stop eating. They think it's a sport, or a contest, or that they'll starve if they don't get enough. They also don't know what hunger and fullness are.

So that's one sorta physical problem. We're not factoring in food addiction and the use of food as a drug. But we can say, here is this physical problem: Fat people like me don't know their bodies. They don't know when to say when, and in many cases, they also don't care. But assuming they care, they should learn.

Which brings me to jogging. Exercise is good, and not because it burns calories. Exercise is good because it lets you get to know what you are. When you know what you are you will be less prone to eat an entire box of Encor lasagna, or two cheeseburgers for lunch. The calories you burn exercising are nothing compared to the calories you don't eat because you are keenly aware of your tastes, your desires, and your physical sensations.

Today while I was out subjecting the neighborhood to the sight of an obese man in running shorts and tights (they know they love it), it occurred to me about 2/7ths of the way into my jog that my left shin hurt. It could be shin splints, or whatever. I'm not a doctor, just a fat pre-med. The point is that I kept running because while I am soft, I am not a complete wimp. Jogging is, in part, about the denial of pain. Joggers frequently hurt at the outset.

Why did I keep going? I knew something else would kick in, and about 5/7ths through, it surely did. Probably, my brain made some chemical that made my pain go away. That same chemical also made me very happy, and brought a sense of order to my thoughts. Rather than falling over themselves, the same thoughts that had plagued me an hour earlier fell into single file, exposed themselves politely, and I did my business with them one at a time, in an orderly fashion.

Not to turn this into a treatise on the ecstasy of jogging -- those are ubiquitous and best done by those who can maintain more than my humble fat man's shuffle for more than 30 minutes. What I do wish to stress is that for one moment, I knew my body. The jog helped me to know myself.

If I could feel that way all the time, I'd never over-eat. Unfortunately, it only lasts about ten minutes. I like to think that through exercise, I am coming to know myself better.

As it stands now, most of the time, I either do not know or do not care what my body wants to do. Calories shouldn't matter. Eating is a fantastic experience, perhaps the best physical experience we have. We take substances in that are our very lives, and the process of taking them in is an indescribable pleasure. This pleasure is reduced to a sad display of self-ignorance, or at worst, self-abuse by the sort of gluttony I and other fat men regularly practice.

I was not as disgusted with myself as I sometimes am today. I left a smattering of poultry gravy and a fat dot of yellow potato on my plate.

Friday, March 10, 2006

That was not the ultimate breakfast

Greetings blogizens. I am 230 again.

What does it mean to be fat? If you're a man, it means you have a belly. If you're a woman, it means you have a huge ass. Let's be fair here, these are the real definitions. We don't need a BMI to know we're fat.

How you know you're fat if you're a man.

1. You wear pants way down below your navel, because if you didn't, you would look like a pumpkin. Instead, you look like a pumpkin sitting on top of a coffee cup.

2. If you grab your ankle and pull your foot to your ass to stretch your leg, there is a big piece of fat getting in the way.

3. Your face is all blown up. You can't really see your jaw.

How you know you're fat if you're a woman.

1. You have a big fat ass.

2. You have cankles. (If you're a woman, you know what a cankle is. If you're a man, you probably knew first.)

3. Other stuff, I'm sure. I'm not a woman, I don't really know.

Besides, this blog is about me. I don't know how I got on that tangent.

Losing weight is very hard. Perhaps hardest of all is the consistency required. You can work out and eat right for a week, then in two days stuff your face full of candy and donuts and become fat again. It's possible. You can't really afford to screw up at all.

Don't let the feel-good squad tell you to forgive yourself. Do not forgive yourself. If you are going to do this, there can be no forgiveness, only the merciless knowledge that you are a muffin-top. (Muffin-top effect achieved by flab hanging over tight waistband.)

So what's the worst part about being fat? Not looking good in clothes. There's nothing better than getting dressed in the morning, knowing you look like a million bucks. When you're fat it's hard because clothes are not designed for fat people. They're designed for skinny people. The fat-acceptance people complain about this, but think about it. If you were a car designer, would you rather design a Corvette or a Dodge Caravan? Big, bloated things are not confidence-inspiring. They are scary.

So shall today's post be. I am sorry, but someone had to say it. I'm fat. Say it. The first step is to say it.

I'm fat.

You're not chubby or hefty or husky or rotund, you're not chunky or 'large.' You're fat. Because you eat too much.

Say it. I eat too much.

I eat too much.

Ask yourself, why do I eat so much?

Why do I eat so much?

Is it because you're sad? You're not sad because you're fat. Being fat does not make you sad. Look at the fat Buddha, eyes all agrin. He is not sad; so it should be with you. If you're telling yourself you're sad because you're fat, you're lying to yourself. You're fat because you're sad. Say it.

I'm fat because I'm sad.

Now stop being sad. How? That's a real doozy, isn't it? Start by realizing that you are lucky, incredibly lucky. You are not in prison. You are not forced into sex slavery. You are, most likely, very rich by world standards. And your life is in your hands. All of it, every last second, until the very end, when it will not be in your hands. And when it is not in your hands, it will be in someone else's. Leave them a nice body.

Stop being sad. Be positive. If you're clinically depressed, either go to a psychologist, or live in denial, but don't be sad. The first job is to say I will no longer be sad.

I will no longer be sad.

Why won't you be sad? Because nothing really matters. Except being happy. That is the only thing that matters. Say it.

The only thing that matters is being happy.

When you believe it, you'll stop eating so much. And you'll stretch. You'll stretch your short fat body out into a long fat body. You'll look at your fat body in the mirror and breathe, and drink lots of cold water. Then you will walk. And you will eat small meals, because you don't need very much food to live. You will take what you need to live and give the rest, because giving feels good.

Say it. I am not sad.

One day, you will say I am not fat. And you won't be.

Stew Smith is not fat. Getting in shape doesn't need to cost anything. We're doing it together, remember.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New ultimate breakfast

I have been searching for the ultimate breakfast. I personally feel it's bad to sit around starving. If you want to lose fat, you must starve to some extent. However, going 8 (yeah, right) hours without food then sitting around for another 3-4 at work before you eat lunch just seems like a bad idea if you're trying to get in shape.

And make no mistake about it -- this is about getting in shape.

Previously, I was eating a can of tuna (yes), one serving of microwave oatmeal, and a glass of milk. Then my normal supplements -- 2 grams fish oil, a Centrum. Well, choking down a can of tuna every morning was horrific. Also, a bit too much protein. Total calories for that breakfast was around 450, but packed with nutrients. I was never hungry before lunch.

As I mentioned, that was disgusting. Here is the new ultimate breakfast:

1 cup of nonfat powdered milk
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
16 oz water

Mix it, drink it. It's about 300 calories and you can't do much better nutrient wise. It's a great balance of carbs, protein, and good fats. And it's very fast. Much faster than sitting here blogging.

Nutritiondata is for you if you want to count calories.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fat and money.

A silly essay I wrote about a month ago. Can't think of anything else to post, so here it is.

The Relationship of Fat and Money

For the reader's sake I disregard those English literatures before Shakespeare, now known to be boring and useless, and start with The Merchant of Venice, Shylock's loan of 3,000 ducats to Antonio, and its bond, that pound of flesh.

Using a strict interpretation of 'flesh' we might think that Shylock suggested removing bone or sinew from Antonio, but let's assume that Shylock meant to take fat.

There is consensus among at least two (disreputable) articles on the Internet that 3,000 ducats in 1600 Venice is as much money as $750,000 in the U.S. today. A good hot dog can be had at Martino's restaurant on the south side of Milwaukee for $3. Two hundred and fifty thousand hot dogs can be had, then, for $750,000, or baseball player Tony Clark, who was paid that salary by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005.

Not knowing Mr. Clark, I can not say whether his services would be worth $750,000 for one year, and I don't own a baseball team. It would also be beyond my grasp to consume over 40 hot dogs a day for the rest of my projected natural life. Not even Mr. Clark, with an athlete's metabolic rate, would be advised to do this, as it could result in a weight gain of four pounds of flesh per day.

So Shylock offered Antonio quite the bargain. They say a pound of fat is 3500 calories – enough nutrition to dig a ditch for six hours. Even Tony Clark doesn't make $750,000 in six hours. Of course, Shylock meant to hack the pound off, which is where the deal went sour.

He was suggesting surgery, and so does The American Academy of Dermatologists, but it recommends that no more than forty five hundred milliliters – if one drank that much olive oil, it would provide enough nutrition to dig ditches for 60 hours – be chopped away at once, and it could cost $10,000. I don't know what that is in 1600 Venetian ducats, but it is clearly a waste. I also don't know what a ditch-digger makes these days, but I guarantee you would come out ahead if you dug for your pound rather than sucked it out. Assuming you don't (yet) have back problems.

While I'm assuming, I'll say your dermatologist takes one pound, (about 600 milliliters of olive oil), and prorates her fee to $1,250. If you charge the procedure on a credit card with today's average variable APR of 13.55% and pay the minimum each month, it will cost $3,650, or about 300 tickets to see the Arizona Diamondbacks on a weekday at Bank One Ballpark.

However, 3500 calories can be spared other ways. For a 200-pound man it means calling in sick for a day and a half – an economical choice if you are a ditch-digger who earns the average American weekly pay of $739. Sleep would not be as good a choice for Shakespeare, who was an above-average earner.