Aug 202012

I’m almost certainly going to upset someone with this, which isn’t my intention. I feel that it needs to be said anyway.

There are many quirks of language use that I find irritating. One among them, I find irritating for the implications it carries. That’s the phrase “that doesn’t work for me” or the variant “that might work for you, but…” Sometimes, these are valid things to say. When they are said in response to facts, they engender a great deal of rage.

I’ve encountered a pretty wide array of responses since embracing the information set forward in Taubes’s book. Most of the responses are appreciative of the obvious progress I’ve been making (now down eight pounds, even after two parties). Some folks have said variations on “I couldn’t do that,” which is fine. It takes a certain measure of willpower to just slice carbs out of your diet, cold-turkey and some just don’t have that, or don’t want to exercise it. There are also financial or dietary elements to it that can prove problematic–meat’s expensive, and not on the menu for vegetarians. Others have responded with skepticism, which is also fine. I point them at my blog post on the topic first, which in turn points them at the book if the blog post doesn’t convince them or if they want all of the supporting data. Skepticism is good and healthy and I encourage it.

But “that doesn’t work for me” is a turn of phrase that really bothers me. In general, what the person is saying–but doesn’t want to say–is that they don’t think they can do it. As I said above, that’s a perfectly fair position to take. What I don’t like is the implication that comes with this particular turn of phrase that the method is somehow flawed. It would absolutely work for you; you’re a human being and your biological functions are not wildly different from any other human’s. If you tried it, and couldn’t stick to it, that wasn’t a case of it “not working” for you, it was a failure on your part to adhere to the requirements. But “that doesn’t work for me” is a complete lie.

Let’s be clear: exercise is good for you, and has lots of benefits. It’s also going to do next to nothing to get you to lose weight/burn fat. It will help improve muscle tone and thereby contribute to making you look better overall when combined with weight loss, but a single meal is worth more in raw calories than a good two hours of strenuous exercise. I’m not encouraging people to avoid exercise; I’m discouraging people from thinking it’s going to do more than make a meager dent in any weight issues.

Counting calories–and remember, this was an approach I championed until just recently–only works indirectly. When you’re counting calories, you’re generally taking in less of everything, carbs included. But you’re still consuming carbs, which are still prioritized over the foodmass that you actually want to burn off. You’re still stowing the rest of what you eat on your body, because the carbs must be the priority or your own blood sugar level will poison you. There is no concrete evidence anywhere that calorie restriction alone has any impact on weight loss.

If you want to count calories and exercise, be my guest. Just don’t delude yourself into thinking that’s how you’re going to lose weight, and don’t tell me that adhering to a biochemical explanation and method for losing weight “doesn’t work for you.”

Radically changing gears, this weekend was awesome. Cody and I spent Friday afternoon through late Sunday with friends, engaged in various forms of entertainment. The apex of this weekend was a party for a rarely-seen-in-person friend of ours who was in town. However, at the urging of another friend, we decided to keep the guest list very short. In total, we had about ten people involved.

I had forgotten how much fun our small shindigs could be.

A large party takes on a life of its own, which is a great deal of fun. But it also comes with a certain dilution of focus. There are so many people present that it’s difficult to spend any meaningful time with anyone, and depending on the composition it’s difficult to make everyone feel comfortable. Not so with a smaller party. When everyone knows and is comfortable with everyone else, there’s a sort of social magic that happens that I had all but forgotten.

I think most of our parties going forward will be of the smaller variety, with apologies to those this excludes. That’s not to say we won’t have big shindigs in the future; we almost certainly will. They’ll just be rarer than the smaller gatherings wherein everyone can let their hair down.

Aug 172011

A great deal has happened since my last post. I’m 27 now, had the best birthday party of my life, have been married for over a year, went on a cruise with my wife (Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas, leaving out of NYC), and have been doing some intense self-introspection. I’ve also been working on the second draft of The Novel (which I have now identified as the third of a four-book arc), have resumed playing guitar, and have even been working on my digital painting. Some of the stair pieces have been stained (thanks, Dad!) and more will progress in the coming weeks. Alas, as a result, still no progress on the vacuform table beyond the last update. October is not far, though, and I’ve had a new fire lit under my ass about getting it done (you know who you are).

I had an absurd amount of energy when I got home last night. I decided I should try and bleed some of it off by exercising, so I hopped on the elliptical and jogged 1.11 miles in 15 minutes. That’s not terribly impressive in and of itself, until you factor in the fact that I haven’t exercised in any serious way in months. Not sufficiently exhausted by that, I proceeded to do some weight-lifting. Still not really exhausted, but very sweaty, I showered and then rather than heating something up quick in the microwave for dinner, I decided I really wanted some eggs, so I scrambled those up. At them and still had too much energy, so I sat down to play some Rock Band on expert drums for about an hour. All of that combined finally wore me out enough to be a little more low-key. Very weird, but honestly…I could get used to having that kind of energy.

The lawn desperately needs to be mowed. It needed to be mowed before Cody and I went on our cruise. We returned this past Saturday, to find it looking like a minor rainforest. I should have mowed it then, but had just spent an hour and a half driving with my parents from NYC to CT, and then another three hours driving from CT back to MA, so I was a little tired. Sunday, it rained. Monday, it rained. Tuesday, it didn’t rain, but it was still wet. The minor rainforest is now more of a mid-tier rainforest. I am mowing tonight, the wetness of the grass notwithstanding. It’s embarrassing. Unfortunately, this probably puts the kibosh on any stair work happening this evening. Sigh.