Tag Archives: Diet

Omega’s Guide – Body

You’ve started to train yourself socially and you’ve started to train your mind. Now it is time to train your body.

I shouldn’t have to explain to you why having bad eating/exercise habits is bad. You are putting your health in danger with you, you are shortening your life, and it doesn’t look good, but you know that already. You already know that being a lazy, pathetic sack is not something you should aspire to, so this is where you are going to start being healthy.

At this point I’m not going to get you to lift weights to become a ripped superman; if you want to that’s great (I’ve heard Starting Strength is a good place to begin) but it’s not necessary for the purposes here. The purpose of this guide is to simply make you a decent example of a social man, not a demigod in human form. The purpose here is to get you from either fat or super-skinny to healthy,

Myself, I was really skinny, weighing 155 lbs at 6’2″. Over my first three years of desk-work, living on my own, and martial arts (all began at about the same time) I ballooned to 210 lbs, about 15 or so muscle, the rest fat. Just before I started this blog, I started to eat primal. I lost 15 lbs in 3 week eating strictly primal, then another 15 over the next half year, being less strict. I’ve maintained myself at about 180 (I have about 5-10 lbs of fat, mostly in my gut, I could lose if I became strict again).

We’re not trying to make perfection here, win body-building awards, or even look ripped; we’re trying to make it so you aren’t a disgusting, fat slob, or a weak, sickly looking beanpole. We’re simply trying to make you healthy.

Overall, you need to strive for an ordered relation to food and exercise.

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There are two ways to start being more healthy: the incremental way and the immersion way.

With the incremental way, you pick one small habit (such as drinking only water) and concentrate on that for a few weeks. Then when that habit is ingrained, choose another small habit (such as stopping eating potato chips) and work on that, and so on.

This is slower to do, but it is also less likely to over-tax your willpower. It has a better chance of succeeding. It’s like slowly walking into the lake, you slowly acclimate to the water over time. I’ve heard Habitforge is a useful tool for this, but haven’t used it.

The full-bore method is simply to choose a major lifestyle change and do it until it is a part of you. This is what I did for my diet. I choose the primal diet and simply did it for 3 weeks.

This is more difficult at first, but it takes a shorter time. Like a jump into a cold pool, it really sucks for while, but you get used to it faster. It also has a higher chance of failing.

If you plan the immersion method, I would highly recommend the primal diet, it worked for me. Choose what you want, but that’s what I’d recommend. Mark has even written a guide to getting started for the first 21 days.
http://primalblueprint.com/products/The-Primal-Blueprint-21%252dDay-Total-Body-Transformation.html

I’m not a professional dietician or medical expert; I’m not qualified to tell you what to do. I’m not going to tell you what kind of work-out routine, or diet routine you should have.¬† That is your choice, do what you think is best for you. I’m only recommending what worked for me. I will give some very basic tips though.

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Some basics tips of proper exercise:

  • Keep up with your martial art and sports they are great starts and will carry you pretty far on your own, especially if you’re at an extreme of fat or skinny. Your martial arts instructor has probably told you to do some home exercises, so do them.
  • Workout Routine – Getting a work-out routine and sticking to it is best, but most people (me included) find it hard to do so. Find something simple to start with; start with a number of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges you can do, then simply do one more each day. Do it at the same time each day; such as after work, before your morning shower, or before going to bed.
  • Weights – Lifting weights is the most efficient way to lose weight and build muscle. It is also the hardest to stick to.
  • Workout group – If you find it hard to workout alone, finding a few friends to do it with you can make it a lot easier. If you have a significant other, exercising with her can make it easier. Simply having someone else who will hold you accountable (and vice versa) makes it a lot more
  • Scheduled workouts – A scheduled and supervised workout will be more likely to get you working out than an unscheduled one. So join a workout class or a jogging group or something similar if you’re hacing trouble keeping up with your workout.
  • If you are primarily trying to lose weight or gain muscle, doing high impact, burst activities (sprinting, weights, push-ups) takes less time to get the same energy-burning effect than low-impact activities (jogging, treadmills, biking). The latter is more useful for building endurance though.
  • Do small things. A bunch of little things add up. Don’t drive short distances; if you can walk somewhere in less than 15 minutes, then do so. If you’re walking somewhere, sprint part of the way. If you’re watching TV, do a few push-ups each time commercials come on. Little things like this do more than you think when added up.

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Some basics tips for proper eating:

  • Choose a diet you can realistically stick to. If you’re diet requires too much willpower, try to find another that uses less. As the Willpower book states, Willpoweris not a major factor in dieting. Even the best diet is useless if you don’t follow it. Again, Primal is fairly simple to follow, and the 80-20 rule makes it easy to stay on track; I’d recommend it.
    http://patriactionary.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/guest-post-preserve-thy-soul-in-self-control-a-review-of-willpower/
  • Do not yo-yo diet. Whatever change you make, make them as part of a permanent life change. People who binge diet, usually gain more weight when the diet is over than if they hadn’t dieted in the first place. DO NOT GO ON A TEMPORARY DIET; DO NOT YO-YO DIET. I can not stress this enough.
  • Pop, juices, and milk are all heavy in sugar avoid them. Drink water. If you make one single change, this is the one. Drink water; don’t buy other drinks and consume them only on occasion. When you are thirsty, drink water.
  • Fast foods are an occasional treat, not an everyday meal. Definitely do not eat it 10+ times a week like I was at one point. Limit it to once a week.
  • Make real food. Kraft Dinner and hotdogs are easy, sure, but so is frying a pork chop. Stop buying food in packages, and buy food that either comes from an animal or from the ground. Real food is a lot simpler to make than you think; try it.
  • Change your snacks. Not eating snacks is unrealistic at this point, so simply eat good snacks. Stop buying potato chips and candy and buy almonds, dark chocolate (70%+), jerky, vegetables with dip, and fruit instead. (Dried fruit is okay on occasion, but is almost as bad as candy if you have to much of it).
  • Nobody ever got fat eating vegetables. If a diet you’re on has you feeling like you’re starving, the best bet is to eat more, but make it vegetables. If you make a portion of food and it doesn’t fill you, make a salad and put some vinaigrette dressing on it. It tastes better then you think.
  • Try to focus on meat and veggies. Don’t eat too many carbs.
  • If you are skinny and trying to gain weight/muscle eat a lot of meat.

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Weekly Goal:

This week your goal is to be healthier. If you’re trying the incremental route, choose one healthy habit (I’d recommend drinking only water) and start it. If you are trying the immersion method, start it (or get the book on it, then start it when the book comes).

Again, if you are trying the immersion method, I’d heavily recommend the Primal 21-day challenge.

Health and Order

I’ve talked of health a few times before. I’ve condemned fat acceptance and gluttony and I’ve also written of moderation in diet and my own attempts to be healthy. I’m going to write on this subject a little more, as I have read this discussion on veganism at Vox’s and this discussion at Slate on body-building.

Despite the differences between extreme veganism and extreme body-building, both stem from a similar disorder, the undue exaltation of the body. Health is good; eating like a human, rather than gorging like an animal, is proper; keeping fit is wise. I encourage proper maintenance of the body (even if I do not maintain mine as fully as I should). But both these often go beyond being fit into unhealthy obsession.

My sister is a vegan; even though she’s not overly demanding or insufferable about it, it still demands a lot from her. Rather than veganism being a life enhancer, it is a life constrictor. Even though she’s fairly moderate and non-crazy about her diet. The extreme vegan places so much moral emphasis on his diet, he elevates it to a quasi-religion. Veganism becomes the cause in his life, overtaking other, greater pursuits.

Read about the body builder’s life linked above:

To gain weight, I have to consume 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day. Enough to comfortably feed a family of four. I have a gross amount of supplements and vitamins I’m convinced I need to take daily to grow. I have a collection at home and one at work, which has grown so large it has started to encroach my co-worker’s desk.

At the time of writing, I have three gym memberships; I joke that I collect them, but some gyms just have better equipment for different things. Equinox has the best pool, 24-Hour Fitness has locations everywhere (great when I travel), Golds has better leg equipment … each membership has a purpose.

Monetary expenses aside, bodybuilding is a huge time commitment. I eat every two hours, workout for my lunch break, and sleep promptly at 10 p.m. to ensure adequate recovery time. I don’t go out to bars or stay out late because I worry it will derail my training regime and hinder progress. As a result, I rarely socialize with co-workers and have few friends … but, that might also be because I’m an introvert.

Being bigger makes me happy.

I don’t think this is the reason why most people bodybuild, but for me it’s very simple: I was miserable when I was smaller. I felt so weak, tiny, and undesirable that I once attempted suicide over my perceived inadequacies. I still have a long ways to grow before I’m happy with my body, but I feel better about myself now than when I was skinnier, and my depressive episodes aren’t triggered as easily.

This man has let his size define him. He sacrifices everything else that makes life worth living for vanity’s sake: friendships, relationships, hobbies, liesure, intellectual pursuits, etc. He has become a slave to his body. His post on living with body dysmorphia outlines his mental subjugation further.

He lacks balance in his life.

Balance is one of the things that peaked my interest in the primal diet; it recognizes that health is important, but it is meant to enhance your life, not consume it. The 80/20 rule built into the lifestyle inherently recognizes the need for balance in a person’s life (although, I’ve been listing towards 60/40 for the last couple months). But even then, if you read some primal and paleo places, many put an inordinate emphasis in their lives on their diet.

This lack of balance, this body-worship comes from a lack of order and purpose in life. These disordered individuals have no meaning in their life, so they create one

Spending your life on your body is as disordered as being a slothful glutton. Do not neglect your body, but neither should you obsess over it. Recognize your body, your health, should be pursued to enhance your life and achieve your purpose. If it consumes your life and becomes your purpose, you should reevaluate your practices.

Find a balance; maintain order in your life.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:1-10, ESV)

 

Feminism: Contributing Factor to Obesity

It looks like it’s fat day over at In Mala Fide with two posts on obesity today.

The first is on the feminists’ contradictory positions on two unhealthy body types: fat and anorexic skinny.¬†Manuel questions ‘why the contradiction?’

My answer: in our modern prosperity, it’s much easier to be unhealthily fat than unhealthily skinny, so people will justify their lack of discipline and condemn those who judge their laziness. Not much different from his.

The second by Frost argues that obesity is a spiritual problem. People eat to fill the spiritual gap in their lives left by consumerist culture.

I’d agree with him on this, but I think there’s more to it.

Everywhere you see discussion of the obesity crisis and everybody decries this, that, and the other thing.

Fast food is often blamed, even though fast food in itself doesn’t make you fat. Consumerism, advertising, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, pop, etc.

One thing that is never discussed is feminism, even though I think it is one of the most self-evident contributing factors of the obesity epidemic.

At one time, mother would be at home: in the morning, she’d make a good breakfast for her children and husband, and send them to school/work with a healthy bagged lunch. She’d cook in the afternoon so a healthy supper was waiting for when everybody in the evening. When the kids got home from school, there’d be some baked goods or fruit for snacks.

The mother would provide healthy, home-cooked food for the family. She would make sure her family ate well (“finish all your peas”) and that her children would develop good eating habits. She’d make sure here kids got enough outdoor play (ie. physical activity) to stay healthy.

Now women work, and mother no longer has the time to bake, to cook meals, and to supervise her children’s eating and play habits.

Breakfasts of bacon & eggs, home-baked bread, or oatmeal have been replaced by sugary cereal. Lunches of sandwiches, fruit, and milk or leftovers have been replaced by cafeteria food (burgers, fries, and pizza) and lunchables. Home-cooked dinners have been replaced by microwavable meals, fast food, restaurants, and easy cook dinners. Snacks of home-baked goods have been replaced with chips and candy.

Mom is no longer home, so kids are unsupervised. Instead of “no snacks until after dinner”, kids come home to an empty house filled with junk food. Instead of mother teaching good eating habits to her children, they learn eating habits from peers (chug! chug! chug!) and TV. Instead of mother yelling at kids to turn off the TV (or video games, radio, books, etc.) and go outside to play, kids lounge around supervised by Mario & Luigi.

Now, obviously feminism isn’t the only factor in obesity, others would include spiritual gaps, easy entertainment, laziness, an overabundance of food due to prosperity, etc, but it is still a factor.

Feminism is likely a leading contributor to obesity; it is hard to see how any discussion of obesity can occur without at least some consideration of this.