I want to continue this streak of writing short and anchoring my newsletter in shirtless pics, which are known less redundantly in my household as just pics. There is a wonderful vanity blossoming within me as I approach middle age, yet refuse to put on the easy weight even though no one’s looking.
That is an admirable form of narcissism, to compulsively ogle myself in the absence of any kind of encouraging feedback. The pretty ladies at the beach don’t overtly check me out or flirt. My bros mercilessly ridicule me for having a small frame, which is imprecise. I actually have a broad frame and base but neither muscle nor functional strength.
When I ask my wife how shredded I am, she answers the way I do when she asks me do I love her: mechanically, without breaking concentration on the current task, a chore to be disposed of while expending as little energy as possible. I perked up when she said an NFL player on TV had the same frame as mine and then saw it was an effing kicker. He did boot a 66-yarder, but she could have picked a jacked coach like Playboy McVay at least.
So no one cares about my bod, I get it. No one’s impressed. I’m at the age when it should start to seem impressive though. Being 37 with a 2-year-old and usually visible six-pack are numbers that don’t go together for people who make their living at a desk.
I have earned the credibility to lecture on my method. There is one overriding principle more powerful than any diet or workout regimen. It’s so stupidly simple, more of a realization than revelation, yet I don’t believe I know anyone who thinks this way.
Ready? This could be life-changing if you can brush off my self-righteous tone.
Not every bite of food has to taste good.
Every weekday I listen to my coworkers deliberate on where to spend $15 to pump sodium into their bodies. My wife often struggles to figure out what kind of food she’s in the mood for.
How your taste buds tingle need not always be the No. 1 priority. There should be more diversity in the reasons you eat.
Sometimes, if not most of the time, you should eat vegetables because that’s what you bought at the grocery store and they shouldn’t go to waste. Sometimes you should eat for convenience. Sometimes you should finish leftovers. Sometimes you should eat what was planned. Sometimes you should eat because it’s free. Sometimes you should eat for nutrition. Sometimes you should eat to not be hungry. Sometimes you should eat for fuel. Sometimes you should eat to be social.
Taste is not everything. Eating is not always about feeling good, just like life isn’t always about feeling good. That kind of attitude is just begging for a drug habit.
Most folks drink plain water every day. It’s not an orgy in your mouth, but you’re not looking for one in that particular moment of the day. You just drink water because it’s water and then move on with your life.
Why does food have to be a thing always? People think I’m some kind of freak because I eat steamed vegetables and unsalted chicken or lentils for lunch almost every day.
If we compare the ingredients to those in your processed meal, I would argue you’re the freak. Do you live in a test tube?
Vegetables are the most sensible way to regulate weight. They don’t taste bad or good. They taste like nothing because they’re mostly water. If you think water tastes bad, man, biology has some challenges in store for you.
By no means do I dine exclusively in the no-fun zone. I am a formidable binge eater and once tied with a bro at 92 Chicken McNuggets (minimum one per minute) in a spirited contest — yet another reason to add for eating.
I probably enjoy decadent food more than most because my baseline is lower. If I eat lentils all week, the In-N-Out on Friday is even more heavenly. Everyone’s had those stretches of eating gluttonously for meals on end. They start to blend together, and you don’t appreciate the indulgence as much.
You should try to reset the baseline to zero, cleanse the palate if you will, with neutral meals as often as possible. It will make the good ones taste better.
My Double-Double in the picture is dwarfed by a plate of raw spinach and chunks of red pepper and carrot that I wanted to get rid of. This is a handy corollary/trick/hack for my main principle.
Every fast food or takeout meal is an opportunity to sneak in vegetables. American restaurants put so much salt and stuff into their food that pairing it with a neutral vegetable creates a nice balance, almost like diluting the overstimulation.
Order less and replace the difference with vegetables. Just eat them. Don’t be a child. They won’t kill you. The other stuff might in the long run.
And I want you to increase the quality and longevity of your life, so you’re in a good place to compliment how I’m doing the same with mine.
Writer’s note: If you spend any amount of your finite time reading the absurdities in this blog, we are either friends or highly compatible strangers. Thus I feel close enough to ask for your email address below. The only email you will ever get from me is one blog post per month until I die or you click Unsubscribe. Thank you.