There was no point trying to pretend I was asleep because he’d just wake me up anyway.
And there was no point hoping he would go to either of my brothers’ rooms, either.
Because they weren’t overweight.
To be clear, I wasn’t fat. But I still wasn’t boy-shaped. So evidently a solution must be found without looking.
He’d swing the door open and I’d get up forty minutes earlier than anyone else and he’d force me to spend half an hour each morning on an exercise bike.
I got pretty good at biking.
I got pretty good at running, too. Because he’d also send my friends home randomly on weekends or in the afternoon because we’d run four miles along the beach four times a week. (They didn’t have to go home. They just had to come running if they stayed… They went home.)
Teachers and fellow students would look astounded as I’d come in third in the entire year for cross country or end up representing the school at swimming events. Even now, my personal trainers will check their equipment because I shouldn’t get back to a resting heart rate so quickly after cardio, I shouldn’t have blood pressure in the normal range.
Because, obviously, being overweight means I am lazy. It means I watch too much television and eat all the pies.
Except I don’t.
One of the more surreal moments in my childhood is when my mother the psychonaut took me to see a proper dietitian in a proper hospital. She had this problem, you see. She’s extremely educated. She’s the daughter of a doctor, she’s the wife of a doctor.
She also has these three boys and she feeds them all the same. Two of them look the same, look normal. The other one doesn’t. Where was the disconnect here? In no way was our family in need of being rescued by Jamie Oliver. It was homecooked (grilled skinless chicken and vegetables mostly) meals each night. We didn’t even have salt shakers on the table.
And the dietitian’s advice was “eat balanced meals and you’re allowed a treat once a week like a packet of crisps or something.” The look on my mother’s face was priceless. It was a slow-motion sneer of shock and disgust.
Because, the implication of this “expert advice” is that, instead of raising her kids in a household that didn’t even have full fat Coke at Christmas (genuinely never), she is evidently sitting in her sweatpants on our bullet-riddled crapshack’s sawdust floor, upending bottles of bourbon and stubbing cigarettes out in nearby used diapers while a horserace plays loudly on the TV in the background.
Food advice is bullshit. (Sidebar: have you done your homework?) Depending on the school, training doctors often spend less than a week on nutrition. (My father spent less.) Doctors are trained to spot disease, not understand health.
Unfortunately, people tend to say food advice is bullshit right before they open up the pizza box.
Take it from someone who literally hasn’t had a longer ‘pastime’ in his life than monitor/maintain/lose his weight (delete as appropriate) that it sadly means the opposite. Want to know what worked?
- Chain smoking
- Working fifteen hour days lifting staging equipment
- Taking lots of ecstasy
- Being 22
Except it turns out this isn’t a health plan you can remain on in perpetuity. Truth be told I haven’t kept up with any of them. No, we need a different strategy if we’re going to find success.
Playing right into the world of pharmaka… start thinking about food chemically:
The distinction between what is considered a food (something that your body wants or needs in order to function optimally) or a drug (something that your brain wants or needs in order to function optimally) is becoming increasingly difficult to define. Indeed, the routine use of some substances, such as stimulants and depressants, is so universal that most of us do not even consider them to be drugs, but, rather, actual food. Is coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, cocoa, or marijuana a nutrient or a drug?
In truth, anything you take into your body should be considered a drug, whether it’s obviously nutritious or not. As you will see, even molecules that are clearly nutritious (such as essential amino acids like lysine and tryptophan—available in bulk at your nearest grocery store) exhibit properties that many of us would attribute to a drug.
Okay then, chemistry.
We were half way through our vineyard tour in Bordeaux. In between mouthfuls of dessert, some asshole said that the secret to weight loss was “eating less and moving more”.
He’s tall and rake thin.
He has also failed to notice that I haven’t had a single bit of gluten the entire time we’ve been in France. (Including croissants.) And I’m certainly not even touching dessert.
I have my brother’s wedding the week after and in fact I have been so calorically restricted that my jaw has seized up.
I hadn’t had a beer since February. I hadn’t had any gluten at all since Easter. And according to the UK government my 65 daily minutes of moderate walking counts for the movement.
But no, clearly this genius has solved it for everyone. There certainly isn’t the most profound chemical change since agriculture to consider.
(Did you know that Eisenhower’s personal physician had never seen an instance of heart disease for the first few years of his career? Let the rapidity of lifestyle disease as our biggest killer sink in.)
As the fish picture indicates, one of the most troubling myths is just how few people on earth will actually have access to the foods designed to sustain human life. In fact, thanks to fantastically corrupt political process, corn production is a ticking time bomb.
So we can’t all eat grilled fish and go for a forty five minute walk every day. Many of us may be making eyeball soup out of whatever is left of our neighbours. Hopefully they put up a fight because then that can count as our exercise.
Eating more fruit and vegetables for weight loss among lower socioeconomic groups? Not actually a thing. In fact…
And you know how I feel about gym memberships and carbohydrates. Your body just wants movement. Find something you like doing and do it for half an hour every day (preferably in the morning). You can actually live your entire life without eating carbs as your body will convert protein into the required glucose. (This is assuming you don’t count fibre as a carbohydrate and even then it’s “only” beneficial, rather than essential.)
Let’s close the section with a quote from the author of a new book on what to eat:
We have been brainwashed into thinking that we should only listen to men in white coats in science labs because their knowledge is “evidence-based”. But these are the same people who told us that eggs were bad for us and that margarine with artery-clogging trans-fats was healthier than butter. They have not earned our blind trust.
By now we can confidently assume that everyone knows carbohydrate reduction is the way forward.
Not just for weight loss, but generally for not dying before you meant to. In fact, I would sincerely suggest you either give up gluten entirely or dramatically reduce it. It’s important to realise that the what you think of as gluten is not the evil, white, useless poison we get in everything today.
Honestly, try it for two weeks.
But that’s not a hack. It’s not an example of pharmaka, which implies poisons, chemical adjustments, the administration of the entheogens under the auspices of interested spirits.
Some of you may have already heard of the latest fad diet self-published in hermaphroditic text speak by the former Harry Potter actor that combines low-carb best practice with the deployment of seemingly-crazy hacks that originate from casual scientific observation.
And you can probably tell from my description that I’m a fan. The hegemonic outrage and consternation among nutritionists this upstart actor is causing only serves to please me more.
This is him:
Some experts, and just as many cereal manufacturers, claim that skipping breakfast makes you eat more in total. That can be true in the short term. But even then, this just hides the most important fact. And that fact, which they can’t deny or dare mention, is that eating food first thing in the morning stops all fat burning. Instantly. When food has just entered the body, there is no reason for the body to start burning stored calories. Why bother! If you ask a crowd of diet experts to raise their hands if they believe skipping breakfast is wrong, every hand will go up. So what? You can’t find the truth by simply counting hands. They’re wrong and I’m right. Our genes are right. If you want to lose body fat fast, be bold. Skip breakfast.
- Two cups of black coffee in the morning and a cool shower. Conveniently, this is exactly how I take my coffee. Both boost your metabolism. (Obvs I’m dropping the shower thing in the winter. I’m overweight but I don’t exactly need to be airlifted out of my house because I don’t fit through the doors. It fucking snows here in winter. That’s enough for an Australian to handle.)
The secret is caffeine. Yes, just that. Caffeine boosts the central nervous system (like cold baths), the thing that controls most of your movement and electrical activity. When you have it on an empty stomach, it tells your body to burn fat much faster. How? Caffeine makes fat cells open up and empty their fat into your bloodstream. From there, fat can be transported to your muscles. Once it arrives at your muscles, they use this liquid fatty fuel to power them. You get skinnier! If you have caffeine and don’t use this extra floating fat, you’ll create problems. Left un-used, the fat would eventually react with air and form ‘rust’ in the arteries. Your heart definitely hates that. But combine caffeine with something physical, and you get the opposite effect. You’re emptying out bags of fat and burning the rubbish! Caffeine’s effect lasts for 5 to 6 hours. That’s a third of your hours awake. Caffeine taken early in the day has plenty of time to lose its stimulating effect on the brain. Some people clear it from their system quickly, others slowly. As long as you’re not having it past 4pm, it won’t mess up your sleep. The best forms of caffeine are liquids. Liquids are absorbed by the body quicker than solids, and also quicker than pills.
- With your metabolism kickstarted go for 30 minutes of movement. Even walking briskly works. (Or you could go for the crazy 5 minute hack.) This is about hacking your metabolism. You can’t exercise yourself thin.
- Don’t eat before 10am (I go to midday) and make sure it’s mostly protein.
- Switch to green tea. It’s ECGC boosts neurotransmitter activity.
- No snacking at all (which has never been my thing). 3 meals, 60-120 carb grams a day.
If you have problems controlling your appetite, the main reason is that you eat too often. Stop today. Put it down! Eating less often is the first way to train your appetite. You’ll soon notice how few people eat three times per day.
Most of us eat 10 or more times per day. Think I’m exaggerating? See how often a calorie passes your lips.
Your mileage may vary on the frequency and severity of the hacks. At the moment I’m going all the way because I have a job that means I can’t avoid food and alcohol. In the last week:
- An awards show that meant 10 hours of drinking and a five course meal.
- The next day a farewell.
- Cocktails with a leading search provider.
- A boozy lunch with the world’s biggest behavioural network.
Did I tell you I’m writing this from Paris, the city of extreme weight gain? Anyway, between now and Christmas, any day that I’m actually in my house I’m food hacking for Britain.
Entheogens and hypothyroidism
Where is the magic in this post? Are there any magical hacks? Well, kinda… if we’re talking probability enhancement.
Earlier in the year the ololiuqui spirit put a couple of things together in my mind for me.
As previously mentioned, I suffer from episodic depression, insomnia and, based on my bizarre childhood, some form of hypothyroidism. Also I possibly had my first panic attack in an airport on my way to Bordeaux in May.
What I didn’t realise prior to my olioqui journey was that these conditions are actually related… and can be attributed to signal difficulties between the pineal and the thyroid.
It was abundantly clear that I was shown the patch of brain road that had the most potholes.
You probably don’t need to go through the same entheogenic process to get a thyroid assessment because the bad news is that pretty much everything in the modern world fucks with your thyroid… gluten, stress, cell phones, any number of medications. (MMTP suspects my condition emerged through a bad reaction to a medication in hospital when I was very young. Another story.)
The good news is that jumpstarting your thyroid is easy and cheap.
- Cardio. (It’s always fucking cardio.)
- Supplements: selenium, Omega-3, coconut. (Oil is better but water tastes better.)
As long as you’re not on SSRIs (which are demonic, anyway) then these over-the-counter supplements may just change your life. They certainly did mine. My insomnia has reduced, my mood has levelled out and -oh I don’t know- losing weight actually works.
I was shown this supplement by a plant spirit and it has effectively smashed the probabilistic weak spot for a number of things in my life that required fixing. Magic is awesome.
And if you think the origins of your own weight issues are psychological then I would certainly suggest you (legally) administer an entheogen in a properly prepared magical context and ask to be shown through these issues. You’ll be amazed.
(If you are going to do this, then hold off on the 5-HTP supplements are they are contraindicated for some entheogens. They go very well with others, including LSA, but it’s best practice.)
Because there’s always a catch. And it’s the other side of seeing yourself from a data perspective. Let’s make the assumption that you don’t have diabetes or any other health conditions that are affected by diet (such as heart failure or cirrhosis), and you are not at elevated risk to develop diabetes.
Here’s what a New York cardiologist had to say about healthy eating.
“Available evidence says that, comparing the healthiest possible diet we can imagine to the a standard American diet, the median weighted survival advantage to making the change is two months.”
Pass the crossaints.
[Disclaimer: This blog mentions ghosts, wizards, aliens, Atlantis, spells and fortune telling. If you consider any of that to constitute medical advice then you need to have a good, long look at how you are living your life.]