Saturday, July 14, 2018

Getting Smaller

Last May I was having lunch with someone I know. We were talking about random things: common acquaintances, work, the news. And for some reason I said “I’m gonna start losing weight”. I wasn’t planning to say this 5 seconds before I did. Or the day before. Of course I knew I was overweight, but it wasn’t a major problem. I’m fascinated by how people make decisions. Why am I learning Chinese, for example?


Anyway, this graph starts two days after I said that. I’m guessing I lost one or two pounds before I began logging my weight. I didn’t think my chances of losing so much and keeping it off for so long were high, but here I am.

How did I do it? I only eat two times a day now, on my lunch break from work, between noon and 1 PM, and soon after coming home at 7 PM. And during the initial, steeply falling part of this graph I didn’t eat much at lunch. Sometimes just a yogurt. After I get home I eat as much as I want, but in contrast to my pre-diet days I never go back to the kitchen after the initial meal. 

I didn’t change what I eat. And I didn’t do any exercise. New York is a famously walkable city. I’ve always walked a fair amount. And I prefer stairs to elevators and escalators. But that’s it. 

I was sometimes hungry, especially during the first month. But then I’d get a phone call and forget all about this hunger while talking. It was never a strong feeling. 

Do I feel different now? No. I was never so fat that it would cause any discomfort. My cholesterol level has fallen substantially though. A couple of blood indicators that have to do with the liver went from elevated to normal. There are obvious psychological advantages. I can’t help feeling superior to the fat people I see around me. 

My pants size went from 34 to 30. I had to buy lots of new pants and belts. To my surprise I also had to take out a link from the steel bracelet of my Sinn 556 I

I’m below average height, but not by much. And I now have the normal, recommended weight for this height. Yet I’m wearing pants of the smallest size that’s normally available in stores. Actually, with some pants 32 is the smallest size. You rarely see 29 or 28. This made me recall Paul Graham talking in one of his essays about two definitions of normalcy: the average and the optimal.

I do see thinner men on the streets than I am. Hipsters, Asian guys. I wonder where they buy pants. Online, in the kids’ sections?

Once you accomplish something, it’s tempting to develop it further. There were two avenues for that here: muscling up and buying lots of new clothes. ‘Cause you know, once you look a little better, you think “what can I do to look better still?”

I went for the clothes. What this proved once again is that it’s very easy for me to stop doing enjoyable things. I’ve never been addicted to anything, not even coffee. I’ll go even further than that: I could quit Twitter. I think. I don’t see a huge need for that now. But if I wanted to, I think I could. 

But it’s hard for me to force myself to do unpleasant things, like running or lifting weights. The title of this blog is true. 

I don’t think this is a very common combination of traits. Most lazy guys are easily addicted to things because they lack self-control. Fat people, for example, are addicted to food. 

I’ve sometimes thought about doing a blog post on clothes. I have about 100 dress shirts here, for example. And as I said, I‘ve bought a lot of stuff since I got thin. I have many opinions on how one should dress, on how to buy things, where. The people who’ve seen my Twitter feed know that I’m a pretty visual person. 

But to do this properly I’d have to learn something about photography again. Let’s say I went to Macy’s and looked through all the 500 types of shirts they had there, choosing the best 3. I then look at these 3 for several minutes, concentrating on the question of which one I like best. The answer reveals in some way who I am inside. This is almost as aesthetically-charged as writing poetry. Don’t laugh, folks, it really is.

If I then take a crappy picture of the shirt I end up buying with my phone camera, a lot of what I see in it would be lost. I’ve actually done this, and the result is horrible. I don’t know anything about proper lighting, I’ve probably used about 0.001% of Gimp’s features and I’ve never touched Photoshop.

So until I learn all that, which is likely never, here’s a professional, manufacturer-website pic of a shirt I recently bought at Bloomingdale’s:

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