When people come into the confines of this blog from the outside world, they’re shivering and worn after spending a lifetime buffeted by the storms of unfettered capitalism. They feel like their lives are out of control, and that other people are the ones deciding their fate. Their happiness, wealth, and even health are decided by the politicians, or the economy, or the corrupt corporate leaders. And to a certain extent, they are right – through the pervasive nature of marketing and political lobbying, many of the features of the modern world are designed to politely and pleasantly enslave you, so that you will work for a lifetime while agreeably handing over everything you earn to buy products and pay interest on loans.
When you embrace Mustachianism, you start to recover immediately, as you see the excess of your past lifestyle. But it is still a long journey to full freedom, because you need to get control over not only your spending, but over your desires as well. Your goal is not simply to force yourself to buy less stuff – it’s to feel ultimate happiness about a whole new way of life, which just happens to involve buying less stuff.
So what we’re really doing is learning to gain some control over our own minds. We do it by learning about ourselves, about our true needs as a species, and about other cultures and philosophies. These are not things that the television advertisements teach you about, because the very knowledge has the power to destroy the Sukka Consumer mindset that keeps companies like Cadillac and Tiffany and Louis Vuitton in business. But the knowledge is there, and it’s old and golden, dating back thousands of years.
Once you learn that controlling your own mind is the sole key to succeeding in life, you can start applying the control to areas of life other than just becoming wealthy. You can begin breaking old destructive habits like addiction to various drugs, TV watching, and even the circular self-denial regarding food and exercise that leads most of us to be less physically fit than we would like to be.
Physical fitness may sound rather different than financial independence, but it’s actually the same thing – it is control over your mind, which means it is part of Mustachianism. Because I care for you, I must ensure that you end up healthy and fit just as I must ensure that you become wealthy at a young age.
How to Be Slim:
I really like the idea of being healthy. I’ve enjoyed about 21 years of regular weight training and 32 years of cycling so far. I’m not one of those buff musclemen you see in front of the college bars, but I have plenty of secret inner health that keeps me going in the form of extra energy, resistance to sickness and injury, and confidence in the face of hardship.
So when I see other people my age who have already lost their ability to walk or become dependent on heart drugs, just because of their earlier food and exercise behavior, I am very curious about the huge mental battle they surely endured as they slipped down that path.
Doing some research on the matter, it seems that there are two major factors that are causing the massive fat gain in modern society today:
- Lack of understanding of what even constitutes good diet and exercise (people thinking it is fine to drink Coke or have a day where the only exercise involves walking to and from a car, etc.)
- Psychological problems with resisting the urge to do things they know are bad for them (binge eating, exercise avoidance)
I try not to rant about these things too much, because I know I can’t see the world through the same lens as someone with these problems. But I did recently come across a great BBC series that addresses the problem in a very smart and educational manner. Check out all six of the ten-minute parts on YouTube when you get a chance someday:
Here are my thoughts on the show, in case you want to compare notes:
It’s a simple and catchy documentary, with good music and some nice British wit thrown in. The most valuable part to me was how it used experiments on real people to debunk common myths that compromise people’s weight loss goals:
“I’m fat because I have a slow metabolism” – wrong! Fatter people actually tend to have faster metabolisms, because their bodies are working hard to maintain the extra tissue and pump blood through the constricted blood vessels. In most cases, overweight people simply eat more due to higher appetite, without realizing it. The key is to find ways to take in fewer calories, without feeling like you are starving yourself. It’s addressed in the documentary, but I’ll give you a hint: eat more protein and cut out bread if you need to lose fat!
“Calories consumed are always digested fully” – surprisingly, foods that are high in calcium tend to block digestion of fats that are in the stomach at the same time. In the show, test subjects eat a variety of diets, and save their own dung in plastic bins for later analysis. Then attractive Danish women meticulously processed and burned the logs, finding much more undigested fat in the output of the test subjects who ate low-fat yogurt as a calcium supplement. Danish scientists theorize that the calcium causes the fat to bind into a less digestible substance in your stomach, so it ends up getting excreted.
This may explain why I lost fat when I switched my typical breakfast from cereal and whole-wheat toast to a higher fat (and calcium) one including almonds, cheddar cheese and fried eggs. The higher protein of this breakfast also probably reduces my urge to snack throughout the morning (I was formerly famous for the size of my “Second Breakfast”).
“Portion size affects how much we eat” – true: studies revealed that when you double the portion size given to an unsuspecting test subject, he’ll tend to eat about 45% more.
“Keep a food diary” – it really works. Just whip out your phone and snap a picture of everything you eat, just before you eat it. The mere act of becoming conscious enough to record your eating, makes you much more likely to eat well and avoid frivolous snacks like oreos and nachos in front of the football game.
I’ll also throw in something from my own set of tricks:
“Learn to appreciate mild hunger” – it’s an unusual feeling for a rich-world person, but once you get used to it, having a slight craving in your tummy can make you feel invigorated and warriorlike. When you are really hungry, eat a good meal. But if you’re just slightly hungry, imagine that your body has moved its suction tube from the usual “stomach” setting, over to “stored fat reserves”. It is now a positive challenge to maintain this mild hunger as long as possible, because you want to keep that suction going for many hours each day. You should still strategically throw in nutrients during this stage, like a plate of celery, cucumber, or carrots. But keep the burn going and build your hunger enjoyment skills – it can lead to a whole new level of control over your appetite, and thus you can maintain any weight you like, right down to the last half-pound.
This is not to be confused with anorexia, where an already-skinny person starves themselves into a skeleton. I’m talking about people with a visible beer belly, eating vegetables instead of ice cream for their bedtime snack – and enjoying it.
“Weightlifting is a the world’s best Fat Vacuum Cleaner” – it takes more than 4,000 calories to build a single pound of muscle. But as a beginner to weight training, a person can trigger over one pound of lean muscle gain with a single full-body workout! So to lose a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle, you can spend about eight hours sweating on a stationary bike, or several days of mild hunger, or you can do one or two good intense sets of squats, bench presses, and bent-over barbell rows, and lose a pound of fat just like that.
So to summarize How to be slim: watch the documentary and apply the principles to your own eating. Take up very easy weightlifting at home. It will happen quickly, once you can control your mind enough to keep these activities happening without giving up! If you stumble on this quest, realize the problem is entirely in your mind, and just keep working on taming that old noodle.
How have YOU tamed the natural human natural tendency to ignore physical fitness – or struggled to do so?