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Intentional weight loss

Some of the things often said about IWL (which means “intentional weight loss”, i.e. trying to decrease body fat as opposed to it decreasing from some sorta disease) are probably true:

But I believe this is also true:

And that means making permanent changes to eating. There is no “after”, there is no “once I lose weight I can get back to eating such-and-such”, there’s only “during”, there’s only “as long as”.

Now, what the best way to actually & specifically do this, I’d better hold off on. Yeah, I’ve read a lot about this stuff, about nutrition. I’ve probably spent more hours nerding out about that than on programming or on the fields I’ve studied formally (those fields, which since I harp about it constantly y’all know are linguistics, aesthetic philosophy, and game design). But I’ve got to stay humbler than my usual cocky self about this topic since I’m a li’l bit of a failure, for three reasons:

  1. My weight isn’t great. Or maybe it is and if it is, I was too skinny earlier. I haven’t looked at a scale in a while; I’m down from my highest since I can use plenty of clothes that I couldn’t then, but I’m still not down to my lowest since I can’t use all of my clothes yet.

  2. My health is awful. I get sick often and for long stretches. Still haven’t got a good d’x on why that is.

  3. Psychologically I was a mess around the topics of food, eating, and dieting for a while, completely ridden by hangups and obsessions, and I don’t want others to fall into the same pits I’ve crawled out of, nor do I wanna fall back into ‘em myself.

I don’t wanna overstate these caveats (none of these are particularly out-there well, my poor health is, but the degree that’s related to food or eating might be really low) but I don’t wanna neglect them either.


OK, I’ve got to bring this up, too. Society sometimes treats fat people horribly which is completely wack. Don’t hate on someone for something that pretty much all of the time they can’t even help. A lot of the criticism the fat community have against diet culture and against our fatphobic and healthist society is spot on. Yeah, yeah, there’s a sprinkling of some very bad diet advice and outright myths (like “set point” theory, an extreme overstatement of metabolic homeostasis) in there, but that goes for mainstream culture too. I’m glad this community exist so they can support each other, and I wish I knew about it back in high school where I weighed more than I ever have as an adult.

They also criticize IWL, and they have many good reasons to do so. I’m for IWL, but it’s certainly a path to hell paved with good intentions and caveats, which I’ve tried to be mindful of here.

There’s this one thing that I occasionally hear from them that I wanna add some nuance to, because it sounds pretty messed up: “You not wanting to look like me is fatphobic.”

Taken overly literally, that doesn’t make sense at all: I oppose ableism agaist people without arms but I don’t wanna chop off my own arms. I love men but I don’t wanna amputate my tits. So I flinch a li’l at that statement, while acknowledging the applicability of the underlying sentiment when a legit fear of gaining weight turns hysterical or unfounded or leads us to promote diet culture or cash grabs or ableism or healthism or to speak insensitively in front of our fat friends. Going back to the analogy, I can wear safety goggles in a lab without being ableist against blind folks, but I don’t need to wear ‘em 24/7 or be rude about wearing them or be obnoxious about how I talk about ‘em.

Eatings plants for the planet

So I guess I’m saying a whole lotta nothing on this dumb li’l page. I don’t have the answers. I’m leaning towards 1970s nutrition: slow carbs & plenty of veg. One of the reasons I like that school of eating is for the planet, it’s an efficient use of resources if the goal is to feed plenty of people. (To the point that I only eat vegan food; the questions and puzzles I’ve been struggling with above is exactly what * of vegan food and how much etc. Satiety, nutrition density, which foods even * nutritious and so on.)

Vegans often talk about the three pillars. Animal rights, health, and planet. I don’t grok the animal rights issue fully, my health is a mess, but planet? That’s where I’m onboard; but that argument only goes so far. The health pillar needs to be fully explored. As an analogy, humans need to breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. There’s nothing we can do about that now. If it turns out that we somehow “need” to eat caribou eyes or whatever, then we’d be in a similar situation. It’s pretty important to the other two pillars to find out whether or not we can eat healthy on plants only. Fortunately, nutrition science seems to be leaning yes on that.

I’ve sometimes been slagging Greger (mainly for overemphasizing “chronodiets” in his book before it had been put to the test and it later didn’t pan out) but I was surprised today when I looked up something online (a calcium/protein thing) and what came up was his site and I was impressed by his intellectual honesty, basically saying “OK maybe this is one area where plant protein doesn’t have an advantage but it has other advantages” instead of insisting that it did when it didn’t. Kudos.