Friday, January 6, 2017

Fat is Normal

My caveman ancestor, Krog, was not a disciplined man. He wasn't thin of frame because he had the perfect diet nailed down, or because he was moderate in his eating habits. No, most likely it was because he was frickin' starving all the time.

And he didn't run to build strength or endurance. He did it to catch animals and look for water and - if he was lucky - an occasional bit of edible vegetation. Otherwise he preferred to just relax, paint some walls, throw some bones, push his friends into porcupines, that sort of thing. Krog was a big fan of laziness.

That's how we evolved. We're awesome at conserving energy. And if for some reason we're lucky enough to eat a few extra calories, it's immediately stored as fat for later use. That makes good sense! Having a bit of extra belly was a sign of prosperity! Good times were clearly being had!
Krog having a good time. I imagine he would
look a lot like my brother Alex.

We don't have to chase after our food anymore. We don't have to dig through the dirt and pray that the fungus we find is edible. We can just walk a couple of blocks and order literally a million calories of food if we wanted to. I mean, it would take them all day to make that many burgers and fries, but they could flippin' do it. They have the stock.

It's actually a miracle that we all don't explode from overeating. Food these days is blasted full of salt, sugar, and fat. All of it. Even your "healthy" breakfast cereal has sugar, salt and fat. These things were rare to Krog. So our bodies find them extra delicious. That's why you never get full from potato chips or ice cream. You could eat those for hours nonstop and still want more.

So if you take Krog and suddenly dump him into the modern age with access to all the food he wants.... He would eat it! And he wouldn't run around. He would sit on a soft fluffy thing and stare at the box with the magic sounds and colors and eat food all day. And it would be amazing!

The only reason the rest of us don't do this is because at some point our parents told us, "you can't do that."

"But why mommy? Why can't I just eat and watch TV?" You asked plaintively.

"Just... you can't. That's why."

"But why not?"

"Because I said so! Go outside you little snot!"
"But moooommy, I'll freeze to death!"

And televisions weren't addictive enough. You could at least get out of earshot of a TV. So they created devices that are literally on our persons 24 hours a day. They call them "phones", pretending that you had to carry it for, like, emergencies. And eating potatoes wasn't addictive enough, so they chopped them into bits and deep friend them and drenched them with salt. So soooo tasty.

And then it's your fault that you don't go outside and interact with real people anymore. And it's your fault that you're fat.

This is normal. You still have Krog's genes. You're just behaving the way your body was designed. All that stimulus and constant access to exceedingly addictive things.... How can you possible resist that?

By being not normal.

Exercising is not normal. That's why when a normal fat person sees an abnormal person running, they give them the stink eye. Eating broccoli when doughnuts are available is not normal. That's why there's lots of doughnut drive-thrus and zero broccoli drive-thrus. Nobody wants to be able to get raw crunchy broccoli at any time of day.

Except for not normal people.

The day I decided to stop being fat and to start eating less food and exercising more is the day my mind snapped. This wasn't a sane decision. Up until that point my body had been very happy being stuffed with addictive substances all the time. The only reason I had was vanity. Seriously. I wanted to look like.... less of me.

I'm glad I'm not normal.

"That's great and all but I can't survive on grapefruit."

Or at least that I wasn't at the time. But I've been at this for long enough now that I feel normal. And the other people like me seem normal too. And the people who don't exercise every day and who don't prefer broccoli over doughnuts are suddenly the weird ones for me. I mean, those people still outnumber us by a long shot, but we can outrun them!

Mostly now I can hang out with people who are crazy like me. And maybe Krog would be disappointed at me. But then again maybe he would enjoy us hunting a furry beast together.

That was supposed to be the last paragraph. You can tell because it has a satisfying conclusion about chasing tasty fur covered meat balls. But I wrote it yesterday and now I feel like writing more. But if your eyes are tired you can just close your browser window. And your browser. And your computer. And go outside for a run.

Just kidding. Eat a pie instead.

It's easy to blame "evil corporations" for smashing us with horrible but very cheap and delicious food. And it's easy to blame them for turning children into mindless automatons addicted to likes and thumbs-ups.

But it doesn't do you any good. It just makes you angry. They want your money. They're evil geniuses at making your spit that money up in slimy wads. Just accept it and deal with it. Thankfully you have a prefrontal cortex that says, "maybe don't eat all of the cake."

Sure, it can be an uphill battle. But you can manipulate your own mushy brain as well as Oreo ads can. I've convinced myself that I have to exercise every day or I will die a terrible death. Tomorrow. And I don't let myself eat until I've earned it. And I still loooove food.

Not all food though. I won't eat anything with hydrogenated oil because I want to live past 40. That automatically knocks out a huge number of snacks. I won't eat boxed cereal, because 7am is too early to eat candy that's pretending to be nutritious. And so on. High fructose corn syrup. Oh sure there's all sorts of studies that are saying, "no, it's like, totally fine." But who knows who's paying for those. And just assuming that it's a deadly poison makes it easy for me to avoid another huge heap of empty calories.

"Screw you deadly poisons!"

But accept the fact that you're human. You want to relax and creep on your "friends" on social media. You want to eat a whole box of cookies. That's normal and doesn't mean you're evil or weak. Don't let guilt be the thing that drives you to action. It'll fail. And then you'll feel more guilty. And fall into an endless pit of despair. Ask me how I know.

Just decide to be insane. However that's defined in your book. Break your own brain. Make crazy things into normal things. You have to fake it for a while, but eventually it will feel normal. And normal will suddenly look crazy to you.

I know. It's super weird. But it works. It really does.

[Something about chasing furry animals into the sunset.]

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