A few years ago I started getting prematurely middle aged. For Sri Lankan men this generally means a belly, or bundi. I’ve always eaten or done whatever, but for the first time I thought about it. For one thing I was drinking too much, and eating too much, and not exercising at all. I changed most of that, but I think the main thing is really diet. I think exercise is good for you, but exercise alone doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight.
This is surprising, and I hate saying ‘most studies’, but most studies show that exercise alone doesn’t really help you lost weight. It can give you muscle and really elevate mood, but it doesn’t necessarily burn fat.
“The message of our work is really simple,” although not agreeable to hear, Melanson said. “It all comes down to energy balance,” or, as you might have guessed, calories in and calories out. People “are only burning 200 or 300 calories” in a typical 30-minute exercise session, Melanson points out. “You replace that with one bottle of Gatorade.” (New York Times)
Someone like Michael Phelps can burn thousands of calories, but most people can’t and don’t exercise that much. Not that exercise can’t help – ““If you work out at an easy intensity, you will burn a higher percentage of fat calories” than if you work out a higher intensity, Carey says, so you should draw down some of the padding you’ve accumulated on the hips or elsewhere — if you don’t replace all of the calories afterward.”
For that to work, however, the normal diet has to change, dramatically. In Sri Lanka we have rice for two, maybe three meals a day. In a typical bath packet the rice is the ocean to little archipelagos of vegetable and meat. We also eat a lot of food quite late in the night, and sleep on it. Kottu is only served at night, and typical dinner parties serve the food at like 10, when you’re mind-numbingly ravenous. Paradoxically, as you can afford more Kottu and dinner parties, you’re also less inclined to walk or carry stuff or move around that much. So we get a plethora of food, mostly starch, mostly carbs mostly going to the belly.
When I was living alone I lost weight just by virtue of being out of that social scene. I didn’t eat breakfast, ate a rice lunch at work and didn’t eat dinner. Not very healthy at all but I lost some of my head fat at least. On the weekends I’d order pizza in the morning and eat that throughout the day. This is still a dumb way to live. Now I eat breakfast and lunch and skip dinner, unless I have to eat socially. I eat breakfast at about 11 and lunch before 6, but I try not to eat after dark. I also take max two spoons of rice. Sometimes I fuck up and keep reserving myself a teaspoon at a time like that doesn’t add up, but I’m generally losing my appetite for it.
Now I can eat one spoon of rice with twice as much purippu and be perfectly happy with that. It looks paltry when served but while eating I don’t actually want to finish it. I eat as much meat and vegetables as I want, and I eat fruit whenever.
Diet Plus Exercise
Of course, that still leaves me a bit chubs, but I started exercising every day and now I think I’ve reached some sorta energy balance. I guess it’s easy cause I don’t actually eat for pleasure. If I’m left alone I generally won’t eat until I get ravenous, and that mainly so I don’t die. I’ve learned how to cook from a young age, but I have become generally suspicious of any sense pleasure in my quarter age. So anyways, as I near 30 I’m trying not to look that way. Balancing exercise and diet (mainly diet) helps.