Saturday, June 28, 2014


Food is fuel. If you eat too much of it your body will store it for future use. Evolution has sorted out our desires. We don't like the taste of things that will make us sick or even kill us. The human animal is attracted to foods that have a lot of energy per bite - that is, fats and carbohydrates. The downside of this is that if we take in more calories than we burn, we store the excess. Over the years I stored about 75 pounds of excess energy, banked for future consumption. This all makes good sense if you are a hunter-gatherer, not so much if you are a retired, relatively sedentary old man pushing 70 years of good living.

As nature intended, I love food. And I really love good food. I have loved it to a fault. I loved it to 260+ pounds. (I do not own a scale, but the Mayo Health Care System does.) All scales lie to us anyway. Their numbers can always be rationalized. I have a belt and we have a full length mirror at the end of the hall between the bath and the bedroom. It's hard to rationalize holes in a belt, and believe me, mirrors will not tell a lie. My 69 year old body is certainly not a pretty sight. But there is less of the ugly than there was a couple of years ago.

About then I took charge of my body and it's intake. I'm not quite where I want to be yet, but I am damned close. The holes in the belt are about 1 1/4" apart. I started punching more downstream holes as I needed them and eventually cut off the end when it became floppy long. I will need one more hole soon. All of this is not self congratulation. It is my foodie credentials. I think about my fuel intake now. Two days a week I do a modified fast - holding my intake to about 600 calories. Listen to your body; only eat when you are actually hungry, not just because it is "meal time". Eat local when feasible. Avoid fast food. We split our restaurant meals. We often eat appetizers as our main courses. We divide our deserts. We believe in eating in moderation. And we eat very well, in moderation.

I really started thinking about this again when I recently saw something on the net showing twelve people holding trays of their typical daily intake. Here is a couple of the particular bad ones.

People, this is not food (though the cigarettes are a nice touch). This stuff will kill you over time.


BullishOnRhubarb said...

What might a typical 600 calorie "fast" day look like?

Gunnar Berg said...

Light breakfast at mid-morning, maybe a half banana. At midafternoon, a large spinach salad with a small can of sardines in oil, a few craisins, and raspberry vinaigrette. One craft beer. There are people around the world that live on that amount all their life. It isn't that hard for a day and also makes one more aware on eating days.

reverend dick said...

We have been doing 3 day juice fasts every so often. It gives the guts a rest, and it DEFINITELY makes you appreciate the act of eating.

The movie "Sick, Fat, and nearly dead" is worth a watch.

Dan Calkins said...

…is that you? What happened to the clean-cut, clean-shaven engineer with mug of coffee in his hand that I remember. I see now, the real you was in there all along. You look hipper and healthier than I ever remember. Retirement has served you well.

Gunnar Berg said...

Real me. After you abandoned the ship I was forced into more design work and I began slowly slip-sliding down that slippery slope back to my youth.