Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fulls and Empties
I've decided there are two types of people in the world: fulls and empties. All weight loss or gain must start by considering your category.

Fattie is a full. As he said today, that means that "it’s tough because I have to get used to not always feeling full, and that includes at bedtime." I have sympathy for this position, but not empathy.

The reason I've lost so much weight cycling is that I'm an "empty." That means that I don't like that bloated, ungainly feeling I get when I'm full of food, so I try to avoid it, even unconsciously. This means I'm fated to be skinny, forever, in some form, and it would take a lot of conscious effort to become overweight. When fattie mentioned his constant need to be full, it all clicked. I have a few good friends who are "fulls," too, and I'm sure you can think of several others you know. The deal with being a "full" is that exercise, on its own, won't make 'em lose weight, because activity empties out the belly and fulls, well, as soon as they're done exercising just get straight away to filling it up again.

Before I started cycling, my diet was shit, even though I've been a vegetarian since age ten. I drank up to three litres of full-leaded Coca-Cola per day, had a mad passion for Red Vines, Pop tarts, and fried noodles. My activity level consisted of a lot of clicking at a mouse. But there's only so much you can slurp down as an empty, and this means I was a flabby skinny guy - at a few millimetres shy of six feet tall I weighed in, at my heaviest, at 160 whole pounds. Skinny little arms, legs, ribs, add a gut.

Another relation, on the other hand, he'd complain that a hundred, two hundred, 300 sit-ups a day didn't make him lose his belly. Well, folks, I'm betting a sit-up is worth less than a calorie, so she didn't begin to make a dent in the Burgerville Strawberry shakes that satisfied the full urge. Result: strong abdominal muscles under a flabby belly.

Then I started cycling, and without further ado, I'm ready to start challenging for the polka-dots. Suddenly I weighed 145 pounds.

Mind you, I didn't tryto lose weight, I didn't know I'd be serious about cycling, I was just getting out there and training for the masochistic fun of it. Empties don't have to --diet--. My own version now is the constant, conscious effort to eat, so I can recover quickly and be ready for the next day's ride. Eating enough means I can ride at full speed again, and that means more calories burned, so I have to eat even more, and the cycle continues.

For the past two months I've been sitting on 138 lbs. Even with the cube-square law of height and mass, that's 1.93 pounds per inch.

I don't know what makes a full a full or an empty an empty, nor if it's possible to convert one into the other. I can see the evolutionary benefit to it: store up all the food while you can, it may be scarce in the future, blah, blah, etc., etc. For the modern era, though, it's clearly more burden than boom, and as we enter the postmodern era, things get even stranger to compensate. When there is a prolific amount of food on the market whose entire purpose is to have as little nutritional value as possible, you know something has gone terribly astray.

Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, "they" say. When is fruit not fruit?

This all hit me upside the head when I noticed the ultimate postmodern comestible: reduced calorie orange juice.

The producers say "If you're looking for a way to reduce calories but not sacrifice taste," then this is a great idea.

What the hells?

Take a gallon of orange juice, containing the juice of, say, 50 oranges.

Now pour half it out, replace it with a sugar-water mix, except instead of sugar, use an artificial, indigestible sugar replacement (containing no calories because the body can't digest it.) Sell it in the same half-gallon containers as the real stuff, for the same price.


If you're looking for a way to reduce calories but not sacrifice taste, I have a brilliant idea.

Just take a twelve-ounce glass of orange juice, but only fill it halfway.

You get all the taste of real orange juice, all of the flavour, all of the nutrition, because it's real orange juice!

But of course, oranges are expensive, and artificial sugar replacements cheap. Whoever came up with this product must be making a bundle. They've just figured out how to charge TWICE AS MUCH for the stuff.


  • At 11:36 PM , Blogger ryan said...

    Indeed, one can be converted! At my heaviest, I was 240 lbs. I ate, quite literally, everything I had the slightest whim for. And it was awesome. 240 lbs didn't look like 240 lbs on me. I was just your average hobbit. I also didn't require any exercise to not get fatter, which was comforting. It was a compromise I was willing to make. Now I weigh, maybe, 150 lbs? I accomplished this through only light exercise and extensive reading of pro-ana websites/fashion magazines. That's right, all it took to lose 90 lbs was female emotional puberty (and a diet of mostly kashi with goat milk, diet coke, apples, and cigarettes)! But in doing so, I managed to shrug off more than just the equivalent of a (relatively small) girl, but my "full" nature as well. Completely cleaning out my system with all the kashi probably did a great deal to help, but the fact is that I can no longer stomach a great deal of food. A basket of tater tots and chicken strips? Tripe! A single piece of flatbread with a healthy amount of chevre, crumbled smoked salmon pieces, and some capers? A hearty dinner!

    It should, however, be noted that I often eat as late as an hour before bed. Typically, one bowl of kashi.

    I don't advocate my lifestyle as a healthy diet, but it produces results and is likely healthier than those of most Americans.


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