Less Moore is More Moore: How My Weight Loss Journey Opened My Eyes
There comes that moment when someone decides to take control. For me, Jack Moore (now the title makes a little bit of sense, right?) it came soon after the point that I started to read The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. The message that I found there was pretty fantastic and simple: experimentation is the only way to get to know yourself. As that kid that was “born to be an engineer” (code for ‘I played with Legos a lot’), seeing an approach that was rooted in experimentation clicked with me at a level that I really needed. The following is not only a perscription as to how you could go about recreating the self-experiment I’ve been running on myself for the last 6 months, but a case as to why it’s worth it to just go and try something different, learn something different.
I’ve long believed that the goals that spur the most motivation are crazy ones. Nobody ever got pumped up because they reached their goal of getting out jogging after being lazy and not going last week. In my case, I decided that the only way to dedicate myself to really going whole hog on changing my lifestyle was to set a lofty goal. With that in mind: on December 29th, 2014 I, 272 pound, XXL-wearing, size 42 waist Jack Moore, taped a large piece of posterboard to my wall with my goal: 225 pounds, as well as a chart on which I would track my progress, and I took a charming before picture. I got rid of all of the junk food in my apartment, bought some Kale and a measuring tape, and buckled down.
The name of the game was the Slow Carb Diet. The basis of any diet is eating at a calorie deficit, but Slow Carb is more about understanding the processes through which your body actually stores fat and the ways that you can control for it. As I’ve grown to understand more about the vessel that I’m conducting my experiment on (me) I’ve learned about apoptosis, insulinemic response, fat memory, and all manner of other vaguely medical-sounding terms that correspond to really neat things happening inside of my body, a.k.a. that black box into which I deposited food.
The diet involves, at its core, eliminating processed carbohydrates. Processed carbs like sugar and bread are easily metabolized into glucose, which triggers the production of insulin in your pancreas. Increasing levels of insulin result in your cells absorbing more glucose, which lowers your blood sugar level, prompting your liver to release excess glucose. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that glucose that doesn’t get metabolized within your cells gets turned into fat, unless you’re some sort of American Ninja Warrior-esque physical specimen, in which case you’re far too busy flipping large tires and climbing things that are agreed upon as normally not being climbable to have experienced this phenomenon, but I digress. I cut foods like bread, pasta, rice, sugar, breaded fried food, and fruit in order to minimize the amount of insulin that my body was producing, and replaced them with all manner of protein filled deliciousness.
“It is a poor figure of a man that will say that eggs are fit only for breakfast” — MFK Fisher, Author of “How to Cook a Wolf”
Armed with my new knowledge of all things Slow Carb, I began experimenting with the mealtimes, meals, supplements, and workout schema that would, in combination, provide me with the best results. It was amazing, I lost 20 pounds over the first month without stepping foot into the gym, giving me the confidence to know that I wouldn’t necessarily fall completely into disarray should I give up on any future gym routines.
As I went along I had realized that, though proven theoretically impossible, I had discovered how I could turn my body into a perpetual motion machine. My body, fueled by the results that I was experiencing, was unstoppable, and my experimenting both kept things interesting and reassured me that I was on the right path. After 6 months of surprisingly pain-free dieting experimentation, I am at my goal weight of 225, wearing a size 38 pair of pants, and I rather enjoy looking at myself in the mirror.
Looking back, my perception of what it would take to change the way that I approached my personal health was far more intimidating than the actual cost of pulling the trigger and setting myself down the right path. In fact, looking back, it’s astounding that I was willing to endure the constant personal dissatisfaction of being fat in exchange for the relatively small satisfaction of being able to eat like a jerk. I certainly hope that, armed with a much better understanding of how little it actually takes for my body to shed fat, I’ll never accept the cost of being so unhealthy.
“The Opposite of Happiness isn’t Sadness, it’s Laziness” — Tim Ferriss
I’ve since started applying this analysis to other parts of my life. Where else in my life was I giving up an opportunity to improve myself, my life, simply because I perceived it as being too difficult or out of reach? It’s opened me up to all manner of pursuits that I predict I may never have otherwise dare attempted, writing this article being a wonderful example. The status quo is an intoxicating state, and I know that I’m going to have to continue developing my new experimental mindset in order to properly realize all that life has to offer me.