we write about the things we build and the things we consume
Emils Solmanis

bacin bakon

If you haven't been following the news recently, I'm here to tell you that people have found a way to deep fry water. Go on, try it, you know you want to! That Darwin Award won't earn itself!

I've talked about my journey to more efficient meatsuit maintenance before. Part of that, I would argue the biggest and hardest part, is sorting out your food. Ask almost anyone who does it, they'll tell you lifting heavy stuff is easy, putting it down is usually even easier than that. Saying no to eating a whole cheesecake in one sitting, not so much.

I'm here to give you a couple of simple freebies, from when I started actually paying attention to what goes down my pie chute and only having donuts on occasion. This doesn't involve switching to 6 meals a day, or eating a whole raw chicken per meal, or doing protein shakes every half hour.

stop grazing

You know the drill. You go get some coffee, you come back with coffee and a couple of ginger nuts (what the gingers think of this is still unknown). Or you're going downstairs to visit Garry and pick up some Caprice wafers on the way. It seems minor and innocent, until you actually add up the numbers. There are two problems with snacking like that.

First, you're unaware of what you consume. You just kind of let go and float along, whatever approaches your mouth, you swallow. Each of those snacks probably go into around 150 – 200 kcal. That's not a whole lot, technically, but if you do this repeatedly, you end up with a surplus of anywhere between 450 and 800 kcal that you didn't even consciously know you consumed. If you work out, walk a lot, or just lead a fairly active lifestyle in some other way, it's probably not the end of the world, but if you spend most of the day sat down, then take the tube home — that's a pretty significant amount.

Second, it's usually not the best quality stuff. It's usually going to be biscuits and other things with tea-dunking potential. That means high in fat and sugars, which is not the greatest idea. You probably get plenty of fat already, and the sugars will only give you an instant sugar high for a short time, and you'll feel worse after.

Once you put some conscious effort into this, it's actually surprisingly easy to control.

cut the fat

This one gets a bit more involved, but only slightly. Unless you track your macros or at least pay attention to them, I can almost guarantee your diet is fat heavy. Not even because I think you're a slob, but because fat is cheap and calory dense. It's easier to produce a cheap sandwich that has lots of calories if you make it with lots of mayo and cheddar. People tend to not like being hungry, so if you know that you need something filling and think £4 for a sandwich is an outrage, you go for the mayo heavy options.

This is not just the case with sandwiches. Fat tends to make food taste better, and because calorie content and taste are the only two things most mainstream eateries around offices optimise for, you get fat stuff.

Unfortunately this also means that there is no trivial solution. Your options are basically down to figuring out the healthier options in the places you frequent, finding places that do more balanced food, or bringing food from home, or mix and match them to suit your style.

The first step to finding a solution is recognising the problem and figuring out the magnitude of it to begin with. The best tool for the job — MyFitnessPal. Yes, I know the name is horrible, it sounds exclusive, and the app technically has far too many features. Ignore the exercise tracking and whatever other fluff that stands around the main thing you're after — food tracking. Their DB has virtually everything you can find around London (and the world), and worst case, you can add it yourself from the label. To add something, you literally just scan the barcode. You don't have to stick with this either, just do it for a couple of days to see how badly off you are. In time, this helps you develop a pretty good intuition for the macro and calorie content of things.

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