Stoicism, Appetite Control, and Weight Loss
Recently, I wanted to test my ability to endure a tiny bit of discomfort by fasting until dinner-time, and I succeeded. I only had some liquids during the day. I lasted the entire day, mostly by focusing on my work, and that evening, I wasn’t even hungry. This experiment with using stoicism as a method for discipline in my diet worked, and I’m ready to scale it up.
My diet is something that I have been neglecting. I was a chubby kid until around my sophomore year of high school. Prior to that, I was a young coder with dreams of developing the next great video game, and my evenings after school consisted of coding, and Twinkies. Something happened in my early teenage years (I wonder what that could have been?) and I took more of an interest in my physical appearance. I went all-in on bodybuilding, sculpting my body into a fleshy piece of Greek marble (I’m not Greek, mind you). This of course displaced my coding time, and I spent the next several years focused more on the gym, less on the keyboard, and not at all on the Twinkies. I ate steamed meats and vegetables, while keeping my simple carbs at about 30% of my diet, and replaced the Twinkies with low calorie snacks like pickles (I know, they’re loaded with salt). It worked. I was buff!
Fast-forward to my post-collegiate years, where I picked up some new pass-times, including beer, full-time work, and single living. I worked out just enough to feel confident about my dating life at the time, but my diet regressed to a point where I was eating Twinkies again (and drinking beer).
A few more years went by, and I got into entrepreneurial life, on and off between selling my first small tech start-up and my last long-term experiment in taking over the world, which consumed me for three long years. It failed, and I needed a reboot, but it took some time to get my head straight.
I’m in much better mental, and physical shape now, than during the one or two years immediately following when I shut my doors. I was depressed about my failed business, and I felt lost. My discovery of stoicism was a primary driver in my healing process, but there was one remnant that I hadn’t yet shaken.
I have been failing at my diet for a long time, first because I was deeply upset about my last venture, and also because I’ve been so focused on building my business back up from zero. Now that my mind is clearer and I I’m more disciplined in my schedule, and life in general, I feel like it’s time to start pursuing the neglected areas of my life, including my physical health and well-being.
It’s been about two weeks, between the time when I recorded my video on spilled milk and fasted for half-a-day, to the time when I keyed this article into WordPress. That one day was my only fast, but I’ve been mindful of my diet since then. I’ve been treating my desire to eat a lot, and frequently like a game; a stoic game of impulse-control. I’m eating a little cleaner, snacking less, and ordering low sugar iced teas from Starbucks instead of mocha frappes. The result? I’ve lost about 5 pounds over those two weeks, thanks to my practice of stoicism. Here’s my semi-daily vlog on the subject, followed by a short trip into a view from above. Please subscribe to my Youtube channel to keep me motivated, and share your stories in the comments!