09 August 2012

Dieting- More Mental Than Physical, and Harder Than You'd Think

Recently, I had one of my innumerable discussions with a woman wherein they expressed no small amount of angst, horror, disbelief, and a little bit of jealousy, at my "feed the machine" mentality towards eating.  For those of you who aren't already aware, I more or less eat to feed the machine- it's much more about the macronutrient composition and my dietary needs than it is about what makes my inner child smile.  In fact, fuck my inner child- my inner Hulk determines what I'm eating at any given moment.  I'd never really given much thought to why that is so easy for me and so hard for most other people until this recent dialogue, at which point I stumbled across what seems to me to be the most important piece of the puzzle.  Remember, however (especially any women reading this) that I am an outsider looking in on this subject.  Eating to satisfy some sort of inner emotional need is so far in the distant past I don't even remember if it actually existed.  Thus, I've no idea what I'll be able to contribute in terms of actual steps to take to become a fucking machine- I'm just going to identify the problem and give you theory on how to fix it.

The Problem, As I See It
The problem before most people when embarking on a diet, a real, restrictive, extreme-end-goal, fuck the world and pass the fat burners diet, is twofold.  First, they have to deprogram themselves from years of shitty dietary habits and the concomitant emotional attachment to foods.  This is a massive problem for most people, as most people associate certain foods with certain feelings.  Just about every broad I know, for instance, avoids the fuck out of protein and eats nothing but fat and sugar when they're upset, and that shit generally comes in the form of baked goods, pasta covered in cheese, and potatoes.  Frankly, that makes no fucking sense to me, because half the time they'll tell you they're depressed because they feel fat.  The answer, then, is pretty fucking simple, but they seem to prefer the emotional gratification of eating that bullshit than they do the rational solution sitting in front of them.  I assume guys do this as well, but all of the guys with whom I generally hang out are just as robotic about their eating as I, or take enough gear to make up the difference.

You might think, if you find yourself doing shit like that, that it's justified biochemically or hormonally, but hear this:

Larissa Reis- clearly not succumbing to her baser eating instincts.

Whatever biochemical/hormonal response you're getting out of the food pales in comparison to the influx of fire-breathing, life-giving, fat-burning, muscle-building, libido-increasing goodness of testosterone you'll have from eating meat, getting lean and jacked, and getting the fuck up off the couch.  Eating meat and getting lean does more for your psyche than you can imagine, as your body becomes a testosterone producing perpetual motion machine as you get leaner and more jacked. (Habito et al, Li)  Thus, you will be happier over time if you simply stay the course and abandon your short term fixes of brownies and mac and cheese, or whatever the fuck it is to salve your wounded inner child after looking at yourself in the mirror.  While we're on the subject of jacking off small children with Entenmanns’s, you're far better off jerking off yourself than allowing your brain to jump into a rape van filled with free candy for your inner child.  Remember, more orgasms=more testosterone, which equals better everything.
What women really want is a vascular man.

Additionally, the moodiness and irritability are likely due, in large part, to the high levels of estrogen running through your body if you're overweight.  Fat produces estrogen and suppresses testosterone.  Suppressed testosterone leads to moodiness. (Barrett-Connor et al.) Additionally, allergens and other toxic chemicals in your environment (like the preservatives in that horrible shit you call "comfort foods") can lead to moodiness and irritability.(Watson 42-46)  Furthermore, there appears to be a correlation between high protein consumption and high testosterone, as low protein diets show increased levels of sex-hormone-binding-globulin, a chemical that attaches to testosterone and keeps it from becoming bioavailable.(Schuler 70-71) This means that the shit most of you generally use to improve your mood is actually having the opposite effect, in a pretty fucking pronounced way.  Thus, there's something to be said for that ridiculously overused quotation you'll see on every thinsperation site on the internet, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," because being lean feels fucking AWESOME.  Every time you look in the mirror, you feel good about being you.  Having a shitty day?  Guess what, there's a brand new vein on your bicep waiting to cheer you right the fuck up.  It's just that simple.
While I'm not really a fan of the waif look, you have to appreciate the dedication of being the hunger artists those broads are.  Turning starvation into a philosophy is pretty Kafka-esque, and anyone who's down with the author of "In the Penal Colony" is good by me.  Tragically, those broads are probably just too fucking stupid and lazy to diet and exercise correctly, so they just avoid food altogether and completely dissemble my argument above.  Alas.  

The second issue facing most dieters is what I'm going to call the "dark period."  That would be the time in which you seem to be spinning your wheels, since there's not really all that much appreciable difference in your appearance and you're just hungry and pissed off.  That period fucking blows, and I've gone through it more than once in my adult life in spite of my draconian dieting regime, simply because maintaining sub 8% bodyfat's incredibly difficult to do year-round while staying big.  Were I to simply resign myself to being a ripped 165, I could do a modified paleo diet indefinitely and rock a 6 pack without much of an issue.  I did it in Europe without even the benefit of fatburners, since every motherfucking thing in the world that's awesome is violently illegal over there, but I managed to get as lean as I'd ever been living on 2kg of chicken in broth with cauliflower and broccoli and a turkey kebap every day.  I was, however, fucking tiny.  Thus, I've got to overeat like a motherfucker and train my ass off to stay in the 190+ area, and at times that'll wear you down.  Thus, I'll let my diet slide, and I'll gain fat that's hard as fuck to take off while maintaining a level of musculature my body apparently hates.  When that happens, I go though the following stages:

  1. Denial that I'm getting fatter (So I keep eating the shit that's been making me fatter)
  2. Acceptance that I've gotten fatter (Deliberation about diet and half-assed dieting)
  3. Resolve to get lean again (Hard dieting begins)
  4. Initial awesome fat loss stage.  This is when veins I'd forgotten about start popping out on my biceps, and my lower abs start to show a bit.  This is massively encouraging, so I diet and train harder.
  5. The Dark Period.  At this point, my body and my brain fly into full revolt.  I'm pissed I can't eat the shit that made me fat in the first place (which for me is nothing more than sandwiches with lean meat and Baked Lays more than once a week).  At this point, I am angry as fuck that my relatively clean diet made me fat in the first place, and even more angry at the fact that my fat loss appears to be stalled.  At this point, I start to question if it's even worth it and if I should stay the course.

The Dark Period is the worst fucking time of your life.  For me it generally lasts a couple of weeks, which is livable.  That's because I think 12% bodyfat is horrifyingly fat, so I never really get to an unmanageable state.  My Dark Period still fucking blows, but it's nothing whatsoever like what most people have to endure.  For most people, the Dark Period can last multiple months, as there's a really weird period of time that occurs wherein you can see major changes in your physique, and it's disheartening as fuck.  Mine's really short because once you get under 10%, you pretty much see new detail in your physique on a daily basis.  That, in turn, spurs me onward.  Most dieters, however, have to contend both with the loss of the foods that gave them temporary joy while eating them and a protracted period in which nothing appreciable seems to be happening, and this is where most people consign themselves to failure because their lose their resolve.  They'll decide that they cannot get any leaner, and they'll make innumerable excuses for why that is.  Remember, however, that "certainty is a cruel mindset- it hardens our minds against possibility and closes them to the world we actually live in."(Langer 24)  Given that it's far easier to fail than succeed, and the fact that we're awash in a sea of fucking elephants these days, it's easy to convince yourself that failure is ok.  That, however, is nothing more than lazy thinking and defeatism, and fuck defeatism.  You're no more designed to be fat than house cats are designed to be vegetarians- humans are apex predators by design, not fat lumps of shit who need Lipitor to keep their arteries from fucking cracking and Viagra to get their dicks up.  That is, if they find their dicks to confirm this.

The Solution
The simplest solution here is a tangible, Van Damme-style hard target of a goal.  By this, I do not mean some sort of silly-ass intra-office weightloss competition- you need something REAL.  Something in which you'll look like an ass if you fail.  You need the fear of failure and a desire for success simultaneously pushing you forward, to ever greater heights.  As such, if you want to get lean, here's what you should do- pick a meet that's in a sport in which you want to compete and in which YOU HAVE A REASONABLE DEGREE OF SKILL.  For fuck's sake, there are a lot of you people trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and it's fucking retarded.  Thus, this aside:
Certain people are good at certain things and not others.  Others are good at a shitload of things and seem to have few flaws, and others of you are just fucked.  The fucked ones likely aren't reading this shit- they're busy playing with My Little Ponies in their parents' basement and trying to hide their 3" hardons as they smell the ponies' hair.  The people who find the most success in life are those who work hard getting better at what they're good at, while devoting far less time (though some) to improving on their weaknesses.  If you spend all your time working on your perceived weaknesses, the best for which you can hope is mediocrity, and mediocrity is a stupid fucking goal.  Thus, you will need to first sit down and determine what your competitive strengths are.  Having done so, weigh them against what you enjoy.  The shit that has the most crossover is the shit in which you should compete.  Before you people start making claims about my claims about being unmuscular and generally unsuited for powerlifting, consider the fact that I NEVER consulted with other people about training.  I never asked detailed questions of a complete stranger about training.  If I did anything, I aped the activities of other people to figure out how it should be done.  I read a great deal about training, and I pushed the fuck out of myself.  As such, you are almost certainly nothing like me.  My success comes from nearly twenty years of breaking my fucking ass in the gym 5 or more days a week, through illness, training, vacations, travel, divorce... you fucking name it.  I have a burning desire to rule everything around me, and I will bend the fucking world to my will.  Thus, I can be pretty fucking awesome at just about anything I want, because I hate losing more than I like watching tv.  Get me?
No future in powerlifting.

In short, what I'm saying is there seem to be a lot of you out there who pick what you want to do before you figure out what you're good at, which is fucking retarded.  This is why I get so many retarded emails claiming improvements in their squat after 5 years and they're not even hitting 300 lbs at 190.  If you're 190 and you cannot squat 300 lbs in two years of training, DO NOT POWERLIFT.  you will not only never be good at it, but you'll just look fucking retarded in the process.  Same goes for people who want to be oly lifters but suck at overhead work, or who are slow, inflexible, or unagile.  If you're ugly, don't kill yourself trying to become the next super model.  This seems elementary to me, but the internet seems to have put it in everyone's head that they should research the fuck out of things (badly), then discuss those things on message boards (using pseudo-intellectualism that would make a beret-wearing junior college philosophy major blanche), THEN try them.  If you've done that, punch yourself in the face- you're likely too stupid to succeed in killing yourself, so you might as well not bother attempting suicide.

Moving on, figure out what it is in which you will compete.  If it's bodybuilding or figure, it's all that much simpler, as you don't have to worry so much about strength.  If it's anything involving a hell of a lot of running around (I'm looking at you, rugby players) you're fucking retarded if you aren't lean or you know exactly why you're not lean, and you might need to add some lead to your diet.  If it's a strength sport, you're likely going to be concerned about losing strength.  Don't be, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Dieting keeps you focused on training, and vice versa.  The harder you diet, the harder you'll train.  The obverse is definitely not true.  If you eat sloppily, you will not care as much when you hit the gym, because you've already made a shitload of concessions about your training (in the fuel selection), so you're retreating from success before you even touch a bar.  If you're entering the gym pissed off and a little hungry from dieting, you'll take out your frustration on the weights, and you'll want to break your fucking ass so that the effort of dieting isn't wasted.
  2. Provided you're eating ample protein and not in a ridiculous caloric deficit, you'll not lose muscle or strength from dieting.  Anyone who says otherwise was dieting like a bodybuilder, which is fucking retarded.  Bodybuilders diet the way they do because they're mentally weak and rely on drugs to do the majority of the work.  In strength sports, you do all the heavy lifting- a vial of test has never lifted a goddamned thing.
  3. Even if you managed to lose strength, dropping fat means dropping weight, which means dropping weight classes.  As such, your relative strength will likely rise.  For instance, you decide to do a meet, and you currently have a 1500 lb total at 200 lbs, with 15% bodyfat.  You diet your ass off, and in 5 months are 181 with 6% bodyfat, a badass set of abs, but only a 1450 total (which would be HIGHLY unlikely, but this is just for the sake of argument).  Your Wilks coefficient would have increased from 432.66 to 441.909, meaning you're actually much better off in terms of getting best lifter than you would have been as a fat 198 lber.  

In any event, you're going to pick a competition not more than six months away.  I say not more than six months away because you need a sense of immediacy driving you forward.  you need to hear a clock ticking in the background, and you need to be without room for error or failure.  you need a time limit so that your every action must be near-perfect to achieve your goal.  Once you decide on the meet, mail in your participation forms and fees immediately.  Spending money on something will guilt you into training.  Additionally, you will have to set a tangible goal on that form, because you will ostensibly have picked a weight class in which you realistically want to compete.  Like the guy above, for instance.  Take your bodyfat, decide what's doable in the time allotted, and where you would like to be, and then start dieting.  THAT DAY. Not tomorrow.  Not on Monday.  Right then and fucking there.

Starting the diet's not the hard part- sticking with the diet is.  Like I mentioned, you're initially going to see a lot of progress.  That will motivate you to train and diet harder, which will initially produce even more pronounced results.  Then, quite without warning, those results will seem to stall.  I have no idea what the fuck your body is doing in this period, or why it happens.  What I can tell you, however, is that it even fucks with my head.   You will start to doubt everything at this point, and you'll start blindly grabbing for solutions to the stall.  What people do most commonly at this point, if they don't quit altogether, is to either take a layoff or change what they're doing entirely. DO NOT DO EITHER.  Neither one of those things is what got you to where you are, and you're not a pre-industrial explorer who's run out of land and has to start building a boat.  you're simply a pilot who's hit a badass headwind in the middle of a fucking hurricane.  Like that pilot, you're just going to have to give it more gas to keep making any progress, and keep going the exact same way you're going to avoid having the hurrican just slam you into the fucking ground.  Make no mistake- if you stray from the course that got you to your stall, you will fucking crash and burn.  Instead, you just give that fucker more gas to get through the dark period.  Like that pilot, you will get out of the storm, and you will be fucking happy with the results when you do.

Sequential shifts in behavior spur the most change- not radical ones.(Young 45)  Thus, take a look at what you've been doing and find ways to tweak it to improve it.  Add a weighted vest to your light workouts and just wear it throughout the lift.  Add in a long morning walk on an empty stomach.  Stand up while you play Xbox.  Cut down on the number of carbs you eat during a refeed, spread them out throughout the day, or try concentrating them into one big burst.  Add a couple of sets to each workout of piddly shit you'd like to improve.  Any improvement you make to what has already been proven to work will help get you through the dark period.  If you spend too much time analyzing and not enough time doing, however, you will suffer from paralysis of analysis, and you will utterly fail.  Over-analysis anchors you in the past, causes you to associate the problem with odd and often downright fucking ridiculous things, and makes change difficult.  (Young 51)  I'm looking at you, Reddit.  Stop agonizing over your form, or the minor details of this or that, and just fucking TRY HARDER.  If I had a fucking dollar for every email I've received where the obvious answer was "try harder, you fucking pussy", I'd have a shitload of money.  If you simply do something, and you believe what you're doing will work, it will.  If sugar pills can cure 50% of depression cases simply because the patients believe in the efficacy of their treatment(Langer 110), belief in yourself and your actions will cause you to achieve success, because unlike the whiny pussies in the depression study, you're getting off your ass and taking charge of your own life.
Trying hard usually looks retarded.

During this period, you are going to have to work harder than ever to stay focused.  It is going to suck.  You're going to need more sleep.  You're going to get pissed off at little shit, because you're filled to the fucking brim with frustration at your perceived lack of progress.  People around you are going to start making suggestions about making concessions, about how what you're doing is unnatural and possibly unhealthy, and they're going to reinforce your doubts and that shitty little voice in the back of your head.  It is at this point that you need to remember that you're better than every single fucking person around you.  You're a fucking demi-god- you have transcended the human condition and become something better, and you're on your way to becoming a fucking godhead.  If, that is, you can stay the course.  To do this, I use a variety of techniques.  I listen to even more aggressive music, and I am constantly on the hunt for new music to get me pumped up.  I will only read books in which the protagonist is well-neigh superhuman, whether it be Michael Z. Williamson's badass libertarian sci fi novels, Lee Child's Reacher books, Vlad the Impaler's biography, or my ultimate pump-up book, Gates of Fire.  I'll watch Crank 2 every morning when I awaken to get my blood flowing some weeks, just to get my ass moving fast and aggressively.  On top of that, I'll diet even harder, reduce my carbs during my refeed days, and cut any sugars during my Rampage.  Prevention of mental stalls is done through pre-programming a response to cut reaction time.  "Preprogramming appears to circumvent the strategy formulation stage and directly downloads the motor program into the central nervous system"(Siddle 70-71)  For e, preprogramming is as simple as cloaking myself in superhuman, aggressive awesomeness.  It is NEVER, however, reading tales of woe and failure on the fucking internet, so avoid message boards like the goddamned plague during that time.  There's nothing in them but fucking fail.  135 lb form check?  I only want to see it if it's a 6 year old girl doing it and she cuts the throat of some dickbag in Under Armor gear thereafter.  Keep it positive, and keep it aggressive.  You will prevail.

Should you find yourself failing, it's because you lack the resolve to succeed.  At that point, you have two choices- be a strong person or a weak person.  There's no in-between.  If you fail at dieting, you're fucking weak.  There is no other reason- it's not your thyroid, or your genetics, or the fact that you didn’t use this or that drug- it’s because you’re fucking weak.  Should you choose to be so, that’s fine.  Frankly, I could care less if most people just walked themselves off a fucking cliff, and their mental state could not possibly matter less to me.  It should, however, matter a great deal to you.  Thus, you should succeed at your diet to make yourself a stronger, better person.  You will thank yourself, and the more miserable the experience, the more you’ll appreciate it thereafter.

Failure is not an option.

     Barrett-Connor E, Von Muehlen DG, Kritz-Silverstein D.  Bioavailable testosterone and depressed mood in older men: the Rancho Bernardo study.  1999. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 84(2)573.
     Habito RC, Montalto J, Leslie E, Ball M. "Effects of replacing meat with soyabean in the diet on sex hormone concentrations in healthy adult males." Br J Nutr 2000 Oct;84(4):557-63.
     Langer, Ellen.  Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility.  New York:  Ballantine, 2009.
     Li Y.  A study of relationship between plasma testosterone and body fat in normal boy adolescents.  Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 1990 Jul;24(4):209-13.
     Schuler, Lou.  The Testosterone Advantage Plan.  New York:  Rodale International Ltd, 2003.
     Siddle, Bruce K.  Sharpening the Warrior's Edge: The Psychology and Science of Training.  Bellenville: PPCT Research Publications, 1995.
     Van Fleet, James K. Hidden Power: How To Unleash the Power of Your Subconscious Mind.  Paramus: Prentice Hall, 1987.
     Watson, George.  Nutrition and Your Mind.  New York:  Harpercollins, 1972.
     Young, Peter.  Understanding NLP: Principles and Practice.  Norwalk: Crown House Publishing, 2004.


  1. I've read almost all of your posts, and this is easily one of the best.

  2. So you read the Reacher books? Fucking awesome aren't they? If you want something to make you aggressive and angry, did you know Tom Cruise is playing Reacher in the film adaptation this year?
    Here's the trailer:

    It's going to be based on the book "One Shot"

  3. Damn good manifesto. Thanks for that.

    I'll add that I read part of it while eating pudding--but I'm trying to gain weight at the moment, and doing it dirty is proving the most reliable way.

    Though seriously, this was a great post.

  4. Great post. Awesome thing about fat loss is you can just try harder and make it work. Wish training were always that simple.

    I can confirm the part about not losing muscle as long as you eat enough protein. This summer, I had been doing a cyclic ketosis cut not to dissimilar to your predator diet, but my fat loss stalled the fuck out at 8-9% as it has done on past cuts. This time I was pissed as hell and went on what was essentially a 3 week 1000 calorie protein sparing modified fast with a couple higher fat keto days thrown in, while continuing to lift heavy and do a fuckton of cardio. Oh, that was all on leangains style intermittent fasting for good measure. I got to 6% body fat and didn't lose a single damned bit of muscle as far as I can tell. Miserable as hell, and I had a few incidents where I worried that I had pushed too hard and was about to die, but I didn't. I think guys think imagine they lose muscle because they're delusional about how much muscle they're actually carrying when they're bulked up. If I can't push myself to the point of losing muscle, I know they can't.

    Contemptible as these guys may be, they have a good article on the myth of starvation mode. http://fitnessblackbook.com/main/starvation-mode-why-you-probably-never-need-to-worry-about-it/

  5. Damn, certainly outdid yourself on this one Jamie. Articles are always good but this one certainly cuts right to the blood and guts of things.
    On a side note.. After listening to CnB wtfever I looked up Darrianrider (after confirming, and getting sad about Klokov) and dear sweet baby jesus.. Not even sure what to say on that one, dude must shit a full grown St. Bernard eating 18 kilos of fruit and veg. every day.
    30 bananas.. jesus christ.

  6. Relevant:


    1. This too:


  7. Fucking perfect timing. Currently dieting down to 148 from 168. It really comes down to people being undisciplined pussies. Since you're such a fan of one of the baddest books ever, Gates of Fire, I would suggest you read Steven Pressfield's other Spartan related book "The Warrior Ethos." Shit was fucking great. Starship Troopers is another go-to for me.

  8. Great article! One of the best I've read.

    I found that your advice carries over to stuff other than dieting. Recently, I caught myself being a pussy about somethings in life. Your article was the best wake up call I could have.

  9. Thanks for the mental preparation. I'm starting to cut once again tomorrow cause I just got over 10% BF and this article is pure motivation. Now I just want to punch a baby in the face. Thank you motherfucker!

  10. FUCK YES. Awesome post. Good timing too.

    I hear the whole unhealthy shit all the time, or why do you drink so many protein shakes, blah blah. I tell them to enjoy their spam and diabetes. I'll just keep watching new veins pop out of my shoulders.

  11. Spot on!...i felt an affinity with the posts author on this one,i thought it was only the fucking useless dickbags i am surrounded by that that were so mentally weak that they actually think they are right in giving up/making lame excuses/not trying hard enough on both dieting and training.10+/10 from me anyway.

  12. Another one for "this is one of the best posts" camp. And good timing.

  13. does this work if u dont take tren

  14. I'm a chick reading this. I'm also a powerlifting competing in 114. This is basically where I'm going to point the women who ask me bullshit diet questions so damned often. Why do I have abs? Because I lift heavy and I have self-discipline and don't eat crap about 98% of the time. It is not that fucking hard--making yourself do it is. Suck it up, bitches.

  15. *powerlifter. Damnit.

  16. I. One of the best posts I've ever read about anything, anywhere.

    2. Please, write a "Mental Sweat" edition on your take on Nietzche.

    3. "I am a fucking Godhead" is again my mantra, thanks for the reminder.

    4. If you haven't already, check out "Deep Blue" by Parkway Drive, groove metalcore at it's finest with the sickest fucking breakdowns in every fucking song.

  17. Nice. Incidentally, if you're at all into dark fantasy type stuff, you might want to check out these two book series:


    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/SecondApocalypse?from=Main.SecondApocalypse (ESPECIALLY this one. I get the feeling you'd like Cnaiur)

    Awesomeness and ridiculously overpowered characters abound, as do veritable oceans of bloodshed of varying levels of mindlessness.

  18. I've read this post almost every night since it's been posted. I'm currently dieting down with the Apex Predator Diet after fucking around with the more traditional bodybuilding-style cut. As I've gotten leaner and my test levels have started going through the roof I've become generally more pissed off at everything (which is good for lifting) and have developed a level of contempt for the usual fatbodies walking around the gym that Hitler likely would have admired. Also, the ephedrine/caffeine stack is sweet. Thanks for this shit man.

  19. I think this is the best thing I have ever read. Ever. I keep reading it and it is equally awesome each time. Thanks.

  20. http://i.imgur.com/OpSwh.png just wanted to leave this here. read: hulkmode achieved

  21. so explicitly explained the process of dieting and the way to come around it, i think to come into shape you need to follow the diets plan, you falter there and you falter everywhere

  22. nice bodies.

  23. Having Trouble STICKING with your Paleo Diet?

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  24. I'll bet you can't guess which muscle in your body is the muscle that gets rid of joint and back pains, anxiety and excessive fat.

    If this "hidden" highly powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.