Before I share my grand theory about weight loss and whatnot, I'd like to remind you once more that I'm not a professional in any way whatsoever (this applies to any and all skills and subjects). There are probably thousands of dieting experts touting a variation of the following words as a higher truth, and my only advantage on them is that I don't charge you for reading them, and also you don't have to watch me prance about in yoga pants. As such, before you drop to your knees and elect me as your new Diet God, take a moment to reread the title of this piece and remind yourself that I'm just some asshat struggling with his too-tight pants, just like you and the rest of the Western world.
(Besides, I'm more of a chaos god anyway.)
Behind this link you will find a Harvard study about a thing called status quo bias, which is your brain's tendency to keep the situation as is unless the situation you're facing is of the "I need to put myself out because I'm on fire! Aaaaaaahhhh!" variety.
"Nah, sounds like work. Maybe open a window or something, though. It's pretty warm in here." -Brain
I've come to believe that status quo bias is the ultimate end boss standing between me and weight loss. The whole point of this particular brain glitch is to heavily lean towards your default mode of existence, and mine is most definitely not "athlete." I grew up a geeky kid and enjoyed reading and writing far more than working out. That's my natural state: sprawled on a chair, consuming pop culture, and occasionally making my own tiny contributions to it. Within this environment I can be surprisingly productive and active. But when it comes to all forms of athleticism (and overly healthy eating), status quo bias always makes them seem a bit alien to me no matter how hard I try.
I think this applies to everyone, too: If you grew up in an environment where "let's jog to the gym" wasn't immediately followed by hearty laughter from all parties, chances are you have a lot less problems maintaining an idealish weight, for "person who is cool with exercise" is your status quo. Does this sound like bullshit? Well, here's a sports psychology expert and Olympic weightlifting coach saying the exact same thing and calling me wimpy in the process, because, frankly, what the hell am I going to do about it?
"Mind if I borrow that squat machine for a while?"
With this in mind, I've recently taken a new approach to the whole weight-loss thing. Instead of attempting to arbitrarily fill my life with workout routines and temporary diets that crash and burn the second some pressing matter takes my mind off them, I'm now on what I call a "Fuck You, I Do What I Want" diet. I try to exercise when I can (taking special joy in flipping the bird at my stupid brain that whines about status quo whenever I put my trainers on), eat as well as I can (while still allowing myself a burger every once in a while), and generally try to think of exercise as just a normal thing that happens on some days when I have time, never once thinking it's all part of this big-ass mission to shrink my big ass.
As idiotic as this may seem, so far it appears to be working. I started doing this a couple of months ago, and I've lost maybe six, seven pounds since then. It's not an impressive amount -- I could easily gain it all back with a good weekend-long fast-food binge. Yet, somehow, I never seem to. That shit has gone away from my average weight, not just that peak of Mt. Lard weight-cycling makes us all climb every once in a while. To be honest, though, I have no idea if this is a situation that will last forever, or if it's just another way I'm foolishly escorting myself towards full-on obesity. Will I ever gain a male-model figure this way? Unlikely. Can I ever fulfill my destiny of being a professional-level athlete? Probably not, unless Cracked's longstanding campaign of making sitting on your ass and giggling at your own dick jokes an Olympic event gains traction.
*Sigh* Some day.
But am I happy with the way things are going? Fuck yes. And, with just that little change, the dude in the mirror is slowly, slowly starting to look all right.
Pauli Poisuo is just big boned, honestly. Follow him on Twitter.
For more from Pauli, check out 5 Terrifying Killers (That Turned Out to be Mass Panics) and The 6 Least Impressive Ways Anyone Ever Got Rich.