Feeding the man in the mirror
Some weeks ago, I was shocked by the sight of a fat man getting out of the shower in the mirror. I spent most of my adult life under 70 kilograms, and suddenly, here I was middle-aged and blubbery.
I eat almost nothing and do a similar amount of exercise. What I do eat, I consider healthy. Well, except my gin and tonic. But could three cans of tonic every night be the culprit?
Today, the solution to every problem lies online, and I soon started an e-diet, reading a lot of blogs about nutrition and weight loss. But I did not actually do anything. The fat man in the shower stayed exactly the same, despite my intensive reading.
Soon, I concluded that my problem was carbohydrates: rice, potatoes, noodles, pasta, bread, beer and so on. More research brought me numerous solutions, for example, the Atkins Diet, the paleo diet, ketogenesis, veganism – a pantheon of dietary cults, each with their own deities, morals, taboos and rituals. They each share a basic tenet: Cut the carbs and eat more protein and fat.
The first step is to cut out sugar, which was surprisingly easy and very satisfying. Then you have to stop eating low-quality carbs, such as rice, fries and lasagna. Yeah, I know you love pizza. Tough. Learn to love Wagu beef instead.
As soon as I took these lifechanging steps, I discov- ered a lot of my friends were doing the same thing. Most of them call it “the keto diet,” but it isn’t. The keto diet is for bodybuilders, not for mere mortals like us. But it is good to give something a name so that people can feel like they are a part of something.
The regimen is strict, but it is so easy here that you could call it the Beijing diet.
First, eat a bunch of leaves. I buy a random bunch of green stuff every evening and cram it into my face for breakfast the next day. Those are all the carbs I need. Then you need oil. You can get olive oil, almond oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil, but extra virgin coconut oil is a cut above the rest. You’re also going to need a lot of bacon. You’d better get used to drinking shot glasses of almond oil and having a spoonful of coconut oil for lunch. Sounds disgusting? It isn’t. That flab you call your belly, that’s disgusting! Eating out becomes a joy. Remember when Chinese food was “too greasy?” Not anymore! Eat like a proper Chinese. Lap up the oil and ignore the rice. Getting a keto-friendly meal at a Chinese restaurant is easy. Most Western places in Beijing seem to serve nothing but burgers. Snacks are important. Eat fatty, protein-laced snacks such as nuts and seeds. Where else are nuts and seeds so widely available? When you have had enough nuts, every convenience store has boiled eggs, dried fish, vacuum packed meaty delights and unsweetened tea. Always check the labels though. Evil carbs lurk everywhere. Two months on, and 10 kilograms lighter, the man in the mirror is recognizable again.