The other day I was roaming my local library, in search of large amounts of nerdery to sooth my soul, when I stumbled upon the greatest piece of literary fiction ever created: Marvel Zombies.
Seriously. It’s the best. I now render your ability to argue against this point useless (insert mystical finger waving and arm flailing here)! Did you think Peter Parker was just your friendly neighborhood spider? Just wait until he hits you with a face full of arteries and veins instead of webbing, son!
In this alternate bizzaro world, all of your favorite Marvel superheroes have been zombified, which is bad news for the human race since we’re the only thing left on the menu. While constantly fluxing between a state of anxiety and “zomgwtf”, I started to notice a pattern – these dudes knew how to stay ripped!
I can already hear all the thoughts of you naysayers out there. Oh sure, blame it on the fact that they’re battle scarred and in a constant state of decomposition, or that they may or may not be missing several limbs and/or random body parts. My response? Bullocks, I say! Success leaves clues, and while they may smell a little ripe, these protectors of the universe know a thing or two and have given me the go ahead to break you off a piece of that knowledge and how us mere mortals can apply it.
The Typical Diet Cycle
Come, step into my time machine. Let us go back to any one of your many past diet attempts where you tried valiantly, but in the end fell far from reaching your goals. Did they happen to look something like this?
Phase 1: You begin your diet with great gusto. You are awesome, you are great, and you are unstoppable. Rarr!
Phase 2: Hunger begins to set in, but you have it under control. It’ll take more than that to keep you from achieving awesomeness.
Phase 3: You haven’t lost as much fat as you had hoped for, and now your hunger is at code red levels. You’re not sure how much more of this you can take.
Phase 4: You break, and my goodness what a break it is! Several cookies, cakes and small villages later you lay defeated in a food coma on the floor. Having undone days or weeks of progress in one fell swoop, you are down, but not out for the count. You vow to begin once again with a renewed spirit, because this time will be different.
And the cycle repeats itself again, and again, and again. Mad frustration ensues.
Of Zombies And Men
When these zombies get hungry, they get HONGRY! Due to their ramped up superhero metabolism and high levels of physical activity, their appetite is almost insatiable. As a side effect of this ravenous hunger, if they go too long without food they start to go crazy and are unable to focus anything more complex than finding their next meal. Simply put, they start to make stupid choices that decrease the likelihood of achieving their goal (i.e. man flesh).
Starting to sound familiar, eh?*
When we embark on our own physique changing adventures, we commonly experience the exact same things that zombies do. “Nuh uh, Rog, we’re different! We’re able to push those feelings of hunger to the back of our minds and power through it!” Yeah, initially. But what happens when those moments of hunger are constantly rolling around in your head? You’re at the movie theater eye-balling the popcorn chomper eight rows ahead. You’re in the parking lot plotting how you’re gonna scrape that decade old piece of bubble gum off the pavement and into your mouth. You’re on the toilet, wishing you had packed yourself a peanut butter and banana sammich. What? Don’t act like it’s just me!
The fact of the matter is that at some point you’re going to be hungry while trying to lose fat, but I’m going to share with you a tactic that you can use sparingly when facing down the hunger beast.
Thank You, Giant-Man
As the leader of the superheroes, Henry Pym, better known as Giant-Man, is responsible for coming up with the technology necessary to transport the heroes from world to world across the universe in order to gobble up any humans that they can. Given the nature of such a complex task, Pym has to keep his wits about him while focusing on his work otherwise he is useless. In order to do this, he has to take the edge off of his hunger before it gets out of control and reduces his ability to think straight, and what better way to do this than by keeping a real live human tied up in the basement and using him as an occasional snack bar!
So why don’t we do the same thing?
Not the whole holding another dude hostage and eating him thing, but the stopping your hunger before it becomes an issue.
Have A Cookie
In order to lose fat, you need to achieve a caloric deficit, either through more activity, less food or a combination of both. How great that deficit is is based on how fast you want to safely and realistically reach your goals, but in general the larger the deficit the more physical hunger you’re going to experience. This time around though, instead of having an almighty binge when those thoughts of hunger feel downright unbearable, just have a cookie.
Have a cookie?!
Yep, have a cookie.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cookie, but have whatever it is that will sooth the beast within, allowing you to continually move forward towards your goal. Will having a small bag of chips now keep you from setting up residence at the all-you-can-eat buffet a few days down the road? Then eat ‘em – then get right back to work. Alternatively, you could also simply eat a little bit more of the food you’re already eating. If you constantly find yourself repeating the cycle that I talked about earlier, then you need to consider moving into a smaller deficit. Lyle McDonald wrote a great piece on caloric deficits that you should check out. Regardless of the scenario, I’d rather see someone take one small step back and preserve their sanity and momentum than take a huge hit and moonwalk all the way back to where they started, perhaps even further. Yes, it will take longer to reach your goal, but I’d much rather see that happen than have you constantly reinforce negative thought patterns that come from not achieving what you set out to do.
If that option doesn’t appeal to your Spartan dietary sensibilities, than you only have one other option.
Nut Up Or Shut Up
Accept the fact you’re going to be hungry at some point and anticipate it. Knuckle down and get it done if it is that important to you. If you’re not willing to do any of these things, then you can simply keep replaying this infinite loop until you get tired enough to do something about it. Like Captain Planet said folks, the power is yours.
What dietary blunders have you made in the past and what did you do to solve them? Leave your answer in the comment section below!
* – No, I’m not from Canada.
Photo Credit: istolethetv