Mini-Feature: Relationships with Food

What is your lifestyle tip for readers this week?

To whatever possible degree, make breakfast with your family. Doing this even once a week provides a huge morale boost. Bonus: Eating this breakfast outside in the sun is a great force multiplier.

-James Poulos, executive editor of The American Mind

From anyone who has seen me in person it may seem strange to listen to me give health and beauty tips, but everything’s relative. 

The thing about weight loss is that they say it’s a question of diet and exercise. But really it’s a question of diet. It’s very hard to exercise off 500 calories; it’s much easier not to eat them in the first place. 

The best way to lose weight is to be hungry. Gnawing belly hunger can be visualized as a creature inside you eating your fat. 

It worked for me!

-Seth Barron, managing editor of The American Mind

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In Book X of the Confessions, St. Augustine conducts an inventory of his pleasures and temptations. Having given up sex entirely as a pleasure whose intensity he is not fit to manage, he wishes he could do the same with food: for "whereas health is the reason of eating and drinking, there joins itself as an hand-maid a perilous delight" which seduces us to over-indulge.

I cite this passage whenever people ask me for nutrition advice as a reminder: absolutely no one has a healthy relationship to food. That is one reason why God invites us to eat and drink in memory of him: no one has a healthy relationship to God, either, and in eating we remind ourselves of our helpless state. We are forced by the simple fact of existence to expose our fragile souls to temptations and reminders of our sin.

All this to say: people do crazy things—horrible things—to themselves as a way of bringing their souls to heel nutritionally. Don't do those things. Find a way—be it keto, intermittent fasting, or nothing at all besides just three squares and a little indulgence from time to time—to get in a decent number of calories (slightly more than you put out if you're bulking, slightly less if you want to cut fat). 

Don't listen to anyone who tells you that their fad diet is the way to get swole. It works for them—its the scaffolding that happens to hold up their particular fallen edifice. But don't beat yourself up if your particular life hack is something different. Be neither afraid to experiment nor desperate for a magic bullet: there is none. You'll find your way.

-Spencer Klavan, associate editor of The American Mind