1,500 calories per day…my un-American gesture.

This morning the Guardian published a cautionary nutritional/health story pointing out that an impending epidemic of obesity, and consequently, diabetes, threatens in the coming decades.

The gist of the article is its title: We need to learn what 2,000 calories a day looks like to prevent diabetes

I thought about 2,000 calories of food intake per day and how daunting that might seem to most people in our overfed, gluttonous civilization. I chuckled because for the past year (one year in fact, marked this past Sunday), I’ve been subsisting on about 1,500 calories per day. And it’s been quite easy for me.

I’ve had many addictions and bad habits in my life, but fortunately, food has never been one of them. A few years ago I began a bulking scheme which went haywire. By the end of 2013 I’d ballooned to a BMI of 26.6. I’m not particularly keen of the BMI measurement, especially for those who lift weights such as I – it fails to differentiate between muscle mass and adipose, but it’s sufficiently descriptive, in a very lazy way, of our generalized fat distribution. I was not eating “bad food”…I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but having integrated the bulking mentality, I was eating a lot of food. I don’t care how healthy and nutrient-rich your diet is, if you’re eating too much of it, you will gain weight.

So yes, I was getting a little chubby and several people mentioned it. One day I sat back on my parent’s couch and noticed that my abdomen, even as I laid back as far as I could, still protruded, sloppily. One weekend (a year ago), my girlfriend and me measured our waists and I was shocked to discover my waist was easily about 6 inches more than I thought I’d been carrying. This was my wake-up call.

Knowing that I was entirely capable of controlling my food intake (having proven this many times in the past), I set out on a course of “cutting” and going for the chiseled look which I feel befits a man of my height and age. I found 1,500 calories a day was not a problem and I’ve been maintaining it since. My advantage is that I’ve never bought into the foodie mentality and I’m not generally the type of person who thinks about food too much. I’m not a picky eater and I’ll pretty much put any food in my mouth (except mushrooms and eggplant). It’s sustenance and nothing else, so in refraining from eating, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I now have a 20 BMI which straddles the normal/underweight border (whereas my previous 26.6 straddled the normal/overweight according to the strict standards of the NIH).

Eating 1,500 is my own little act of rebellion against over-consumption and gluttony.

It is saintly and quite un-American!