Tag Archives: health and fitness

Ex-Marine describes why he loves Soylent and how it changed his life

Reddit user “lewis0451” says he was a US Marine who let himself go when he left the service, and whose weight went up to 255. He consumes mostly Soylent now, and is down to 180 pounds.

He credits Soylent, a liquid food substitute that supposedly has all the nutrients you need to live. The manufacturers claim you can live healthy on a diet of only Soylent. Some enthusiasts do that, although most, like “lewis0451,” are on a mostly-Soylent diet and have real food for special occasions.

I decided to order some for myself and see how things would taste. After a week, I decided I might want to try to pull off a 30-day challenge of nothing but Soylent, and I tried my best, but stumbled a few times. I stuck with it and used it as much as I could. I knew I could lean on it to meet a weight loss goal, but I never thought it would allow me to reshape my entire life. I’m so much more positive, slightly richer (no senseless food expenditures), and way more responsible. I no longer live to eat. Here’s the best part – I still take time to ENJOY GOOD FOOD. I’m not going to come off Soylent for frozen pizza since I’ve had it about 1,300,543,000 times in my life before, but I will absolutely take time to order a beautiful piece of grilled salmon with fresh veggies that snap when you crunch through them, along with red potatoes or something akin to that. I try to make good choices and when I eat food, I make sure I’m doing it to engage all my senses. I do it for the experience — not to just hide from everything, binging on junk food.

lewis0451 wants to be the Soylent spokesman, like Jared from Subway, but “without all the creeper stuff.”

The fact that he even mentions Jared means he’s going to need some serious marketing training before Soylent signs him on. Heh.

[Soylent: Can I be your Jared? (without all the creeper stuff). I’m the weight loss dude w/ the logo fail. I don’t feel like re-uploading. / lewis0451 / reddit.com/r/soylent]

I tried Soylent for a full day in the summer. I wrote about the experience on Light Reading. [I Ate Soylent for a Day: ‘Food’ Special / Mitch Wagner / Light Reading]

I liked it enough to think that I might want to use it for occasional food-on-the-go and ordered a one-week supply – which is now, alas, sitting in the pantry with the clock ticking toward its expiration date.

I’ve had better luck with MealSquares, which also advertises itself as everything you need to eat healthy, in one package. But unlike Soylent, MealSquares is actual food. It’s a dense, square muffin. To eat it, you need to take small bites, and chew thoroughly.  I find it tasty and satisfying, though it’s very rich and dry. Julie dislikes it.

I often carry a MealSquare or two in my bag when I’m out and about.

I’m going in for a colonoscopy March 30 (nothing wrong, just a routine, baseline check), and might subsist on Soylent for a week prior to the test, rather than go through the confusing and complicated dietary restrictions. MealSquares too, if they’re allowed.

And yes the name comes from the movie. But the manufacturers say real-world Soylent doesn’t have people in it. Which is exactly what they said in the movie!

“Polyphasic sleep” might let you get by on two hours of sleep out of 24

You sleep for precise 20-minute naps every four hours.

People who have tried it say after a short adjustment period, they feel great.

On the other hand, you might get cancer. So there’s that.

I love sleep, but I’d love to be able to get by on about four hours a day. I seem to need 7-8.

Disrupted Slumber: Can We Really Hack Sleep

Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters, the ‘Queen of Calories,’ wrote a breakthrough diet and fitness book nearly 100 years ago

Peters compiled the latest dietary research from a wide variety of sources and set about putting it all into layman’s terms. Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories was released in 1918. Amazingly, her nearly 100-year-old advice is not too far off today’s best-practice weight-loss methodology. Simply put, her plan was successful because it was based on the tried-and-true wisdom that in order to lose weight or maintain it, calories taken in must never exceed calories burned. She devised a fairly accurate way to determine the amount of calories in food, as well as a method for calculating one’s ideal weight very similar to today’s body-mass index standards.

Interestingly, Diet and Health was geared almost exclusively towards women in the way it was conceived and written. Part of the reason Peters’ voice appealed to so many was that she took a subject that had until then been considered dull and relatively clinical and somehow turned it into a great read filled with wit, humour and general wisdom.


Peters infused her text with fictional dieters sporting names like Mrs Tiny Weyaton, Mrs Natty B. Slymm and Mrs Ima Gobbler. She also had her nine-year-old nephew do all the illustrations. Women found they could relate well to Peters, who’d struggled with her own size, admitted to frequent chocolate binges, and truly knew the pitfalls of dieting and understood the self-control required to lose weight. The book also discussed many previously unspoken-of psychological aspects of weight loss, such as jealous husbands and passive-aggressive friends rooting for the dieter to fail.

The good doctor had an innate understanding of what made dieters tick. Though much of her advice was practical – she included lists of 100-calorie portion sizes of common foods, and put forth a carefully thought-out regime of physical activity – Peters also seemed to embody a somewhat prescient weight-loss philosophy: “How anyone can want to be anything but thin is beyond my intelligence… if there is anything comparable to the joy taking in your clothes I have not experienced it.”

Now, nearly a century later, hopeful dieters still repeat the mantra that nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.


Thanks to its chatty style — and the effectiveness of the diet — Peters’ unassuming little book slowly began to garner a following. Diet and Health climbed non-fiction best-seller lists across North America and there it stayed for more than four years. It all came as a huge shock to the author, who’d moved to Bosnia to work for the Red Cross immediately after she finished writing it. When Peters returned to the States from the Balkans two years later, she was shocked to find her book a best-seller and herself somewhat of a celebrity.

Peters seems to have laid out all the good and bad points about weight-loss and fitness a century ago. The good: Treating weight loss and fitness as a problem that is solvable with the application of achievable and moderate techniques. The bad: The religious zeal about weight loss and fitness.

Losing weight and getting fit can be transformative, not because of the physical transformation itself but because it’s difficult to do, takes a long time, and relatively few people manage it. If you succeed at something like that, then you’re likely to emerge as a changed person. But you’ll still have all the problems, virtues, and flaws that you had before the change. You’ll be different but the same. I’m having difficulty articulating what I’m trying to say here.

And failing to get thin is … well, it’s not failure. Eat better, lose some weight, move more, and you’re better off than you were before, even if you never hit your goal weight. Or hit it and gain some of it back.

Also, mad props (as the young people no doubt are no longer saying) to Lulu for being a successful physician at a time when women didn’t have a lot of career options.