[AKN #23] Executing on my resolution, caffeine lies to your body, radiators are virus-fighting machines, and Internet drama is better as a song
another krappy newsletter #23
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Be the change you want to see in the world, me.
Happy New Year, homies!
Looking forward to a great 2021 of sharing my feelings, musings, dumb jokes, and the occasional insightful post with you.
To welcome in the New Year, I give you my first observation:
The meme of 2021 is “can’t wait to put 2020 behind us.” But the majority of people I see saying this were largely unaffected by the virus. In fact, they arguably have better lives now than they did pre-virus.
It appears that at some point, a combination of two things occurred leading to an exponential increase in crocodile tears:
Being miserable became the “cool” ideology. This triggered the instinctual copycatting we humans do of one another (see: mimesis, Rene Girard).
People who were more fortunate began Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) to cover up their guilt that they were not as affected.
Whatever it is, it has been bizarre to watch people oscillate between celebrating their brand new home whilst bemoaning the year 2020.
You are allowed to have joy in your lives, gang.
Disclaimer: Before I get some angry email, I understand certain people were unfairly affected by this pandemic. Financially. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually (not sure what spiritually is tbh). I know quite a few people who fall into this category. I feel for those people and I am pulling for a recovery that gets you back in pre-pandemic order. My criticism above was obviously not directed at you.
Personally, I will look back fondly on 2020.
I started this world-changing newsletter.
I got to test my hypothesis that I would enjoy being a full-time remote worker (ends up I don’t.)
I got to spend more time with my girlfriend than ever before.
I got to spend six weeks (!) living with my parents.
I had it good in 2020 plus or minus the occasional bout of depression. But cyclic negative thoughts like that are par for the course. Had little to do with 2020. Most to do with how my brain works.
But with that said, there are some things I would like to change. Which is topic one.
On to the newsletter!
Table of contents:
New Year’s Resolutions in action
Radiators fight the virus
Turning Random Internet Drama into songs
1. New Year’s Resolutions in action
I was taken aback by the number of people who reached out to me after last week’s post about understanding your psychology to achieve your New Year’s Resolution. Apparently, this really resonated with people.
From what I have come to understand about online publishing and the lurking effect, that means the real number of people that resonate with that post is about three times that number. So like really. If you want to chat about it, let me know. It’s a thing I’m interested in. I will respond back.
To take that post one step further, I am going to walk through how I implement this for something I am working on now. I always dislike when there is a framework and no case study.
Let’s change that.
For the next month, I am going to be focusing on getting my diet in order.
I fell off hard at the end of last year. It was that stage of the pandemic where you got over it being this fun thing we were gonna get through and figured why not eat a bag of peanut butter pretzels today.
So to kickstart my healthy diet heading into the New Year, I am starting a one-month elimination diet. This diet removes everything fun for 3 weeks (coffee, alcohol, sugar, even fucking eggs) and then reintroduces them one food at a time.
I am following this plan.
This is a pretty intense shake-up to my habits.
Which is why I call it: The Most Extreme Elimination Challenge
Why would I do this? I want to find out what I have bad reactions to (digestive, acne inducing, etc) and reset my dependencies on my favorite liquids - coffee and alcohol.
I expect this to be very hard. So it will be necessary to optimize for my psychology.
Each bullet below represents a bullet from my previous post and I will explain what I am doing to align with that.
I need an audience.
I have done the following:
Hired a coach. I have rehired MyBodyTutor to do daily check-ins on where I am at with meeting my fitness goals. The service provides me with an audience of one coach who I text what I ate every single day.
Accountabili-buddy. I will be doing this diet with my GF which will make it much easier for both of us to comply.
This edition of the newsletter. I am filling all of you in on what I am doing. Which gives me some sense of “oh shit I better do this.”
I need competition.
I have created a family weight loss challenge. We will be tracking our weight on a simple spreadsheet. This kind of thing always gets me jazzed up to work hard and comply to a strict diet. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
Limit moderation where I have trouble exhibiting moderation.
A time-bound elimination diet is perfect for this psychological quirk. It removes all of the things I generally struggle with overeating. I don’t have trouble overeating brown rice and quinoa…
I will execute simple. I will eventually stop complex.
I have a list of things I cannot eat for a certain amount of time. Pretty simple. But to be fair, the shake up to my daily routine is actually pretty complex. To make this simple, I am trying to focus on eating all meals at home. One big grocery trip a week sets me and my GF up for success. This is made even easier by the fact that I do not have anything going on in my personal life that will require me to go anywhere. Pays to be a loser.
Get real about why I want what I say I want.
Look good. I believe in the law of attraction. Not like the “positive intentions bring positive change” law of attraction, but the “attractive people have things just happen for them” law of attraction. Pretty people privilege if you will. Why not stack the deck as best I can in my favor?
Survival. Unfortunately, COVID has not been kind to obese people. Since I am still lightweight worried about getting it before the vaccine gets to me, I am thinking it makes the most sense to try to control my own destiny as best as possible. Plus Boris Johnson told me that his issue was that he was too fat.
Check-in on my results thus far:
The elimination diet only started yesterday in full force, but I started cutting out coffee 4 days ago. Wowzer, the caffeine withdrawal headaches are next level. I found myself sleeping a ton. Probably making up the sleep debt from years of fueling myself on coffee.
This isn’t actually what is happening, but don’t you find yourself interested in what is happening?
Glad you asked.
Ends up, caffeine was never giving me more energy. It was just lying to my body about how tired I was.
Caffeine keeps us awake by blocking one of the body’s key sleep-inducing molecules, adenosine.
This is your normal brain: Your body makes energy by breaking down an energy dense molecule called ATP. ATP breaks down into many things. One of those things is adenosine. Neurons in your brain have adenosine receptors. When adenosine latches on to these bad boys, it activates a cascade of biochemical reactions that causes neurons to fire sluggishly which slows the release of important brain signaling molecules. Thus, you become sleepy.
Caffeine is v chemically similar to adenosine. So it can actually snake its way into these adenosine receptors. Which is the key to how it actually keeps you awake.
This is your brain on caffeine: Caffeine molecules clog your adenosine receptors, but do not activate the normal cascade of biochemical reactions that occur when adenosine binds to them. Thus, you remain “alert” because no one told your body you were sleepy.
Basically, caffeine keeps you awake by blocking the chemical that tells you to go to sleep.
Unforunately for us, the body is smart af. It makes more and more adenosine receptors if your receptors are perpetually clogged. This is how you become more and more dependent on larger doses of caffeine.
And when we stop?
Now we have plenty of receptors and no competition for the adenosine. This leads to adenosine working overtime on your system and you will get a gnarly headache. Luckily, in a few days, the extra receptors disappear and you are apparently good to go….
We will see. I have not gotten there yet. Need more Tylenol...
For a deeper dive, these videos were short and covered it well:
Retrospectively now that I read more about it, I would have weened off of caffeine in smarter ways. Like the ones highlighted in this video. Basically, you start by getting yourself down to 1 caffeinated cup per day then you work to get it down to 1 decaf cup a day. But whatever. I am hardcore.
I absolutely plan on drinking coffee again. But knowing how all of this works definitely helps me put into perspective how silly it is to drink 4 or 5 cups a day to get by. I am just making the problem worse when I do that.
2. Radiators fight the virus
Fun fact alert!
The tiny little heaters in New York City apartments that make no fucking sense? Well they make no fucking sense because we aren’t in on the joke.
Ends up that the reason these things are set up this way is because of the 1918 flu epidemic.
Engineers wanted to keep an apartment warm while ventilating the space from airborne illnesses because THEY WERE MEANT TO BE KEPT ON WITH THE WINDOWS FULLY OPEN
Original tweet where I read about it:
3. Turning Random Internet Drama into songs
This had me laughing for a solid 30 min. I have probably rewatched it 40 times.
This guy takes random Internet arguments and turns them into absolute bangers. Super catchy and hilarious.
The Internet is great.
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