Welcome to What We Learned This Week, a digest of the most curiously important facts from the past few days. This week: Losing 25 pounds in 6 weeks is not healthy or smart, riding the train across the country is a great idea and the most ambitious scooter ride ever attempted.
Jeremy Greenfield's personal essay about his astounding weight loss regime in GQ this week reads like a Rorschach test for body positivity.
By drinking nothing but two 500 calorie smoothies for breakfast and dinner and having a small sandwich or soup for lunch, Greenfield was able, to the surprise of multiple nutritionists he spoke to, lose 25 pounds in just over a month's time. According to Greenfield it was absolute hell. "Suffering" is a word he uses a lot.
It makes sense why he would feel that way. Starving yourself is certainly one way to go from 188 pounds to 163 pounds, and Greenfield, who is a professional writer by way of GQ paying him money to write about his weight loss experiences, goes into great detail what it feels like to starve yourself.
But is he writing this to dissuade you from doing what, by his own admission, works for him, or to convince you? There are multiple disclaimers that pepper the story, one at the very top from the GQ staff warning those sensitive to talk of eating disorders and calorie restriction, and more from Greenfield himself assuring you that if you're already comfortable with your body you need not read further.
But if you do read to the end, despite how much suffering Greenfield goes through, he comes out feeling like it was all worth it. Which is worrying. No matter how many disclaimers or caveats you include, sharing your experience of how you felt validated by starving yourself is, inevitably, going to convince others to follow.
If there is one person on this Earth who you should absolutely read about a 67-hour cross-country train ride, it is Caity Weaver. She made the Super Bowl fun, and turned eating too many TGI Friday's mozzarella sticks into a journey. This week for the New York Times Magazine she wrote about taking Amtrak from New York to Los Angeles. She had a very nice time and it is worth your time to read her experiences of it.
I don't want to spoil much, because as I said earlier you should read it, but as someone who already loves riding the train, it made me realize just how great traveling can be. It doesn't have to be waiting in security lines and then boarding a flight, loaded for bear with every entertainment option imaginable just to make the time, uh, fly. And it doesn't have to be an unwinnable race against the Google Maps ETA.
You can just take the train, and enjoy the ride.
Electric scooters are not a good mode of transit. Compared to other forms of two-wheeled transit, they are not very stable. It's doubtful that sustainable public transit options and the insatiable VC thirst for growth are compatible. And most importantly, riding an e-scooter makes you look like a dork.
The one good thing you can do with e-scooters, though, is something Joe Veix found out for Gizmodo this week: ride them into nowhere until they die. In instance, Joe rode his across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands, which is a very nice bicycle ride if you ever get the chance to do that.