“...one of my mantras -- Focus and Simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” - Steve Jobs. RIP
Some of you know that I have been on a Low Reward lifestyle experiment with Kamal, also known as Kumar and Kumar Escape From Rewardtanamo Bay. This has included abstinence from Paleohacking. With very few exceptions, I have not been around here since August 15th. That is quite remarkable based on my previous involvement several months preceding the experiment -
Forget about all the bullshit and banter about biochemistry that is consuming the various blogs/forums for just one moment please.
Low Reward concepts, diet and otherwise, have taught Kamal and me many things. We are going to be writing about this soon for Stephan Guyenet to post on his site. I won't get into all the details, but the short version is that I have lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks on a fairly high carb, low reward diet that is completely sustainable. Note I was weight stable for 6-7 months prior to the experiment and with very few exceptions, only lowered the reward of my diet while keeping the components/staples unchanged. So 10 lbs is a pretty substantial move for me, particularly since I lost the "easy" pounds earlier in the year. Moreover, my decade+ addiction to diet soda (3 liters per day, no joke) has been overcome and I am now at the lowest weight since my early 20s.
Kamal has kicked some serious ass, even more so than me because of his hard core implementation (at least with respect to diet). Good job co-founding member of Rewardaholics Anonymous!
Much more so than the weight loss has been the radical transformation with respect to the role of food and nutrition research in my life. For the first time ever, food is simply fuel. I cannot overstate the significance of this mindset shift, which even after transitioning to my (perverted) Lacto-Ovo Veggie implementation of Paleo was not experienced in spite of many health improvements including weight loss. Food was entertainment. I used to intellectually understand that food was fuel, but now I am experiencing it. Cool!
[EDIT - I am not saying that I no longer like highly rewarding food or have completely lost the desire for it. Anyone that says ice cream or bread is unrewarding is likely a liar.]
But more than that, I have come to realize that incessant hacking and constant searches for the holy grail of nutrition actually compromised my health objectives. Orthorexia is real. Knowledge may be power, but power also corrupts. Is there anything that is going to likely change the following basic tenets
- Avoid gluten grains
- Avoid excess Omega-6 vis-a-vis vegetable oils
- Avoid excess fructose
- Eat real, whole foods prepared simply with adequate micronutrients
- Get adequate sleep
- Move around and stay active
- Get laid, preferably with someone else participating
Everything else is in the weeds.
So what's the point of this....Low Reward has taught me that focus and simplicity in all aspects of life tends to lead to positive outcomes. The more you get into the weeds, the greater the possibility of diminishing, if not negative returns on your investment. Isn't one of the goals to just live a peaceful and healthy life with as little effort as possible?
BTW - I am not directing this at people with significant metabolic derangements and life threatening illnesses. Diving into the weeds may be necessary to save your life. I get that.
Oh yeah, I need a question in here - What does focus and simplicity mean to you in terms of your Paleo diet and lifestyle?
Ok, I'm outta here. Be well John Spartan