I was past 60 before I finally figured out three simple rules to confidently navigate the massively confusing world of the diet, supplement, and weight-loss industries.
I hope this writing will help you avoid the Siren’s call for easy solutions and even “easier” payments that incessantly assault our better judgment.
My Rules to Confidently Navigate the Land of Fraud
Several years ago, I concluded that there were only three rules that I would observe when it came to creating a lifelong health, diet and/or fitness routine that I could follow indefinitely.
Rule #1 – Is there “real” science behind the claim?
Here’s the thing: we can find peer-reviewed scientific studies to prove almost any theory we want. Since no scientific research is perfect, there’s always a peer-reviewed counterargument on any topic.
That’s why health, fitness and weight loss are so hopelessly confusing. It’s precisely why Rule #1 is just a starting point. Still, it’s a critical starting point because there must be factual evidence behind a claim or product… which eliminates much of the crap we see on infomercials and the Internet.
Rule #2 ~ Does it pass the evolutionary “smell” test?
Our bodies are the result of many thousands of years of evolutionary development. The fact that we survived as a species is a pretty fair endorsement that there’s a lot of innate wisdom below our conscious awareness.
So, for optimal health, we need to follow the same “rules” that allowed us (and most other species) to navigate the treacherous world of survival.
So, here’s the thing: whenever we’re assaulted by commercials and headlines declaring our “need” for the latest breakthrough product, let’s ask ourselves if it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.
Our ancestors (like all species) survived just fine without protein shakes, colonic irrigations, supplements and non-sensical diets. In other words, the holy trinity of health still stands: a well-balanced diet of real food (not nutrient-void, ultra-processed garbage), sufficient exercise, and proper sleep. This simple triumvirate has stood the test of time … no additions, alterations, products, or schemes are required.
Any time you’re confronted by an ad in a magazine or infomercial about some product or lifestyle you “desperately” need for health and vitality, run it through the evolutionary “smell” test: Did our ancestors need it?
If the answer is no, and you still think you need it, seek a double-blind scientific study. If the product works, they’ll have one … believe me, they will. If there isn’t one, then it’s almost certain that whatever you’re being sold is nothing other than marketing.
Rule #3 ~ Does it work for me?
Aside from the three principles for optimal health (diet, sleep, exercise), we all have different lifestyles and circumstances. What works for a 25-year-old bachelor may not be ideal for a 35-year-old mother of three.
Ten years ago, at age 55, I was beginning to feel chronically sluggish despite eating “reasonably” well and getting “plenty” of exercise. Back then, I regularly gobbled amino acids (BCAAs), drank protein shakes, and tried eating the prescribed three “healthy” meals daily.
I followed the standard recommended protocol because, after all, what else would a layperson do? If a new study suggested BCAAs were critical to muscle synthesis, count me in. Count me in if I read a study describing my need to drink protein shakes before and after workouts. It was a supplement company’s dream. I tried all kinds of products and food combinations to maximize my health.
Nothing will cripple our endeavours or derail our “good” intentions like uncertainty!
Then, I discovered two things: autophagy (cellular housekeeping) and the extraordinary danger of eating a diet high in ultra-processed food (UPF).
These two discoveries transformed my health and well-being. Even though I exercised regularly at the time, I was unwittingly poisoning myself at the cellular level by doing what most people do – consuming more than 60% of my total calories from UPF.
When I stopped eating fast food and drastically reduced my consumption of UPF – while adopting a lifestyle of daily intermittent fasting – within a few months, I transformed my health and weight. Not only did it allow me to finally shed that stubborn fat, but through initiating autophagy, I’ve tapped into a greater source of energy and vitality than I’ve had at any other time in my life!
How I Practice Autophagy
Before I say any more, I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying what I do suits everyone; I’m simply saying what I have found works for me.
I eat between 6 pm and bedtime (as much as I want and whatever I want), and “generally” outside that window, I consume zero calories. During the day I drink lots of coffee, tea and water. I practice a HIIT protocol workout (45 minutes 5 days a week), get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and that’s it! No supplements, no diets, and no gimmicks.
Eating in a 4 – 6-hour window took about two weeks to get used to, but I found it incredibly simple and stress-free once achieved. No thoughts of what to eat for breakfast or where to go for lunch; none of that enters my mind … ever!
You know those little pangs we occasionally feel in our stomachs throughout the day? I don’t know what causes them, but I can assure you they’re not “real” hunger (we have all the fuel we need; that’s what our fat reserves are for). I occasionally feel these pangs (when I’m bored). Still, I’ve learned to ignore them, and invariably, they go away in less than a minute.
Me trying hard (and failing miserably) to look like I don’t know I’m being photographed.
So those are the three simple rules that have worked spectacularly well for me for over ten years. I eat as much as I want and whatever I wish to each evening (no restrictions), I’m never hungry (honestly), and I have more energy at 65 than I’ve had at any other time.
I can’t say what will work best for you. But I can say with absolute certainty that if you follow the 3 Simple Rules, you’ll figure it out and find a workable solution … for life!
Life is about choices. Control is when YOU make them!