In 2009, I used to be an enthusiastic, optimistic, and barely (very) naive nerd who began to assist different nerds degree up their lives and dwell a tiny bit higher.

Since then, I’ve performed my greatest to construct an identification as a lifelong learner who isn’t tied to a selected ideology or philosophy. This meant I acquired loads of issues proper, and I additionally managed to get loads of issues flawed.

Sure views I held up to now had been factually incorrect. Whereas others had been “right,” however turned out to be ineffective and unhelpful.

As I proceed my fifteenth 12 months of Nerd Health, I wished to revisit 5 viewpoints or philosophies I’ve modified my thoughts on.

I’m hoping this would possibly offer you permission and 20 Seconds of Braveness to replace your private philosophy when introduced with new information or experiences.

(Steve’s Notice: if any of those offer you a viscerally adverse response, take this as a studying expertise! Replicate on why! Extra on this within the conclusion.)

5 core health beliefs I not have:

  • “All of us have the identical 24 hours within the day.”
  • “Going low carb is essential for weight reduction.”
  • “Free weights are superior to weight machines.”
  • “Weight loss plan Coke is unhealthy for you.”
  • “Weight problems is because of lack of self-discipline.”

#1: “All of us have the identical 24 hours within the day.”

As a naive 25-year previous single dude, this was in all probability essentially the most cringe-worthy philosophy I held. I liked productiveness/hustle tradition.

I believed all people had the identical period of time, all people had the identical alternatives, and profitable, match, organized individuals had been merely those that had been extra disciplined and managed their time higher than the remainder of us.

Now, as I method forty, I notice simply how naive and unhelpful this attitude was.

Sure, a 25-year previous single dude, a 45-year previous mother working two jobs, and an individual with power ache caring for an aged dad or mum technically “have the identical 24 hours within the day.”

After all single mothers working two jobs, or individuals who additionally need to be full-time caregivers, don’t have the identical alternatives or time to dedicate to themselves daily as a single 25 12 months previous dude. There’s unbelievable privilege that comes with that perspective, and it’s actually unhelpful to nearly all of individuals as of late.

I failed to acknowledge how instrumental luck and privilege have been for me:

Moderately than telling individuals it’s their fault for not being extra disciplined, a much better start line is acknowledging and accepting the reality: individuals have totally different beginning factors and totally different life conditions.

We are able to then do our greatest to discover a path via this damaged system, as flawed people, to carve out a tiny little bit of progress and achievement every day.

#2: “Going low carb is essential for weight reduction.”

In 2009, I wrote the article on The Paleo Weight loss plan.

It was learn by tens of thousands and thousands of individuals. I used to be invited to talk at Paleo Conferences. I acquired to be a part of the cool child membership who eschewed standard knowledge about diet. I discovered the reply to all of contemporary society’s well being issues.

The issue was that I used to be flawed.

A few years in the past, I learn Marion Nestle’s Why Energy Rely. I discovered about Metabolic Chambers. I found correctly funded, correctly tracked research about carbs and fats, which revealed the next:

“Robust information point out that vitality steadiness will not be materially modified

throughout isocaloric substitution of dietary fat for carbohydrates.

Outcomes from a variety of sources refute each the idea and effectiveness of the carbohydrate-insulin speculation. As a substitute, danger for weight problems is primarily decided by complete calorie consumption.”

In different phrases, it’s not the “carb-insulin speculation.” It’s the truth that we’re consuming too many energy with out realizing it.

(That is why intermittent fasting can really feel like easy weight reduction for some. It really works, however not due to some fancy physiological adaptation or magic fat-burning protocol. It’s as a result of it removes a few of our every day alternatives to unconsciously overeat).

My nuanced tackle diet in 2024:

A calorie IS a calorie, similar to a mile is a mile or a pound is a pound. It’s a unit of measure. On the similar time, what we eat can have an effect on how a lot we eat, how full we really feel, how a lot vitality we now have to finish our exercises, and extra.

That is why so many individuals have discovered success on so many various kinds of diets. As a result of they discovered a set of pointers that helped them keep a caloric deficit, not as a result of there was any magic in that particular protocol.

Personally, I acquired as lean as doable whereas consuming a proportionally great amount of carbs and low fats. Right here’s how I did it: I used to be meticulous with my calorie monitoring, making certain I consumed sufficient protein and was in a caloric deficit.

I convey all of this as much as make a degree:

By all means, be at liberty to go low carb! Or low fats! Some individuals will really feel in another way on a low carb weight-reduction plan or a low fats weight-reduction plan. It’s distinctive to every individual and their specific state of affairs. For those who eat sufficient protein and devour the correct energy in your objective, both can work for weight reduction.

Simply keep in mind weight reduction comes right down to habits change, compliance, consistency, and math.

For those who’re questioning, right here’s essentially the most constant method we’ve discovered to take action: Consuming much less processed meals which are straightforward to overconsume, prioritizing nutrient-dense entire meals, and balancing your complete vitality consumption. We cowl all this in our information to “wholesome” consuming.

#3: “Free weights are superior to weight machines.”

I’m an enormous fan of free weights, and I used to say “weight machines are unhealthy in comparison with free weights.” It made me really feel old-school and primal, and match into the narrative of “trendy society is horrible in comparison with old fashioned” (aka Paleo + power coaching).

There was a giant drawback with this attitude:

I used to be appearing like a health gatekeeper:

“You aren’t coaching accurately except you do it this fashion.

That is how I really feel about that perspective now:

I by no means mirrored on the thought of how demotivating it might really feel to listen to a selected kind of train isn’t adequate. Ugh. My job isn’t to provide the BEST or ONLY approach to work out. It’s that will help you overcome any hurdle, inner or exterior, that’s preserving you from train.

Fortunately, I up to date this attitude years in the past.

So far as I’m involved, any train is nice train. In reality: an train is just nearly as good as its relevance in the direction of any particular objective. Which implies, for some targets (rehab, aesthetics, and even some power coaching) there are occasions when machines are SUPERIOR to free weights.

Particular varieties of train might help for sure physique targets, however gatekeeping round what varieties of train is greatest isn’t useful, particularly when my job is to encourage inexperienced persons to get began!

I personally consider all people, irrespective of their form, gender, age, measurement, will enhance their life by power coaching. And for that cause, ANY sort of power coaching is okay in my e-book.

For those who’re new to a gymnasium, use wherever you are feeling most comfy with – machines or free weights. Over time, you possibly can attempt the entire totally different choices out and see what floats your boat.

Energy coaching of any selection teaches your muscle tissues how they need to be getting stronger, and it will get you transferring and constructing confidence.

#4: “Weight loss plan Coke is unhealthy for you.”

As a part of my Paleo previous, I’d have advised you that non-calorie sweetened drinks had been scientific monstrosities and unhealthy for you.

Right here’s actually what occurs whenever you drink a weight-reduction plan soda as a substitute of its full-calorie various:

You devour fewer energy. That’s about it.

As this examine factors out:

“There have been no statistically important associations of reported weight-reduction plan soda and NAS consumption with fasting insulin, fasting glucose, or incident diabetes.”

As this researched article from Precision Vitamin factors out:

  • Does weight-reduction plan soda trigger us to wish to eat MORE sugary meals? “The conclusion of these research: Amongst those that consumed the high-intensity sweetener, the will to eat candy meals was barely decrease.”
  • Does weight-reduction plan soda spike insulin and promote weight achieve? “Total, human research present these insulin spikes are so small they’re onerous to detect and really short-lived. Which makes it unlikely they affect weight reduction in any respect, given what we all know now.”
  • Does weight-reduction plan soda trigger well being issues? Each governmental physique that has reviewed [artificial sweeteners]—they’ve performed it extensively in the USA, Australia, Europe, Japan, and Canada—concludes that when utilized in affordable quantities, they’re not dangerous.” (research that present antagonistic results are sometimes performed on rats, and in every day portions no human consumes.)

Your perspective on no matter governmental physique would possibly affect how you are feeling about weight-reduction plan soda, so by all means, make your private choice on this. You’re an grownup, and you’ll select what to eat and drink.

However right here’s some zero-calorie meals for thought:

Let’s begin with some mild cognitive dissonance: For those who’re studying this and pondering, “issues from nature are good, unnatural issues are BAD!” I get it. I felt equally.

There are main industries constructed round these “Naturalistic fallacies” and “appeals to nature:” trendy life is unhealthy, nature is nice. (Weirdly, these individuals who attraction to nature usually have processed “pure” dietary supplements to promote us!)

What’s the precise science say? The whole lot is comprised of chemical compounds. Simply because one thing is “pure” doesn’t imply it’s robotically wholesome (hellooooo, hemlock!). And simply because one thing is trendy or “created” doesn’t imply it’s robotically unhealthy.

We may be smarter than this, and consider issues with information as a substitute of our emotions.

Which might embrace weight-reduction plan soda.

And I do consider this requires nuance too.

In 2023, aspartame was labeled as a 2b carcinogen, which implies “presumably carcinogenic to people.”

I perceive why this might offer you pause, and may very well be a cause you select to not devour drinks with aspartame. That’s 100% your name.

I’ll clarify my ideas on this under, however we should first take a fast detour:

Do you know what’s on the Kind 1 listing for carcinogens?


In reality, the World Well being Group states:

“Alcohol causes not less than seven varieties of most cancers, together with the most typical most cancers varieties, akin to bowel most cancers and feminine breast most cancers. Ethanol (alcohol) causes most cancers via organic mechanisms because the compound breaks down within the physique, which signifies that any beverage containing alcohol, no matter its value and high quality, poses a danger of creating most cancers.”

“We can’t speak about a so-called protected degree of alcohol use. It doesn’t matter how a lot you drink – the chance to the drinker’s well being begins from the primary drop of any alcoholic beverage. The one factor that we will say for positive is that the extra you drink, the extra dangerous it’s – or, in different phrases, the much less you drink, the safer it’s.”

Whereas aspartame is “presumably carcinogenic,” alcohol is undoubtedly carcinogenic to people.

Regardless of this, many people nonetheless select to devour alcohol (hopefully moderately). Cured meats, together with bacon (usually described by wellness gurus as “nature’s sweet”) can also be on that Kind 1 carcinogen listing.

Keep in mind this whenever you see a well being influencer telling you weight-reduction plan coke is poison, adopted by their “pure” margarita cocktail recipe. They’re utilizing the exact same “attraction to nature” fallacy whereas cherry selecting the issues that match their narrative.

So, the place does this depart us?

Day-after-day, all of us have to decide on what’s vital to us, what we select to optimize, what we devour and in what amount, what indulgences we permit, and extra.

And all of us have totally different targets, and are in numerous life levels.

For those who personally determine to NOT devour weight-reduction plan soda, otherwise you’re allergic to a selected non-calorie sweetener, nice!

For those who determine that ingesting Weight loss plan Coke gives you with some every day pleasure, who am I to take that from you?

My nuanced perspective on weight-reduction plan soda, as of April 2024:

Life is a sequence of trade-offs.

Is ingesting water higher than weight-reduction plan soda? Presumably!

Is weight-reduction plan soda higher than full calorie soda, particularly for weight reduction (which reduces danger for all-cause mortality)? Almost definitely!

For many individuals who battle with obesity-related well being circumstances, lowering energy is a vital step for his or her well being, and doing so by switching to weight-reduction plan soda is perhaps essentially the most profitable technique for them proper now.

Ought to individuals devour weight-reduction plan drinks moderately, like just about all the pieces else in life? In all probability!

Is it doable new research and data will change my perspective on this? After all.

#5: “Weight problems is because of lack of self-discipline.”

Weight problems is a fancy subject that I’ve modified my perspective on fairly dramatically.

Let me begin with a fast caveat:

Sure, information exhibits that sustaining a wholesome weight considerably decreases dangers for a plethora of illnesses and well being circumstances.

On the similar time, many individuals haven’t any plans or need to shed weight. Nice! All people deserves the chance to dwell the life they need, with the targets they select, freed from public disgrace or guilt in consequence. So, individuals who disgrace others or make enjoyable of them for his or her measurement or any bodily attribute can go pound sand.

With that mentioned…

I wish to give attention to individuals who are attempting to shed weight for any cause (aesthetic, well being, or efficiency)…and are struggling to seek out success.

I used to consider they merely wanted extra self-discipline and construction to eat fewer energy. (See #1 for the way naive this attitude is)

15 years later, I now know there’s one thing far larger at work right here, at a deeply physiological and psychological degree.

We people have prehistoric our bodies and brains, outfitted to outlive in occasions of shortage, and but most of us dwell in an state of affairs of overabundance. We’re all surrounded by available hyperpalatable meals, we now have social relationships structured round meals, we now have organic and historic relationships with meals, and we now have particular person genetic variations in starvation.

Which brings me to one of many fascinating issues about latest weight reduction medication analysis (GLP-1 Agonists like Wegovy or Ozempic). Though extra research are popping out often, and our understanding of those medicine continues to evolve, one of many main elements they appear to change is “meals noise.” For a lot of, having ideas of meals all day daily is a reality of life.

And these medicine appear to permit many to lastly quiet that noise and permit them to eat fewer energy with out the standard physiological response of “we have to eat extra!”

I reserve the correct to vary my opinion as extra analysis and research come out, however I consider my philosophy is constant throughout all areas together with weight reduction medicine or surgical procedure: Right here at Nerd Health, I wish to assist individuals dwell higher and discover no matter pleasure they’ll with their restricted time within the Arcade of Life.

And many individuals are attempting to shed weight and get more healthy. The trail they get there will probably be diversified:

  • For some, lowering caloric consumption and power coaching is sufficient to change habits and get wholesome.
  • For others, they may use weight reduction medicine or surgical procedure as a instrument to change their habits.

Does weight reduction medicine and surgical procedure have side-effects? Yep! Are these side-effects going to be the identical for everyone? Nope. Are these side-effects definitely worth the tradeoff for the constant discount of physique weight? For a lot of (however not all), the reply to that may be a resounding YES.

Every human is totally different. Every path to well being and happiness thus ought to be totally different too.

You is perhaps asking, “Why don’t individuals simply get extra disciplined and eat much less as a substitute of ‘dishonest’ with weight reduction medicine?”

That query isn’t useful (and is a symptom of #1 above!) The higher query is:

“Which instruments can be found to assist every particular person individual get more healthy?”

For a lot of, it’s schooling round energy and making barely more healthy decisions. For some, it’s weight reduction medication and remedy. For others, it’s the entire above.

We’re most in the long run end result (a wholesome, pleased life), and we’re open to the infinite paths to get there.

Ultimate Thought: I reserve the correct to be flawed.

If any of the above gave you a visceral response, reflecting on why is a superb place to begin.

It’s vital to interrogate our personal beliefs often, and ask if we’re falling into dogmatic cheerleading for “our crew,” or if we’re doing the onerous work to know why we expect what we expect.

Nuance is briefly provide on the web, and we’re bombarded often with individuals who love to supply black-or-white explanations to all of the world’s issues. Be cautious of people that say they’ve it ALL discovered, and know precisely who the villains (or scapegoats) and heroes (or superfoods) are.

We are able to do higher, and that is my try at attempting to do higher too.

In any case, life is a sequence of tradeoffs.

We make decisions daily, and we’re not all the time optimizing for a similar factor. What works for one individual won’t work for the subsequent individual, and that doesn’t imply one individual’s decisions are morally superior, as a result of we’re all enjoying a special recreation with a special scorecard.

Alan Watts as soon as mentioned:

“You might be below no obligation to be the identical individual you had been 5 minutes in the past.”

I’m personally glad I’m not below any obligation to be who I used to be 15 years in the past, as a result of I’ve discovered loads and lived a whole lot of life between then and now.

I reserve the correct to replace my nuanced perspective on all of the above, and I encourage you to do the identical.

Construct your identification round “I wish to study extra,” and replace your private philosophy as you reside extra life.

I’ll be over right here, selecting up heavy weights, having fun with carbs, going for walks, ingesting a weight-reduction plan Ginger Ale, often having fun with a bourbon on the rocks, and never judging others for the way they select to dwell.


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