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 reside a tiny bit higher.

Since then, I’ve accomplished my finest to construct an id as a lifelong learner who isn’t tied to a particular ideology or philosophy. This meant I received loads of issues proper, and I additionally managed to get loads of issues incorrect.

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 yr of Nerd Health, I wished to revisit 5 viewpoints or philosophies I’ve modified my thoughts on.

I’m hoping this may offer you permission and 20 Seconds of Braveness to replace your private philosophy when offered with new info or experiences.

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

5 core health beliefs I now 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-reduction plan Coke is dangerous 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As a naive 25-year outdated single dude, this was most likely essentially the most cringe-worthy philosophy I held. I liked productiveness/hustle tradition.

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

Now, as I strategy forty, I notice simply how naive and unhelpful this angle was.

Sure, a 25-year outdated single dude, a 45-year outdated mother working two jobs, and an individual with persistent ache caring for an aged mother or father technically “have the identical 24 hours within the day.”

After all single mothers working two jobs, or individuals who additionally should be full-time caregivers, don’t have the identical alternatives or time to dedicate to themselves on daily basis as a single 25 yr outdated dude. There’s unbelievable privilege that comes with that perspective, and it’s actually unhelpful to nearly all of folks lately.

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

Moderately than telling folks it’s their fault for not being extra disciplined, a much better place to begin is acknowledging and accepting the reality: folks 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-reduction plan.

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

The issue was that I used to be incorrect.

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

“Sturdy knowledge point out that vitality stability isn’t materially modified

throughout isocaloric substitution of dietary fat for carbohydrates.

Outcomes from a variety of sources refute each the speculation and effectiveness of the carbohydrate-insulin speculation. As a substitute, threat 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 day by day alternatives to unconsciously overeat).

My nuanced tackle diet in 2024:

A calorie IS a calorie, identical to a mile is a mile or a pound is a pound. It’s a unit of measure. On the identical time, what we eat can have an effect on how a lot we eat, how full we really feel, how a lot vitality we’ve got 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 received 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, guaranteeing I consumed sufficient protein and was in a caloric deficit.

I carry all of this as much as make some extent:

By all means, be at liberty to go low carb! Or low fats! Some folks will really feel in another way on a low carb weight loss plan or a low fats weight loss plan. It’s distinctive to every individual and their specific scenario. In case you eat sufficient protein and devour the precise energy on your aim, both can work for weight reduction.

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

In case you’re questioning, right here’s essentially the most constant manner we’ve discovered to take action: Consuming much less processed meals which might be 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 dangerous 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 skool” (aka Paleo + energy coaching).

There was an enormous downside with this angle:

I used to be performing like a health gatekeeper:

“You aren’t coaching appropriately until you do it this manner.

That is how I really feel about that perspective now:

I by no means mirrored on the concept of how demotivating it might really feel to listen to a particular sort of train isn’t ok. Ugh. My job isn’t to provide the BEST or ONLY technique to work out. It’s that will help you overcome any hurdle, inside or exterior, that’s retaining you from train.

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

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

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

I personally imagine everyone, regardless of their form, gender, age, dimension, will enhance their life by energy coaching. And for that purpose, ANY sort of energy coaching is okay in my e book.

In case you’re new to a health club, use wherever you are feeling most comfy with – machines or free weights. Over time, you possibly can attempt all the totally different choices out and see what floats your boat.

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

#4: “Weight-reduction plan Coke is dangerous for you.”

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

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

You devour fewer energy. That’s about it.

As this examine factors out:

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

As this researched article from Precision Vitamin factors out:

  • Does weight loss plan soda trigger us to need to eat MORE sugary meals? “The conclusion of these research: Amongst those that consumed the high-intensity sweetener, the need to eat candy meals was barely decrease.”
  • Does weight loss plan soda spike insulin and promote weight acquire? “General, human research present these insulin spikes are so small they’re arduous 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 loss plan soda trigger well being issues? Each governmental physique that has reviewed [artificial sweeteners]—they’ve accomplished it extensively in the USA, Australia, Europe, Japan, and Canada—concludes that when utilized in cheap quantities, they’re not dangerous.” (research that present hostile results are sometimes accomplished on rats, and in day by day portions no human consumes.)

Your perspective on no matter governmental physique may affect how you are feeling about weight loss 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 gentle cognitive dissonance: In case you’re studying this and considering, “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 dangerous, nature is sweet. (Weirdly, these individuals who enchantment to nature typically have processed “pure” dietary supplements to promote us!)

What’s the precise science say? Every thing is comprised of chemical substances. 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 info as an alternative of our emotions.

Which may embrace weight loss plan soda.

And I do imagine this requires nuance too.

In 2023, aspartame was categorized as a 2b carcinogen, which suggests “probably carcinogenic to people.”

I perceive why this is able to offer you pause, and might be a purpose 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 Sort 1 checklist for carcinogens?


In reality, the World Well being Group states:

“Alcohol causes at the least seven sorts of most cancers, together with the most typical most cancers sorts, equivalent 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 implies that any beverage containing alcohol, no matter its worth and high quality, poses a threat of creating most cancers.”

“We can’t speak about a so-called secure degree of alcohol use. It doesn’t matter how a lot you drink – the danger to the drinker’s well being begins from the primary drop of any alcoholic beverage. The one factor that we are able to 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 “probably carcinogenic,” alcohol is positively carcinogenic to people.

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

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

So, the place does this depart us?

Day by 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 phases.

In case you personally determine to NOT devour weight loss plan soda, otherwise you’re allergic to a particular non-calorie sweetener, nice!

In case you determine that consuming Weight-reduction plan Coke offers you with some day by day pleasure, who am I to take that from you?

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

Life is a collection of trade-offs.

Is consuming water higher than weight loss plan soda? Presumably!

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

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

Ought to folks devour weight loss plan drinks sparsely, like just about the whole lot 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 posh subject that I’ve modified my perspective on fairly dramatically.

Let me begin with a fast caveat:

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

On the identical time, many individuals don’t have any plans or need to drop some weight. Nice! Everyone deserves the chance to reside the life they need, with the targets they select, freed from public disgrace or guilt because of this. So, individuals who disgrace others or make enjoyable of them for his or her dimension or any bodily attribute can go pound sand.

With that mentioned…

I need to deal with individuals who are attempting to drop some weight for any purpose (aesthetic, well being, or efficiency)…and are struggling to search out success.

I used to imagine they merely wanted extra self-discipline and construction to eat fewer energy. (See #1 for a way naive this angle 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, geared up to outlive in occasions of shortage, and but most of us reside in an situation of overabundance. We’re all surrounded by available hyperpalatable meals, we’ve got social relationships structured round meals, we’ve got organic and historic relationships with meals, and we’ve got particular person genetic variations in starvation.

Which brings me to one of many fascinating issues about current weight reduction drugs analysis (GLP-1 Agonists like Wegovy or Ozempic). Though extra research are popping out recurrently, 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 on daily basis is a truth of life.

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

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

And many individuals are attempting to drop some weight and get more healthy. The trail they get there might be assorted:

  • For some, decreasing caloric consumption and energy coaching is sufficient to change habits and get wholesome.
  • For others, they could use weight reduction remedy or surgical procedure as a device to change their conduct.

Does weight reduction remedy 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 needs to be totally different too.

You is perhaps asking, “Why don’t folks simply get extra disciplined and eat much less as an alternative 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 training round energy and making barely more healthy decisions. For some, it’s weight reduction drugs and remedy. For others, it’s all the above.

We’re most ultimately consequence (a wholesome, blissful life), and we’re open to the infinite paths to get there.

Remaining Thought: I reserve the precise to be incorrect.

If any of the above gave you a visceral response, reflecting on why is a good place to start out.

It’s vital to interrogate our personal beliefs recurrently, and ask if we’re falling into dogmatic cheerleading for “our crew,” or if we’re doing the arduous work to grasp why we predict what we predict.

Nuance is in brief provide on the web, and we’re bombarded recurrently with individuals who love to offer 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 collection of tradeoffs.

We make decisions on daily basis, and we’re not all the time optimizing for a similar factor. What works for one individual may not 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 unique recreation with a unique scorecard.

Alan Watts as soon as mentioned:

“You’re underneath no obligation to be the identical individual you had been 5 minutes in the past.”

I’m personally glad I’m not underneath any obligation to be who I used to be 15 years in the past, as a result of I’ve realized lots and lived a variety of life between then and now.

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

Construct your id round “I need to be taught extra,” and replace your private philosophy as you reside extra life.

I’ll be over right here, choosing up heavy weights, having fun with carbs, going for walks, consuming a weight loss plan Ginger Ale, sometimes having fun with a bourbon on the rocks, and never judging others for a way they select to reside.


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