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So, why should you listen to me?

“Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are,
and doing things as the ought to be done.”

Josh Billings

Since you are investing time exploring the materials on this blog, chances are you are looking for an new approach to weight loss. You are looking for something that has a better chance of succeeding than the diets you have tried in the past.

If you want weight loss information that goes against the grain, you have come to the right place. But your health is a serious matter, so please take a moment to ask yourself why you should listen to me. After all, I am not a health professional. I am just some guy who had some success loosing weight. I didn’t take a degree in this stuff. I just experimented on myself, and the experiment happened to work.

I am going to make a bold and opinionated statement here. Most mainstream health professionals don’t really know how people get fat. And they know less about how to loose weight sustainably. Some think they do, but their hypothesis is wrong. They believe it’s all about energy balance and eating fewer calories than you burn. They completely ignore how hormones act on nutrients and how this influences an individual’s propensity to accumulate fat. Consequently, most of them offer advice that is ineffective, and sometimes even counter productive, for the majority of overweight people. And in the case of doctors, the advice is typically based on material they have spent no more than 2 weeks studying at medical school.

Have you tried more than once to loose weigh the mainstream way? Did it work? Did the weight pile back on? Are people blaming your weak character for your weight problem? Are you beating yourself up about it?

Why on earth would you want more of that?

I got tired of being down on myself. I made a choice to question everything I had been told about how to eat. I learned that government guideline and mainstream medical advice is not really based in any science. So, I looked for people who offered something different and who did have some science to back up their advice. This led me to the Ancestral Health community and a return to normal weight and dramatically improved health.

I would like you to take the same joyous journey, but I am not saying you should necessarily listen to me or emulate what I did. I just think you should take your own health seriously. Give yourself some credit and stop listening to advice that hasn’t worked for you. Explore alternatives and always educate yourself before you take anybody’s advice. Do your own research and apply a healthy dose of critical thinking to the information you find. Then take action and conduct your own self-experiment by applying what you have learned. If you keep an open mind and trust your ability to distinguish good information from bad, you will succeed.

Here is a video lecture from another contrarian who encourages you to think for yourself. Tom Naughton is not a doctor nor a scientist. He is a journalist and a former comedian. In other words, a sane voice worth listening to in a world that has gone mad.

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How to unravel science

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself,
and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard Feynman.

Headlines in newspaper, articles in magazines and programs on television offer new health guidelines every week and they often contradict each other.

You know the kinds of stories I am talking about. First garlic protects against heart disease, then suddenly it doesn’t. You read coffee is supposed to be full of antioxidants, then you see another story that says it causes cancer. It is all very confusing. It makes you wonder what information to trust and what to dismiss.

Tom Naughton did a lecture on this at the Low Carb Cruise:

Ben Goldacre also did a presentation on this topic at TED:

In summary:

  • If you really want to know whether you can trust the research you read about, you need to know how the research was conducted.
  • Don’t be intimidated by science. A bit of critical thinking is all you need to determine if the information you are given is worth paying attention to. Tom Naughton’s lecture offers tips on this.
  • Know the difference between an observational study and a clinical study. Observational studies try to find correlations between events and outcomes. They are useful for developing hypotheses, but are not conclusive proof of anything.
  • Be aware that most health coverage in popular media is based on findings from observational studies.

More than ever, it’s critical to think critically. Bad information travels fast on the internet. Guard yourself by learning how to sniff out the good stuff from the bad.

Further Reading:

Science 101 Tutorial by Tim Huntley at My Athletic Life

Book: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Article: Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science by David H. Freeman, The Atlantic

Article: Why almost everything you hear about medicine is wrong by Sharon Begley, The Daily Beast

Must-See Video: Fat Head clip

This clip from Tom Naughton’s documentary Fat Head sums up the principles that formed the basis of my weight loss program and life-style change.

Further Reading:

Tom Naughton blog

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