Dealing with your weight can be a simple problem

Simple? Check.

But don’t confuse “simple” with “easy”.

“Wow, how did you lose all of that weight?”

I have heard that a fair amount, and I have already talked about the various issues behind the transformation.

I find something embarrassing about the question. In many ways the solution to the problem was simple. There was no magical insight. Simple, but not easy. I see a difference between those, although they are often thought of as one in the same.

Why is weight loss a simple problem?

I do not believe in the simplicity of “just move more!” or “just eat less!”. That simplicity has been proven to be wrong. I believe that we are a complex organism where the energy balance isn’t static and simple to manipulate. I think that Gary Taubes is onto something, and I can’t wait to see the results of great studies and research to back it all up.

That being said, if you put your mind to learning what works for your body, and you don’t have a crazy metabolic condition that impedes things more than the average bear, then you can see success. I detailed my regime and the changes over time (I am constantly trying things out). I started pretty strict and minimal, and have built up from there.

As a sugar / carb addict it was far from easy to change my diet to become ketogenic, but when that kicked in things fell into place. There is a constant battle with doing the right thing by food consumption, and I wasn’t perfect, but I kept going with a simple plan and went where the results were taking me. Hell, if it was all placebo I will take it. That’s the benefits with being results oriented.


Fitness isn’t an arithmetic problem. Neither is it a technology problem. Fitness is a human problem. — Dick Talens


I actually agree with much of what Dick Talens says in his post about quantified self “being bullshit”, and I think that the conclusion that this is a human problem is sound, but that doesn’t mean that gathering data is wrong. It is hard to improve if you don’t measure. The key is… what are you measuring. If you are looking at the amount of Nike Fuel then are measuring an input when you want to be watching output. You know… your actual body.

I hear some teeth grinding

But wait, now you lost some weight you want to come out and say “hey, guys, want to lose some weight? easy!

Not easy, simple. A sugar addiction is as bad or worse as many other hard drugs. Food is also something you need to consume, and every day there is an easy exception.

To really cheese off the female population, giving birth is another example of simple but not easy. As I watch my wife reach month number 10 I can see that there is no stopping things. That baby is coming out one way or another, and as long as their aren’t complications, she has some hard (but simple) work ahead of her. Fostering and bringing up the child? Now that is some hard complex work. How am I going to measure if I am doing a good job as a father?

Finding the perfect mate is also complex. There are tactics for finding someone… meet as many people as you can, etc. However, how do you know if they are the one? The usual response: “you will know it when you see it”. Yowser, that is hard to measure.

If I can be the opposite of romantic for a second: In a world populated with billions of people it is hard to swallow the idea that you have a chance of meeting the one most ideal match. Our DNA is built more for finding someone to proliferate genes. That is what we are wired to do. If we were wired to find some magical ideal our species would be long gone.

There are so many truly complicated and complex problems out there to solve, so maybe it makes sense to start the engines by going after the simple ones first.

This ties into the Checklist Manifesto. Sure we could debate quality vs. quantity but if you just do and complete tasks, you will make progress. This is now my starting point across a number of focus areas. Once I have the habit going I can then work on optimizations.

I have found that completing things and getting the flywheel going, has a profound effect on my happiness and growth. One of the best side effects of becoming hopefully healthier and living a fuller life through weight loss is that I now see that I can complete things.

Now, what to tackle next.

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