I’ve been away from home for a month or so. As I left, I decided to alter several of my lifestyle factors to test which of them hold true. I want to be more flexible; I want to have more degrees of freedom and I want to steer clear from rigid strategies and fixated thinking. I want to be able to change things instantly without a significant negative impact on my wellbeing. Anti-fragile is a keyword.
Moreover, I am suspicious of several of my former held beliefs – some of which I’ve been following unquestionably for the last 2-3 years. My own lack of education could be the culprit. I took for granted different assumptions coming from conventional wisdom, from ‘experts’, or from self-entitled ‘gurus’.
Some of these strategies led to improvement in my life. But I really don’t know which. So, I’ll keep testing, stop holding beliefs, and start asking more questions. On to the point.
What I did
- I stopped taking supplements. From now on and until I gather more arguments in favor of supplementation, I will adopt a minimalist approach with respect to this.
- I stopped doing intermittent fasting the 18/6 – 20/4 way. I ate twice daily, first meal at 11 A.M. and the second large meal at 10-11 P.M. I ate late at night.
- I was consistently exposed to artificial light at night. My sleep was unaffected.
- I stopped doing cold thermogenesis. Instead, I took warm showers twice daily. I took 1-2 cold showers a week just for the fun of it.
- I was consistently out of ketosis, measured by ketostix. However, I kept carbohydrates between 50-100g per day. I’m not really sure if I was out of ketosis because I did not measure BOHB. I tend to assume that blood ketones were still elevated since my cognitive performance felt unimpaired, same as my higher energy levels – that I usually experience in ketosis. I could be wrong though. I may have been glycolitic and still perform at higher levels – as a result of my previous 2-3 years of careful/radical lifestyle approach. Speculations, speculations…
- I started consuming more calories and more protein; my evening large meal alone often clocked at 1,500 – 2,000 kcals. No wonder I slept so well thereafter.
- I kept consuming a lot of plant foods everyday (mostly in the evening). In the mornings I would have a 3 egg omelet with bacon, feta, and broccoli and root vegetables on the side (including roasted potatoes). In the evenings I would gorge on a large salad (cabbage, carrots, beans, peas, beets) with vinegar and full fat Greek yogurt (and often non-fat Greek yogurt), cheese, dark chocolate, and nuts (a lot of peanuts included).
Actually, nothing happened.
First, my sleep was rock solid.
Second, I didn’t experience increased hunger, lower energy levels and loss of cognitive performance and/or lower energy levels. To put these into perspective, I read 9 books (no speed reading or other ‘fancy’ techniques) while keeping an active busy schedule (6 A.M. to midnight almost daily).
Third, during my first week in NYC I caught the influenza virus (a new strain probably). It went away mostly on its own after a few days.
Fourth, to my surprise, I lost ~5 pounds. Of what? I don’t know. I didn’t do a before/after DEXA scan. And the mirror doesn’t say much.
I may have to overeat on a consistent basis to make up for this weight loss.
I assume I may have increased my ‘energy-out’ part of the energy equation. I took long walks everyday (8,000 – 10,000 steps). I do not do this when I’m at home.
I stopped weight training (lifting). Instead, I did intensive calisthenics every other day. The combination of calisthenics and long-walks could explain the actual weight loss.
I may also have increased the ‘out’ part of the energy equation by consuming more protein and fat, which could have increased food thermogenesis as well as the uncoupling metabolism. Mere speculations…
First and foremost, I’m glad that things can work for me in multiple ways. And I think I have to re-evaluate or let go of some of my past held beliefs.
It may also be that one month is not enough time for these disruptions to disprove my previous long-term protocols or to significantly negatively impact my wellbeing. Who knows?!
In the long-run, I am very keen and excited to further test assumptions and change protocols frequently. Finding different working protocols may be a result of this testing.
I will be glad if this happens because I could then use them in a cyclic fashion. This way I may increase flexibility, avoid getting bored, and avoid hitting plateaus.
I think that’s what I did during this past month.
On another note, it was interesting starting and ending this experiment with a 30+ hour fast, preceded and followed by a feast (overeating). I only consumed water during the trip to/from the U.S.
Right now, I’m excited to resume cold thermogenesis (ice baths) and daily IF (with large fasting windows). These are two of the strategies that I am most certain I will follow indefinitely.
Will I rigidly stick to long-term ketosis? I don’t think so. Though, ketosis may come as a result of longer fasting windows. Ketosis is one powerful tool that helped me a lot. I will use it whenever necessary.
Note: for me, ketosis is about good carbohydrate selection and not consuming ridiculous amounts of fat. Even though I am currently lean, I still have bodyfat to power ketosis.
More importantly, I aim for metabolic flexibility, which is why I will be less strict with starchy carbohydrates. I don’t know for how long.
Another thing that I am currently certain of is my focus on nutrient optimization: consuming whole foods a lot of plant foods (micronutrients and phytochemicals).
My current, simplified, overall picture: eat whole foods, increase nutrient efficiency, exercise intensively, and sleep well.
For me (right now) everything else is noise coming from ‘experts’ preaching sophisticated, unintelligible and non-sensical strategies to the gullible, uneducated masses; such strategies that often contain words like ‘quantum’, ‘radio-‘, ‘radiation’, ‘higher-metabolism’, ‘redox’, ‘detox’, and the like. At most, they may only bring marginal returns. Imho, what you eat and what you do not eat still primes. However, should such strategies turn out to be proven ‘right’ (what’s right?) and to work for many people, I’ll be more than glad to prioritize them.
Please read this thread like an open journal. I am not making generalizations and/or suggestion to anyone. I am simply putting my current thoughts in order. They are subject to change at any future point. Change is what I like. Chaos, disorder, and uncertainty for the win. Taleb is a smart guy.
If there’s anything helpful to you in this post, please take it with the adequate grain of salt (to be read: don’t take my words for granted). And if you have questions in relation to what I wrote here, I’d be more than glad to provide my opinion.
Image: Nicky Fernandes