The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
There are any number of amazing reasons to lose weight that will offer incredible benefits in the long- and short-term. You’ll be in better overall health. It’s very probable that you’ll live longer and have more vitality in those years—particularly if getting in shape was part of your weight loss strategy. You’ll enjoy more energy for the people and activities you love. You may have more or preferable clothing choices. You’ll have a better chance of kicking many prescription drugs to the curb (and save a little dough in doing so). To boot, you’re likely to experience less chronic pain and a better night’s sleep, etc., etc. All that said, let’s be clear on something: weight loss isn’t a guaranteed stimulus to your personal happiness. Here’s why.
Most of us go Primal to solve problems created by Conventional Wisdom. The importance of whole grains and daily cardio, the dangers of dietary fat and animal protein, the primacy of carbohydrates for “energy,”—these untruths are promulgated so widely and fail so conclusively that you can’t help but look to the people saying the opposite for direction. That’s where we come in. Most of us go Primal to solve problems created by conventional dietary and lifestyle recommendations. Often these solutions involve doing the opposite of what the authorities are telling us. For the most part, it works.
Sometimes eschewing conventional advice goes too far, though. Sometimes we make serious blunders in our pursuit of Primal perfection.
In the health and fitness arena, taglines often sell the idea of “accept no limits.” After all, we’re supposed to believe in ourselves, push through boundaries, improve exponentially and show them all, right? Dramatic images, big numbers and extreme makeovers get the spotlight. And when people work hard for what they achieve, I think it’s great. My own primary focus on MDA is helping people live their best life with the least amount of pain, suffering and sacrifice possible. To that end, I offer ample positive advice for what to do. Inherent to the bigger picture, however, (and just as critical in my opinion) is the skill of discerning what not to do. Today I’m talking limits—and how knowing where to draw the line is essential to living an awesome life.
“So, what do you do?” We’ve heard the question (and likely asked it) a million times over when meeting people. It’s the standard line for small talk, but it’s always rubbed me the wrong way. Admittedly, the question itself isn’t the problem. I personally love hearing what people are up to, but the assumption behind the question—“What do you do to make a living?”—often won’t get you to the real stories. For me, I’d rather hear about how people feed their passions than how they pay their bills. For many if not most people, the two don’t go hand in hand. I think those passions might be in shorter supply these days, and it’s a sad turn of events for the collective creativity as well as personal well-being.
With extended work hours and commutes as well as the prevalence of technological distractions, many of us are devoting fewer hours to hobbies. We fulfill the requirements of the day, but what do we end up doing for fun beyond the passive entertainments of the television and computer? And when we do take advantage and do something we enjoy, do we take the time to cultivate our interest? Do we allow ourselves to delve into an activity many times over, to develop a skill for pure enjoyment and mastery’s sake as opposed to practical gain?
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answer three questions. First, does long-term vegetarianism cause cancer or alter our genetic code? Some media coverage of the latest vegetarianism study seemed to suggest as much. Next, is glucosamine just totally useless if you’re not going to fork out a ton of money for pharmaceutical grade stuff? Maybe not, but let’s find out. And finally, I’ve written about decision fatigue a couple times before. What’s my take on the new research seeming to debunk one of the central concepts supporting it—ego depletion/finite willpower?
Getting organized used to be a whole lot easier.
As nomadic hunter-gatherers, we only had to keep track of the things we could carry because that was all we owned. As members of a tribe of extended family members, we could lean upon others for assistance with day-to-day tasks and trust they had equal skin in the game. We didn’t have to shoulder everything ourselves, and the responsibilities necessary for survival were simpler. The accessible world was much smaller, the breadth of available knowledge limited by location. You knew all about the lives and goings-on of your immediate community members and which plants were edible in a 20-mile radius and where to get water and when the antelope grazed and the leopard prowled. But what happened 50 miles away was a total mystery, and a thousand miles away might well have been infinitely vast. Important info was recorded through oral traditions—stories and songs. Anecdote and analogy and parable carry weight to this day because for millennia, they were all we had to go on.