Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Leverage

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. -Archimedes

By conventional wisdom, I should be a fat, lazy slob. I eat at McDonald's, play a lot of video games and watch violent cartoons when I get home. I haven't exercised in months, not since my accident in late July. I have my reasons for these things, but they're not important here. What's important is that these things haven't turned me into anything. I'm still slim and trim (though I've lost some muscle tone), still thinking critically, and my coworkers and creditors can still depend on me. Today I even downloaded a book on salt--400 pages written by an engineer in 1898.* It's unlikely to be light reading.

My point is the difference between what matters and what doesn't. The endless worries about fat and salt and dietary cholesterol don't matter. Chronic cardio--exercise that's supposed to make you lose weight--doesn't matter (unless you like doing it). What you watch or listen to doesn't matter, unless it depresses you or you believe in it uncritically. What matters is understanding a problem, understanding the potential solutions, and from there, understanding a whole set of problems and solving them in a stroke.

Low carb solved several problems for me: acid reflux, 20 extra pounds, cavities, and occasional depression. I don't worry about the naysayers because I understand, in a basic way, how the body uses fuel and the tricks of junk science studies. When someone says, "There are studies on both sides showing different things" or "Everybody is different," they're right up to a point, but really, they're unwilling or unable to evaluate the evidence and make a decision.

Recommended reading: Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes is a good introduction to the science behind low-carb; The Art and Science of Low Carb Living should appeal to those with advanced medical knowledge.

*Books in the public domain--even those out of print--can be downloaded from Google books for free and copied to a Kindle.

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