I heard about the book The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr. Jason Fung from my wife, who heard about it from her doctor friends. She insisted I read it, and I did it almost as a favor to her (I wasn't as interested in the subject matter). She wanted to talk about the content with me, and I thought I'd quickly get through it, and that would be that. I didn't even open up a Google doc to take notes on it because I initially didn't care.
But about halfway through chapter 1, realized I couldn't not take notes. I was learning so much and enjoying the book so much that I had to take notes. I had gotten some sense for the book's conclusions from other things I've read (like Tim Ferriss's books and podcast that have discussed the same solutions like intermittent fasting, slow carb, etc.), so it wasn't like the subject was brand new to me. It's just that it was explained so clearly and hooked me so well with its writing that I ended up learning a lot more than I expected. And most importantly, I'm actually making changes based on what I learned.
Thankfully I'm not overweight, but I still want to eat healthy and avoid doing things that can harm my health in the long run. That's actually a question I was hoping the author would answer but didn't in this book: which of the lessons/guidelines should be adopted by non-overweight people just as a matter of healthy living?
The book was written by a doctor and is evidence-based, citing only legitimate human studies (no animal studies). It debunks a lot of the commonly held beliefs around dieting and normal nutrition advice (like from the American Heart Association or the government's food pyramid). I love how the book starts off with a poignant question: Why are there fat doctors? Maybe because even many doctors have been fooled into believing the wrong thing (that gaining weight is about temptation control and the right diet as opposed to the truth: it's really about hormones, and eating more naturally and less frequently can solve a lot of problems people have).
My biggest takeaways:
3 meals per day, no snacks
Removing fructose and artificial sweeteners
Stress management and sleep to lower cortisol
Stop sugary drinks, juices, snacking
Eat fiber if eating carbs
Full notes below.
I started off the new year of reading with some philosophy. After reading Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, I began to read The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought by Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff. This book was the next one on my Ayn Rand to-do list, and it was a collection of published essays and lectures she and Peikoff gave to students and businessmen.
My favorite essay was “Apollo 11,” where her infectiously enthusiastic writing describing her witnessing the shuttle launch made me feel the pride and excitement shared by the entire American population that day. I loved her descriptions of how hard working, dedicated, and thoughtful all the scientists and staff of the mission were. This was a perfect, extremely visual example of the power of man’s mind and productivity to shape his life and the world around him through reason and hard work.
I also really liked the essay, “Medicine: The Death of a Profession,” which explained through some very poignant examples how government involvement in healthcare is strangling doctors and hurting the care of patients, especially those that the government is claiming to help.
Finally, I greatly enjoyed the Epilogue, “My 30 Years With Ayn Rand,” because it gave me a brief glimpse into what it would’ve been like to hang out with her and hear her talk about philosophy off the cuff, something I can’t really sense from her polished writing.
Overall, it was a really interesting read and has given me a lot of food for thought.
2013 was a very busy year. I read a lot of interesting books and had a lot of brand new experiences. I wanted to briefly capture the spirit of the year and mention some of my favorite memories.
1. Antifragile: Eye-opening combination of philosophy, classical wisdom, biology, finance, and entrepreneurship. It now colors how I look at everything.
2. Fooling Houdini: Really fun read for a magician and fan of psychology.
3. The Big Short: Interesting back stories and great inside peek at a lot of the mortgage meltdown craziness.
There is so much mystery and magic in the world around us. There is no need for something supernatural or out of this world to impress or inspire; just look around you at people and nature, and that will be the greatest source of awe. I love how magic can recreate this experience of awe and wonder in a controlled setting and reignite curiosity in others.
When I went dolphin watching in Moorea, I learned how fascinating these beautiful creatures are. My mind was blown when I learned that dolphins breathe totally consciously and need to sleep one hemisphere of their brain at a time as they continue to consciously swim and breathe with the other hemisphere. Now if that doesn't show you how freaking cool science, nature, and reality are, then I don't know what will.
I also learned how critical practice and diligent craftsmanship are to creating the results you want for yourself. I want to take pride in what I do and produce, and that comes with really hard work and lots of practice doing things that are not very glamorous.
Things that were good
I tried lots of new things and opened myself up to tons of new experiences. That was really fun for me. I also achieved a number of my goals, like successfully ramping up with Google and passing my Castle audition.
Things that were bad
I slacked off in some of my relationships and could've done better to keep in touch with close friends. I also overstretched myself and didn't go deep enough in the areas that showed promise. I also rushed myself too often and failed to stop and smell the flowers sufficiently. I also failed to push forward my exercise and physical training regimen as much as I would've liked.
Focus on a few critical areas. Time to go deep. Set some ambitious goals in a couple areas and work towards them. No excuses on health-related goals. Invest the time to build and strengthen some new friendships I've been starting to cultivate. Do a few things that will let me find myself and my next big projects in life.