Simplicity (In The Information Age)

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I spent the past several years reviewing books, reading blogs and watching videos on the subjects of diet and exercise. Throughout this exploration I’ve learned some things — but it’s not what I had hoped to have learned.

One is that everyone has vastly different information on diet and exercise. Another is that everyone seems to be correct in varying degrees — that is, they’re either correct significantly, or they’re correct just a little. Which also means that they’re just a little incorrect, or they’re significantly incorrect.

I also noticed that I can become easily confused by all of this information… even though I have a formal education and have worked for nearly 2 decades in this area! It’s absolutely confusing out there. I can’t imagine the average person wanting to lose some fat and get a little healthier trying to wade through this informational mess. It isn’t easy for me, so it must be a nightmare for this person.

The most important thing I learned was that, throughout my exploration into the available information, I have done extremely well by keeping to the bone of becoming leaner and healthier. I am now calling this strategy: rational simplicity.

And here it is:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruits, but eat less overall by eating less frequently.
  • Lift some weight (heavier and frequent, for bigger muscles — lighter and infrequent, for less).
  • Periodically elevate the heart rate really high.
  • Finally, walk around. A lot.

I wish I could impress people with more technical information than this. But it’s really this simple.

This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities, weight Loss and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Simplicity (In The Information Age)

  1. Jim says:

    I like the K.I.S. theory. Keep it simple.
    Ive pretty much followed the tips on this website and have dropped 30 lbs since Jan 6, 2010.

    Stay active, eat more fruits and vegies, hit a few weights and cut out a lot of the stuff you just dont need.. keep it real and keep it simple.

    Thanks for all the great advice posted here!

    • Johnny says:

      Jim, that’s fantastic! I think you’ve nailed it. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s definitely NOT complicated.


  2. meredith says:

    I agree! When I find myself getting too micro – I go macro! Eat plants, eat animals, move.

  3. Johnny says:

    Invariably, the people I know who keep things simple are the ones who are successful with their weight and health management long-term. A client/friend of mine has lost over 80 pounds and has kept it off for over 8 years, and counting.

    Her secret?

    She eats mostly meats and the fat attached to them, and she increased her intake of vegetables and fruits over processed food.

    She doesn’t snack or eat between meals — she just doesn’t seem to overeat.

    And, (like Meredith said) she moves around a lot. She has completed 5 Ks, 10 Ks, and a bunch of cycling centuries.


  4. Rick says:

    This is so true. I had gotten to the point of almost being obsessed reading so many websites, blogs, etc. I was reading so much conflicting info that I wasn’t really putting ANYTHING into practice. I finally came across sites like this one, Brad Pilon, Fitness Blackbook, and even MDA. I decided to drop the rest and follow the primal way MOST of the time (I am getting better and better) and IFing once or twice a week. Even though I do pretty low volume, low frequency strength trainging, I look and feel a million times better than I did when I followed a traditional bodybuilding split and worried about getting enough protein, etc. My main advice to new guys I meet at the gym is to ignore the magazines and mainstream advice. It is so frustrating in hindsight, but I am glad that I know better now. Great post! BTW, is lean couture your blog, or am I mistaken?

  5. Jordan says:

    “Rationality simplicity,” good one! 🙂

    Some of this stuff is not only conflicting and confusing, but downright counterproductive. For someone trying to lose weight, I cannot imagine anything more counterproductive and demotivating than the “set point theory,” or that if one eats less, it will slow down one’s metabolism. Argh! What could be worse than telling an overweight person that?! “Oh, so if I lose weight my body will force me to put all the weight back on?!?!” What a slap in the face. If someone truly believed that, logically, they would have to give up their weight loss efforts, at least until they screwed their heads back on straight.

  6. Jordan says:

    Oops, that’s *rational* simplicity! LOL.

  7. Explosivo says:


    Very good read. Sums up a lot of information in a few easily understood points.

    I notice you didn’t include any mention of calorie counting. Is this because you believe the other factors (primarily, eating whole, minimally-processed foods) will naturally result in a energy deficit? I just wonder if it’s worth tracking my cals and macros if I’ve eliminated the primary destructive neolithic agents (i.e., grains, sugar and man-made oils).

    Thanks again for a great blog!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Explosivo,

      I believe that one of the benefits of eating more vegetables and fruits (along with meats, of course) is greater nutrients availability in fewer calories. The other benefit is that vegetables make it easier for us to control insulin, which results in a wide array of positive health benefits (via avoidance of negative health effects, like hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, potentially energy disregulation).

      For someone with a lot of excess weight to lose, starting out by eating more whole, real foods in place of lower-quality processed food will bring huge benefits in both health improvement and weight loss. After a period, however, I believe that calories start to matter for further weight loss.

      I don’t believe in calorie counting, though, as much as I prefer creating a calorie deficit by simply eating less frequently — and I’ve found that the best way is adopting an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

      But back to insulin resistance: It’s true that whole, real foods like vegetables and most fruits cause a lower insulin response then, say, processed grains like breads, pasta, and sugar. But I don’t think insulin itself is the evil hormone as much as the frequency of its release. Although it seems that the lower the amount of insulin secretion at any one time the better, I believe that the frequency of release may really be the cause to a lot of metabolic impairment.

      As such, I’m beginning to think that simply eating less frequently (i.e. fasting) may offer the same metabolic benefits seen in eating a paleo diet in which vegetables and some fruits are eaten in place of lower-quality carbs — e.g. less overall insulin, increased insulin sensitivity, less insulin resistance, etc. And then there are other health benefits, such as brain protection.

      Does this mean that you can eat almost any food you want as long as you’re using IF? Maybe, maybe not. But I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from eating more vegetables in place of processed foods.

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