The Mindful Hedonist’s Health Guide
Integrated Effective Health
This is a guide to low body fat with minimal effort. It’s a summary of my learnings over the last year or two. It only requires 45min in the gym every third day and a few afternoon walks.
It’s not a slow boring diet. It’s all about rapid body transformation. Impact and visible results.
The idea is for this to be a practical code for successful living, for busy people, geeks and tech entrepreneurs. Something simple, but effective.
Humans need guidance and routine. They need a purpose and they like to see quick progress. This motivates them.
I wanted to write this guide for three reasons:
1) I like the idea of a recipe for modern life. A safety-net for health. A reboot guide, for when you feel like you need to get healthy again. A proven solution. One less thing to worry about. This gives you more freedom.
2) I wanted to write a simple and effective guide people could share with their friends.
3) You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your social circles have a big impact on your health and you have an impact on the health of the people around you. If one friend adopts this somewhat radical thinking, soon it will not be so strange and everybody wins.
Why this approach?
Life is messy. Humans are hedonists and gluttons. We eat too much most of the time.
We operate in cycles. Famine and feast, or – we should operate in cycles. It’s not normal for us to eat exactly the right amount of food – three meals a day.
Let’s accept this.
You will probably be travelling, or starting some new adventure or ending a long term relationship in the next few weeks. It happens. The last thing you want to be doing is counting calories all the time.
“Moderation is fatal thing.”
I like the idea of a diet that has a noticeable impact in a short time. Rapid fat loss in two or three week health sprints. This way, you can pretty much eat what you like and still reboot your body to health when you need to.
Three month cycles seem optimal to me. Four times a year you need to reboot yourself. The rest of the time, I honestly think you can pretty much do what you like.
I’ve been experimenting with this for about a year now and I’ve been able to do a 7kg transformation in three weeks. Transformation = fat lost + muscle gained. I can easily fast for 5 days now and lose 3kg of fat. I have lost 10kg in four weeks. I have achieved 9% body fat and visible abs. All with short health sprints.
A 9kg transformation is noticeable – or around 12% of your body weight. People will ask you what you’ve been up to.
Every three months you should fast for 5 days and do a three week health sprint. The rest of the time – do what you like. 4 weeks of health, 8 weeks of “do what you like”. Three month cycles. Easy.
I seem to also do one longer health sprint per year, 5 or 6 weeks, before the holidays.
Knowing how to reboot yourself to health every three months is the key.
Ok, I hope that explains the mindful hedonist thinking.
Getting Your Brain Off Sugar: Keto Adaptation
You want to make your body adjust to running on fats / ketones, as primary fuel, rather than glucose.
This might be hard initially. A bit like that rat in the movie The Abyss when it adjusts to breathing oxygenated water. That scene was real btw. Yes, rats can breath water.
Your body gives a very high priority to getting energy to your brain. It’s not going to be impressed if you take away it’s most convenient source of energy: glucose.
Your brain will go through a glucose withdrawal phase and this might be a bit stressful.
It gets much easier over time. My 5th 4-day fast was a walk in the park.
There are ways to make this fairly painless. Fear not. Simply do intermittent fasting for two weeks and then start doing 24 hour fasts. You should get into ketosis about 50% easier after three weeks of short fasts.
Eat a keto diet on the day before you start a fast. Add some MCT oil and/or BCAAs to your diet in the time your brain is going through glucose withdrawal. You may also want to take some 5HTP to sleep well while fasting. Put some sea salt in your water when fasting. Take some Potassium Citrate to avoid any muscle cramps when in ketosis.
If you find the keto adaptation process hard, then eat more healthy fats, don’t restrict calories. It really gets much easier with time.
Why not regular diets?
They take too long and often have broken thinking behind them. Nobody has 6 months to tinker with something which can take three weeks. Life is too short.
Eat supper at 19:00 and then eat lunch the next day at 13:00. Start with 16h, work your way towards an 18h or 19h non-eating window.
16 hour fast: 19:00 to 11:00
18 hour fast: 19:00 to 13:00
19 hour fast: 19:00 to 14:00
First do three weeks of intermittent fasting and 24 hour fasts. You need to adapt your thinking and relationship with food. You don’t need three meals a day. Do some research, reading and listen to some podcasts on the topic. Fasting is not extreme – you can go 30 days without food if you need to. Some people have fasted for 12 months.
Take out your calendar and work out the next 4x three month cycles. Most importantly, work out which months you don’t want to care about eating. In my case it’s probably the month of December.
I generally start the three month cycle with a 5 day fast and work in a three week health sprint somewhere in the three month cycle – depending on my work and social calendar.
Something like this:
May, June, July – fast in June
Aug, Sept, Oct – fast in Sept
Nov, Dec, Jan – fast in Nov
Feb, Mar, Apr – Fast in Feb
5 Day Fast
This is pretty easy. Don’t eat for 5 days. You can have water and green tea if you get bored. That’s it. Make sure you eat a very low carb diet in the day or two before the fast. You want to be in mild ketosis by the time the fast starts. Also, take care eating healthy food after the fast ends. The period of re-feeding after a fast is very important to regenerate cells in your body.
3 Week Health Sprint
- Week One: Prep Week: intermittent fasting, keto diet
- Week Two: 3 Day Cycle
- Week Three: 3 Day Cycle
Week One – Prep Week
- Sleep enough
- Eat a healthy diet – mostly a keto diet
- Stop coffee, sugar and alcohol
- Get back to gym, yoga or walk or do what exercise you like to do
- Do some intermittent fasting
- Take your vitamins and supplements
- Optional: Stretch, meditate, breathing exercises
3 Day Cycle Weeks
Day 0: Carb and Fruit Day
Day 1: Gym Day
Day 2: 24h Fast Day
Day 3: IF Day
You can keep going and make this a four or five week plan. You can probably lose about 2.5kg of fat per week, so four weeks should let you lose 10kg.
Diet is more important than exercise. For a 9kg transformation, you probably want to lose 7kg of fat and gain 2kg of muscle.
Remember, this is not just a fat loss plan – it’s a gain muscle while losing fat plan. All at the same time. There is no bulk-up and cut cycle.
If you are forced to get out of your three day cycle, just start again with Day 1.
Day 0: Carb Day
Eat carbs and fruit and dairy and enough fibre.
Day 1: Gym Day
Shrek tea. Squats. Whey/egg protein and chia seeds. BIA machine visit. Walk. Early dinner. Sleep well. You should only have dairy on Day 1 – not on the other days.
How Day 1 might go: Get up at 6:00ish, meditate, stretch, Wim Hof breathing, measure your body weight, drink two glasses of water, take your Creatine and Colagen, make some Shrek Tea, take the rest of your daily supplements with some BCAAs, go to gym – keep sipping the BCAAs, do squats (this is the one exercise you must do), military press, dead lifts, bench press, pull ups – slow 5sec reps x 5 sets – you should be able to finish your gym routine in about 45min, sauna + cold shower + Wim Hof breathing (20 deep breaths), repeat, glutamine, stretch, office, drink 1 lt of grass fed milk (optional) with two scoops of protein powder and chia seeds mid-morning, get your BIA machine measurements, drink enough water, healthy lunch – big salad with some lean protein, take a late afternoon walk, have an early dinner – steamed green veg, butter, lean protein like grass fed beef, have some egg whites and glutamine at around 20:00, have some 5HTP, make sure you get your 100g protein in, go to bed early.
Day 2: 24 Hour Fast Day
Don’t eat anything. Water and green tea. Have a bit of MCT oil if you want to get some exercise in.
How Day 2 might go: Get up at 6:00ish, meditate, stretch, measure your body weight, drink two glasses of water, take 1/4 Creatine dose, potassium and a 1/2 dose of BCAAs, swim, sauna, cold shower, office, have some coconut oil in your green tea (no dairy), go for a lunchtime walk, go for an long afternoon walk or take MCT and go to a spinning or yoga class, HTP5 before bed.
Day 3: IF Day
After about a 40 hour fast, have a super healthy lunch, keto dinner with some green veg and fibre. Treat Day 3 as a a prep day for Day 1.
How Day 3 might go: 1/2 dose MCT, swim, office, have some green tea, have a big salad for a late lunch with some protein, take your supplements, walk, early supper – green veg and keto food, Creatine before bed, get lots of sleep for gym the next day.
Draw Me A Picture!
While you are not fasting and not doing health sprints, you can pretty much do what you like, but:
- Avoid sugar, bread and other white carbs where possible
- Do intermittent fasting on week days, have some coconut oil in the mornings with green tea
- Try not to drink alcohol on week days and avoid beer
- Try and get to gym at least once a week
- Go for long walks
- Again, avoid carbs!
Fibre, fats and protein. Try and eat 100g of protein per day. Try and eat at least 50% of your daily energy in healthy fats, up to 70% if you can. This is a fairly long topic – I’m not going to go into meal plans here.
Don’t eat too much protein. Lots of protein will take you out of ketosis. The ratio of fat to protein is important. Don’t forget the fibre.
In the long run a healthy diet is all about avoiding insulin spikes.
Here are some foods you should eat:
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Fresh coconut
- Coconut cream
- Nuts: Almonds, Macadamias
- Raw cacao
- Sardines, Mackerel
- Oysters, Mussels
- Brussels sprouts
- Sour cream
- Grass fed milk
- Grass fed butter
- Grass fed beef
- Coconut flakes – as a snack
- Matcha, green tea
If you really want fruit, this is a list of fruit that does not spike insulin too much:
- Orange family
General food supplements you will need…
- MCT oil and/or power
- Whey and/or egg protein, very low carb (~2g/100g)
- Colagen protein powder
- BCAAs, with high Leucine content
- Creatine HCL, 3000mg
- Glutamine, one tea spoon at a time
- Flaxseed Oil, big capsules
- Fish Oil for Omega 3, big capsules
- Asprin, 100mg
- 5HTP, 100mg, pre-fasting days
- Water! – drink more water than usual
Note: don’t take a multi-vitamin. Take this…
- Magnesium 300-400mg, ideally magnesium citrate
- Potassium Citrate: 50mg
- Zinc: 30-50mg, ideally zinc citrate
- Vitamins B 1-2, 25mg of each
- Vitamin D3, 2500-5000iu
- Vitamin A, 5000iu
- Selenium, 200ug
- Boron, 3mg
- Co-Enzyme Q10, 50mg
Some will say this is just some crazy crash / yo-yo diet and it’s not sustainable. Maybe. My view is that, if you follow this plan, for at least two 3-month cycles, with the fasting, and you become keto adapted, your relationship with food will change and you will have much more control over your body and diet. I suspect our food choices will naturally evolve to be more healthy. These are big wins. After that, how you use this knowledge and experience is up to you.
My previous posts on the topic.
I’m not a doctor. Caveat lector.
Happy health hacking, crazy kids. LLAP.