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Saturday, 19 December 2020


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Congratulations Mike! Glad you are feeling well and, as your brother's review indicates, doing well.

Great stuff Mike. So glad to see this come full circle and hear how successful this has been for you. On to 185!

I love that you have found what really works. The only suggestion I would make would be for your recipe search. When you find one that you know you will cook many times, print it out, put tin a sleeve, and then in a three ring binder in your kitchen. You will probablybend up with more than 15 and it will be a quick reference the dreaded "What's for dinner? question pops into your head. Congratulations!

Congratulations and thanks for sharing. I will never be as disciplined as you but I have lost weight before and plan to do it again. Lockdown and snacking was my nemesis this year.

I began reading TOP in 2012. So, in this eight years, you've burned off 70+ pounds, and are healthier. Good job!

Glad I could help.

Thanks for the fantastic compilation of resources. It’s been interesting following your healthy eating quest. As someone who’s been eating fresh, organic food almost exclusively for nearly 50 years, I totally get it. It feels great to feel good!

Re: that Soylent stuff, if it ever starts coming in green, we’re in a heap o’ trouble...

The links in the 'Books' section seem to be mostly missing.

[Are others having trouble with this? They all work for me in the two browsers I have. Perhaps you're not in the USA? They're all links to US Amazon. --Mike]

Good information here. It would be helpful to know your height. If you're 5'2" you may have a way to go. The paleo video was an eye-opener.

[Fixed! Thanks. --Mike]

Wow. Congratulations Mike and thanks for sharing the results of your research. One factor you don’t mention though and which I wonder about, is whether you make any effort to eat organically grown foods in preference to those grown in a chemical agriculture environment? I’ve heard glyphosate in particular has been identified as not beneficial for humans — just one example.

Congrats. You almost persuaded me, but telling a Dutchman to give up cheese first isn’t going to work...

Mike many thanks for reporting on your dietary experiment and results. Very encouraging but I am a bit confused on oil consumption. I have read several articles explaining the health benefits of healthy fats including quality olive oil. They encourage a table spoon of this oil everyday. Hmm. Also how do you feel about potatoes? Some think they are a bit demonized and actually have decent quantities of vitamins and nutrients. Especially red potatoes which I love.

Congratulations! You found what works for you and you've stuck to it.

"Oh, and I need to exercise more." You could start next spring by planting some fruits and vegetables. I am a big fan of lunching on cantaloupe freshly picked and still warm from the garden.

Mike: I have been exercising in the evenings during COVID. 45 minutes on an exercise bike while watching TV. I put an existing bike on a fluid trainer under the rear wheel. I haven't lost weight particularly doing this, but I have stopped having an evening snack, and my sleep is much improved. My pet theory is that I am burning off a bit of excess sugar with my light evening cardio. They say, "exercise is the best medicine." I can report a lift in mood, and the loss of an urge to have an afternoon nap. Also, if I am cold in our old farmhouse at night, the exercise takes care of that right quick - proof that there is some metabolic "afterglow" to my activity. If you are mixing things up for 2021, you might think of giving it a try. I find that doing it every night takes the "should I/shouldn't I" internal debate out of the equation. Maybe we should swap insights. I'll try your diet discipline and you try my exercise. . . Good on ya' for your 2020 successes! Here's hoping for a bright 2021.

Don't be afraid to write about food and dieting on my account. I like reading this stuff.

For pizza you could try Marinara, which despite the name is not seafood but just tomato paste, garlic, oregano, olive oil. No cheese. Good Italian run pizza joints should offer this, as it is regarded as the original pizza.

Congratulations on your weight loss. I've been on a somewhat similar journey over the last 18 months, losing 42lbs and taking me from Obese to almost normal on the BMI scale.

I agree that a lot of diets are nuts and you need to look at the various options and work out where things have worked or not for you. Like you, also, a main driver for success has been a move to a plant based diet. This has almost automatically let to an increase in home-prepared food. Vital, as processed, cooked, chilled and pre-packaged foods really are full of rubbish.

Mike, thanks for your good work. I bought both "How not to die" and "How not to diet". They are the scientific, non-doctrinaire, approach I was needing. I was so impressed, I got extra copies for family members. I went from 205 lbs in February to 175 lbs today. (I am 6 ft tall and 72 years old.) My doctor has taken me off my high blood pressure drugs, and cut my cholesterol drugs to half for now. And like you, I feel better and don't count calories.

Each person has their own journey to make on diet issues. Among the things I discovered in my case is that you need to get buy-in from your spouse if like me, you are fortunate to have one. Especially if they have always been the cook, food purchaser, and nutrition person of the family (which most wives tend to be for us guys). This can be a slow process, but it is very important not to force things. My other discovery is how habit-based I tend to be: In the evening I sit down to watch Netflix or similar, get myself a gin and tonic and some nuts (for health!!) – and repeat. And that is the problem... I may need to try your time restricted approach and see if I can manage that and break a bad habit – sounds hard!

Also, (and I realize this could be self serving) I think it may help to allow yourself to relapse from time to time, i.e. order in a pizza very occasionally, or eat a bar of chocolate from time to time. That way you are not giving yourself the additional burden of telling yourself that you are giving up some treat for all eternity. (I realize this does not apply to serious addictions like alcoholism or drugs.)

What a great blog! Not only has your writing improved my photography, it helps me live better (and probably longer)! Please keep it up.

Thank you Mike.
Congratulations on making it through this year and actually coming out of it healthier and better than when the year started! I truly enjoy reading all about your OT stuff; I have enough GAS as it is and need to actually need to start using my kit instead of accumulating more (plea: please do not start anything up about lighting gear this year!). Hope you get to enjoy that new pool room, and stay safe. 2021 is nearly here, and it is going to get better.
Best of everything!


The Amazon link is there, but the image is merely a "token." I assumed that one would see the book cover.

I'm using Firefox on Windows 10.

I just checked and found it works on Chrome, which I do not use - Google already knows too much about me.

Thank you, Mike. You have resolved one of my more pernicious worries: that TOP would cease to exist before I did. Either because you just ran out of steam or you went off to the great pool room in the sky.

I am about 15 years ahead of you on the road of life and there are only a few constants that I look forward to as I trudge along: reading TOP and following the Atlanta Braves. Based on your dieting success (which is most impressive by the way), I can now focus my anxiety on whether the Bravos can sign both a power hitter and another starting pitcher who will get them to the World Series!

P.S., Thanks as well for the reminder to watch what I eat more carefully.


I've also been WFPB for the same time period, but without the time restriction. Lost about 20 lbs, could lose 10-15 more. Cholesterol (high) got a little better than on my unrestricted meat and fish diet, but not as much as you might expect. Appears to be partly a familial thing, as my brother is dealing with the same problem. Blood pressure is a little better, but still need a little lisinopril. I also find myself steering towards peanut butter and jam too often (with the bread I should avoid).

It sounds like a very human experience, nicely recounted. The problem I have with all of this self-help stuff is that I know that it's entirely an individualist approach, not a society fix. We need a society fix, like for instance slowly lowering the salt in all commercial foods. Self-help is like shoveling the road just in front of your house really well, when what we really need is a public snowplow. Still, at some level, we all need self-help.

Congratulations! That was impressive. But how do you know it was all due to a change in food? Did you increase or change the regularity of your exercise pattern? I would love to know. I too decreased my weight during this same period but not as dramatically as yours--only 7% as opposed to about 20% in your case. But I did not change my diet, only increased the frequency and changed the type of exercise.

To Dave Stewart regarding the book links, I had the same issues. Turns out they were caught by my ad blocker and seamlessly removed. Opening the page in incognito mode with adblocker disabled fixed it and the links worked just fine.

Thanks Mike and congratulations. I like hearing about your health journey as I have been on one in parallel and my experience has been similarly effective. While there are differences in our food choices, there are a couple of common threads that I suspect play to the 80/20 rule. That hypothesis being we get 80% of the benefit from a near elimination of sugar and vegetable oils combined with time-restricted eating. They seem to be the most powerful levers. The journey for me started out as a weight loss project, but quickly turned into a health centric one when at the 4 week mark I had to stop taking hypertensive drugs (Dr supervised of course). Turns out, I was causing my elevated blood pressure with my poor food choices and once eliminated, blood pressure quickly returned to normal. Thanks for doing your part to keep the dietary conversation alive and well. It is important.

Thank you ! (and I welcome more)

I'm not you and you're not me. I don't eat sweets and despise green beans. The last stick of butter I bought was about two years ago.

I'm an excellent cook, and have many recipes. What's for dinner is never a problem.

Lots of luck on learning how to cook, it make eating what you like easier. BTW there's an app for that. Check-out https://www.mealime.com/

BTW I haven't made a shot with a real camera in five years—I'm using an iPhone XS exclusively these days. I'm using Hydra https://creaceed.com/ihydra to shoot 32 megapixel photos. Ain't AI wonderful.

I lost 30 lbs this year to a nasty staph infection and surgery that followed. Do not recommend.

Congratulations on all your success. I have been on a similar journey and come to some of the same ideas, but also a few difference. I think the first greatest similarity is the time restricted eating. Your body needs a minimum of 16 hr rest each day from digestion. It is during this “break” time that your body works on the healing processes and breaks down old cells and cleans house. The more healing in the body you needs to do the more benefit you can get from longer fasts such as a 24-36 hour two to three times a week, especially if you have diabetes or severe inflammation. Other ideas that are similar, eat real food not processed foods, real foods (single ingredient foods) are needed to heal your body. i do think something that is important to understand is that a large percentage of the population is sick with something called metabolic syndrome or insulin resistant. This causes about 80% of our diseases. We over eat, mainly sugary processed foods, which causes our pancreas to continually produce insulin (to deal with the increased blood sugar) until our body becomes desensitized to it. Our body then produces more insulin to deal with it. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store fat. You body gets in a cycle, you eat carbohydrates and your body produces insulin, when insulin drops the hormone gherlin, the hunger hormone, makes you want to eat more sugar and continue the cycle. This is why that break in eating becomes so important. Remember the three macro nutrients are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. All carbohydrates turn into sugar in your body, some faster than others causing a bigger insulin spikes. The primary role in any diet should be in getting our hormones back in balance and working properly. It’s too bad most doctors are not checking or testing for this. By the time a person is diagnosed with diabetes they have been high in insulin of 10-15 years, but their doctor has never checked it. This is why a low carb diet works for many, it breaks this insulin/gherlin cycle. It is best if we make our bodies metabolically fit, meaning we can run on both fat and sugar. Some organs prefer to run on fat, others on sugar. Most people have lost the ability to burn fat, making them metabolically unfit. As far as oils, yes the problem is the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. The closer you can get to a 1:1 ratio the better or even a 1:4 ratio. Most people are round 1:20 or 1:30, this is one of the causes of inflammation. I would argue that we need more healthy fats in our diet. Every cell in your body is surrounded by a phospholipid bi-layer, these healthy fats are your building blocks needed to make these cells. Out of the three macro nutrients protein, fats and carbohydrates: only two are absolutely necessary, proteins for the amino acids, and fats for the essential fatty acids. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. I am curious on your lipid panel, the two most important numbers are your triglycerides to HDL ratio. To be metabolically fit you should have a low triglycerides (below100) and a high HDL(70-90). This is the best determinate of your metabolic health and hearth disease. LDL is basically meaningless.

[Thank you for this Malinda. My triglycerides in September were 84 and my HDL was 46, and chol/HDL ratio was 3.0. --Mike]

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