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Tired of Being Tired (zenhabits.net)
186 points by Sato on Oct 15, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments

Couldn't agree more on this, throw out your alarm clock, it's killing you. Remove stress from your life, take a shotgun to stress and refuse to accept stressful situations / people. I've lost 100 lbs in the last three years, here's how and how much weight I lost (I tend to have long plateaus).

I started on Nov 25, 2008: 285 lbs

Nov, 08: First Step, got Divorced: Lost 10 lbs - 275 lbs

Jan, 09: Job tells me I have to be in at 9 am or will be fired. Gained 10 lbs - back at 285

Mar, 09: Haven't really been in by 9am, hand in my resignation as part of the earlier agreement. Lost 10 lbs - 275

Apr, 09: Job agrees that I can come in when I'm well-rested. Lost 10 lbs - 265

Aug, 09: Burning Man Lost 15 lbs - 250

Sep, 09 - Jan '10: Start seriously cutting refined fructose Lost 10 lbs - 240

Jun, 10 - The 30 people they hired to rewrite my code are finally done, I get fired. Lost 5 lbs - 235

This is the point at which I really start losing weight as I'm sleeping much more naturally

Jun, 10 - Mar, 11 - Sleeping completely naturally and start cooking all my meals Lose 15 lbs - 220

Mar, 11 - Startup Bus - Having a blast helps! Lost 10 lbs - 210

Jun - Jul, 11 - Spend two months in SF, eating mainly homemade veg tacos (walking more) Lost 10 lbs - 200

Jul - Aug, 11 - Get back from SF, get an office downtown, start trying to get in by 9am. Gain 10 lbs - 210

Aug, 11 - Now - Give up on 9am, walking more, eating a little more veg Lost 20 lbs - 190

Pretty much everything that's led to weight loss for me has been all about enjoying life and cutting stress. Small improvements to diet and exercise as well but I don't go to the gym or stick to any sort of diet plan.

Well sleep time for your body is "detox time". Body fat is one huge deposit of "toxines". This only gets burned when you "fast" / don't graze for a while and energy is obtained from those deposits. This alone would mean, more sleep = more burning. That's also why people doing one variation or another of "intermittent fasting" are getting great results, as they extend that phase well into daytime as well. I know I know, citation needed.

I've drastically reduced my carb intake and ramped up fat intake and I've lost weight and never feel tired.

Sure! Dietary fat is pretty good for you and absolutely doesn't translate into body fat per se, that is influenced by many factors including carb intake.

It seems to be metabolized (into glucose?) much more evenly than carbs.

No, lipids are metabolized directly as lipids (via lipolysis). In the absence of sufficient dietary carbohydrate, some lipids may be transformed into ketone bodies via a process called ketosis, to provide an alternate fuel for the brain. This is what the Atkins and other very low carbohydrate (<~50-100g/day) diets seek to accomplish.

Dietary carbohydrate (other than fructose) is directly metabolized by cells as glycogen. Two tissue types (brain and red blood cell) prefer glycogen, red blood cells require it. Your body can store about 200g of glycogen split between the liver (~100g) and skeletal muscle. Liver reserves can fuel any body function, muscle stores fuel just that muscle. Excess carbs are converted (by the liver) into fats, and stored as same via the insulin/glucagon endocrine balance. Look up the Krebs Cycle for more information.

Dietary fats serve as long-term, low-rate fuel for skeletal muscle and organs (other than the brain and red blood cells), and is either metabolized directly or stored as adipose tissue.

Dietary protein isn't metabolized directly. It's used for structural processes as its component amino acids, some of which can be synthesized by the body, but some (essential amino acids) cannot be, others are rate-limited to a degree that dietary supplementation is occasionally recommended. Protein (dietary or from body tissues) can be converted to glycogen through a process called gluconeogenesis. This occurs both in low-carb diets and during starvation.

To be clear, body fat itself is not an issue, but many toxic chemicals are fat-soluable and thus wind up sequestering in fat stores.

Your experience is consistent with research, eg.


Not only does skimping on sleep raises your calorie consumption, but it seems that tired people show increased preference for fats.

fat doesn't make you fat.

sure it does, fat is high in calories, an excess of calories are stored by your body as fat. Of course, it's possible to get fat by eating calorie dense but low fat food. But it's a lot easier to get fat eating fatty food because of the high calorie / high reward nature of it.

No, fats are most likely not the problem, It is much more likely that sugars are.

While it is true that the same amount of calories lead pretty much to the same storage of fat, this fact is irrelevant.

I think that the question that we should ask ourselves is why we eat more calories than necessary, and the answer is not necessary a psychological one, or one that needs to invoke the nebulous concept of willpower.

Intake of sugar (most pronounced with rapid absorption of sugars) leads to high blood sugar concentration, which will need to lead to an insulin response to counteract it. The secretion of insulin will make you end up with a lower blood sugar as before the meal, which will lead to a higher appetite.

Isocalorically, fat will not lead to such a pronounced curve, so you can extend the times between meals. There is no physiological need to eat food every few hours, as you might have been told.

Sugary foodstuffs are also typically binge-foods, like ice-cream, cookies, milkshakes, soda, crisps, fries, or pizza. (I am aware that some of this foodstuffs also contain fats, but my argument is that stuffs high in fat, but low in carbohydrates aren't typical binge-foods).

Additionally, most consumed carbohydrates are empty calories that are, opposed to fats, not necessary.

Low-Fat diets have no positive effects on cardiovascular mortality, so there is no reason not to eat a moderate fat, very low sugar diet, and decrease the physiological effects of overeating.

are you implying that high sugar foods aren't a bigger superstimulus than high fat foods? people consistently eat more calories worth of sugary foods in studies indicating that fat's satiety more than makes up for its caloric density.

no, I'm just saying that it's misleading to say that eating fat doesn't make you fat

I don't really understand why fat people are so... well, upset at being fat.

What I mean is, I would personally be OK with myself if I were 285lbs.

Ok, this comment isn't really coming across very well. What I'm saying is, at worst, being fat would only shave ~20 years off my life expectancy. Since I don't want to live until I'm 70 anyway, I'd personally be happy with a ~50 year total life expectancy.

I don't care what other people think of me.

I don't need to run, ever.

If I'm hungry, I eat. Thus I enjoy life.

So I just don't understand why fat people have this desire to be skinny. Does it really just come down to... well, wanting people to think of you as attractive? (Caring what other people think of you.)

I'm asking an honest question here, so I hope people won't skewer me for it. But since it's an interesting question, I'll eat the inevitable karma loss.

As a former obese fellow (BMI 34, now BMI 26) there are a few things:

- Self image issues. You tell yourself you don't care, but come the fuck on, of course you do.

- It's not comfortable, at all. When you are lounging on the couch you can literally hear yourself wheezing each breath in. Not in the "ohgodimgonnadie" wheezing, but it's far from comfortable.

- It holds you back from doing things you normally would want to do. I wanted to walk around the city and explore more, but it meant being severely out of breath constantly and sweating profusely. Neither are pleasant.

I'm still a tad heavier than I'd like to be, but I feel a million times better than I did at my heaviest.

Hey Palish,

I'm 46 and I'm in pretty good shape. Second baby on the way. There is more to life than computers and I really really really urge you to review this comment annually to see how you feel about it. 50 will hit you a lot faster than you think it will.

To a child that's 5 a year seems like an eternity, 50 year old people are old and 10 times older than you. In your teenage years you can see the end of the new year from newyears eve, 50 year old people are still old but they don't seem nearly as old as when you were 5. By the time you're 40 you can touch the end of the new year from newyears eve, and you find that it is hard to tell the healthy 50 year olds from the unhealthy 35 year olds. 50 is an age that is only 25% away from the time you've already spent.

When you become 46, 50 is literally just around the corner.

Approximately twice annually I have to wear black for a day to say farewell to someone that lived with your attitude. Believe me when I say that they would have happily re-wound to the time when they made the same bad decisions that you are making today in order to tack another 20 or 40 years on to their lives. I know an awful lot of people and those that live healthy seem by far happier than those that are barely able to carry their bodies around.

Typically they seem to have fewer psychological issues and they spend much less time in hospitals and with doctors or $ on medication.

If I die at 50 that would be a pretty big disappointment. There is so much that I still want to do and see, on top of that I hope to be around for a long time for my children.

Think this over please. Eating when hungry when it increases your weight just leads to being hungry earlier.

That's a runaway system and eventually something will have to give (in order of probability: diabetes, hear trouble, kidney trouble, liver trouble). The obese 30 somethings have a similar quality of life to the healthy 70+ people that I know, and sometimes their quality of life is worse. Much worse.

I've been reading your comments on HN for a long long time now and I've never found one where I disagreed so strongly with what you wrote, and I really hope that it is not just the gap between our ages speaking here but something where my perspective on life from my current vantage point can help you in avoiding what could very well be the mistake of your life.

1) You might be happy with 50 years, but most people want to live longer.

2) Quality of life is worse when you're overweight. Some things that are easy for most people are hard for you; some things that are hard for most people are impossible for you.

3) There's a social stigma.

4) I agree that enjoying a shorter life is better than not enjoying a longer life, but it's not completely black and white. If eating whatever you felt like took a year off your life and didn't affect you physically, I'm sure many people would consider that trade-off worthwhile. But if it's 10-20 years off your life, it starts sounding more like a fool's bargain. Also, if you really eat whatever you want, you probably won't be feeling great physically day to day (food comas, occasionally nauseous, less energetic, etc).

I mostly eat what I want, but I'm not fat. Everyone who knows me will tell you that I really enjoy eating, and I generally do give into it regularly!

However, that's in part because I trained myself to want what's good for me. I used to like sweet stuff, until I realised (back when I was a teenager) that there was a direct correlation between me walking into McDonald's and having a soft drink, and having some new spots on my face 6-12 hours later. At that point, I basically taught myself not to like overly sweet stuff. That teaching has lasted ever since - I rarely eat desserts and that sort of stuff - even though I no longer get spots.

You can train yourself to like healthy foods - salads, freshly cooked good meat, vegetables, etc. It's hard to get obese eating healthily. I've never heard of an obese person who eats healthy food all day long. Generally they eat pizza, crisps, chips, chinese take-aways, and all sorts of other nasty processed foods.

I can only guess but you definitely are not in your 30's yet. I held the same exact sentiments in my 20's. Then I got to my 30s and I realized I haven't done all that I wanted to do. I can slowly see time slipping away and 50 is not too far.

I am afraid 50 isn't enough, time wastes too fast.

PS: I once made this snarky comment at my office water cooler If someone guaranteed I will drop dead at 50 without any health issues, I would take it any day over living with pills and dieting...and then a man in his 50s with a pace maker walked by to fill water. I felt incredibly stupid to generalize life for every one else.

For me it's about enjoying life, I really like the outdoors, I really like being able to walk up the stairs at wreck beach with out panting.

To me being fat is fundamentally an issue of body chemistry and being fat to me says that chemistry is out of wack. Too much cortisol, insulin levels spiking out of control, your body putting trigylcerides in your blood because it can't put the sugar anywhere else.

My opinion on obesity in north america is that it's largely the product of metabolic syndrome rather than 'wanting to eat too much'. Don't get me wrong I love eating, especially meat, but ask yourself this, what if you could eat what you "wanted", eat great tasting food (foie gras, etc, etc), AND not be fat?

What if your being fat was a product of how much fructose you consumed and the amount of stress in your life?

Is setting your alarm clock worth putting on an extra 20 lbs?

Is having an asshole boss worth 15?

Is drinking soda worth an extra 10?

Is having a nagging wife worth 30?

If you're really enjoying the fructose and the stress keep on going, it's absolutely no skin off my back.

just want to say hi to a fellow HN reader from Vancouver.


Come down to VHS, lots of hackers from Vancouver! http://vancouver.hackspace.ca/wp/

Tomorrow is costume night! (making, not wearing)

It's uncomfortable. You get chronic back pain. Your joints age faster. As you “grow”, clothing options shrink. People assume you’re lazy. Flying becomes uncomfortable.

Don't ever assume you'll never need to run. Running is a natural reaction to discovering the building you’re in is on fire, for example.

As you get seriously fit, your clothing options are somewhat constrained as well.

Ask any squatter about buying jeans ... at your own risk.

It's a shame that's being downvoted ... I heard multiple people (who do proper weight training) complain about the fact their jeans or trousers get worn fast because their hips are well-developed and sort of brush against each other when they walk.

I bought a suit recently - the coat (jacket) fit perfectly, but they had to take like 10 cm off the waist of the pants, so I had to come back in 4 hours ... tells you a bit about what they expect an average person to be.

I did not see that comment as "that's why you should not get fit".

I'm actually getting to the point where my jackets no longer fit. My training is for strength, not mass, but you're still going to get a certain amount of hypertrophy.

Unfortunately I seem to have developed this habit just as fashion trends are toward ever skinnier designs -- jeans, shirts, slacks, etc. I haven't quite gone to full bespoke clothing, but I'm considering it.

Casual wear -- shorts and t-shirt -- still works well.

The other tendency I've noticed is that my body temperature is running warmer. I'll see people bundled in coats and scarves while I'm in shorts/t.

And no, I'm definitely not arguing against getting fit.

the bit about body temperature is really interesting. I'm also much warmer on average when I regularly hit the gym. I thought it was just me.

Look up EPOC: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

You're elevating your metabolism for up to 38 hours post-exercise (though the major effect is within the first 10 hours).

Adding muscle mass also increases metabolic activity, though it's a fairly small effect absent exercise and post-exercise responses, about 6-12 cal/lb/day, not the 50 cal that was being publicised for some time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_post-exercise_oxygen_con... http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/epocarticle.html

that makes a lot of sense and reminds me all of that stuff I've read about HIIT

Buy your next suit in Italy where they fully expect you to be thin but somewhat muscular.

Yeah, I ran into that in my youth (not from lifting, but cycling combined with allegedly overly broad shoulders for my then-size).

That's OK because the more ripped you are, the less clothes you need to wear =)

As much as I find myself disliking wearing clothes as I get older, I'm not particularly exhibitionistic either. So I prefer wearing at least putatively conventional clothing.

Still, a fair point.

I'm fifty, and there's so much more I want to do, so many things I want to see, and so many things I want to build.

I love life - and I live pretty much every day. There are loads of things I have to do, but every day I take some time to do some stuff I want, and it's great.

Do you really not care if you die at fifty? When you're 45, will you still say the same? What about when you're 49?

Would you be content to be told you have a year to live? Have you done everything you want to do?

Sorry Colin. I didn't at all mean to imply that 50 is any kind of... "end", or some such.

I deeply respect the judgement, wisdom, and mental strength that comes to a person only by experiencing four dozen years. The person who mentored me in my first professional programming capacity was almost 50, and I learned so very much from him.

That said, it is a unique personal decision: I have decided (when I was 21) that I personally only "plan" on living until 50. It seems the safest course. Maybe it's playing it safe. I have more thoughts, but I don't wish to accidentally offend anyone; they're merely my own.

"If I'm hungry, I eat. Thus I enjoy life."

Self-indulgence can be pretty short sighted. If you want something, do you always buy it? Do you ever save money? Do you ever clean your house? Have you ever learned something that was hard/not-enjoyable because you knew eventually you'd more satisfied?

Your body is convincing you that you need to eat because historically, humans were well-served over-eating when given the opportunity. Now, if you self-indulge, you'll get fat. You'll feel less healthy. You'll die earlier. Many people will look down on you. You'll leave behind a widow, children, and friends who wished you'd lived longer. You'll annoy people on planes. If you're ever single, you'll likely stay that way for longer periods of time. You'll have a harder time getting jobs. You'll eventually pay more in health insurance.

And, sure-- vanity, too. It's funny that someone who's racked up ~6000 karma on a site like HN is actually positioning himself as somehow above vanity.

I also eat when I'm hungry, which happens to be at meal time, I eat as much as I want, and get no fat. It's not that I'm lucky, I got fat when I was eating shit in Algeria, but I leave in China now, eat white rice twice a day, no dessert, no bread, no potatoes, some meat including fat, many soups, a lot of different spices, no industrialy prepared food. It is not by choice, it is just what we eat in China.

I don't really understand why fat people are so... well, upset at being fat.

I'm not sure I can help you any with this question. I used to be 245 and I'm female. If the OP is male/taller than me, that may be comparable. Like the OP, I worked on getting my life back and that had the unintended consequence of also leading to significant weight loss. (I had zero goal to "lose weight" and was fine with how I looked.) I can't tell you how much weight I have lost because I haven't weighed myself in over 5 years.

I kind of think that excess weight is not The Problem per se but perhaps a proxy? I mean, I got myself healthier and that's why I lost weight. I think a lot of very heavy people don't know how to live right and that's a) the real reason they are miserable and b) also, coincidentally, the cause of their excess weight. Maybe they don't know how to clearly distinguish the two things and perhaps think "all would be right with the world if only I could lose the weight" when it might be more accurate to say it runs the other direction (ie if all were right in their world, they would probably also lose the weight).

I actually have mixed feelings about losing the weight. I like my body more because it no longer tortures me (I stopped having chronic pain about 2.5 weeks ago) but I'm not entirely comfortable with total strangers taking so much notice of me these days.

Cut your hair short and dye it in a dark shade of red. Thats what most attractive women do when they need a break from male attention. Works 99.9% of the time. The remainder has found the perfect look.

The majority of this attention is from women who would like to be like me, not men who would like to get with me. Total strangers stop me in the grocery store and ask how I lost so much weight and things like that. I'm not comfortable divulging my diagnosis under such circumstances and there typically isn't time to get into my story, which is long and convoluted.

Also, for the last four years, most of the time my hair is so short that I joke I look like a new recruit/jarhead. The result has been at least one woman has cut her hair shorter, inspired by me. At least one other woman has talked about considering cutting her hair shorter because she likes my hair so much. Granted, I am a tad overdue for a haircut at the moment, so my curls are showing. This has very likely made my problems worse in recent weeks (in terms of turning heads/ garnering attention). Nor will I be dying it red as hair dye causes me to break out in hives. Frankly, I'm not sure it would help.


Set up a system whereby you re-read this post on your 45th birthday.

See if your thinking's changed about it by then.

If you really didn't care about being fat you wouldn't even post. The rest is rationalisation, I mean why hang on 'til 50? Go for it, emulate Hendrix, or Joplin, live fast, die at 27.

Health issues typically kick in just after 30 ..

I've never understood this attitude toward obesity. If you had any other 100% curable, 100% terminal condition, you'd make it a priority to do something about it.

I travel between 3 countries, one of which is Spain. It really makes life a lot better; in the south of Spain people are so incredibly more relaxed that you first get frustrated with that, but rapidly take over that life style as being frustrated doesn't make much sense. Example: you can be in the supermarket, in a queue behind the cash register and no-one sitting there. You look outside and he/she is standing talking with the neighbor. 10 people in front of you waiting. The foreigners/vacation goers sighing, grunting, annoying and just going away after a while, the people who live here just talking. Doesn't matter if it takes 1 minute or 2 hours. People don't care. And yes they have jobs, but it's so ingrained to work like that...

Another example; you're driving on a one car road and suddenly end up in a jam, you check what it is ; someone is standing still and talking to someone. No honking, people shut their engine and go talk to each other.

This way of life makes you realize what kind of crazy stuff we are doing 'up north'; like every second matters. It does, but not for work. For work, really very little matters. Your clients can wait for a bit. That site that 'must go live tomorrow' really doesn't have to go live tomorrow in almost all cases. If you live 3 months/year in Spain, you'll be well rested and viewing the world more for what's important which are things like rest, your family (however configured), your friends, eating and making quality food, hobbies, and telling people to fuck off for trying to stress you out.

No amount money is worth wrecking your health over and in some cultures they know that; we seem to have forgotten.

This is all very true. But there is one big but. If you live like that you yourself will have it easy, but the economy as a whole will suffer and the weak in society will suffer disproportionally.

The further South you go in Europe, the stronger this effect gets.


Articles like that are not capable of conveying the differences between Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania and Greece and the more Northern parts of Europe but after traveling through most of those this summer I've seen the other side of that medal and the price of the 'laid back' Southern attitude is one that has become very visible to me.

Agreed. But north and south are 2 extremes; I travel between Netherlands, France and Spain with a bit of Germany. The mix makes it great; TOO laid back has problems but having the Spanish feeling when working with clients in the Netherlands gives you great advantage and economic wealth.

I used to be NL only and this was very stressful; we have very large (for EU) clients which were pushing through projects at great speed and everyone was stressed. It made a lot of my colleagues and me physically ill. We used to work hard. In NL that's no longer the idea; it's a national 'thing' now that people (even big company CEOs) want to spend more time with their families and so work a lot less hours per week and still the economy grows. But that's something else (don't know why that is). The thing is that I always wondered why there was so much pressure behind every project, because, usually, after delivering the technical part, there is a lot of other work to be done which takes them months or years to complete after which the entire project usually gets binned because it's not relevant anymore.

Southern Spain teaches you that you can just tell those clients to stuff it; we deliver when we deliver and if that's not ok, then that's a shame, go elsewhere. Of course it's said in slightly different tone and SCRUM is used a lot but it works. Clients want quality, not speed. Speed is almost never relevant. Actually I have, in my 25 year software career encountered exactly 2 times it was time critical. Out of over a 1000 projects I managed or built. And 1 of those 2 times the client actually messed up the launch, not us. I never thought about this (stupid me) until I spent significant time in Spain; that made me see that there is always enough time for anything. Being in a hurry is just some lame excuse for not having a solid plan. If it just is done fast enough, the profits will come, right?

I have too many examples for this; few years ago we built a Facebook app for about $100k which HAD TO BE DONE in 3 weeks. Of course that's not possible, but he, we are up for a challenge and the specs were ok. So we slept in the office, worked ourselves crazy and finished it. This was 2006 or something, the app STILL is not launched.

Southern Spain taught me; if you are in a hurry, your plan sucks. But I'm making more money than I ever made doing projects the stressed way and so i'm contributing to the economy and making (many) jobs.

Customer control is a difficult issue. Of course everybody likes to pretend that their stuff needs to be done yesterday. But in reality, most things can wait for a day or two, or even longer. Too much of that and you do start to suffer and I think that is what is driving this, the fear to miss the window of opportunity.

I did some contract work and usually the speed with which I could deliver the solution was a key element in getting the contract. Making sure I charged a stiff premium for the work gave me the opportunity to get some 'down time' after completing a job and that helped me in staying balanced.

As long as you are swimming in work you are probably too cheap.

I never realized I was doing it wrong :) And that it's either time/material with a fixed deadline or fixed price with a flexible deadline.

Funny thing is how many people do not (want) to understand this. I now enforce this and we're still swimming in work with about 35% profit, which is excellent for consultancy work. I'm fine with that :)

> we're still swimming in work with about 35% profit,

You're still too cheap! Trust me on that, give it a shot and raise your prices until you get 'no' about 1/3rd to 1/2 the time you write proposals or until you have more than 20% unbooked time, whichever arrives first.

Depression may be another reason one feels tired all the time. Proper diet and exercise helps, but it's best to seek medical attention.

One of the biggest changes in my life when I left my job to work on my startup was the freedom to not be pinned in a chair from 8 AM-5PM. If I get tired, I go take a nap. If I get stiff and sore, I go for a walk. If I can't think, I go do something else.

The net result is that I'm able to be productive 100% of the time that I actually am working, and I can work more than I could otherwise, if so needed.

If you have the luxury to set your schedule, listen to your body, do what it asks, and you'll find yourself operating much more smoothly than you're used to.

That proverb at the beginning is great ("A man grows most tired while standing still."). It reminds me of the quote, "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."

Which reminds me of the quote, "If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man, for he will find an easier way to do it"

Of course he might not do it at all.

I try, as in make a concerted effort, to be both.

I agree that working out is essential, but I believe that putting the right type of food in your body is equally important. For many people, decreasing the amount of carbohydrates after breakfast can provide enormous energy gains. I recommend reading Tim Ferris' 4 Hour Body for some interesting advice on diet, exercise and a very detailed chapter on sleep.

After breakfast? I would include breakfast as well. My energy levels after a breakfast of bacon and eggs is far steadier than after any breakfast cereals, toast, muffins, pastries, etc. Avoiding any large carb intake (post workout _possibly_ excepted) is key to steady energy levels.

For a more rational book, try Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution", which also has an extensive chapter on sleep and cortisol management.

Obviously this varies person by person. In my own personal experience, I have found that eating carbs in the morning (a reasonable amount) allows me to have a much stronger workout. When I eat NO carbs, it makes it too difficult to maintain a moderate to intense workout schedule. I liked Paleo as well, but I liked Ferris' attempt to look at the "whole body".

If you are indeed engaging in significant activity, then the carbs will help. I have sedentary job (technical) but get in a good couple of hours at the gym most days. Keeping carbs moderated keeps the fat in check, but cutting it too low make intense cardio and strength training very challenging (and less productive).

I agree, I think carbs have gotten a bad rep unfairly. IMO, people should a lot more good carbs. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-...

Cereals seem to do near nothing (Even those 'healthy' ones or heavier ones like muesli with honey) for me aside from satisfying the 'I'm hungry' feeling which quickly dissipates anyway. The times when I've had a good breakfast (Bacon and eggs, yoghurt and fruit, etc) is when I've felt the best.

glucose is the key.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the only book on diet and exercise anyone on HN has ever read.

Here's the list of my favourite ones:

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health - Gary Taubes http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Controversial-Scienc...

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet - Robb Wolf http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Solution-Original-Human-Diet/dp/...

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health - William Davis http://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609...

The Great Cholesterol Con - Anthony Colpo http://www.amazon.com/Great-Cholesterol-Anthony-Colpo/dp/143...

Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You - Uffe Ravnskov http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Cholesterol-are-Good-You/dp/919755...

Just gonna say this outright...

I've seen colleagues who are constantly on the verge of falling asleep and the common thread has always been that they are fat.

3+1 guide to productivity: Exercise, Eating Right, Sleeping Enough, and, as a bonus, no long commutes.

There's a pretty high (but not perfect) correlation between obesity and sleep apnea, which I think is under-diagnosed because a sleep study is kind of an expensive hassle.

which I think is under-diagnosed because a sleep study is kind of an expensive hassle.

And I think it's also under-diagnosed because of that correlation.

I "have a friend" who is of normal weight, and who also doesn't snore and is young (2 other anti-correlates.) This friend struggled his entire life with sleep issues and blamed it on laziness. It wasn't until it was affecting his career that he had a sleep study - and it turns out he stops breathing 60 times an hour. (That doesn't make for especially restorative sleep.)

If you have sleep issues despite making an effort to have good sleep hygiene etc. - talk to your doctor!

If you commute by bike, the longer the best...

He's ignoring the main reason why Britain and America are so pro-work and anti-rest, and why Italy and Spain aren't.

(It's also the reason why the med is comfortable with nudity and the Anglosphere isn't)

Protestant ascetic work ethic: no pleasure is allowed. first toil then the grave.

The med is Catholic, and so far more comfortable with resting.

"By the time afternoon rolls around, you’re in caffeine withdrawal. This is often why people are sapped by mid-afternoon."

Actually, no. You feel sapped in the afternoon because you need a 15-20 minute nap. That's normal. Take the nap and you'll feel energized for the rest of the day.

Actually, yes. I gave up coffee about a year ago, during a pretty stressful period during which I wasn't sleeping well. It is unbelievable how much better I sleep (and I seriously believed that it didn't affect me), and the second thing I notice is that I'm no longer tired in the afternoon.

Conversely, I've never drunk coffee, or red bull, or genki drinks or any of that stuff, only drink tea on social occasions, and gave up soft drinks a decade ago. I eat right and am active. And yet I often find myself feeling groggy in the afternoon. But if I manage to get in a 15 minute nap, I'm energized for the rest of the day. This effect is backed by numerous medical studies.

I went through a period of being tired all the time - so tired that I found it hard to stay awake in the afternoons. And close friends would mention that I looked like I was putting on weight. I felt confused most of the time. It was lousy.

Turns out it was a thyroid problem combined with myxodema (water retention on the face). My GP diagnosed it after blood tests. Now I'm on life long medication and I have yearly blood tests -but the fat-face has gone, and I feel normal. Also, I get all my prescriptions free. (I'm in the UK.)

"By the time afternoon rolls around, you’re in caffeine withdrawal. This is often why people are sapped by mid-afternoon."

In my experience this has a lot more to do with carbs-heavy lunches than caffeine.

What are your metrics for this kinda thing?

Tiredness and productivity seem like very subjective things, hard to measure. Don't get me wrong, there's some good points there, that aren't hard to believe. But i'd love to know how i can measure this kind of well being stuff so i can better myself.

* as the saying goes, "what gets measured is what gets improved"

I believe that NASA and aviation researchers developed fatigue tests some time ago. There's also discrimination-timing tests.

For example, if the object on the screen is a blue circle, press the right side shift; if it's a red square press left side. Reaction time is used as the indicator.

But these are only proxies for what is, after all, a largely subjective experience. You will necessarily need to rely on measuring inputs (hours of sleep, caffeine consumed, exercise length and intensity) and using subjective measures for outputs (a bit slow, tired, very tired, exhausted).

"Be less busy. Seriously, we’re too busy these days. Cut back on commitments, put space between things, allow yourself to have a slower pace. Your energy levels will thank you."

I think the key here is not to fill the "space" with directionless Internet/Twitter/Hacker News perusing. Easier said than done.

Sorta/kinda relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nncY-MA1Iu8

It's a TED talk about a woman claiming that sleep is the secret to success. (I only sorta/kinda agree with her but it's still an interesting point of view to consider)

How does Zen Habits keep making it to the top of HN?

Why are you on a computer at 9:30PM PST on a Saturday night? Probably because balance is something we all should aspire to?

My problem isn't with balance, but with the source of the information.

Why quote a psychotic like Jim Jones?

A Jim Jones quote??

I wasn't familiar with the quote, so I wondered: "that Jim Jones?". Apparently so.



"Feeling tired? Drink this Koolaid." - Jim Jones

Exercise and allowing myself, which is SO difficult, to take that afternoon power nap has saved me. I find an extreme amount of gilt when I attempt to force myself into that afternoon power nap, but when I do, and wake up afterwards, I'm 100 times more productive than I ever was before, or if I had skipped it.

Sounds great, until you have kids...

That doesn't seems like an issue for the OP. Leo Babauta has six kids.

If your kids are toddler-age and older, it is certainly possible. But when you have babies, I consider step 1 impossible. I do all of the steps he mentions except number 1, and I am tired.

I just recently suffered a terrific burnout at the end of the university semester. Forcing myself to take a couple of days off to just hit the painkillers and play Minecraft is one of the most sensible things I've done for my health in recent times.

good article, but it left out a major factor. food. eating right is so important for energy. i went from normal everyday lebanese food to eating mostly high raw vegan foods and i cannot get enough day for the energy i have. i'm never tired in the afternoon, i don't drink coffee, i get most my protein from spirulina, and i juice every day.

drinking a lot of water is super important as his mentions, but, try to drink 1-2 liters before when you wake, before anything else goes down your throat and you will noticed a drastic change in your body.

These are all good tips, but you should also watch out for sleep apnea. Its incidence increases the more overweight you are, and it's a silent killer.

I cannot stress how much I agree about exercise. About 6 years ago I started going to the gym regularly* and lifting. That was really one of the best single changes I've made in my life. I feel more energized during the day (no more coffee!) and I feel like my mental acuity is higher. My memory seems better and I'm generally in a much better mood (partly because I look so much more fit!)

* When I say regularly, I mean I went every other day for 6 months without missing a workout. I made it a high priority. After 6 months of that, I felt so guilty if I missed a workout that I've more or less continued that schedule for the last 5.5 years.

It's even better when it becomes a habit and you don't feel guilty for missing a workout. You feel like you haven't brushed your teeth in the morning.

I'm there right now. Until I get my 30 minutes of workout in the morning, I just feel wrong. I can't really explain it, but it's enough to get me working out even when I had been partying until 5am, slept for 3 hours, have a hangover and feel like I'll die if I even try getting out of bed.

One year ago I was tired all the time, couldn't get anything done, had to lay on my bed every hour, ect... And it totally disappeared since everyday I have to walk fast one hour total between uni and my place, instead of commuting. People who don't exercise at all are missing out on something. Now I can procrastinate fully awake.

For me tipping point was having gym right in the next building - when I started to work for the company that has gym on site (you can guess which company is that), I was just so easy tongo and exercise after work without extra hassle. I alway had gym membership, but proximity really makes it low barrier to actually exercise regularly. I now workout at least 2 times a week, often 3.

When we were discussing gym choice for my wife, my suggestion was "the one right across from your office, walking distance makes all the difference".

I use to not eat breakfast everyday for 18+ years. it was something I just didn't do. It wasn't until 2 years ago that I started feeling the effects: chronic fatigue, I was always feeling lethargic, etc. eating breakfast changed everything (a healthy diet really).

Check out this book about Willpower and the role of glucose. http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Rediscovering-Greatest-Human...

Well I'm not eating breakfast quite often and it does not affect me in any negative way - more like the opposite.

If it took you 18+ years to feel negative effects of not having breakfast, I would probably check any other changes that happened recently first.

As a counter argument, here's a couple of links on why you should not eat breakfast, but feel free to disagree.

http://www.gnolls.org/2131/the-breakfast-myth-part-1/ http://www.gnolls.org/2181/the-breakfast-myth-part-2-the-art...

80 thousand twitter followers is not bad for a blogger

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