Are you completely overwhelmed by information about low carb or ketogenic diets? Is your neck about to snap from the multiple times you’ve gotten whiplash from trying to follow an endless onslaught of contradictory advice on reduced carb ways of eating?
If your life revolves around weighing and measuring your food, tracking your heart rate, your sleep, your bowel movements, your workouts, the number of steps you take in a day, and more, and you’re afraid that if you let up for even one second, the entire edifice you’re propping up is going to come crashing down around you, this post is for you!
If diving down every low carb rabbit hole you find has become your main hobby, I totally understand. Perhaps, like me, you spent years doing what you thought were “all the right things” to get healthy or improve your physique. And, perhaps, like me, after years—decades, maybe—of that failing you, you discovered the world of carbohydrate reduction. And after learning nearly all the health and fitness tenets you once held dear were false, you now have a desire—no, an obsession—to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can, from as many different sources as you can. No one could blame you! You’ve got years of misinformation to correct, right? Nearly a lifetime of programming to de-program.
However, if your determination to understand the relevant biochemical pathways and mechanisms even better than the people who make their living measuring the amount of insulin secreted by a mouse pancreas, or measuring the ATP synthesized by cultured neuronal mitochondria from rats, has begun to interfere with your overall quality of life—and possibly even the results you’re getting from your low carb diet, because of all the darn stress—it’s time for you to…
Take an InformationVacation™
If the emails I frequently receive from confused and overwhelmed people are any indication, a lot of you out there are afflicted with what we call “paralysis by analysis.” The uncertainty, anxiety, and damn near anguish people feel over this stuff are palpable. I can feel them radiating out of people’s emails.
I’m not one to name names, so to keep things generic, feel free to fill in the blanks with whichever low carb personalities make this flow best for you (even if one of them is me!):
______________ said on his podcast last week…
But then ______________ wrote on her blog the week before, that…
And that totally contradicts what ______________ said in their YouTube video last month…
And in ______________’s book, she said that’s not how it works, and…
______________ tweeted something completely different, but…
I saw ______________ speak at the low carb conference last year, and he said…
No wonder so many of you have whiplash. You’d be a ninja if your neck wasn’t injured by now. And I fully admit, I often feel this way, myself! If you think my education in nutrition stopped when I graduated from Bridgeport, think again. Not only do I constantly read the new (and not-so-new) scientific literature on topics of interest to me, but I also read the same books and blogs, listen to the same podcasts, and watch the same videos as you do. I, too, get confused. I, too, feel overwhelmed. So I know of what I speak here.
What is an InformationVacation™?
Simple. It’s a few days, maybe even a week or more, where you stay away from nutrition blogs, podcasts, websites, videos, Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, and any other sources you have for nutrition, health, or fitness information. Take a break. Decide to be
Use the time to get back into some other area of interest. Allow yourself to indulge in a hobby or pursue a passion you’ve been neglecting in favor of throwing yourself 100% into low carb-related media. Maybe it’s art, or music, or model trains, astronomy, ancient history, or something else besides the precise number of grams of linoleic acid that is going to kill you in your sleep this very evening.
The nice thing about an InformationVacation™ is that you won’t miss a thing.
The beauty of the internet is that every word, every link, every recording, every controversy, will be waiting for you when you come back. None of it is going anywhere. Whether you take a day off, or three days, or a week, or a month, everything that got posted while you were gone will still be there, safe and sound.
And anyway, after you initially went low carb, when was the last time you learned anything that was brand new to you? Something that fundamentally changed the way you think about all this, and caused a radical change in your diet or lifestyle? That probably happens very rarely, because there is nothing new. Nothing earth shattering. Truly, if there was something that really blew the lid off of everything, you’d end up hearing about it anyway, because it’d be on the TV news, the radio news, or splashed across the front page of every major newspaper. I assure you, my dears, even if you stayed away from the internet entirely, any discovery so profound that it would immediately and radically alter what you would put on your plate that very day would somehow reach you.
Listen, I scour nutrition news almost daily for my paid writing gigs. I can assure you, you ain’t missin’ nothin’. Whatever the clickbait headlines make it sound like has been discovered—Groundbreaking! For the first time in history!—if you take the time to read the full study being referenced, 9.7 times out of ten, it makes really good lining for your hamster cage. The adage “publish or perish” means there are a lot of “studies” getting published when they really should have perished. (No, just kidding; that’s not what “publish or perish” means, but it does suggest there’s a lot of utter nonsense getting published because there are too many people seeking PhDs and continued funding these days.)
Bottom line: seriously, take a break. Step away from the nutrition media (social and otherwise). Find a new interest or rediscover an old one so you are not constantly inundating yourself with conflicting information about food. There is a remedy for information overload, and it’s as simple as backing off. Not forever; just long enough for you to recharge and come back in a calmer frame of mind.
To my readers to whom none of this applies: No problem! If you don’t feel overwhelmed and confused, and you enjoy a nonstop tsunami of nutrition and health information crashing down upon you 24/7, great. No stepping away needed for you. I wrote this for the people who I feel do need a respite. The ones who write to me so paralyzed I can see tension in the punctuation they use. You might not be one of these folks, but they’re out there. And they need to know it’s okay to walk away for a while.
Coming up next time on the blog: more words of wisdom for anyone experiencing information overload. It’ll definitely be a post worth sharing with friends and loved ones who’ve read a few books, watched videos, followed blogs, lurked on Facebook, and have become so confused and overwhelmed that they can’t figure out how to even get started. If you or someone you know are new to low carb, or want to be new to low carb, but you’re dealing with “paralysis by analysis” so crippling you’re unable to take the first step, the next post is written with you (and them) in mind. I was going to wait until after the new year to post it, because there'll be a flood of new people coming to low carb, but I realized it's better to post it before then, so folks will be prepared to start on the right foot.
P.S. Just trying to be cute. I do not actually have InformationVacation™ trademarked, although maybe I should... (Also, InformationOverload™.)
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.
Thank you. Just thank you. I so needed this.ReplyDelete
Nice one, Amy. It was a fun read, but good advice. Just a thought- - I use the term "passive learning" for what happens when you step away from trying to learn, whether a physical skill or mental/informational thing. When you come back later you discover that your subconscious has cleaned up the confusions, synchronized the muscles, etc, and you are clear to go.ReplyDelete
Well-timed post! See you after my information vacation!ReplyDelete
Nice post, and so very relevant, and not to just low carb, but just internet addiction in general. I swear, there should be support groups for people trying to stop using Facebook!! But those groups would be on Facebook, so no help there. I know people consumed by that silly site. Pastis, the creator of Pearls Before Swine, had a good one a couple days ago- http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2017/12/11?ct=v&cti=2009624 Well, back to the sewing machine!ReplyDelete
HA! Yes...so true.Delete
Absolutely right on! I have an obsessive disorder called the "Need to Know Syndrome! (NTKS) And my keto/fasting regime has triggered the worst aspects of this syndrome. Often I just turn off every media source and listen to silence. For days at a time. That way I can recharge my mind and prepare for the next onslaught of contradictory information. It is a zoo out there!ReplyDelete
It's good that you're at least aware that this an issue for you. Most people have no clue. They don't even realized how stressed out they are.Delete
Pretty nice postReplyDelete
Nice post and advice well worth taking. I'd recently reached the same conclusion… It might be that in my continual quest for weight loss (slow but steady albeit) I have been a little too obsessive about making sure I get my daily quotient of YouTube videos and blog posts completed. I decided to take time off for a little bit. I can rely on you to put things in perspective. Nonetheless, from time to time I need to listen to a few YouTube videos to keep the motivation going… that seems to be part of the healthy living pattern I have dropped myself into. A little shot in the arm as it were from time to time. It is interesting to be part of a social movement after a fashion and to be able to see where it's going. Will the obesity and diabetes epidemic continue at the same rate or will better lifestyle choices begin to hold sway as did the societal shift regarding smoking? Interesting to watch.ReplyDelete