Mission progress

Locked 101 Classes

Optimal Weight 101

How to Optimize our Metabolism to Easily Sculpt our Ideal Bodies while Energizing to Actualize

Weight. It matters. A lot. Although I’m obviously not a weight-loss guy, as I prepped for Energy 101 I realized that we needed to talk about Optimizing our weight. Enter, this class—which could more accurately be called Optimal METABOLISM 101. Fact is, if our weight is off, our METABOLISM is off. Specifically, our insulin levels (which disrupts another hormone called leptin that regulates our appetite). In this class, we take a quick look at why it’s so hard to Optimize our weight and how to make it easy (or at least a lot easier!).

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Fat Chance

Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

Robert Lustig is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and 70 reviews and is a leading voice on childhood obesity. And, his YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” has been viewed over 7 million times. Obesity is a global pandemic. It’s astonishing how rapidly it’s expanding. And it’s COMPLETELY preventable. Lustig has dedicated his career to helping us understand the causes and how to “beat the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity and disease.” Big Ideas we explore include: Meeting the Darth Vader of the Food Empire (“Hi, sugar!”), two hormones driving the show (insulin + leptin), which fat you need to worry about most (big belly vs. big butt fat!), why so many diets work (reduced sugar + fiber), exercise (best ROI in medicine) and voting with ever dollar we *don’t* spend.

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Eat Fat, Get Thin

Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

Want to reach your optimal weight while preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer AND while feeling energized as you live longer? Eat more fat. That’s what Dr. Mark Hyman—one of the world’s leading Functional Medicine doctors—tells us. This book is ridiculously packed with Big Ideas—walking us through the eye-opening science of why fat is awesome along with a plan on how to “reboot our biology to our original factory settings” via a 21-day program followed by a long-term plan to rock it. We explore the surprising truth about fat, good fats vs. bad fats, going pegan (think: best of vegan + Paleo), a quality carb, and dealing with root causes rather than symptoms.

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The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes is an award-winning science journalist. He’s a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. In this book, we take up the case against sugar as the primary suspect for ALL of the chronic diseases that are killing us. As the back cover says, Taubes “makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.” Big Ideas we explore include: the prime suspect (= sugar), drug or food?, two theories (energy balance vs. metabolic theory), sugar as a chronic toxin (vs. acute), sugar as candy for cancer cells, and the big question: how little is too much?

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Bright Line Eating

The Science of Living Happy, Thin & Free

Susan Peirce Thompson is a Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She’s an expert in the psychology of eating and creator of Bright Line Eating Solutions, “a company dedicated to helping people achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss.” Plus... She used to be obese and, as she says, addicted to *everything.* She integrates her background in neuroscience with her personal experience conquering her diet and other addiction issues in this super popular book. Big Ideas we explore include why bright lines are where it’s at, the susceptibility quiz, the saboteur, self-perception theory, and the four bright lines of eating.

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Always Hungry?

Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently

David Ludwig has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. and is a professor and researcher at both Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. He’s overseen dozens of diet studies, authored over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and supported thousands of patients looking to optimize their weight. In this book, we learn how to conquer cravings, retrain fat cells, and lose weight permanently.

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It Starts With Food

Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

This is a *super* popular book in the Paleo movement that, as the sub-title suggests, introduces us to the Whole30 and can change your life in unexpected ways. Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig created the Whole30 that has inspired tens of thousands of people to follow their plan and change their life. I’m one of those people. I talk more about how my life changed as a result in the Note. Big Ideas we explore include +1 or -1 bite by bite, the experiment of ONE, the four tests of Good Food, are grains necessary? and your personal health equation.

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Why We Get Fat

And What To Do About It

Why do we get fat? It’s a surprisingly simple question that surprisingly few nutrition experts answer with attention to scientific rigor. Enter: Gary Taubes, a brilliant, award-winning science journalist. In this Note we’ll explore some Big Ideas on the importance of the hormone insulin, why carbs are kinda like cigarettes and the Stanford A TO Z Study that showed low-carb diets outperforming others.

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The Keto Reset Diet

Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever

Mark Sisson is a former world-class endurance athlete and one of the leading thinkers and bloggers in the ancestral health movement. His blog MarksDailyApple.com is one of the most-visited health information websites on the Internet. If you’re into the whole “fat is the human body’s preferred fuel” side of the nutrition world, then I think you’ll really love the book. (If you’re not, well then... :) Big Ideas we explore include how to create metabolic efficiency, how to best fuel your metabolic fire (fat = clean-burning logs; carbs = smoky twigs), the three things to go on the Rest (sugars + grains + veggie oils), how to Optimize your lifestyle (exercise + sleep + stress) and the ultimate target: enjoying the whole process!

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The Official Bright Line Eating Cookbook

Weight Loss Made Simple

I LOVE (!) Susan Peirce Thompson and her work. A few years ago, we featured her New York Times best-selling book Bright Line Eating. <- A book that combines the science of willpower and nutrition?! I’ll take it! In that book, we learn about the fact that Susan used to be obese and addicted to everything. As in... EVERYTHING. What makes her especially awesome is that she went antifragile on it and got a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences so she could understand what the heck was going on. She’s now an Adjunct Associate Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She’s also an expert in the psychology of eating and is the creator of Bright Line Eating Solutions— a program (and community!) that has helped thousands of people live “Happy, Thin, and Free.” This book is the Cookbook to her Bright Line Eating movement. Of course, this book is packed (!) with Big Ideas. For now, I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living

An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable

Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney are two of the leading academic researchers who have been studying the efficacy of ketogenic diets for decades (a combined 50+ years between the two of them). Phinney actually coined the hyphenated word-phrase “keto-adapted” to describe the process that typically takes at least 2 weeks to go from burning primarily sugar for fuel to burning primarily fat for fuel. In addition to being brilliant, iconoclastic, contrarian scientists (my favorite kind), Volek and Phinney are also funny. In this book they walk us through the SCIENCE behind why a well-formulated (<- IMPORTANT distinction!) low-carbohydrate approach works. If that’s your thing, I think you’ll dig it. Big Ideas we explore include: Who invented low-carb? (hint: look back ~1 million years), the A to Z study (how's your insulin?), the metabolic whodunnit (solved: carbs), exercise (think: wellness tool not weight loss tool), and the battle to bliss (see ya there!).

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The Overfat Pandemic

Exposing the Problem and Its Simple Solution for Everyone Who Needs to Eliminate Excess Body Fat

Phil Maffetone is one of the world’s all-time great endurance coaches. In addition to coaching the best triathlete ever (Mark Allen), he’s also toured with The Red Hot Chili Peppers as their wellness coach (he considers them endurance athletes) and he’s coached legendary music producer Rick Rubin—helping him Optimize and lose over 100 pounds in the process. He’s a fascinating, iconoclastic guy who’s been preaching the power of burning fat for fuel for FOUR decades—demonstrating that it’s not only an optimal approach to endurance fitness but to our optimal health as well. In this book, Phil focuses his big brain on what he calls the “overfat” pandemic. He uses the word “overfat” to describe people who have “excess body fat sufficient to impair health.” Overweight and obese people fall into this category. AND... Even people at a “healthy” weight can be overfat. In fact, according to his research, 90% (!!!) of Americans fall into the “overfat” category. (Yikes!) We'll take a quick look at why we should care, figure out if we (and/or our loved ones) are overfat, look at the #1 cause and then focus on the solution so we can become optimalfat! :)

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#45 Bright Lines

How to Make Good Contracts with Yourself
I dropped out of law school before a semester was over but I do remember one Big Idea from Contracts class. Lawyers like to say that a
Locked +1s

#46 Commitments: 100% Is a Breeze

99%? Not So Much.
So, as per our last +1, bright lines are super helpful in making deals with ourselves. Here’s another way to look at the same basic idea.
Locked +1s

#163 80/20 Kryptonite

What Needs to Go? Do Less of That
In our last +1, we talked about the few key behaviors that are most helping us Optimize 80/20-style. The 20% of our behaviors that drive 80%
Locked +1s

#170 Eating Sugar in an fMRI Machine

How to Turn Off Your Addiction Center
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been hanging out in an fMRI scanning our brains and seeing some fascinating stuff. Let’s stay in there for
+1s

#272 Kryptonite Dust

Time for the SuperOptimizer’s Vacuum
In our last +1, we talked about the Whirlwind of gnats that can attack us as we pursue our Wildly Important Goal. Again, making the decision
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#360 Isn’t That Extreme?

No, It’s Not — This Is
Susan Peirce Thompson wrote a great book called Bright Line Eating. She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is one of the world’s leading
Locked +1s

#448 Your New Taste Buds

Just Give ‘em 2 Weeks
Pop quiz today! Question: Do you know how long it takes for you to grow new taste buds? Whaddya think? Hmmm… Answer: Two weeks. That’s
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#449 Rule #1 of Nutrition

Fountain of Youth vs. Poisons
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that your taste buds are all shiny new every two weeks—which is good news if you’re addicted to
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#450 Food Poisons Part 2

What You Might Want to Consider Eliminating
In our last +1, we talked about Rule #1 of Nutrition. You remember what it was? Basic idea: It’s not what you start eating that has the
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#554 The Fastest Way to Optimize

Think: -1 -1 -1 = Infinite You
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that you’re ALREADY solid gold. Like, 100% jumbo-solid gold. We just need to chip away at the
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#685 The Case Against Sugar

Is Very Strong #caseclosed
Gary Taubes wrote a great book called The Case Against Sugar. Basic idea: If you were a detective in charge of figuring out a series of
Locked +1s

#753 Low Fat Made Us Fat

Really? Michael Pollan Says: Yep.
How about one more little +1 on Michael Pollan’s Food Rules? Here it is: “The forty-year-old campaign to create low- and nonfat versions
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#911 Foundation vs. Pillars

Our #1 Fundie? Sleep!
As we’ve discussed, in the Mastery phase of our Optimize Coach program, we recently marched through our fundamentals: Eat + Move + Sleep +
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#916 Training Tranquility

Today for TONIGHT for Tomorrow
In our +1 on the Top 10 Sleep Kryptonites, we briefly discussed the fact that “Anxiety” is one of the top reasons people give for Why We
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#918 Don’t Feed the Demon

A Lesson from Olloch the Glutton
One of my favorite things in life is reading with Emerson. It’s a keystone habit for our family’s nighttime rituals that I absolutely
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#925 C.A.N.O.E-ing

On the Optimizing River of Flexibility
One of the core themes of our work together (in these +1s and in our Coach program, etc.) is the power of constantly (!) experimenting as we
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#1023 Your Visceral Fat

How’s It? (Know: It’s the #1 Predictor of Ick)
This morning I was looking through my stack of notes on potential +1s. As I looked at my stack, there were a few ideas I knew I wanted to
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#1024 WHtR ← Waist to Height Ratio

How’s Yours? (<.5 Here We Come!)
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that, as per Robert Lustig’s Fat Chance, our visceral fat (aka abdominal/”big belly” fat) is
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#1025 Exercise: It’s a Well-Being Tool

Not a Weight-Loss Tool
In our last couple +1s, we talked about a key (arguably the #1 key) predictor of our long-term health/morbidity: our visceral fat. We also
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#1176 Taking Out the Carbage

How to go from MAD to Flourishing
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that 500 years ago we basically consumed NO sugar. Then we started nibbling on 5 lbs of sugar per
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#1244 Your Food Label

Is It Lying to You?
In our last +1 I mentioned the fact that I recently read Mark Hyman’s new book Food Fix. It’s a powerful look at the dysfunction of our
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#1245 Junk Food’s Junk Science

Did You Know…?
In our last +1, we chatted about the fact that your food label might be lying to you by stuffing a few variations of cancer candy (aka
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#1246 Independent (Non-Junk) Science Says

The Energy-Balance Theory Is Dead
In our last +1, we continued our chat about the toxicity of sugar as we reflected on the fact that the food industry spends $12 BILLION on
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#1247 Don’t Drink Sugar

“The Single-Biggest Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Health”
In our last several +1s, we’ve been exploring some powerful, sobering, and eye-opening wisdom from Mark Hyman’s great book Food Fix.
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#1269 Food Prescriptions

Are More Effective Than Prescriptions for Medicine
Today I want to chat about food prescriptions. “Food prescriptions? Really? There’s such a thing?” YES. Food prescriptions. Did you
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#1271 Food As Medicine

Science Says: “Wow! It Works!”
In our last couple +1s, we talked about the wisdom of addressing root causes of health issues rather than merely treating the symptoms of
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#1285 The Optimize Food Rules

The Big 3 (+1!)
One of my favorite parts about creating our Optimize Mastery Series is that it forced me to go to the next level of clarity on the most
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#1001 Start Again (and Again...)

And Again... And Again... And...
In our last +1 (#1,000!!), we celebrated our gritty Optimizers who have hammered all 1,000 +1s. One more time: Go you. Welcome to the
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#154 Recommitment

Commitment Is Easy - It's ALL about Recommitting
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of making a strong commitment. We know that making a 100% commitment is, somewhat paradoxically,
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#927 Aristotle’s Yoga

Which Way Do YOU Need to Bend?
A couple years ago, we chatted about Aristotle’s Virtuous Mean. Then, a year ago, we dusted off that wisdom and approached it from a