38 Ways to Welcome Better Health

Diet & Fat Loss

My position is that you should be focused on manipulating your body to burn fat. This is a very different focus than calorie-counting and is based on the scientific explanations of Dr. Jason Fung (and our own experience running diet studies and supporting fat loss coaches).

To manipulate your body to be in fat-burning mode, most people will have two options: reduce carbs or increase fasting time.

Try both at once if you want to burn fat quickly, but also know that for long-term health you should be looking for a permanent change. In our experience as behavior designers, the 16:8 intermittent fasting option — where you skip breakfast everyday — is a much easier permanent lifestyle change than avoiding carbs for the rest of your life.

There are a couple of caveats. We haven’t covered diet changes for people with significant pre-existing health issues. If this is you, trust your doctor, not us. Also, many women have told us anecdotally that they experience low carb and fasting differently than it is described by men. I feel like this is a blind spot in our coverage, and I’m sorry.

Last, a huge amount of diet writing comes with a heavy dose of fat shaming. We’ve tried to avoid that, but if you have arrived here feeling like you’ve been fat-shamed in the past, please read Ragen Chastain’s piece about Leaving Toxic Diet Culture Behind.

Intermittent fasting:

We don’t have an intro to fasting article yet. If we did, it would be focused on eating windows. That form of fasting is commonly called 16:8 and refers to an 8-hour eating window: say, noon to 8pm. You do all of your eating in that window, and then fast for the remaining 16 hours.

Low Carb:

There are a lot of variants of Low Carb that are mostly on the spectrum of how aggressively you will avoid carbs. Keto is the most aggressive.

Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb uses a weekly cheat day to make the diet change easier to follow.

Comparison of Diet Approaches:

In 2014, we ran a weight loss experiment using control groups and randomized assignment. Our goal was to compare popular diet approaches and what we found was that they all led to weight loss (even as compared to the control group). As part of that experiment we wrote up helpful diet cheat sheets that you can use now as quick guides to different approaches:

Slow Carb | Paleo | Whole Foods | Vegetarian | DASH


The importance of these articles is in the behavior change. It’s easy to know how you should eat, but much harder to follow through. Hopefully, these skills will help.

Case studies:

Fasting vs. caloric restriction:

So many people are unhelpfully locked into caloric restriction as the way they view fat loss, so here are some ways of looking at it. The TL;DR is that yes, you do end up in a caloric deficit with any fat loss, but that’s a side effect that you can ignore and instead focus on hormonal manipulation.


Just seven articles — obviously there’s a much bigger world that we haven’t covered yet.


Sleep is the ultimate brain training and health habit. You get more done when you’re rested and so it’s almost always worth the trade-off of giving yourself a full night of rest.

Of course, getting to sleep and staying asleep isn’t always easy:

Your morning routine:


Give Up Caffeine

The benefits of doing this are often for sleep, but also to save a small amount of money, and, counterintuitively, for productivity.

Give Up Alcohol

A lot of people develop unhealthy habits around alcohol that turn into a drag on their health, their sleep, and their productivity. Here are some ways to turn those habits around.