April 25, 2008

Stochastic jerks

What other people do repels me. It's an instinctive weakness, 1/3 due to curiosity [what about another way?], 1/3 due to arrogance [I'm sure I know better], and 1/3 straight stupidity [mind is blank]. Curiosity, arrogance, stupidity. A winning combination, the kind that leads to poking bee hives with a stick.

I've been to gyms, and enjoyed getting into the subset of consciously healthy people, although, once ensconced, it's plain that there are degrees. For example, the leap from exercise to diet is often unmade by gym rats, save for protein shakes and the like. I see such people eating crap, which is broadly defined as not only junk food but all carbs, the basic paleoconservative position being that you should eat nothing introduced into the human diet after the development of agriculture. So, no grains, but a hunter-gatherer diet of vegetables, meat, nuts and fruits, although not the bred-to-be-sweet varieties of the latter. It's strict, and it's a pain to observe as it involves breaking many habits and being prepared for when hungry [appropriate snacks on hand], but it works, if you do it. Note: this does not mean, if you follow the paleo-diet and also eat carbs. The foods are not supposed to be an addition to your diet, but to become the entirety, or at least the vast majority. Losing weight, gaining muscle, saving $, learning a language, cooking good food. Many things are easy if you do what you are told, but what people tell me to do repels me.

You try - observe - tweak - observe. After some time you have what works for yourself. The Heath Robinson nature of my work-arounds. Ideally I'd make use of Dr Lilly's Metaprogramming, but the fact is that I shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the controls of my biocomputer. My first creative instinct, when I got into self-hypnosis, was to cobble together MP3s that put me under and then produced sex and psychedelic dreams. When it comes to tinkering with my basic system, I'm not to be trusted, but I still trust myself better than anyone else. It's my body, my head. At best I try to undertake the task with close reference to nature, following the clues it scatters. Try - observe - tweak - observe.

Nassim Taleb on his exercise regime, via Art DeVany:

1) NO MODERATE EXERCISE SESSIONS. Either too little, or too much, way beyond what I thought I could do –and no set schedule. Never have a clear plan of how long to stay at the gym. So I would randomly push myself –with output as powerlaw distributed as possible. It is a matter of bandwidth –The range of fatigue from regular exercise does not reach all areas of the body. I now spend between 5 minutes and 4 hours at the gym –working out harder as I get more tired. I spent several times 10 days without any exercise. But my total time at the gym per month averages less than I did before. And I have no routine, do not count sets, with a preference for free weights/pull ups/dips/pushups. Sometimes I just do pushups by avoiding the moderate number 60: either 10 or 350 –then nothing for a week.

2) NO PURELY AEROBIC EXERCISE –the separation is foolish & not empirical. Avoid listening to “trainers”.

3) FOOD INTAKE Eat no carbs that do not have a Biblical Hebrew or Doric Greek name (i.e. did not exist in the ancient Mediterranean) : no oranges (only citrus), no bananas, no mangoes, etc. Apples and grapes were acidic in taste, bittersweet. Eat nothing out of the box. No sugar, bread, pasta, etc. Avoid artificial sweeteners.

4) STARVATION: Workout while starving.

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