The Personalized Diet Myth

Because more money doesn't always mean more results

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The personalized diet myth

  • Arnold Q&A

  • Weekend Challenge

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Are Personalized Diets Superior?

What would happen if you used the latest technology to design a diet specifically for you? Would you finally lose more weight and see better results

A recent study tested that and found that you don’t need to personalize your diet to your genetic variables to see incredible results. The research is a perfect example that change does not depend on spending more money to figure out how your body works. You already have everything you need!

The scientists split participants into two different groups. One group received a non-personalized plan and was told to follow a low-fat diet and reduce how much they ate by 500 calories. The other group also reduced their calories by 500 per day, and they received a specialized diet based on an algorithm incorporating many personal data points. The personalized diet was based on microbiome composition, blood sugar levels, physical activity, and sleep. Both groups were given an app to track what they ate, receive feedback, and check in with a Registered Dietician every 1 to 2 weeks.

Both groups lost a similar amount of weight and improved some markers of glycemic control, but there were no significant differences between the groups. Interestingly, both groups had similarly low levels of compliance, which shows just how hard it can be to stick to a diet. You can rationalize all the reasons you need to eat certain foods — and if they help you stick to the plan— that matters. But, at the end of the day, calories still determine changes to your weight.

This doesn’t mean data is worthless. It has a place and can be used to help you understand how your body reacts to different foods. But the laws of fat loss remain the same; you need to eat less and stick to it long enough to keep the weight off.

The hard part of dieting is doing so without losing your mind, feeling too restricted, and being able to stick to the plan. Even during his contest days, Arnold would still eat pie and kaiserschmarrn. If you’re looking for a way to eat better and still eat foods you love (such as takeout), this book (Arnold wrote the foreword) can show you a more straightforward method that doesn’t require extra money spent on technology or supplements.

Arnold Q&A

This week, Arnold dropped in on Reddit and answered some questions.

First of all, Thank you so much! Second of all, I think a recumbent bike is a fantastic tool for you if your doctors say it is OK. I use a recumbent bike on some trips when I can’t get outside to ride. I know some people prefer the more hardcore spin bikes, but I believe that it’s better to find the exercise that you will actually do instead of constantly looking for the perfect exercise. That goes for everyone. If you have been waiting until you can find the perfect workout or the perfect diet or the perfect gym, stop it. Do the possible workout or the possible diet or the possible gym. Possible will always, always beat perfect, because perfect is an illusion. Enjoy that recumbent bike!

I think everybody knows I’ve made mistakes. I’ve talked about this a lot. Everyone makes mistakes. They might be different kinds of mistakes, but we all make them. When you’re someone like me, your mistakes are just a little more public.

All you can do is apologize if anyone else was involved, do everything you can to make it right whether anyone else was involved or not, and move forward. You can add the step of beating yourself up and making yourself miserable, but ask yourself if that really helps anyone? It is probably just distracting you from the work you need to do to start making things right. I think a lot of times people prefer to be upset instead of doing the work that could make things better.

It’s terrible. I’ve met so many of my heroes. Gorbachev, Mandela, Reg Park, Muhammad Ali. I could go on and on and on. I cherish those moments. I get inspired by those people. Whoever came up with that phrase was a bitter, unrealistic person who made the mistake of thinking they were perfect. I’ve had a million heroes throughout my life, and I know not a single one was perfect because, guess what? There is no perfect human. But there are millions of heroes everywhere you look if you’re willing to be inspired.

Weekend Challenge

On Monday, we talked about not being embarrassed if you’re motivated by things that other people might call petty or silly, like wanting to look good, wanting to impress someone, or wanting to prove someone wrong.

This weekend’s challenge is simple. In the past, you’ve worked to find your vision and visualize who you want to be. We taught you to find a quiet space, go for a walk if you need more inspiration, leave your phone behind, and play a movie in your head about the future you want.

This weekend, I want you to find your reason that you want that vision to become a reality. No matter what it is, I want you to find the “why” that will give you enough fuel to do the work. Because every vision takes work. And if you know why you’re doing the work, it is always easier.

If you sit down and start thinking about wanting to get more dates and your brain tells you, “that’s stupid,” tell your brain to relax for a minute. Don’t let your brain judge your reason. I heard from members of the village who wanted to meet someone or prove to their doctor they could lose weight. You are looking for the kindling that lights your fire, no matter what your own brain or anyone else thinks about it.

Too often, we’re told those things are stupid. This weekend, forget about that. Let’s light your fire.

Thanks again for joining us for another week. We truly love this village, your feedback, and support. Here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell