Friday, 7 April 2017

30 Day Cowlean Challenge, Day Eighteen: Top-Down vs Bottom-Up Dieting

Hi guys,

Weight: 207.4 lbs
Calories: 3850

What I ate in the day was clean, then I met for a drink and the bits and bobs I ate afterwards ruined it for me. Just going to clean up my act over the weekend (I’m writing this a day late, sorry!) and roll into week 3 with some new low weigh-ins.

One of the things I really love doing is taking a concept from one field, then applying it to another. I’ve done this before by using economic laws like the low hanging fruit principle and diminishing returns to scale and applying them to dieting. Today I want to liken dieting, to investment.

While there are many different styles that you can use to manage your money, we can roughly break them down to quantitative (top-down) and qualitative (bottom-up) approaches. Now, of course there is overlap: in quantitative analysis you need to use common sense to pick variables and create ratios, and in qualitative analysis you need to focus on bottom lines and not just go with what your gut says.

But how does this relate to health? I would say that top-down dieting brings to mind the image of someone who hears that doing X, Y and Z can help you lose weight. In the whole population, these actions have, on average, led to weight loss. So the person goes on a particular cleanse week, tries a certain type of exercise, and eats only at certain hours of the day. While those actions may be effective, I see them more as papering over the cracks. You can’t just continue your old life with some added extras, and expect to get the results of your dreams! Furthermore, a lot of things that work for other people may not specifically work for you. For example, you might hear that blueberries are healthy and contain lots of antioxidants. Correct; but what if you’re allergic?

On the other hand, I see bottom up dieting as a very personal experience. Look at yourself and really think about what will work for you. Put in place the actions which creates an environment in your body which is healthy and conducive to weight loss. I like to stylise my way of eating as the “Cowlean Diet”, but in truth it’s just an amalgamation of what I know, put together in a way that works for me. The end goal is to create your own version so that there’s a “Bob Diet” and a “Belinda Diet”.

I think it’s clear to see that I favour the latter. To get the results that you want it is important to wipe the slate clean and build a strong, steady, and personalised foundation.

Until tomorrow,

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