Restriction: It’s not just for calories

I’m sitting in the Newark airport and having a sandwich at the Earl of Sandwich (it’s the only place I can sit down here, it seems). There was a sign as I came up the ramp for “PI” stating that “He’s a child isn’t a diagnosis”, implying that your child’s cold could be a sign of “PI”. As I’m sitting here eating this club sandwich, there’s another sign outside the restaurant also for “PI” or “Primary Immunodeficiency”.

Primary immunodeficiency is a condition that affects (at best estimate) about 1 in 100 000 births. There are at least 5000 people that see that sign every day. Of those 5000 people, a much lower number of them will have children and even lower still, the number of those individuals who have a child less than 1 year old. In 20 days (almost a month), that sign would be applicable to a single individual if they were all infants under the age of 1. How many days would it take to pick up one case of PI? Probably more than 6 months to a year. Important? Yes. Because PI or SCID (Severe combined immunodeficiency) can result in DEATH before the age of one year if untreated.

However, one could argue that the sign does more damage than it does good. It plants a certain amount of stress and pain on an individual with a child (they don’t mention the age that PI usually affects) who reads the sign. The sign is going to worry approximately 99 999 out of 100 000 people (who have kids) unnecessarily.

This got me to thinking: How much information do you need to achieve your goals? And at what point does additional information deter you from reaching that goal? In other words, when does more information do harm?

If you lived without internet access, and had to lose weight, how would you accomplish that? I think the answer is a fairly simple one: You would eat less and move more. And if that wasn’t working very well, you’d probably eat even less and possibly move even more until you got a result.

So the question is, given that we know this method will work, does it really need to be more complicated than that? Is every other “alternative” method simply a mind-gimmick to frame this solution? Does knowing about Primary Immunodeficiency change anything for 99 999 out of 100 000 people? And therefore, does knowing about (and I’m not even talking about understanding) the Zone diet, the Paleo diet, growth hormone (within physiological levels, even high normal levels), insulin, HIIT, toed shoes, or any other more formalized “method”/gimmich/device change anything for 99 999 out of 100 000 people trying to change their bodies? And how harmful in terms of stress, time, and resources (financial or otherwise) is this if I adopt or or don’t adopt it?

I blog about studies (even if it is intermittent). I’m trained to interpret and filter, and I’m trained to weed. I’m just as wishful and hopeful to achieve MY goals. Getting there faster is always something in which I am interested. And I always have to ask myself, “Is this something that will genuinely help me, or does it just make me feel unique?” Never underestimate the potential for harm. Limiting your consumption applies both for calories and information.

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