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The Slow-KiloByte Diet: A minimalist approach to reducing digital consumption.

There are two things everybody seems to be struggling with during lockdown (ok, maybe if you count sex and relationships that’d be three): Healthy eating and excessive digital consumption.

Before, we’ve talked about the importance of decluttering your mind from digital and social media. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to do this. At best, most people can only offer general tips and guidelines. 

But, what would happen if we applied the tips and principles behind one of the most popular ever weight loss programs to our digital consumption?

Enter Tim Ferriss’ slow-carb diet. 

The lifestyle, self-promotion, and everything guru Tim Ferriss can’t help but flaunt around the incredible results of his trademark slow-carb diet. The program, which has helped countless (now considerably slimmer) people following the publication of his The 4-Hour Body book, consists of very few, crystal clear, mostly negatively-oriented steps:

  1. Eat only vegetables, legumes, and protein sources (meat, eggs, etc.), six days a week, in whatever quantities you want. Do not eat anything outside these groups. If you have to ask if a particular food qualifies, that means you shouldn’t eat it. 
  2. Do not drink calories. Alcohol is restricted to dry wine, certain types of bourbon, and tequila in moderation.
  3. Only eat “domino” foods (like sugar-free soft drinks, nuts, avocadoes, and olives) if you can control yourself and eat them in very low quantities.
  4. Make sure you dedicate one day of the week to eat everything you can and want to reward yourself for your progress.

The simplicity of the no-nonsense slow-carb diet is, without a doubt, what makes it work. Instead of restricting people indefinitely, Tim’s program aims to create a state of constant fat-burning, and re-starting the body’s processes once a week, which also allows people to reward themselves for their progress. About this, Ferriss has said that “the slow-carb diet has the highest compliance rate of all diets (…) Every diet works and will help you lose weight over time, but finding one that you can stick to without cheating is the hardest part (…) By incorporating cheating into the program, it’s easier to remain constant”.

So, what would a digital equivalent of the slow-carb diet look like?

Hopefully our program can be as good as its physical counterpart!

Based on Ferriss’ diet, we hope to be able to create a program that works during lockdowns and manages to keep your attention focused on the things you really need to get done. Following the slow-carb spirit, we’ve come up with the following list to help you cut back on your digital consumption:

  1. Delete all social media apps from your phone, and avoid checking them in-browser. Download an app that blocks your social consumption on your laptop, such as Nudge
  2. Refuse to consume everything that doesn’t make it incredibly evident that the creator put a lot of thought and effort into it, and even then really consider if you must consume it. This automatically rules out 99% of news, podcasts, articles, Youtube videos, all social media content, TikTok, ‘stories’, Snapchat, porn (sorry!), etc. Music, movies, courses, and books are therefore allowed as long as they don’t interfere with you getting things done.
  3. Be mindful of your use of messaging apps. We recommend you narrow down your catalogue to one, and then only use it as necessary. 
  4. Reward yourself for complying with your slow-kilobyte diet by scheduling a (preferably offline) activity of your choice. This can be a concert, course, walk with a friend, hike, massage, or whatever fun activity you can think of. Ideally, these activities should also be social.  
  5. (Optional, but we’re in lockdown, so it’s only fair): Carefully find creators or entertainers (could be Youtubers, TikTokers, Instagramers, blogs) that you usually follow and that always provide high-quality content that effectively makes your day better. Mindfully craft the smallest exception list you can. If you’re unsure about a particular creator, cut them off. You don’t need them!

It’s harder to track your mind than your weight and your food.

When you’re following a diet, the mirror is the best feedback mechanism for you to discover if what you’re doing is working.

When following a digital diet, it’s easy to forget why we do what we do, and fall back into bad habits and routines. It’s essential to use this program and tailor it to your particular needs, as well as to be mindful and critical about the aspects of your life that may be pushing you to overindulge in digital consumption. 

In the end, a diet is a recipe for solving a problem by caring for a symptom, but long-lasting or permanent change can only come from a change of habits and mindset. 

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