Lifestyle problems require lifestyle solutions
Imagine you're standing around in your local town square, or some gathering point near where you live.
There's a hum of conversation in the area as people go about their daily business.
Out of the corner of your eye you notice a man setting up some sort of soapbox stand.
He has slick combed over hair and is wearing a beige suit that is slightly too big for him.
Now standing on his makeshift stage he clears his throat and begins to shout.
"Ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between!
He's gesticulating wildly as he speaks and beads of sweat have started to trickle down his forehead.
"Gather 'round, and prepare to not believe your eyes. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression - you've got 'em all and I've got the cure."
He points to a man in the crowd.
"You sir, do you suffer from any of these modern ailments?"
The man he pointed out is overweight, red faced and suspiciously eager to stand up in front of the crowd having been beckoned.
"Why yes I do," he responds. "All of them!"
"Well what serendipity is this? For in my suitcase here is the cure to all that ails you."
In one swift motion the man leans into his small, brown tattered suitcase, pulls out a small glass bottle and whips his hand up high above his head.
This motion is followed by a pause. He gives the crowd just enough time to settle into a murmur before he continues.
"One sip of my patented tonic, that's all it takes!"
From his suit pocket he takes a small shot glass and fills it with the tonic.
The crowd stands silent.
"Oh, I forgot to mention, drinking my tonic also helps fight climate change."
He presents the shot glass to the man from the crowd who trustingly swallows it all in one go.
Almost instantly he begins to heave and convulse. "Oh god," he says and stumbles away looking like a man desperately seeking a toilet.
The sweaty man on the soapbox simply stands there with a smirk on his face.
The crowd begins to grow unsettled. He lets the doubters leave because they don't buy stuff anyway, and lets the rest stand in brief confusion.
Then, out of nowhere another man appears. He's dressed the same as the man who drank the tonic, but he's at least half the size.
No, it's not a different man at all. It's the same man but he's thinner, no longer red faced and walking without the limp he'd had before.
It worked! The tonic worked!
The crowd is whipped up into a frenzy.
The salesman is more than happy to oblige them.
What does it all mean?
The man in that story was a snake oil salesman and his tonic was a fake. The guy in the crowd was a plant and the guy who lost the weight was just a skinny guy that looked like original fat guy and wearing clothes twice his size.
The problems he was promising to fix were all very real, but the reality is that there is no 'hack' to solve them.
Quick and easy solutions to complex problems simply do not exist.
His list of ailments included: diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and even global warming (which will result in many ailments for many people).
Of course all of these things can't be fixed with a single tonic.
And yet every day we are bombarded with products that claim to fix these issues.
New fad diets, new drugs, new technology - all for sale to anyone desperate to avoid hard work.
In reality there is only one thing that can solve all of these modern problems, and you can't get it in pill form.
Eat a calorie restricted, organic, whole food diet, exercise regularly, sleep consistently and lean towards a more minimalist lifestyle where people and experiences are valued more than products.
Doing this will solve or contribute to solving all of the issues outlined above.
As a designer of systems I love it when a single action or system solves multiple problems, and this is a system of living that will solve most of the major problems that humanity faces today.
Heart disease - A wholefood diet that is low in fat has been shown to reverse heart disease
Diabetes - Type 2 diabetes can be avoided and even reversed with a low fat whole food diet
Obesity - It is a lot harder to be obese if you are eating only whole foods and living an active lifestyle
Depression - An active lifestyle coupled with a healthy wholefood diet can fight depression (many believe this is to do with gut microbiome issues) and studies have shown that a minimalistic approach to life results in better mental health
Climate change - Living a more minimalist lifestyle and consuming non processed foods only will results in a significant decrease in your environmental footprint
The important point is that lifestyle problems require lifestyle solutions - there is no magic low effort pill, only work.