For the vast majority of human history, a top survival concern was obtaining food.
It easy to become fat, and difficult to lose weight: “overabundance of food” is an unusual situation that was not frequently encountered in evolutionary history. However, it’s unclear how (in modern society) a person could replicate the food-acquisition strategies of our ancestors.
Let’s create a healthy “ancestral human” diet plan by leveraging the ancient ways of hunting and gathering. Ideally, without the constant threat of starvation.
Specifically, we will make a card game out of the process of obtaining food (Figure 1).
This game is a two-step process:
STEP 1: The dieting individual selects three cards and places them face-down on their cell phone (Figure 2). The phone’s timer is then set to ONE HOUR. (The dieter may not use their phone for that hour.)
STEP 2: After the hour elapses, the dieter may flip the cards over and see what delicious foods they obtained (Figure 3)—perhaps none at all!
Instead of listing a specific food, cards use icons to represent a “standard unit” (of meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.). In general, a “unit” would represent a few hundred calories worth of a type of food. A “standard unit” of trail mix is shown in in Figure 4.
The different card types could have different risk / reward elements (Figure 5).
Some sample card results are shown in Figure 6.
This “gameified” diet seems like it could maybe actually work (although human testing thus far has not been especially promising: see Figure 8). The key problem is that the user must 1) not snack while waiting for their phone timer to go off and 2) must actually stick to the portions listed on the card backs. This could be difficult to enforce.
PROS: Brings the ancient & venerable ancestral ways into the modern era.
CONS: Might result in starvation if a user is extremely unlucky with their card draws (and also extremely diligent in following the rules of this system).