Podcast 308: Tackle Your Email for One Hour, A Hack for Dealing with Photo Clutter, and an Interview with Gary Taubes About “The Case for Keto.”

Try This at Home

Spend one hour clearing out email.

We can get a surprising amount accomplished in just one hour, if we focus and push through.

Some low-tech ideas (because we’re not very tech-y):
  • push yourself to do as much as possible in this hour as possible
  • unsubscribe to newsletters that you don’t read
  • create folders—if that works for you
  • hunt down the information you need to answer an email (similar to Power Hour)
  • set up a new email or an alias to receive less-valuable emails, like shipping confirmations or marketing emails
  • in a store, if asked for an email, don’t give it
  • talk to co-workers if you’re being cc’d unnecessarily
  • create canned language so you don’t have to keep typing the same text over and over
  • remember, “the stewing is worth than the doing,” and dealing with tough emails often gives a disproportionate boost of a sense of accomplishment
  •  once you’ve sent a first, kick-off email for a new big project, it’s often easier to keep going, because you get the energy of other people joining in

Happiness Hack

Every day, in your phone’s photo app, enter that month and day to pull up all the photos you’ve taken on that date over the years. It’s very fun to look back, and while you look, delete images you no longer need. It’s a manageable and pleasant way to tackle the clutter in your photos.


Gary Taubes is an investigative science and health journalist who has won numerous awards for his journalism. He has degrees in applied physics, engineering and journalism.

He’s the author of several books, and most recently those have included The Case Against Sugar (AmazonBookshop); Good Calories, Bad Calories (AmazonBookshop); and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (AmazonBookshop). His new book is The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating (AmazonBookshop).

Note: This conversation covers subjects like what to eat, management of weight, metabolic syndrome,  insulin response to carbs, and so on. Many people, for their own reasons, may not want to listen to a discussion of these subjects.

Based on twenty years of investigative reporting and interviews with 100 practicing physicians, Taubes’s book The Case for Keto makes clear the misconceptions in how we’ve come to think about obesity and diet (no, people do not become fat simply because they eat too much; hormones play the critical role) and uses the collected clinical experience of the medical community to provide essential practical advice. This book sets out to revolutionize how we think about eating healthy to prevent and reverse both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

 I’m a huge fan of Gary Taubes’s work. In March 2012, I read his book Why We Get Fat—which I read because Elizabeth is a type 1 diabetic, and I saw that the book was a discussion of insulin—and overnight, I changed practically everything about the way that I eat, and am happier and healthier as a result.

If you want to read more about my experience, I describe it in my book about habit change, Better Than Before, in my discussion of the Strategy of the Lightning Bolt. His ideas hit me like a lightning bolt.

So it was great to get the chance to talk to Gary.

We covered subjects such as:
  • the role of insulin in the body,  what influences the amount of insulin in the body, and why this matter so much
  • what about the fact that we may enjoy eating carbs, and don’t want to stop eating them?
  • why we shouldn’t worry about eating fat
  • how alcohol fits into this model
  • that two people could eat and exercise in the exactly the same way, and respond differently

If you want to listen to another interview with Gary Taubes, we talked to him in episode 98 about his last book, The Case Against Sugar. If you want to read a more in-depth interview I did with him, about that book, you can download the transcript here.

This discussion always makes me think about the difference between abstainers and moderators when it comes to facing strong temptations and the Strategy of Distinctions.

Elizabeth’s Demerit

Elizabeth has stopped cleaning the house.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

I give a gold star to medical science, doctors, and researchers! First, for the COVID-19 vaccine, and also January 9th marked the sixth anniversary of Jamie being cured of hepatitis C. That was the happiest day of my life.

What we’re reading for #Read21in21:

If you listen to Happier (or most other podcasts), you hear the hosts ask listeners to rate and review the show. Why? Listeners respect the views of other listeners, so by rating and reviewing—assuming you have good things to say!—you make other people get interested. Rates and reviews also build buzz around the show. It’s easy to rate and review—once you know what to do. Click here to find step-by-step instructions. Give yourself a gold star if you’ve subscribed, rated, reviewed, or recommended the show. It really is a tremendous help to Elizabeth and me.

LATEST Episodes



Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.