A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Primal reflexes

So, here's a quotation from the comments to a post on the site at the right, Refuse to Regain.

Barbara Berkeley said in reply to Bonnie...
... When you are losing and maintaining weight, you are fighting primal reflexes that the body has developed over countless centuries. The body does not want you to waste away so it fights weight loss. Similarly, after a period of food restriction it will entice you to eat. Fighting these forces with "willpower" is like fighting nature with willpower. But strategy works. Figuring out how to make an end run around these responses is challenging, but creates success.

There are a couple of things that are interesting here.  First is the concept that losing weight is unnatural.  I've read enough to think that's true.  We are built to survive (and yes, I believe in evolution--don't laugh.  I have a friend who does not). We have evolved to hold onto all nutrition, because bad times come.  Except that now, they mostly don't, not in the US, anyway.  You have to be really freaking poor to starve here.  Ironically, much of the cheap food that's out there is high in sugar, fat, and calories.  Lots of poor people are huge.  

Back to the evolution, though.  The concept that one's body tries hard not to trim down means we're fighting a tough fight.  Really tough.  And the balance is a delicate one.  A couple of hundred calories either way every day can mean gain or loss over the long term.  The key is not to damage your body on the way down.

Here's what I find interesting about Barbara Berkeley's theory.  She's an M.D. in Cleveland who believes that part of the difficulty fighting the evolution is that hormones dictate the urge to eat.  I don't know where I stand on this, but it's interesting.  I always thought I was eating emotionally.  She has said (in comments on the site) that many people think that it's emotion, even though it's a physiological thing.

Food (heh) for thought.  I think it's interesting because for the last few weeks, I've really felt the desire to eat a lot.  On Christmas, I took a day off from tracking.  All things considered, I didn't eat too much--well, not true.  Aside from the monkey bread, I ate pretty normally.  Lots of carbs.  But not insane, except for the monkey bread.

I have been assuming that I'm agitated about the holidays or other life events.  But Barbara's suggestion that my desire to eat a lot is driven by my more moderate eating over the last few months is interesting.  I'm just trying to watch the process and not react to it in a bad way.  I am sure I will feel this way, at least some of the time for the rest of my life.  All I can do, I think, is stay disciplined.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ideas. I don't think there is a single, all-the-time answer to anything, really. Sometimes overeating is emotional, sometimes it's hormone-driven - as a female, I can attest to that, it's like clockwork!

    Knowledge is power; the more approaches we have to make that end run, the better. I like your calm approach.