The top 5 reasons you are fat…from an environmental perspective.
- You need protection
- You love food…
- It’s easy to eat
- You are a creature of habit
- Life is too easy
You have read that calories in and calories out is the #1 way to change your physique. You then diligently calculate how much you eat everyday. How Fun! (Did you catch the sarcasm?) Then, you improve your exercise regimen and workout more, better, often. Within 2-3 months you are slimmer, stronger, and look better than ever right?
Hmmm. Why is it that many of us just never get there?
Let’s try another tack. Your metabolism is slow, so you pick up the health food journals, jot down some metabolically magic foods, increase your energy food intake, decrease the sluggish, heavy foods and within months you are 15 pounds lighter. No?
Well, there are countless resources out there on what to eat, what not to eat, when to exercise, when not to exercise, eat right for your body type, and on and on. Many of us have started a new ‘lifestyle’ of eating and living. Most of us have ‘failed’ to maintain this change.
In this post, I examine what happens to those of us who feel like we have ‘failed’.
1. You need Protection
Fat is protective. It provides physical protection from the elements, holds vital energy stores, in condensed form, keeps us insulated literally. It is also very protective energetically. You can be the happiest person in the world, but inside that extra 50-100 pounds, you might be hiding from something, or scared of something, or not wanting to face something. (BTW, we have an ancestral reason for eating fats: they keep us physically safer – check out this PubMed research abstract entry: The influence of food on pain perception in healthy human volunteers)
Fat also holds toxins. It is protecting us from toxic elements by accumulating them inside the fat cells, as they circulate in our bodies. You don’t have to grow up in Chernobyl to have grown up in a toxic environment. Emotions can turn toxic. Anger, hurt, rage, fear, grief, when not expressed, can become internalized and create a toxic environment inside your body. Some of us store decades of ‘bottled up emotions’ in our fat cells. They are very protective. Sometimes, a change in food intake and exercise that promotes fat loss can create huge mood swings, and even bring many of these bottled up feelings to the surface (and into the face of your loved or not so loved ones).
Food is exciting, I am the first to admit that. Some foods are intoxicating (as all chocolate lovers know – if you love chocolate check out this post: Does Chocolate Addiction exist?). Studies have shown that some foods make us feel better than others. So, why not just eat more right? Well, the message here is: Is there really nothing more exciting in your life than eating more of that meal? Is that all you have to look forward to?
Some people tend to get into a rut. Where is the fun? Where is the hike up the mountain, a run down to the beach, a late night at the concert theatre? What about the all night talk-a-thon with your favorite pals? If there is no fun, no joy planned on a daily or at least a weekly basis, chances are that food is really the most fun you will encounter. Sad, isn’t it. So comforting to eat too, isn’t it. Eating also makes us ‘feel’ good emotionally and psychologically, regardless of whether we are hungry or not. You have heard of emotional eaters right? Yup, eating solves the unhappiness dilemma temporarily.
3. It’s easy to eat.
Some days are so friggin challenging that eating is probably the easiest thing you will do. As a parent, or project worker, a manager, organizer, or whatever your position is, you encounter days that are just very tiring, complex, strategically overwhelming and maybe even unsolvable. Problems, delays, system breakdowns can leak over to the next day and next day. You may not even see the end in sight. On those days, the hearty chili, or simple bagel and cream cheese just make you feel like you know what you are doing for that moment. It’s so simple. Toast. Butter. Coffee…Wonderful.
Better yet, after a long day of complex multitasking, isn’t it amazing that we can just hop into a restaurant, point to an item on a menu, maybe not even say the food out loud, just point and it comes to us. It’s so rewarding and pleasing.
Perhaps you are a procrastinator…You know what that means. That boring task ahead, those emails, the packages to send, the laundry to do; it’s all so much easier after a mid morning snack is
n’t it? We mistakenly reward in the wrong order! “I will eat this and then I will get that done”. WRONG! It’s much harder to say: “I will get that done and then I will eat this” Eating is easy, that’s why we do it so well, and forget about many other things, that are much harder to do, like ironing that pleated sleeve.
4. You are a creature of Habit
It’s time to get up. Put on the grey suit. Get on the 8 am train. Travel to work. Nod to your coworkers. Sit down. Type. type. type. Eat. Type. Eat. Print.Type. Walk around to get the paper. Sit down. Type. Travel home. Sit down and eat. Watch tv. Do dishes. Go to bed. Most days, we are pretty boring aren’t we? ‘But, you have to do that at work’ you argue… My DH told me that everyone sits in the same spot on the train travelling to work. WHY?
We are creatures of habit and it’s hard to break that habit. In many cases, the habits we pick don’t make our life better, easier, or happier, they are just the habits that stuck. They are the behaviours we did the longest in repetition. Repetition makes a new behaviour stick, like gum. So changing our diet, our exercise regimen isn’t going to stick after just a few days or even after a weeks. It’s just not long enough. Many of your ‘bad’ or negative lifestyle habits have been around for decades, thousands of repetitions. That’s what you are up against. The ‘old’ lifestyles creep back in over time and you feel like you have been sabotaged. But it’s not sabotage. It’s just you being human and choosing what you know over what you don’t know.
5. Life is too easy
Let’s face it. We can buy food in the modern world just about anywhere and anytime. 24 hour supermarket
s don’t discriminate. You can walk in with $1 and come out with a broccoli, or with a bag of processed, over-preserved, wannabe food anytime your heart desires. You don’t have to physically work for it. You may have a job all your life making phone calls (call centre), m
anaging people (sitting in a big chair), teaching (standing sometime), computing (majority of our jobs these days), and so on. These jobs, that we have created, are not designed for our bodies. Many have not even been created with our brains in mind. They are task oriented positions that require very little, if any, movement. (Check out more on this in the UK Telegraph, reporting on the latest study done on sitting and fat deposits)
It is up to you to compensate for that by getting outside everyday. It is up to you to go move, visit somewhere, do something. Walk. Run. Bike. We can all do it but we don’t. Why? It’s hard, and life is supposed to be easy right? Kids love to run. Kids love to move. At what age do we start to choose the sedentary lifestyle? Do we do that because of our parents? In our modern society, we have created such an easy life for ourselves with supermarkets, cars, automated bank machines, that we can get home to the couch so much faster. We can TIVO all our favorite shows and not miss a single thing. We spend more time watching people live on TV than we do actively living for ourselves.
That’s why we are fat. Because of one or more of the above is a part of who we are.
So, what do you think?