Eating right and exercising is such a bitch sometimes… OK, almost all of the time! Why must eating & being healthy be so confusing and seemingly unsustainable?
Why does getting yourself to workout have to be like trying to convince a tired and screaming toddler that they need that fucking nap? Why the hell does motivation show up in all it’s glory and good feelings and then disappear right before we make progress?
The answer: Our brains are like an intensely clingy significant other. It doesn’t want us to do anything other than be with it and cater to its needs. If we try to do something different, it throws a fit. If we want to change something about ourselves, it convinces us that we should remain the same.
What’s really going on though?
The real reason that exercising, eating right, and following good habits is so challenging, is because we have a brain that is NOT suited for our modern-day lifestyle. It is highly advanced and primitive at the same time.
What do I mean by this? In order to understand, you have to realize that humans have been around for a very, very long time.
We did much of our evolving while being hunter-gatherers. Our ancestors lived each day simply trying to survive. They were worried about predators and enemies. Food was scarce, and what food they did eat was burned through (daily) physical labor.
Since food was usually not abundant, the brain and body adapted in a way that prioritizes homeostasis (staying the same). This is simply a defense mechanism to stop us from using too much energy and to avoid danger.
Contrast with how we live today
First, let’s talk about eating habits. Remember that our ancestors were usually never certain where their next meal was going to come from. Therefore, they appreciated the plants and animals they harvested. They were more connected with their food. They enjoyed it. They savored it. Eating was (much more so) a social experience.
These days we just go to the supermarket to get our “food”. Worse yet, almost everything there hardly classifies as real food. Plus, all of that junk makes up a vast majority of the Western diet. Calorically-dense food with little to no real nutrients. Great. Most of the population will never grow or hunt their own food either.
When we do eat, we are conditioned to eat everything on our plate, and to eat as much as we can. Have seconds. Thirds. Then go eat a couple spoonfuls of what’s left in the pan (don’t get me started on dessert). Hell, I’m even being generous by assuming meals are created and consumed at home. That brings me to the next point.
Our daily lives are so rushed and chaotic that we actually struggle to find time to eat sometimes. Fast food restaurants, quick cafeterias and Grab-N-Go crap at gas stations is what we resort to. For some people, every meal.
Now, let’s talk about movement. Again, imagine how our ancestors spent each day. They were out hunting (not with high powered rifles mind-you). They were foraging for berries, roots, insects and more. They were growing food. They were running from or into danger. For entertainment, they played physical games and danced. These people moved, a lot, every single day.
Look at how we live now. Sit for entertainment. Sit for work. Sit to travel. Sit for life. Maybe we should all just design chairs and couches and seats because we are all too familiar with sitting and not using our bodies.
Why we suck at being healthy
If you look at the bigger picture of what is going on here, it starts to make sense why we have so many health problems. We evolved in conditions that simply do not apply anymore. Technological advancement has been amazing and we live in the greatest time in the history of…ever!
The tragedy is that we were not prepared to adjust to the graces of modern conveniences. We aren’t taught how to eat healthy, and the emphasis on the importance of movement and exercise is nearly non-existent.
Modern medicine is all about being reactive rather than proactive
The good news is that more and more people are waking up to the fact that we are living longer, and that life is just all-around better when you’re healthy. Weird right?
So in closing, I think it’s important to understand where our bodies came and evolved from, so that we can see the dangers of continuing the traditional Western lifestyle.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helped!