I believe our attitude, our approach to dealing with being fat, overweight, and with obesity is wrong.
I do not agree and I do not believe it’s a matter of calories in vs calories out.
It’s overly simplistic, mechanistic, and ingrains a mindset that we are merely machines.
I do not agree and I do not believe that it’s a matter of determination, drive, willpower.
Again, it’s overly simplistic, denying that beliefs, narratives, emotions play any part.
I believe that our model of how the human body functions is stuck in the steam engine period, while the world has evolved into an era of lithium battery powered remotely controlled drones.
Overeating, over-exercising or under-exercising are the result of individuals having excessive intensities of stress and/or excessive durations of stress in their lives and unable to effectively manage the stress levels that they have taken on. We incorrectly use eating and exercising (or lack thereof) as short term solutions when we fail to maintain healthy levels of stress in our lives, and/or fail to engage the stress we have in an healthy manner.
The root of the obesity epidemic is that we – collectively – are not handling appropriately the effects that advancements in technology are causing on our lives, on our work, our careers, our finances, our social structure, social interactions, on the nature of how we live each and every day. Our failure to integrate and ‘keep up’ with the accelerating rate of advancement is not only making us outright sick, it is driving us to addictions and in worst cases to an early grave (despite the hoopla that technology is a one way street to an ever improving quality of life).
What’s the difference between a dead body and an alive body? Both have organs, muscles, nerves, and both have a brain… so what is the difference? What is the aspect of being alive that makes us alive, that differentiates us from being dead?
You are pronounced dead when there is no longer detectable electrical activity in your heart and in your brain; when the electrical signals of these organs stops… you are pronounced dead.
What defines us as alive, is energy, the electrical signals constantly flowing between individual cells (e.g. within an organ), or between different groups of cells (e.g. between organs).
Like anything that conducts energy – as in electricity – there must be some sort of segregation of signals so that signals remain distinct, discrete, preventing short circuits.
In electronics, the part of the wire which surrounds, protects, and isolates the energy traveling in the wire from coming in contact with any other wire is the wire insulation. The insulation is typically a rubber or plastic coating that surrounds the copper wire within.
In the electrical wiring of the body we too need to have an insulator that ensures that the signals – the electricity – along nerves, between groups of cells doesn’t come in contact with other signals, short circuiting the message or overloading the system.
What does our body use as insulation? It uses FAT!
That’s right… FAT is the insulator. You need fat in your body, you need fat in your brain, you need fat everywhere in order that each and every electrical signal you generate remains distinct throughout its journey from start to finish. Fat is also needed to insulate to prevent an overload of signals.
Fat as an insulator is critical to the proper function of every single organ in our body, brain included.
Fat is not only needed in the wiring (i.e. our nervous system) but fat is needed wherever there is the risk or the potential risk that short circuits and system overloads can happen.
In healthy systems, where stress loads are appropriate and balanced by rest (e.g. cooling) periods, then the insulation required is minimal.
In systems where the stress load – or stated another way, in systems were the flow of electricity is excessive in intensity and/or duration – then the amount of insulation required increases. If the stress load is so high that there is a risk that organs could be damaged, then in order to protect itself the body starts to insulate itself… it uses FAT to surround and protect the organs.
To visualize what happens when electrical devices are placed under excessive stress loads for which they were not designed, (as in there is insufficient insulation to prevent overflow of the stress), here are computer motherboards being overloaded with electricity:
The above are not situations that your body can allow to happen to you… that would be capital ‘B’ bad. To protect and prevent total organ overload and organ failure, your body insulates organs using fat.
If you stop and think for a moment, that its not just your brain that handles stress, but every single organ in your body… your heart, your lungs, your liver, your pancreas, your stomach, every organ… then insulting to prevent a burn out ain’t such a bad strategy.
Your body is not stupid. Your body is not rebelling against you when it stuffs insulation between each organ. Your body is working to protect you, to keep you alive. Your body is simply responding to the fact that the stress load you are placing it under is more than it can handle.
Millions upon millions of years of evolution are not working against you, but for you, to keep you alive. Your body is hoping that it can keep you alive long enough that the threats that you are under that are causing the excessive stress loads will decrease. Until then, stuffing every crack and crevasse with fat is simply your body being smart about survival.
We need to reconsider the paradigm with which we think about fat, being overweight, and about obesity. It is not calories in vs out, its not willpower, its not laziness or lack of motivation; the issue is much much larger… its about stress.
In fact, its not about stress per se, its about our ability to engage stress in an healthy manner, its about our ability to eliminate, reduce and manage stress, its about our ability to train, preparing to live in a world that is only becoming more and more stressful.
We cannot eliminate stress. The only people without stress are those in a cemetery 6ft under.
I believe that an electrical model, not a caloric model needs to be considered because at the root of our function, each and every cell in your body is a tiny little battery, a tiny little capacitor, which depends on proper electrical charges existing and flowing across its cell membrane to function properly.
A caloric model of obesity thinks of the human body only as a mechanical object.
The human body cannot be thought of in a steam engine manner… we need to upgrade our model from the steam engine era, to the era of the super computer. An era that is not fueled by calories, but by the flow of electrons.