In post , the concept of fat used by our body as an electrical insulator to protect all our vital organs from excessive periods of load and/or excessive electrical spikes of loads illustrated that the calories in vs calories out model is overly simplistic. A model based on calories simplifies the weight loss process to calorie restriction plus HiiT exercise, but when that process fails to deliver results we are left with either self loathing because we failed to eat less or exercise more, or denial that there is a problem at all. We end up back at square one, we feel like failures yet we fail to question if the model is accurate.
So why then does the calorie based model seem to work, at least on occasion or at least for some? Because it will when you become either neurotic or obsessive (i.e. when you create an anxiety about your weight) and use that chaotic energy to fuel a behavioural pattern towards achieving a desired weight loss goal. Problem is… when you ‘slip up’ even for an instant, when you ease up just slightly, when you loosen up the rules, fudge on the points or on the charts a teensy bit, it all falls apart.
Proof #1 that a calorie based model doesn’t work is that it is unsustainable. The closer you come to your target weight… the more compulsive, the more obsessive, the more excessive, the more neurotic you need to become in order to hold off whatever weight you lost.
Proof #2 that a calorie based model doesn’t work is that it is not scale-able: the process does not apply equally to the first 5% as it does to the last 5% towards the goal. The first 5% is relatively easy… do something different and the pounds fall off, but that ease doesn’t last long. Soon you have to restrict more and more calories, and you have to exercise harder and harder, longer and longer in order to see the gains that you made simply by getting off the couch a couple times.
We are marketed constantly that the calorie based model of weight loss is “the” model, especially since so called experts recite conclusions and data from research studies which all point in one direction (as if quantity of research trumps quality or real life applicability).
At some point, you have to lift your head up from blindly following the herd, look around, listen, and ask yourself… if everyone is doing the same thing, and if it isn’t working consistently for everyone, then either we are all doing it wrong (which advertising tries to convince us), or the model doesn’t work.
The model doesn’t work.
This is proven by the grim reality that our society is now 2/3rds overweight, obese, or morbidly obese, with juvenile obesity yet another epidemic in the making. If calorie in-calorie out worked, then we shouldn’t be becoming more overweight, more obese, more unhealthy… yet we are. Either we are all stupid, or the model doesn’t work. My vote is that the model doesn’t work, no matter how many Ph.Ds and their doctoral research state the opposite.
This post aims to provide another explanation for why we are becoming more and more overweight.
Adding to the electrical model (as described in post ), there is a mechanical model which provides another explanation as to why we pack and protect our vital organs using fat. Best of all, the mechanical model does not conflict or contradict the electrical model in anyway, and can stand alongside the electrical model yielding multiple explanations for how and why we gain weight.
The physical/mechanical model to explain the use of fat by our body to protect our organs starts by reviewing the relationship between temperature and pressure. Gay-Lussac’s Law states the following:
With this relationship in mind, lets return to the concept of the abdominal cylinder and piston as was both described and illustrated in the posts titled “Worst Innovation in Triathlon“. Below is the image of our abdominal cylinder: the diaphragm forms the top, the pelvic floor the bottom, and the abdominal walls and spine and ribs make up the sides.
Recall also, that our vital organs along with our breathing (provided it is diaphragmatic) move in a rhythmical pattern that can be referred to as the abdominal piston (see images below).
To review… when you inhale the piston head (vital organs) shifts down and when you exhale the piston head shifts up. This is proper use of your anatomy, this is proper and healthy breathing biomechanics. The result of these healthy biomechanics is that you do not create excessive intra-abdominal pressure, you do not compress and stress your vital organs (e.g. stomach, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, spleen, bladder, uterus, ovaries), you do not stress your pelvic floor, you do not pinch or compress blood vessels and nerves which travel through your abdomen. With healthy biomechanics – i.e. with proper use of your musculo-skeletal system – you do not lock, brace, make rigid any of the musculo-skeletal structures in your core. With healthy biomechanics you do not stop the abdominal piston from moving… not ever.
So what happens when you do stop the abdominal piston?
When you lock your abdominal piston, that is when Gay-Lussac’s Law comes into play…
Do you really think all your vital organs respond well to being ‘pressure cooked’?
Do we really need to wonder why our body starts to bubble wrap all our vital organs in a protective layer of insulating fat [fat insulates against cold, it equally insulates against heat and as in post , against electrical activity]. If we are constantly subjecting our vital organs to pressures and temperatures that are best left for making diamonds out of coal then why wonder why your body takes protective steps to ensure your survival?
We need to stop seeing fat as unhealthy, and start seeing the lifestyle that causes our body to create a protective layer of fat as what is truly unhealthy.
Layering ourselves up with fat is the byproduct of excessive intensity or duration in stress, or an individual who lacks the capacity and/or strategies to engage stress. Either way… the issue is not fat, the issue is stress, or stress management.
If that wasn’t enough, do you really need to be shocked when you find out that you have developed food sensitivities, intolerances, blood sugar issues/symptoms of early diabetes, other digestion issues including diarrhea, constipation, or that your blood pressure is increasing, that your resting heart rate is anything close to resting, or that your kidneys, your liver, your reproductive organs are unable to operate when being ‘pressure cooked’ on a daily basis?
We lock our abdominal piston because we have too much stress in our lives, we take on too much stress, we fail to properly train to physically have the capacity to endure stress, we fail to properly study technique and strategy to have the wisdom to engage and manage stress, we fail to learn how to express ourselves honestly so when we are stressed instead of flowing and using healthy emotions to fuel us, we absorb, retain, repress and suppress toxic feelings.
The fact that we are still alive after repressing emotions, after subjecting our organs to temperature, pressure, to spikes in electrical activity is what should be surprising… not that we are overweight or obese. Becoming overweight or obese is simply millions of years of evolution programmed into us trying to keep us alive, trying to help us survive until the stressful period passes us.
As Ferris Bueller said… “life moves pretty fast, if you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I encourage you to slow down, take inventory of what is truly important to you, and evaluate whether you are on the path that you want to be on, today, for the rest of your life. If your path has taken you away from taking care of yourself, from health, then perhaps this is the moment to get back on it.