You wouldn’t know it by going to the grocery store… our grocery stores are always stocked with the same fruits and vegetables 12 months of the year. That’s not how it works out in nature. Nature works in cycles… there is a season to sow, and there is a time for harvest. Right now the season of fall is upon us and with that nature’s abundance spills in such abundance that apples, pears, and shortly pumpkins and gourds will litter farmers fields because we simply do not consume all that nature produces. Nature is truly abundant.
Animals realize what season they are in and as a result, we see squirrels start to get chubbier and chubbier. Their little thighs can really pack on the weight. Animals realize that nature moves in cycles: a season of abundance will inevitably be followed by a time of lack, of insufficiency.
As a society we have worked ourselves obese insuring that there is no such thing as lack, as a shortage, and it shows in our rates of obesity and chronic/lifestyle diseases. You no longer have to travel to Africa to see vast swaths of the population malnourished, right here in the good ole’ Americas we consume more processed factory foods and drinks lacking any nutritional and dietary value than can be imagined, and yet we wonder why we are chronically ill, injured, in pain, overweight, diseased, etc…
A lack in nature is no travesty, shortages are frequent, cyclical insufficiency is the norm. Millions of years of evolution has bred into mammals the instinct to pack on weight, fearlessly get fat, knowing that winter offers little in the way of calories, while energy is still demanded in order to produce sufficient heat to maintain core body temperature during cold, windy and wet weather.
Mammals will gorge on berries, nuts, fruit, whatever they can find in order to fatten up. For some mammals, the winter months are a time of even greater energy expenditure – as if hibernation wasn’t enough – as it is birthing season as well. On top of the energy demands to stay warm, bears give birth in the depth of winter, with cubs suckled fully dependent on mama bears fat stores.
After months of hibernation spring does not come offering a cornucopia of food for animals, nor is there is a full fridge, a 24-7 grocery store, or gas station convenience store for animals so they can load back up with calories. Green shots in spring do offer some nutrition, but it’s a far shot from the supply of fall.
Whats the point with all this blather about hibernation?
Whats any of this got to do with weight loss, or how we are wrong about… fat?
How do animals hibernate? They…
- Lower their heart rate,
- Lower their breathing rate,
- Lower their core body temperature,
- And do this by dropping their metabolic rate low, low, low.
- Animals sleep, and then sleep some more, and then sleep alittle bit more.
The result… animals can lose as much as 40% of their body weight. They lose almost half their body weight without doing a single stepper or treadmill workout, without bootcamp, Hiit, or Tabata training, they do not get vitamin injections, they do not take supplements, they do not go gluten free, they do not do anything that we as humans do in order to try and lose weight.
In fact, animals do the exact opposite of what we are told by nutritionists, dietitians, by fitness trainers and coaches, by almost the entire health and fitness industry, including some health and fitness professionals!
What are we told to do to burn calories, to lose weight, to drop the pounds?
- Max out your heart rate,
- Max out your breathing rate,
- Max your core body temperature by either training in heat (e.g. hot yoga), or follow up training with heat (e.g. saunas, steam rooms),
- Max out your metabolic rate,
- Do HiiT, FTP and threshold workouts, then do more of them, and more of them until you sweat, dry heave, or simply puke up those unwanted calories.
We are told to drink liter after liter of water, snack constantly because 3 square meals a day simply cannot be enough calories, then we are told to wear special clothing, or book appointments to have our fat rubbed, cooled, frozen, massaged, lasered.
We are fear mongered that a lower metabolic rate triggers “starvation mode” and will result in us adding weight faster to our butt then we could to a barbell.
Fear, fear and more fear propagating by ignorance, ignorance, ignorance.
Lets get this straight…
Exercise physiology which has been around since the 1950s – a total of maybe 70 years – says HiiT, maximizing metabolic rate, and max effort workouts with ongoing solid and liquid fueling a must in order to lose weight… and as a result of all of us following these steps the outcome has been a full out epidemic if not full out obesity pandemic. In blissful obedience we continue to hit the gym, pound the protein, slurp the smoothees, cut the gluten, cut the carbs, while refusing to sleep, to rest, nap or put our devices down for even an instant.
On the other hand, evolution which has led to the way animals hibernate and yields weight loss results of 40% which has been in the works for… oh… what?…60, 70, 80+ million years and has a pretty good track record considering life on this planet thrives even with humankind working feverishly to see if it can bring it to an end.
I realize that evolution doesn’t tweet, or post on Fb, or have a lightning e-sale for the next 20 minutes, but seriously… our health – YOUR HEALTH – is on the line, ya’ think you could spend a moment or two considering whether your health or fitness professional or the industry is telling you is anything even remotely true.
Considering it doesnt seem to be working for anyone consistently, maybe just maybe its not designed to work… but just to sell you something. Think about it.