We’re told that if we ‘eat right and exercise’, we’ll lose weight. It looks good on paper, but if you take a closer look, a logical look, a look from an evolutionary perspective (which seems to be in fashion at the moment) it doesn’t actually make sense.
If restricted calorie intake plus exercise resulted in weight loss, we would have died out a long time ago.
What makes sense is that the humans who survived and procreated and survived again – they (we) are the ones who have the ability to exercise for long periods of time without eating much food, all without losing weight. It’s because these humans who are resistant to weight loss don’t die of hunger. They don’t waste away when times are tough. They persevere.
If exercising a lot and not eating much resulted in a massive, or even a marginal loss of body mass – our species would not have survived. If you have two unsuccessful hunts or one cold winter, everybody dies.
The idea that training more and eating less will result in a physical loss of mass is fine if you buy into the calories in vs. calories out fantasy, but it just doesn’t bear up under logic or observation. If it was that simple, why do so many people put in so much hard work and still not get any thinner? It can only be because doing these things doesn’t make you thinner. There’s no other possible explanation.
Oh no, Chris – they’re doing it wrong – you need to ‘train like this’ or follow this ‘system of eating’ or blah-de-blah – it’s all actually proof that exercise and eating healthy doesn’t make you lose weight. If it did make you lose weight, what’s the need of all these sophisticated methods that all try to out-smart your metabolism?
Frustrated trainees aren’t doing it wrong – they’re exercising aren’t they? They’re eating the way they’re told to (no, they’re not lying, people do actually starve themselves with gusto). It’s the way we think of it that must be wrong. Why deny the obvious?
When you train for fat loss, when that’s your goal for months or years on end, is it any wonder that people give up, thinking that their training isn’t working? Focusing on thinness stops people from exercising, and it’s the exercise – not the thinness – that actually makes you healthy.
If you focus on your athleticism or enjoyment of free movement, you actually open up to the possibility of developing your health.
Maybe, in time, that’ll make you thin.
And maybe it won’t.
But it will make you more healthy.
And isn’t that why we’re supposed to be trying to get thin in the first place? To be more healthy? Isn’t that the reason for all the fat-hatred? Because fat is like a Nazi super-weapon aimed at our collective bowel?
But we give up on being healthy because it’s failing to make us thin.
We think exercise isn’t working, but it is. It doesn’t matter what size you are, training increases circulation, it increases your ability to metabolise glucose, it detoxifies your tissues, it increases your lung capacity, it regulates your hormones, it protects against cancer and heart disease – all of this starts to happen before you lose a single pound. All of this continues to happen even if you never lose a gram of body fat.
Are we really supposed to believe that the reason exercise is good for you is because it burns calories? Give me a break. Health is not a fight between food and exercise, and one day, one of them wins.
“But I’m not getting thin, so I must still be unhealthy...”
Really? So what? Many studies indicate that ‘overweight’, fit people are more resistant to disease than unfit people of a ‘normal’ weight.
You think having six-pack abs is healthy? The answer is yes, if that’s what you’ve had your whole life without thought. And the answer is a most definitive no if you’ve had to eat snow peas and nothing else to get there.
In the name of thinness, people sacrifice their health again and again – either through frustration or excessive self-punishment. So you get a population who either does not exercise because we’ve grown to resent it, or who exercises and diets far too much, for the fear that one day if they stop and relax and learn to love themselves they might suddenly get fat.
It’s not your self-hatred that’s keeping you thin.
If you learn to love yourself, why would that make you fat? How? Do you feed your children crap because you love them? No – you do that because you’re lazy – love makes you feed your children well. Love makes you take them to the park to play.
The gym is the playground for adults. Love yourself and allow yourself the freedom to play, by taking it easy for once. Want to be young again? Invest in curiosity, awareness, and a sense of play. Try not doing what you’re told.
Got even a hintof a rebellious urge? I do. Focusing on the health benefits, or trying to be thin, only cripples my enjoyment of training. Focusing on my strength, and becoming more awesome, that shit inspires me to excel.
Forget about the health benefits. Nobody cares if it’s a 30 minute workout, a 90 minute workout, or if it lasts for 5 minutes. There is no such thing as cardio (more to come on that in the future). Invest in self-discovery. Pursue your own personal joy of movement.
What’s so much harder than doing what you’re told is investing in your self-knowledge, and working out for yourself, free from preconception, what you truly need – what you need from your food and training, and from everything else in life.
The individuals who constantly punish themselves are praised for their discipline, while people who eat and play truly and freely are accused of laziness, when that’s actually the harder path.
“Why didn’t you push out another rep?”
I’ve trained enough.
“No. Do another push-up.”
I’ve had enough.
“Do another. You don’t know what’s best for you. You’re lazy.”
Or maybe... Aware? Intelligent? Autonomous? Heaven forbid!
We have such terrible double-standards.
It’s okay to be unhealthy if it makes you thin, but it’s not okay to be unhealthy if it makes you fat?
Oh. Okay then.