Friday, 24 April 2009

Threatened famines

Excellent post by Fillyjonk over at shapely prose responding to the genuine fears many have that they cannot trust their bodies to match their needs.

That fear and mistrust is also shared by your body of you and your proposed actions and motives with regard to dieting. If you've repeatedly threatened, and I don't mean actually been able to start a diet, I mean merely seriously intending to.

That is enough to make your body fearful that at any moment, you'll spring another surprise on it. What this can do is leave your body in a state similar to when you are working up to starting a diet and you start eating like there's no tomorrow, another one of the body's inbuilt strategies to try and minimize the loses you're trying to impose on it.

Your weight can just end up drifting upward and your appetite and/or hunger continually destabilised. It may not be that you develop an eating disorder, it may be just the amount you eat is permanently heightened, or your eating disordered.

The number one nutrient your body requires, regardless of your weight, is energy in the form of calories. It is because of this that in nature high water low calorie vegetables are the real junk food, because they cannot supply the body's basic need for energy. They are not particularly palatable, compared with more calorie dense foods of all kind. Probably when you get to the higher end of energy, there's a none too palatable element of a differing kind, too.

What I never considered was that depriving yourself or threatening to deprive yourself of calorie dense foods, could itself be enough to upset your internal fat metabolism and disrupt the balance of your eating.

Most people who've ever tried weight loss dieting or to exclude whole food groups from their diet, have experienced the way their desire for those foods goes up, often way past the point of whatever desire they might have had for them previously.

This is often characterised as rebellion, but it's just a very effective strategy that works. It's purpose is to see off the threat of a threatened famine.

Why not famine? If you threaten the exclude the most efficient sources of the basic currency of nutrition, why wouldn't that be seen by the body as a kind of famine?

It is and one of the most senseless kind too, because it's in the midst of availability and you know it is. It's not that the crops have failed, or you are poor and will have to scavenge. No, there is nothing stopping you except a conscious notion. Which doesn't seem to compute, via the means of famine.

There must be some way to link say, physical discomfort or desire to lose weight or be thin, to the bodies capacity to shed weight. But both have proven somewhat elusive.

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