Chapter 17 Dealing With  The Clash

So we have a biology that has changed little in thousands of years clashing with an environment that has radi-

cally changed. After reading the previous two sections, you might be tempted to give up. If things really are this bad, what’s a person to do other than accept that they are going to get fat and sick?

 Realize there is hope. There are things we can do to accommodate our biology and adapt to our environment. But before we look at what we can change, let’s consider what won’t change.

 Do you think the stock market and investors would be happy if people started making their own healthy foods at home? Would investors stand for a decrease in profits if companies returned fiber to foods, thus reducing shelf life? Or would they be happy that people were no longer attracted to their processed food items, and chose more healthy whole food options?

 So it is unlikely that large food production companies and restaurants will make radical changes in the products they create. We can’t expect them to quit putting fructose and other concentrated sweeteners into our foods.

 And you’d think with the equivalent of two large jets crashing every day, that the government would address the deaths caused by obesity. But do you seriously think the government is going to tell you what you can or cannot eat?

 Look at the uproar that has come with the feeble attempts so far. It was difficult enough to get sodas removed from school vending machines. Of course, they replaced them with juices, which have just as much or more sugar in them. So like many government lifestyle intervention efforts, that one was rather unsuccessful. Now we have some cities that are starting to tax sugar based foods but it will be a long time, if ever, that this becomes a national norm. 

 Furthermore, you can bet that we won’t begin walking to work when we have freeways and live 20 miles away from our offices. And it’s unlikely that we’ll begin to only eat what we hunt and harvest, chop our own wood, grind our own grains, butcher our own meat, and so on.

 The news is grim. You might be tempted to say, “What’s the use of struggling with this weight caused by a biology that has not adapted to this modern environment?”

 But humanity has, over and over again, conquered immense obstacles. Obesity is another hurtle we must surmount. And we can. First, we need to modify our environment as much as possible, and second, we may need to accommodate our biology as we will discover.

Dealing With The Clash

 In this section, we will look at diet and exercise. My goal is to make suggestions that you can use for the rest of your life. Many diets work in the short term, but over the long term, they cannot be sustained. It is unlikely that you’ll never eat sweets the rest of your life, but if your diet is sustainable, you won’t “fail” when you eat cake at a birthday party. It is also true that we may need to consider methods to accommodate your biology first before you can make these long term lifestyle changes.  You may want to “fast forward” to chapter 29 that covers the anti-obesity medications. 

 Don’t look for a fad diet here. The first thing we’re going to do is shop for food differently. Then we’ll put a plan in place to deal with our sugar addiction. Next, we’ll look at our lifestyle. You will see a chapter on exercise because without movement, we cannot be healthy. But the important point here is to create a program that you can live with and won’t become a drudgery  for you.

 Then we will get to your diet, and by diet I mean what you actually eat, every day, for the rest of your life. I think

you’ll find that eating healthfully is easier than you think. Again, the goal is that you’ll be able to live well and more vigorously in the current environment. You will probably lose weight in the process, but not dozens of pounds in a few short months.  Our goal will be to establish your health over a lifetime. 

 For those of us who need to shed significant weight quickly to be healthy, I will also discuss options for you. These are more aggressive paths to success. They are relatively safe and may be worth your consideration to get to a healthy weight before serious health conditions settle in.

 Throughout this section, though, it’s important to realize that your body is unique. While Mother Nature has instilled certain processes into all of us, there are many variations, and each of our bodies works slightly differently. What works for you, won’t work for other people. We have to find out what is best for you and your biology.

      So let’s get started.