I know, I know. Those of you who read my books, blogs, listen to podcasts, and YouTube will be thinking “Why the heck is she harping on about this again? She’s already covered it everywhere … “
Every day the importance of this topic is demonstrated to me. So I’ll keep harping on about it.
The human body is a fantastically intelligent organism. I know you think you know it, but do you really know it? Because every time you try and micro manage your body, or control your biology, or whinge that you have stomach fat, you are not acting as if you know it.
Your body may only be as old as the years you have been alive, but the wisdom carried in your DNA is far far older than that. Genetically, you are programmed with thousands of years of survival wisdom. You are here because your family line possessed some quality that enabled their survival and reproduction.
Your ancestors endured famines that most starved in. Your bloodline lived through wars that many were killed in. Your family survived epidemics and pandemics. And everything on some level influenced the way you are made, every virus, every dearth, drought, glut, and storm. Thousands of years of intelligence come together in the body that you have today.
Thousands of years of wisdom. Yet … you still think you have to count calories or eat low-fat foods because your body doesn’t know how to manage itself?
You’ve been taught to think that the fat around your stomach is a mistake. A problem.
That fat around your stomach is a result of thousands of years of learning to survive. We all have it. Some have more than others, but we all have it. It is a result of the genetics that made it through the famines that thousands died in. Your body fat is a blessing. Your entire body, including and especially the fat, is literally wonderful and ingenious.
I think many of us go around in our bodies under the impression that what we are is some sort of accident. I know I did for a long time. It’s just luck of the draw, or something like that. Genetics are nothing to do with luck and everything to do with survival ability. Those great ancestors of yours who survived some or many famines didn’t do so because they were “lucky,” they did so because they were either blessed with genetics that allowed their bodies to lower metabolism and store fat easily when food was scarce, or genetics that forced them to turn into driven and determined migrators.
We see in nature that famine is generally survived in one of two ways: Migration, or hibernation. (There are others, but those are the most commonly demonstrated) You either haul arse out of there, or you hunker down, store fat and wait it out. It is a gamble either way. If you migrate you are depleting your energy stores — will they hold out until you find abundant food? If you stay put, the famine might well outlast you. I’m guessing that the environment, temperature, seasons etc had a large part to play in which of these two was the right choice.
My genetics are obviously from a line of people for who migration was the best bet. My husbands would be, at a guess, better suited to hibernation. Both are ingenious. Both were designed without judgement, and would have evolved depending on the immediate environment, geography, weather, etc of the humans that were experiencing food shortage at that time. We will likely never know exactly who we descended from and exactly what they endured, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. We don’t need to know. All we need to know, is that our bodies are the result of fantastic engineering that we can trust.
And … even if you don’t trust it, you can’t change it. You can’t fight your biology and win. Try willing yourself a couple of inches taller and see where you get with that. It doesn’t work. The thing with genes is you either suck it up and learn to work with them, or (as anyone who has spent any length of time in high heels knows) you spend your life in pain and misery.
So really your choices are:
a) respect, listen to, and stop judging your body
b) be miserable
Hunger signals are honest communication – for all size bodies
Regardless of your judgement, if your body says you are hungry, you are hungry. Simple, honest communication. That is all hunger is. No need to question. No need to justify.
And how about this: Regardless of your size, if your body says you are hungry, you are hungry.
Whoa, right? That’s the part that most people trip up all over. When a person is in a larger body, suddenly they shouldn’t trust the communication from their body. People in larger bodies shouldn’t be hungry. People in larger bodies should be “controlling” their food. Then, the desire for chocolate cake is gluttonous. Whereas skinny people who desire chocolate cake are just demonstrating a “healthy appetite.” It is okay for skinny people to like food. It is okay for skinny people to be used in ice cream commercials.
People who have fat on their bodies on the other hand … should live a life of ignoring hunger signals and eating low-fat cottage cheese. This cultural expectation that anyone other than skinny people should ignore hunger cues condemns the majority of the population to ill health. It is anti-health to ignore communication from your body. It will make you unwell and unhappy. It will force the body to lower metabolism and live in a state of energy deficit. It will cause a mental state of food obsession. It is culturally-induced famine.
Hunger signals are there for a reason. Fat is there for a reason. Your body is marvelous and has wisdom that we will never fully understand in this lifetime. Trust your body over diet culture. The fashion status of thin is a blink in human history. Fat, on the other hand, has been saving lives for thousands of years.