Our body, who we are; the way we think; our desires and the way we act are a result of long years of evolution and the adaptation to the constantly changing environment. Everything we do and think, but in the same time everything that seems illogical, has its logical, unconscious reason.
Our unconsciousness is the place where we store the information about everything we interact with. Everything that surrounds us, everything that in one way or another has touched the strings of our emotions and has left a lasting scar.
Instincts are something like an evolutionary guardian – they are there in order to run for help and direct us how to act, how to think in different situation, so we can guarantee the survival of our body. They are the weapon against the dangers that are spying from our environment. It sounds like a criminal movie, but in the pat this used to be the reality.
Nowadays, the stress we are exposed to, has nothing to do with running away from bears, starving for days or sleeping under the dark sky, when there is a storm. Still, from an evolutionary standpoint, we – humans have been exposed to such external stimulus for the bigger part of our existence. Everything has left a lasting scar, that is encoded in our genes. Lasting mechanisms, which get activated every time when we get stuck in a situation, which carries an emotion that corresponds to the stressor of the past.
That’s why evolution is the best textbook. That’s why everything can be understood under the light of evolution. Everything has its logic. We just need to look for it in the right place.
Which are the instincts which sabotage our desire to be in shape and how can we cope with them through the lenses of evolution?
1.During which part of the day should we eat more carbs?
Most experts say that we should eat most carbs in the morning and limit them throughout the rest of the day. I’d recommend you to eat the bigger quantity of carbs at night. HERE I wrote a post about this.
Besides the reasons exposed in the article, there are other directions, where we could find reasons to eat most carbs at night.
When is the time when you crave carbs the most? At night!
Then, don’t you find logic to build your nutrition plan in a way that will help you achieve your goals for a fitter and more athletic body (i.e. to eat quality food, up to your energy needs), while in the same time you distribute the fuel sources in a way that will fit your natural desires?
How would it matter how perfectly you eat during the day, if at night you are dying for sweets and you rush for the Nutella jar?
Why wouldn’t you distribute a bigger quantity of your carb intake in the part of the day when your body craves the,?
Evolutionary lesson 1: Eat your carbs at night!
2.During which part of the day should you eat your biggest meal?
Here, the widely spread notion is that you should eat your biggest meal in the morning. Sure, you should firstly pay attention to the way you feel. You should distribute the quantity of food according to your personal needs and lifestyle. Still, from an evolutionary standpoint, you should eat your biggest meal at night. Everything else is against your natural needs, social patterns and instincts.
In the past, our ancestors used to hunt during the day and they gathered at night in order to cook and eat the prey, while using the occasion to socialize.
Here, some of you will say that you can’t overeat at night and then go to sleep. Actually, nobody is forcing you to overeat. If you eat according to your needs, your dinner won’t be so huge that you feel stuffed. Besides that, nobody is forcing you to eat at 10 p.m. A normal dinner might take place around 7p.m. But compared to your other meals, it will be bigger.
Evolutionary lesson 2: Do not stay away from food at night. Eat your biggest meal at night.
3.What should dominate in our diet – carbs or fats?
The key is in nature and its seasonality. In the past when our environment was not controlled, people used to eat what was available. People used to eat according to seasons and they lived and functioned in synchrony with nature.
What turns out if we look at nature and seasons?
Most carbs are available in seasons with longer light cycles – i.e. in late spring, summer and autumn.
During colder months, i.e. winter and spring, there are less carbs. Actually, back in the days this was the time of food scarcity. Back then, there were mostly animal products and leafy greens.
This means that when it is cold, the body tolerates more fats, and when it is hot we could increase our carb intake.
Even if you don’t think much about this, follow the signs of your body. When it is hot outside, the thought of fatty steak, does not seem as tempting, as fish, salad and a handful of berries.
When it is cold, we have a stronger desire to eat more fatty foods.
Evolutionary lesson 3:Eat more fats, when it is cold and include more carbs when it is hotter.
4.Why some nations are healthier when they eat mainly cars, and others are healthy but eat mainly fats?
Here evolution plays a key role. In countries with warmer climate, there is foods rich of carbs all year long.
In colder countries carb foods do not grow for such a long period and that’s why they eat foods rich of fats.
Do you understand why in Africa people tribes are healthy, even though they eat more cars and in the North Pole they are still healthy, despite eating so much fats? All of them follow the diet that has been encoded in their genes. A diet that corresponds to the climate and what is available for that particular region.
Evolutionary lesson 4:Live in synchrony with nature and eat according to seasons.
5.How should we train in order to be strong, lean and sexy?
It’s not by doing 2-3 hours of cardio.
Actually the proper way to train is one again hidden in the textbook of evolution.
In the past long physical activity was a sign of a stressor. When stressed, the body doesn’t care if we fit in our new jeans or if we look sexy on the beach. The only priority our body has is survival. Survival and loss of fat are not compatible. That’s why in order to achieve our goals, we need to perform physical activity, which will calm our body down and reassure it that it is not threatened.
In the past, sporadic, high intensity physical activity and all day physical activity with low intensity was the norm.
What does this mean adapted to our contemporary lifestyle?
We should move all day – walk, climb stairs, perform functional movements like squats, lunges, moving objects and so forth; short and intense workouts –sprints, workouts with weights and bodyweight workouts.
In order to achieve our goals, we should use the evolutionary model and adapt it to our contemporary lifestyle.
Obviously, we can’t go back to the cave(and we don’t need to do it), but still we can’t go against an information that is deeply encoded in our genes. That’s why we need to find a way to break the past through the lenses of the present. We need to live in synchrony with our body and its needs and not in a constant fight.