Do you know what this is?
For those of you who studied science, welcome back to second year biochemistry. For those of you who didn’t, this is the Kreb’s cycle – a series of chemical reactions used to generate energy through the oxidation of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Or in more simple terms (for those who are still awake) – how our bodies create energy from food.
Anyway, the point of the picture is not to give you a science lesson. It’s to demonstrate that our bodies are extremely complex, and they’re smarter than we’ll ever be. Plus, they’re hardwired for survival – they’ll literally do anything to keep us alive – that’s their job. So when we restrict our deprive them of the nutrients they need, they fight back, and they fight dirty.
Would you take on an opponent who is not only smarter than you but is also more complex, has millions of years experience and is prepared to fight to the death?
So, thinking we can outsmart them through a low carb/detox/intermittent fasting diet is well…a bit ambitious, and will most likely turn out to be a painful waste of time. Your body will work its absolute hardest to maintain the status quo by leaving you so hungry you feel like you could literally eat a horse, craving sugar like it’s an illicit drug and feeling like you could sleep forever. I have no doubt that these diets (or ‘lifestyle changes’) can work amazingly to start with, but sooner or later your body is going to pull rank….and you’re going to lose.
So what can you do instead?
Like taking on any big opponent, identify your common goals and work towards them together – giving your body what it wants: energy – enough to be comfortable and not at risk of starvation but not too much, nutrients – plenty of fruit and veg, wholegrains, protein, some healthy fats and not too much junk, exercise – enough to keep your heart, joints and mind healthy but not too much, and rest – plenty of it) but also getting what you want (a body that can work hard and play hard but also looks pretty good).
Take home message?
Accept that you can’t outsmart your body. Work against it and eventually you’ll lose. Work with it and you can both win.