Not so long ago, cycles of starvation were normal for mankind.
Feast or famine.
The Natural Starvation Cycle
Certainly, cavemen had periods where the hunt was unsuccessful, which meant the clan would go hungry. However, even just a handful of generations ago, when many people’s diet was largely based on what they themselves grew, it was normal for families to have leaner times.
Historically, the fall harvest was a time of plenty. However, as stocks of stored foods dwindled in the late winter and early spring, nutritional pickin’s got slim. Now, add to this years when crops or livestock failed or were decimated by disease or inclement weather, and starvation cycles during these years were even more intense.
We’re biologically designed to like foods that are high in calories, because our bodies knew it had to take advantage of high calorie food opportunities, to prepare for times when food was scarce.
Now, food is abundant, and our biology is mismatched with what’s occurring in our modern environment.
Are You Hungry or Just Afraid of Being Hungry?
Let’s look at a scenario…
You woke up late this morning, so rushed to the office – skipping breakfast. You grabbed a cup of coffee on the drive in, and by lunch, your body is grumbling at you, “I’m hungry!”
But, you stay strong. You have fitness goals, so you grab a small, low-calorie salad, and it quiets your tummy – for awhile. However, by the time you go out to dinner that night, you might be hungry — but, what’s more important –
Your body is AFRAID of being hungry!
It’s afraid you’re entering a starvation cycle!
Your body pulls a Paul Revere and screams, “Starvation is coming! Starvation is coming! We need high calorie food!!!”
All of a sudden, that double bacon cheeseburger with french fries is what you’re ordering, instead of the grilled chicken with steamed veggies and a side salad.
You’re literally fighting human biology.
It’s not surprising why so many of us fail.
What Can I Do to Counteract Biology?
So, what can you do to counteract thousands of years of biology pushing you to make bad food decisions? Here are some tips:
- Knowing is Half the Battle – Sometimes just being aware of what’s going on inside your body can help. You feel that craving for a Krispy Kreme and remind yourself, your body is just thinking it’s going into starvation mode, because you’re eating less calories than it’s used to. That’s a good thing, if you’re trying to lose weight!
- EAT! – If you’re trying to lose weight, me telling you to eat may seem counterproductive, but it’s true! Don’t skip meals. Eat a healthy snack in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. These things will keep your body fueled, and remind it that there is food available — LOTS of food – so no need to turn to bad choices.
- Stay Away from Processed Food – Even if your body is throwing a tantrum like a 2-year old, make sure at least your choice stays away from processed food. Go for a steak, instead of a bacon cheeseburger. Give your body the protein, and yes fat, it wants and needs, but do it with as little interference by man as possible.
- Stay Away from High Glycemic Carbs – In addition to high fat foods, high carb foods are high calorie. Add to the addictive nature of sugar, and it’s no wonder why we crave sweets and processed foods (which often contain sugar) when our body thinks it’s heading into starvation. Skip the side of fries or rice and instead get your carbs from veggies.
Keep your body fueled with the right foods and remember that sometimes our cravings are just our inner caveman being frightened it was not going to eat again for a very long time, and you’ll start to be able to decipher when you’re really hungry or are just afraid of being hungry.