I have a very simple goal with today’s post… to get you to hate one common sense expression.
I realize that inspiring hatred isn’t the most noble of goals, but perpetuating insanely bad advice isn’t exactly a virtue, either.
So, what’s this common sense expression I apparently hate so much?
First, a quote.
“There is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”
Now for the expression:
Eat less. Move more.
It’s the most common sense approach to weight loss, right? The prevailing wisdom of the day? Well, let’s take a closer look, shall we?
As a society, we’ve all come to a conclusion. Becoming overweight happens because you ate too much and were too inactive. It sounds so simple that it almost has to be true. But there’s a problem when an entire society accepts as gospel a complete falsehood, as is the case here.
I firmly believe in the insane level of brilliance possessed by humans (at least by those of us not featured here: darwinawards.com). But let’s not act like we can outwit the 2+ million years of evolution that help us, among other thing, know how to survive without having to think about it.
Let’s put together a couple hypotheticals…
First, let’s say that you were to start running for three hours a day without changing what you eat (I like extreme examples involving the number three… just keep reading and you’ll probably see what I mean). What do you think would happen to your appetite? Would it stay the same? Are all these questions condescending enough?
Of course it wouldn’t stay the same – you’d be hungry as hell… unless you ate more!
On the other side of the proverbial coin (and for another extreme example involving the number three), say you’ve gone three days without eating. You wake up on day four… what do you want to do first? Exercise? Be on the receiving end of more condescension?
The smart money says you’d probably sit on your butt all day thinking about cake.
Why would this happen? Well, because your body knows better than to starve itself. It knows that, “Hey, I’m moving around a lot, I’d better provide some kind of cue that I could use more fuel,” and “Whoa, food’s kinda scarce, better slow down.” Remember, we’re standing here because we’ve evolved to be survivors, not morons.
But that’s just what “eat less, move more” asks us to do – be morons. It’s asking us to ignore an intrinsic element of survival. It’s saying to our bodies, “Hey, get out of the way – the prevailing wisdom of the last 30 years says you’re wrong.” If you move more, you’ll want to eat more, not less. If you want to follow the mantra, you have to accept the fact that you will be hungry. Just don’t say your body doesn’t want what’s best for you.
The next time someone uses this expression, please don’t be an innocent bystander. Either tell them what I just told you… or kick them in the head, whichever suits you best.
(At this point, I feel I should point out that I am not a hateful person, nor do I actually condone violence on anyone, no matter how silly their views on nutrition… just wanted to make sure nothing comes back to me)
‘Til next time!