Another clue as to why we sometimes struggle to lose weight may lay with our ancestors.
If we look at the lifestyle and eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors, we may better understand the constant battle we now face in fighting fat.
For millions of years, human beings have been hunters and gatherers by nature. The Males role was predominantly to impregnate women, create children then provide shelter and food. There was no dialing for a pizza. To feed hungry mouths, the man of the house would have to hunt and kill dinner to feed his family.
When a man puts on weight, the first place fat tissue gathers is around the abdomen. Unfortunately, this is also the last place the fat comes off too.
When we think of prehistoric man, we often conjure up images of Spartan like men with six pack abs and bulging biceps. This however was probably not the case. The reason? Firstly, once a kill had been made, large portions of food would be eaten to avoid spoilage or loss from scavengers. This was often followed by prolonged famine. This process forces the body to hold on to as much body fat as possible in order to increase chances of survival. The other reason is pre programmed genetics.
Pre Programmed Genetics
Our bodies are designed to evolve to ensure the continuation of human existence and pro creation. As the role of a male Homo Sapien was to make sure he and his dependents were fed; and knowing that food often came in the form of dangerous wild animals, the male anatomy developed some safety features. Fat gathers around the stomach region to protect vital organs and increase the chances of survival if attacked. Thankfully these days we do not need to hunt for our dinner!
In the case of Women, who’s main purpose was to bear and raise children, fat tissue would naturally (and still does) tend to gather around the hips to protect the child bearing organs. Again, for woman, this is the first place excess calories will be stored and the last place it will come off.
Fat tissue is also one of the best forms of insulation, another reason why fat gathers around our vital organs. You will find that races of people that live in warmer climates find it far easier to keep fat off, as the body does not require it for insulation. People that live in colder climates struggle more to shift the weight as the body instinctively needs it to stay insulated.
Although we now live in a much safer and controlled environment, unfortunately for us, these safety features are already pre programmed into our genetics. All you need to do is look around and see the areas men and woman generally will store their body fat.
So as you can see, we are not actually designed to have six pack abs. Having abs is actually highly un natural, hence the difficulties men and woman have with shifting fat from those protective regions.
The healthy range of body fat for men to maintain is between 12 – 18% and women 18 – 26%. For the abdomen muscles to be noticed, the outer layers of fat need to be reduced to around 6-8%. Going against nature, you need to understand the body to know how to trick it into letting go of fat stores.
Despite the fact that we are constantly faced with battling our pre programmed genetics, if we make our health and fitness a priority, we can win the fight against fat!
- My 3rd Body Building Comp in 2006
Fortunately for us, these days fresh vegetables, butchered meats and dairy is so readily available and we can pretty much consume quality foods whenever we wish.
When good food is so much more convenient than any other time in history, there is really no excuse to opt for bad convenience foods. Make your health a priority!
I know how hard it is to get abs and I can tell you, the process to getting them is not easy. Exercising two hours a day and eating a super strict diet is not what many people consider “Natural behavior”! The good news is, once you have them, they are much easier to maintain.
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