Pic of the day: "Those who think they aren't good are better able to improve themselves." Words of timeless wisdom from the anime Narue no Sekai, now for sale in America as World of Narue.
Fat and will
During this spring and summer I have informally researched, mainly on the Net, various topics concerning health, fat and metabolism. One source talked about the "myth" that obese people were weak-willed. I cannot agree that this is a myth. No. If you don't want to be fat and still are after a reasonable time, then clearly you're lacking in willpower. Humans are not olive trees, that we make fat from sunshine and air. Actually, we barely even make fat from sugar ... well, we do, but not efficiently. So chances are that every ounce of fat on your body has been eaten by yourself by your own free will.
The myth, of course, is that the rest of us are not weak-willed.
Take people who are in the habit of smoking. Sure, they can give it up any time they want. It is so easy that many of them give it up at least once a year. Same goes for drinking. I could probably not live long enough to shake the hand of every human that gives up drinking several Mondays a year. Or what about those in the habit of having sexual intercourse with many different people? Sure they can stop ... when their body is shriveling from the deadly disease they have picked up and passed around. Strength of will is a wonderful thing when you have the wind at your back... but most of us have a kink in our armor.
But back on the topic of fat and other delicious food. Some of us have a faster metabolism, perhaps due to a body type with more muscles or brown adipose tissue (the kind that burns fat instead of storing it ... most kids have this but if they grow up in heated houses, it often disappears while they grow up). Some have a job that requires them to work with their body. Some have a smaller stomach and/or eat very slowly (me among them – I seem to chew the food twice as long as people I share a meal with). And some naturally have a lower appetite for food or sugar, due to the number of certain sensors in their brain cells. It's easy to be strong of will then, isn't it?
Also sometimes, we can make do with less strength if we are more clever. And this is just as true for will as it is for body. Looking a little ahead, preparing a little. To be forewarned is half the battle, as an old saying goes. For instance, eating before shopping is a good idea if you don't want to drag home to the nest lots of fatty foods. We do after all have instincts, even though they no longer rule us like they do birds and rodents. If we are hungry, the body is likely to assume that food is not too plentiful, so it asks the brain to secure some more of it when seeing it. Another trick is to fill up with coarser food such as fruit and vegetable, so the stomach at least insists that it is fed even if the brain may disagree.
After all, we no longer live in the wild. We live in a man-made world designed to cater to our desires, and not least our desires for food. To survive in a world made by the brain, we need to use the brain. Plus, the brain uses a fifth or more of our daily calories!
Visit the ChaosNode.net for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.