Extract from The Secret Language of Hypnotherapy by John Smale, ISBN: 1846853737
Before it became excessive, fat WAS good for us!
Way back in time, in our cave-dwelling years, humans needed to store fat for the long winters and for when times would be hard. Men needed fat to sustain them during a long and unsuccessful hunting trip. Mothers needed stores of fat in order to survive and suckle their children. Children restricted the time available for mothers to search for food.
Above all, the need to survive famines was paramount. Fifty thousand years ago, life was hard and perilous. Believe it or not, the body's ability to store fat is about survival, and we have been good at surviving as a species until our whole pattern of life was changed by imposed standards of attractiveness, fashion and chic. The natural systems that have kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years seem to work against us in modern times. That is mostly because we work against them. We are a species that has lived, pretty much unchanged, for hundreds of thousands of years. The great thing is that we are still here. We have survived, and fat is part of that success.
Those primeval roots are still a major part of us. When reference is made to humans as primeval beings, offence is sometimes taken. Rather than meaning that we are primitive, the word means that we have not changed our physiology very much in the last fifty thousand years. That is something that we should be proud of. We got it right back then and we have stayed on this planet to the point where we now dominate every plant, animal and mineral that exists.
If you doubt our primeval natures, consider why we sleep at a higher level than those in which we are awake. Bedrooms usually offer better views of the outside scenery than rooms on the ground floor, yet it seems that we feel the unconscious need to be off the ground to avoid nocturnal predators.
During the warmer months we barbeque our food. That overcooked, often burnt, food is desirable because it has been cooked as it was in our cave-dwelling days. On vacation we wallow at waterholes (swimming pools) or at the edge of the sea in loincloths (swim-suits). We throw rocks at each other in the shape of Frisbees or balls. Need I go on to make the point?
The key to weight and shape control lies in the recognition of our successful human roots. We are then able to accept an understanding of our blue-prints and our potential to change them.
WHY OUR BLUEPRINTS CHANGE
Throughout history fat has helped to keep us alive. It has acted as insulation. It has been an energy store. It has enabled us to endure famines. It has been our savings account for rainy days.
Money has the very much the same purpose that fat used to, but we have not lost the need to store fat as well. We can never have too much money but we can have too much fat.
When we look back fifty thousand years to how we were when our minds and bodies took responsibility for our well-being, then we can see some startling facts about modern approaches to weight and shape. As with all other mammals, we have the natural capability to fluctuate through the seasons of the year. Other animals acquire stores of fat before winter in order to survive hibernation. We had to do the same, but as we did not hibernate our reserves were regulated within our need to be mobile enough to scavenge during the lean months.
Imagine, for a moment, a woman sitting at the entrance to her cave fifty thousand years ago. Her shape was controlled more by her need to stay alive rather than by any thoughts of health or fashion. She probably gave very little conscious thought to her shape. She had no mirrors, scales or comprehension of her personal weight.
Only in more modern times would external ideals about shape arrive from fashion magazines, films, television and peer pressure. So, way back in time, our cave woman would have been content.
When winter arrived and food became short then she would have relied upon her body fat to remain alive. She could not have nipped out to the local supermarket to top up her larder. Had the winter progressed for longer than usual then she would starve. A famine would have begun. If she survived, by the time that food became available again, she would have been very thin.
When food became more plentiful then she would have had the urge to eat to replace the fat she had lost. The crisis would have changed her blueprint to make her larger so that if another food shortage happened she would be better able to survive. Her fat store was now greater, or in modern terminology, she had become fatter.
Please do not assume that this only applied tens of thousands of years ago. This pattern applied until very recently. We can consider how similar they are to the life-styles in the 19th century for Europeans and for the American settlers. They even apply in the poorer countries of today. In the Western world, food only became very abundant a good few years after the Second World War.
It is this very survival system of storing fat that makes people put on weight after going on a diet. This is at the root of the classic 'yo-yo' dieting process. Our brains, our minds, cannot differentiate between a life threatening famine and the self-imposed diet. A diet is beyond the remit of the older parts of the brain. The effect of a diet is to evoke an unconscious feeling of danger, the famine response. The biological answer is to increase reserves of fat in order to ensure survival.