From the beginnings of my health nerdfest, I have always made a habit out of thinking through the eyes of the human body. In my experience, the body is a million times smarter than the mind – even my mind, which is like a holy deity of vast intellectual wisdumb.
In other words, I try to make sense of certain physical reactions and hormonal states in context of real life. Like for example, hypothyroidism, or a reduced metabolic state. That’s a classic example. You know that the body has reduced the rate at which it burns energy.
Why would it do that? Food shortage? Some other kind of shortage? It seems to me that, on a logical level, the body would only reduce the rate at which it burned though something – be it nutrients, calories, or whatever, if it perceived that it was going through supplies faster than they were being replenished. Give the body a surplus of everything it needs, and there’s no more need to conserve. Sho nuff, doing precisely that raises body temperature pretty reliably (as well as decreases insulin resistance) as you can read about in Diet Recovery!!!
If we look logically at insulin resistance, especially now that we’re beyond the idea that eating carbs and spiking insulin causes insulin resistance, which it doesn’t, we can see clearly how it is tied to the starvation “programs” for lack of a better description.
By starvation programs, I mean the hormonal chain of events that take place to:
1) Conserve calories (low energy levels)
2) Lower metabolism (low muscle mass, low heat production)
3) Increase appetite
4) Store more fat than fat burned (positive fat balance)
When we think of insulin resistance as part of the orchestrated effort to defend against starvation, it makes a hell of a lot more sense.
Insulin is a hormone that curbs appetite, raises metabolism and gives us energy – in large part by helping to store glucose and amino acids into muscle cells, builds muscle tissue – it triggers a rise in many growth factors such as growth hormone.
This is all counterproductive in a state of famine. In real famine, there is very little food and therefore very little insulin. But when the body is eating a lot and acting like it is starving (from lack of nutrients, chronic stress, sleep apnea, allergies, chronic inflammation?) it would make sense to block the action of insulin.
Doing so would keep metabolism suppressed, keep food energy from going into muscle cells where it might grow more muscle and raise metabolism while simultaneously triggering an increase in energy levels and capacity for muscular exercise, make sure food was diverted into fat cells for storage instead of muscle cells, keep appetite elevated, and so on.
In other words, in preparation for an upcoming famine, you wouldn’t want to have much muscle mass, much desire to exercise, have a normal body temperature, or have a small appetite. Rather, you’d want to be like a bear or squirrel in preparation for hibernation.
And yes, it is known that there is insulin resistance and obesity in hibernating animals, followed by an extreme manifestation of what you could call “hypothyroidism,” – a deep state of slowed heart rate, low body temperature, reduced respiration, halted digestion, and so forth.
So I’m proposing that insulin resistance is far more likely to be a state in the human body that is designed to be a preparatory state for hibernation/starvation/famine.
And I think it’s important to look at hormonal changes within the human body as a coherent network that is trying to accomplish a specific task, rather than trying to figure out what part is gummed up.
Unfortunately, when your average person eats ad libitum, they store fat, particularly fat in the abdomen where it is most readily available to the vital organs – priority number 1. That is because of the deprivation endured prior naturally triggers the storage of excess body fat for better preparation the next go around.
This leads your average person to think that the deprivation period was “healthy” and eating to appetite and taking ‘er easy is “unhealthy.” The only way to keep the body from storing fat when it is actively trying to is to eliminate one of the necessary ingredients in fat gain, such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, or overall calories. This is, of course, a short-term strategy with long-term health consequences for the vast majority of people.
I maintain that the only viable long-term solution is to thoroughly convince the body that there is no need to store excess fat, and, over time, dissipate the need to store it. But ample food is only one form of sustenance that the body requires to deactivate famine chemistry, including insulin resistance. Sleep, rest, emotional health, inflammation, allergies, infection, and more are all things worthy of addressing in a comprehensive approach to shut this chemistry down and lose weight automatically instead of through one of the many forms of starvation/diets currently promoted.
More on the concept that obesity and insulin resistance is “Starvation” in this video…