Dr. Dennis Van Hoof, PhD, CLC
“We have an out-dated body design”
Stuck with a 200,000-year-old blueprint
The complex biological processes going on in your body when eating and exercising make more sense when understanding what your body likes and why.
Your body prefers everything to be very mellow and boring; the scientific term for when there is nothing much exciting going on in your body is homeostasis. As far as your body is concerned: the more boring-er, the better. Because as soon as something disturbs this homeostasis, your body needs to take action to regain that homeostasis.
In the last few decades, our western society has become one of massive over-consumption and far too little exercise. The human body was unable to evolve fast enough and adapt to these recent changes. To put things in perspective, our body has essentially not changed over the past 200,000 years when humans (homo sapiens) first emerged, but it took humanity only a handful of decades to change from an active outdoor lifestyle (hunting, farming, herding, gathering) to an inactive indoor lifestyle (desk jobs, commuting by car, sitting on the couch watching our phones).
Before we lived in cities, food was not readily available 24/7; there were no grocery stores, online food-delivery services or fast-food restaurants at every corner in the Stone Age. We had to constantly search for it, work for it, fight for it! This was pretty much our full-time job that kept us busy all day long.
Obviously, we burned a lot of calories living this hyper-active lifestyle day-in-day-out. And not knowing when we would have our next meal made food very precious and valuable. So if we did manage to find or catch some, our body would greedily absorb and store as much of it as possible, as it never knew how long we would have to go without until the next meal.
Our body was in constant survival mode; spending energy to find energy. To make sure we got enough energy, we benefited the most from picking calorie-dense foods, such as carbs and fats. We had to like sweet and fatty foods, so that we’d choose the most energy-rich sources as fuel for our active lifestyle. And our 200,000-year-old sweet tooth (and “fat tooth”) has not changed in just the last couple of decades.
We are stuck with an out-dated body design that still craves for carbs and fat, in a world where all-you-can-eat buffets and bucket-sized sodas are more common than whole-foods markets and bottled water.
“There is no body version 2.0 to download and install.”
It’s a tough battle to fight against our natural desire for calorie-rich foods when we are constantly seduced to indulge in the donuts and fries. The most powerful defense that we have to these seductions is our brain.
Although our body may still be lingering in the Stone age, our brain has continued to evolve over those hundreds of millennia. It had no trouble keeping up and adapting to the recent changes that our environment went through. Our mind has advanced, and is more than capable of consciously making the right choices — to appreciate the benefits of healthier options over junk food. Besides this “mind over matter,” we can also plan our daily activities and routines in a way that allows room and flexibility to satisfy our natural cravings for sugar and fat by timing their consumption with physical exercise. There is no need to resist or ignore our desire to comfort our physical needs. But we do need to keep it under control.
Keep an eye out for my next blog, and I hope to see you soon to get you started on the journey to your new life!
Dr. Dennis Van Hoof is a Certified Life Coach (CLC) with an academic PhD degree in Biochemical Physiology. By combining 20 years of first-hand personal diabetes experience with his in-depth scientific background, he developed a method to efficiently manage his own diabetes in a sustainable way. To learn how you can do this too, reach out for personal Diabetic Lifestyle Coaching or follow a group workshop that is specifically tailored to people with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes as well as pre-Diabetics and those at risk due to being overweight or obese. His clients thrive with their challenges and become an inspiration™ to others — with or without diabetes.