Each new alien substance the body’s cells have to adjust (adapt) to requires energy, the cumulative effect of which is labeled stress. The cell, the body, the man, can’t indefinitely maintain adaptation under stress. 1
Have you ever seen something last forever? Have you witnessed an ageless anything? No, you haven’t and neither have I. Because matter has limitations.
YOU TOO HAVE LIMITATIONS! And so do every other person in your social circle. We are made of material things and matter has limitations, governed by biological laws, the boundaries that keep them “inside the lines” of normal function.
I have a habit that I’ve always thought advantageous: I’ve always imagined my life in other people’s shoes. That actually is advice I recommend everyone try. Think about what a day looks like to carry the responsibilities of a friend or colleague.
We all have biological limitations that can only handle so much stress.
Eventually that stress turns into abuse, and that abuse wears you down until you’re curled up in your mother’s lap saying, “I NEED CHOCOLATE!”
We all have limitations. Matter has limitations. Biology, physics, and chemistry all have boundaries.
But what are those limitations?
According to exercise physiologists, did you know you have a “bank account” with enough “cash reserves” to run a 1,000 mile race?
No that doesn’t mean you could go run a 1,000 mile race right this moment. But adding up all your energy stores would approximately add up to that amount. Sure that’s a generalization which forgets variation among individuals, but you get the picture. You have a huge bank account worth of energy storage.
Like I said in part 1 of this series, your nervous system is constantly negotiating energy demands. Part of its job is to get you up that flight of stairs you climb every day or effectively managing the constant onslaught of student life, or handling the duties of 24/7 motherhood. Your nervous system says, “Can I last another day with the resources I have?
This brings me to my next point:
- Stress, either mental, physical, or chemical, will create higher energy demands
Higher energy demands mean you’ll have less in the bank to spend.
Wondering why you’re tired all the time? Wondering why you never feel like exercising? Wondering why you aren’t motivated beyond sippin on southern-style sweet tea?
I’d bet you’re spending more than your saving and experiencing what I call a “metabolic overdraft”.
Notice I didn’t say you couldn’t handle stress. It all depends on how much stress there is. In fact stress is a normal part of life and is present in all ecosystems, all cultures, all environments. For example, gravity is a natural, normal, beneficial stress to our bodies. Take gravity out of the equation and what do you get? An astronaut!
Astronauts are known to have to spend significant time on rehab protocols to restore normal health measurements like cardiovascular demands and osteoporosis therapies, both of which have links to effects of living outside of gravity’s biologic demands. The “stress” of gravity, in this case, is beneficial, necessary even. Stress that is “good” is termed “eustress.”
Ever heard of the Anthropic Principle? The Anthropic Principle states that the parameters of this world were specifically tailored to foster not only human life but all life. The natural physical, biological laws operating on a daily basis to keep us alive can be clearly seen and measured.
Our health as living beings depends on them.
- Energy in and energy out dynamics are a real thing, constantly negotiated and renegotiated by your nervous system with a priority of energy conservation. Conserve energy = propagate life functions
- Stress is a good thing until it becomes a bad thing. All disease processes can be traced back to excess stress in mental, physical, or chemical categories.
Call to Action
What am I asking you to do? I’m asking you to consider the stress (physical, mental, chemical) in your life (or your kid’s lives) and reduce them or make attempts to synthesize them with a healthy life! High-Carb, highly refined, processed foods do not make sense from a metabolic standpoint. They will overdraft your energy “bank account” and next thing you know your 100lbs over weight, balding and taking the silver sneakers class at the YMCA instead of applying for America Ninja Warrior like you really wanted to. The dynamite combination of a high fat, fatigue-resistant aerobic lifestyle* while excluding trans-fatty foods** and GMOs mixed with a sincere attempt to reduce the other stress in your life will give you the best chance to bring you back to “balance” or “homeostasis and prevent “metabolic overdraft” and eventual disease. With fats you could out-live disease! That’s the metabolic dilemma your nervous system is negotiating every day. “Can I make it through today?” My encouragement is to put more “funds” in the bank. Have a cash reserve even! The only way this can be done is to EAT HEALTHY FATS and lots of them! As Phil Maffetone likes to say, there are no minimum requirements for carbohydrates like there are for fats and proteins! In other words, you don’t need them like you do fats and protein. You crave them because that’s all you feed yourself!
Stress is a killer when it becomes too much. Think about ways to reduce stress in all three categories of physically, mentally, and chemically (nutritionally). Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for your grandkids. Change the dietary and genetic future of your family tree.
And remember, you are an amazing, high functioning, well-thought out living creature whose complexities are more numerous and greater than any other life-form on the planet. You are God’s signature biological masterpiece!
*Endurance exercise before “Chronic Cardio”. Eating organic grass-fed butter, grass-fed milk/cheeses, grass fed meats, raw nut butters, avocados, coconut oils, etc
** Think plant based oils; if a food product has plant based oils like sunflower, safflower, peanut, soybean, cottonseed, palm, canola, etc…..and doesn’t say “organic” or “expeller pressed”, I avoid it completely. If a food product says “Roasted [nut]” I also avoid it. Tip for nuts: look for “Raw” or “Dry-Roasted”. After all, friends don’t let friends eat trans-fat
1.Zamm, Alfred V., and Robert Gannon. Introduction. Why Your House May Endanger Your Health. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980. 15. Print.