You wake up in the morning, hop out of bed and before stepping in to the shower, you catch a glimpse in the mirror, noticing a bit more fat that has slowly amassed over the years as you wonder in amazement..

How did I get so fat?!

I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing with you as I was once there myself. And unfortunately, nobody really laughs about getting fat (except maybe these guys).

It’s just a strange fact of life that we all arrive at this place in our adult life and realize that the skinny, kid-version of ourselves has slipped out the window to fight pirates in Never-Never-Land and we’re stuck here, all grown up, fighting a different kind of villain.  He’s far worse than the hook wielding, mustache-adorned Captain with a bad attitude you feared as a child.  This villain wants to slowly destroy you, making your plank walk a painfully long journey of embarrassment while you carry the heavy weight of lost dreams with you every step of the way. It’s the most punishing and painful torture he can inflict on a soul who once knew the freedom of skinny-jeans and a seemingly unlimited lung capacity. It sucks.

walking the plank

Good News. We Know What Happened.

In a scientific study published last week, the results are in and get this..

We get fat because of what we eat.

I know.. shocking, isn’t it? It is interesting though, in that the study suggests that inactive lifestyles aren’t the reason for getting fat. Over-eating is the culprit. The study cites that “By 2015, nearly one in every three people worldwide is projected to be overweight.”

Here’s the quick version of the study..

I Should of Hadza V8!

The Hadza tribe, who still still live as hunter-gatherers in the same way their ancestors did, were studied by a team of scientists. The tribe from Tanzania, Africa was analyzed for energy expenditure and specifically, the scientists looked at 30 men and women aged between 18 and 75 years old.

The Hadza Tribe are said to live a lifestyle shared by ancestors thousands of years ago, who are regarded as being a far less obese civilization.

The findings were that physical activity level was far higher in the tribe for both men and women compared to their Western (U.S. and Europe) neighbors. Hadza men, for example, walk an average of just under seven miles a day, every day. Regardless, the average metabolic rate was no better or worse (after adjusting for body size) when comparing the Hadza tribe with the average Joe who eats a fast food meal every day and enjoys most evenings watching his favorite MLB team in the comfort of his evenly air-conditioned abode.

It was perceived that the Hadza tribe would have a significant edge in burning calories but that didn’t happen. Both walking and resting rates were similar in the Hadza and Western groups.

What Did We Learn?

Meet Dr Herman Pontzer.

Dr. Herman Pontzer
He was one of the primary researchers in the study, brought to us by the Department of Anthropology at Hunter College, New York. Dr. Pontzer admits surprise by the results of the study and further elaborated “This to me says that the big reason that Westerners are getting fat is because we eat too much – it’s not because we exercise too little.”

Hooray – No More Exercise!

The study almost comes off sounding as if exercise isn’t all that important but you and I know different, right? First of all, obesity may indeed be attributed to a higher caloric intake than a lack of exercise but that doesn’t help a person who is now carrying extra body fat. To get rid of fat, we have to force our bodies to burn fat by keeping those glycogen levels low (eating low-glycemic foods) and exercising.

Beyond the goal of fat loss, there’s also the countless studies done that have proven the many benefits of exercise. You know.. reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and improving overall brain function.. to name a few.

The “Real” Good News

One affirmation I took from this study is also that which I have learned through my own strict dieting this year.. Once you lose that body fat and get back to the place of being lean and fit, you can rest assured that maintaining your new physique is going to be far easier than getting there. A lot less cardio is required once you achieve your goal weight.

Instead, it’s more a matter of moderate (and more enjoyable) exercise, making consistently good health choices in our eating habits and no longer over-indulging like the kids we once were. Those were some great food days for sure. We didn’t even realize how good we had it at the time but those days are gone and it’s time for the new era of healthy eating and occasional sacrifice.

No worries.. there’s still plenty of pizza and sugary treats to be eaten. It’s just all in moderation now and understanding that diet truly is the key to putting on…  or not putting on those extra pounds. Thanks Hadza tribe!

Hadza Tribe

Hadza Tribe dancing a ritual dance

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