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Adaptation and Homeostasis

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Ever gone on a diet and lost 5 to 10 pounds in the first few days, no matter what diet it is, and then you hit a wall? You get frustrated and discouraged after a week or two of never getting below that initial loss of poundage, and you probably give up.


Let me suggest that the initial weight you dropped was water weight. It was mostly water that your body lost due to this or that physiological reason associated with reduced calories or reduced eating of certain food groups.


And then, after the first few days, a remarkable human trait kicks in, a most unusual and amazing adaptation that humans own among the animal kingdom...and it's, well, it's adaptation...itself.


Now, I think we were designed with these traits. But from the viewpoint of anthropologists, or anthro-apologists, our amazing ability to adapt has allowed us to conquer the known world.


From adapting to new climates in very short times, being able to jog mind-boggling distances and time-lengths to run down all other animals, to regulate our bodies by sweating and gasping through our mouths while on the run while other species cannot, creating tools and weapons to feed ourselves and conquer others, our adaptation to hear in the speech range of frequency better than other animals, to devote most of our fore-brains to facial recognition so we become unavoidably supreme at in-group preference....


But adaptation also caused our bodies to hold onto every ounce of fat for as long as it could once a famine started, and that decision by your body/mind can happen after only a couple of days of food intake getting scarce.


Homeostasis is when your body self-regulates all its systems to maintain a constant internal, steady state, like how you start panting and sweating while you jog or do aerobics. Your body is trying to maintain it's temperature and oxygenation. It's trading off discharging a lot of bio-organic minerals, that you sweat out, to do it.


So, you decide to go on a low-carb diet. Your body looses pounds of water-weight the first couple of days trying to re-adjust to the new low-carb intake of macro-nutrients. When your body/mind figures out that it is in a carb-famine, it stops the weight-loss to preserve any more loss, not knowing when the famine will be over. You quit losing weight. You get frustrated, give up, and, your body, still in famine mode, uses the resumed intake of carbs to put on even more weight than you had before. Homeostasis is again reached and you are even heavier than before you started the diet.


You read a new book about a new diet or see something on TV, and off you go again. This time it's reduced calories, next time it's reduced fat, and on and on, every time gaining ever more weight. My wife, Jill, when she was about 25 pounds heavier used to say she dieted her way up to 145 pounds.


So, if it takes only two days for your body to adjust, adapt, and plateau when you try a new diet, then you have only two days to shed pounds before you need to change diets. In other words, you need to eat in such a way that you trick your body and keep your natural human adaptation from reaching homeostasis.


That's three or four different diets every week. That would make you a diet expert in about a month.

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