Don’t let them make a monkey out of you!

I came across an interesting article that suggested that a certain type of exercise could make you as thin as our other ape colleagues.

Im sure you have all mused on the fact that we are fatter than our chimp ape brothers.

Its the number one topic of conversation in our gym!

Unfairly, primates have less than 9% body fat, a healthy range for humans is anywhere from 14% to 31%. Even for those super fit skinny people with amazing muscles.

Despite having nearly identical DNA sequences, chimps and early humans underwent critical shifts in how DNA is packaged inside their fat cells, As a result, the researchers say, this decreased the human body’s ability to turn “bad” calorie-storing fat into the “good” calorie-burning kind. basically we needed to store more fat to fee our growing brains.

Normally most of the DNA within a cell is condensed into coils and loops and tightly wound around proteins, such that only certain DNA regions are loosely packed enough to be accessible to the cellular machinery that turns genes on and off.

The researchers identified roughly 780 DNA regions that were accessible in chimps and macaques, but had become more bunched up in humans. Examining these regions in detail, the team also noticed a recurring snippet of DNA that helps convert fat from one cell type to another.

But, we need to back track.

There are 2 types of fat. White fat that stores calories, and beige and brown fat which can burn calories rather than store them to generate heat and keep us warm.

“We’ve lost some of the ability to shunt fat cells toward beige or brown fat, and we’re stuck down the white fat pathway,” Swain-Lenz said. It’s still possible to activate the body’s limited brown fat by doing things like exposing people to cold temperatures, she explained, “but we need to work for it.” This accounts for the cold shower crazes and the insane idea of “thermal loading” which I had to test.

In the six to eight million years since humans and chimps went their separate ways, human brains have roughly tripled in size. Chimpanzee brains haven’t budged.

The human brain uses more energy, pound for pound, than any other tissue. Steering fat cells toward calorie-storing white fat rather than calorie-burning brown fat, the thinking goes, would have given our ancestors a survival advantage.

This raises the remote possibility that in the future we could find a way of manipulating and switching genes on and off and magically have 9% body fat.

In the future.


In fact in an interview the lead researcher Swain-Lenz said, a question she gets a lot is: “Are you going to make me skinny?”

“I wish,” she said.

Comparative Analyses of Chromatin Landscape in White Adipose Tissue Suggest Humans May Have Less Beigeing Potential Than Other Primates,” Devjanee Swain-Lenz, Alejandro Berrio, Alexias Safi, Gregory E. Crawford, Gregory A. Wray. Genome Biology and Evolution, June 24, 2019. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evz134.

Tiny Habits

The Tiny Habits process, developed by BJ Fogg, is a method for behavior change that focuses on making small, sustainable adjustments to our daily routines. It operates on the principle that by starting with tiny, easily achievable actions, we can create lasting habits.

However, the new habit has to be something you want to do, not something you are obliged to do and shockingly, you have to celebrate after each performance!!

The process consists of several steps:

1. Identify the target behavior you want to do: often flossing your teeth is used as an example.

2. Define a tiny version of the behavior: Break down the behavior into a small, simple action that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. Using flossing your teeth, you would floss one tooth only.

3. Anchor the new behavior to an existing habit: Find an existing habit or routine that you already do consistently. Use this habit as a trigger or cue to remind yourself to perform the tiny behavior. thinking about flossing your teeth, its logical to anchor this to brushing your teeth

4. You need to look carefully at your anchor process and ask yourself what is the last part of brushing your teeth. This is called the trailing edge. Some spit then put their toothbrush down. It makes sense to have your floss right by where you put your toothbrush which is super easy to immediately pick up.

5. You now floss one tooth! You now celebrate! Maybe you punch the air, go “yaay”, or maybe you give yourself a pat!

6. To set up the habit you basically say, when I put my toothbrush down I’ll pick up my floss, floss one tooth, then celebrate.

7. Once you have flossed one tooth and celebrated, obviously you can go on to floss them all if you want to, BUT to develop the habit, all you NEED to do, and MUST do is the tiny habit.

Weirdly you’ll find this process can help you unlock many benefits beyond just the habit you have targeted. The mistakes you will make are: not identifying the trailing edge of your anchor habit, you’ll make the habit way too big, and because you are shy, you’ll think that celebrating is silly.

Core traumas

Read more: Core traumas

Most dysfunctional behaviour probably comes from trauma, we normally associated trauma with great big awful stuff. However, it seems that it can also accumulate over time. No one considers that the rage, rejection and blame that children are subjected to amounts to trauma

Maybe trauma is the wrong word, maybe its core issues or core wounds. Maybe it’s as classic as the death of a thousand cuts

It seems that numerous petty wounds, accumulated over time can begin to disconnect you from your emotions. Julie Simons in The emotional Eaters Repair Manual gives the following examples of the stuff that you could be subjected to as a child that could have effects later on.

Abandonment: a caregiver dies or is so overworked that they are “not available.

Attack: your caregiver attacks you (everything from a wack to constant aggression, threats, or ridicule

Betrayal: your caregiver lies or makes empty promises.

Blame, you were blamed for the feelings and actions of others

Deceived: you were intentionally misled.

Neglected: simple neglect of your physical and emotional needs

Domination: excessively controlled

Engulfment: you were smothered

Exploitation. You were made to do excessive and age-inappropriate chores

Fragmentation: your caregiver was mentally ill.

parentification. you were made to be responsible for others.

Rejection: dismissed as useless or worthless.

Shame: regularly criticized.

Violation: invasion of your space.

But what could be the mechanism or process? Why would having to do extra chores or get a slap on the back of your legs mean you are unable to control certain aspects of your behavior when you are older?

As a small person, your job is to learn lots of stuff, verbs, going to the toilet, and setting fire to things. You also should learn how to manage your emotions. The correct process of looking after your emotional health is to understand how you feel, then accept those feelings as appropriate, and then make sure you have enough emotional resources to support going forward. Once you have this process, you can move quickly to technical solutions.

However, if you are brought up by idiots, no one asks you how you are. Your emotions are either ignored or discounted. In other words, you are taught to ignore your emotional state. As a child, what do you do? You still have the emotions. You still feel them, fear sadness, and anger (more choice here!).

How do you deal with them? You haven’t been taught how to cope with emotions so you need to soothe yourself. The number one choice of self-medication is food (although later on, it could be drugs, booze, or pornography). Every time you feel joy, sadness, happiness, or failure, you go straight to food. Basically, food becomes the only thing that means you can control your emotions. Where does this get you? It means that realistically you cannot control your food. Food is the only thing that keeps you sane. for years you have used it to push down emotions so it makes sense that you won’t allow it to be restricted or measured. If you do restrict it makes sense that you’ll binge later on during the day.

Maybe this speaks to you.

To keep up to date with fitness, physical therapy and mindfulness tips join my mailing list here:

Protein Blindness and Weight Management

I don’t think there is an effective healthy eating regime that overlooks protein. For a meal or snack to be healthy and contribute to weight management and emotional regulation, I’d suggest it should be a combination of natural slow release carbs, healthy fat and a bit of protein. I’d also suggest that most healthy eating regimes are probably based around 6 meals a day (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack)

Read More

Emotional Eating: The free 5 day emotions and eating challenge

Every year some people attend a few food-based education sessions, sign up for a few exercise classes, turn over a new leaf, and voila a few months later they are at a healthy target weight. According to the obesity statistics, about 50% of the population are able to maintain a healthy weight, and a physique they are  (presumably) comfortable with, without ever seeing a trainer or a weight loss expert. Some people so it seems,  have a natural gift to maintain a balance between food and activity.

Read More