Thursday, August 30, 2012

On the individual psychology of food: Against calorie management

By Denis G. Rancourt

Modern society is structured as a highly stratified dominance hierarchy. The present superior global human hierarchy is maintained -- in its depth and breadth -- by advanced transportation, communication, information, and military technologies, and is unprecedented in the hundred million year history of mammalian life on the planet. Consequently, the degree of top-down control of the individual, in his/her every thought and attitude, is also unprecedented, whether conscious or not.

The latter control is essential for maintaining the hierarchy against the destabilizing natural impulses for individual freedom and for individual influence in local community. Independence must be actively suppressed and individual health, which is premised on independence, is always sacrificed for the benefit of maintaining and increasing hierarchical control [1].

Consequently, individual health is a problem for hierarchy and is only allowed in (self) indoctrinated individuals, to the degree that the indoctrination is seamless.The main determinant factor of individual health is the individual's perceived position or status within the dominance hierarchy, which is often largely determined by the individual's actual position within the dominance hierarchy [2]. This perceived position is, in turn, fundamentally a question of the individual's self-image of utility, place, and power.

Since the individual can only have utility, place, and power as prescribed by the dominance hierarchy, and since most individuals occupy lower strata of the hierarchy, then necessarily most individuals are unhealthy, have sub-ideal health levels.

Unhealthy overweightness and obesity are caused by over eating. The science of metabolic energy budgets is incontrovertible on the latter point! Over eating is caused by low self-image and the associated psychological pain.

Here, I suggest two solutions: A radical solution anchored in personal politics, and a practical solution that is ridiculously easy to implement. The two solutions can be combined, or actuated independently.

The personal political solution is to eye the enemy that actually has its hand on your throat and to fight the bastards. A true fight avoiding windmills will make you both active and healthy. Take power to get power. The food thing will work itself out if your primordial target becomes the fight for your influence and dignity, against the real enemy. This solution is extremely difficult to implement because the system has done everything to incapacitate you regarding any type of self-defense, and has even made you blind regarding the actual physical appearance of the enemy.

The practical solution, which can be implemented immediately, is to make one brisk continuous 10-minute walk every day. This can be increased to 20 minutes per day if you feel so inclined.

Peer reviewed medical research shows that such a 10-minute walk per day may be the single most healthy thing one could ever do, and that this health therapy far outweighs virtually all other medical interventions known to modern science... [3]

Here, keep in mind that "brisk walk" is specific to you. Don't push too hard but don't sleep walk either, in such a way that it doesn't even get the juices flowing. Be confident that your body will repair itself if the joints hurt at first, and so on. This won't kill you.

The idea here is not that the calorie burning from the walking itself is of any use. It is not and that is not the point. The idea is twofold, in my opinion.

First, a million years of human evolution would never have predicted that humanity could come to a point where one actually has to think about walking at least 10 minutes a day. In that sense, it is fundamentally bad for one's metabolism to not have at least this degree of animal activity. And science has now provided the answer about the quantitative minimal degree that is required to avoid a slow meltdown into immobility, depression, and early death [3].

Secondly, and as importantly, walking is a physical expression of independence and power. You and your body go where you want to go, say hi to those you want to greet, go at the pace you want to have, and choose everything about the walking. In this sense, walking gives one a psycho-physiological experience of independence and power, one that directly nurtures self-esteem.

This is the missing link in calorie intake theory as a paradigm for weight loss: Physical activity, if chosen and self-directed, directly impacts self-esteem which, in turn, mediates compulsive over eating. As a result, the calorie balance sheet is affected far beyond the energy consumption value of the physical activity itself.

Why is the latter point such a secret? Why all the emphasis on calorie counting, which acts to mask this truth about the real benefits of physical activity? How is it that the most important advice is never clearly given as being the main point? One answer is that the professional behaviours of medical doctors and nutritionists are necessarily aligned with maintenance of the dominance hierarchy. Independence threatens hierarchy.  


[1] 2011-12-20::: A Theory of Chronic Pain, by Denis G. Rancourt
[2] 2011-11-21::: Is establishment medicine an injurious scam?, by Denis G. Rancourt
[3] 2011-12-02::: "23 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?", video by Dr. Mike Evans, University of Toronto.

Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He practiced several areas of science (including physics and environmental science) which were funded by a national agency and ran an internationally recognized laboratory. He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals and several social commentary essays. He developed popular activism courses and was an outspoken critic of the university administration and a defender of student and Palestinian rights. He was fired for his dissidence in 2009. His dismissal case is scheduled to continue court hearings into 2013.

1 comment:

Steven Augustine said...

Indeed! I do at least an hour of brisk-walking every day... sometimes three or four. If two days go by without this, I feel like utter crap. Important advice and your continuing desire to help others is commendable.