Read on Medium.
I heard this saying the first time from Scooby, related to bodybuilding. It sounded excessive, the first time I heard it. It can be, but it makes the point clear, and if you’ve goals in your life, better to stick that in your head.
The scope of that expression goes much beyond nutrition and fitness, and covers everything related to improvement, change, achievement.
We were wired long ago
Most of our instincts evolved ages ago, in a totally different environment, not to mention the basics of our body. The same goes for emotions and a large part of what we call intellect. Modern environment and needs are too recent to have a significant impact on human hardcoded behaviors. It’s that simple.
Hunger drove people out of caverns, to hunt. The hunger was good. Nowadays, even appetite may be a risk for your health, if you’re not able to control your instincts. If you’re on the lucky side of society, too much food is available, and of a very different type of that of a million years ago.
Muscles are vital and useful, but they cost energy and food. Nature asks for a convenient compromise, the most economical possible. If you are a bodybuilder, you need exactly the opposite. When nature asks for easy sugar, you need costly proteins. Not that simple, of course, but the point is that nature won’t push you there. It’s up to you.
You may argue that maybe forcing your nature is not a good idea, but if you think about it, you will realize that you are not only already doing it every day, but that you also must do it.
If you sit in front of all the food you want and let your instinct work, you’ll end up never been able to raise from that chair, or with serious health problems. If you wash yourself only when you have an occasion to take a bath at the lake, you’ll end up with nobody around you. Feeling tired of studying won’t bring any grade. Letting emotions speak in front of your boss won’t let you keep any job. Letting associativity lead your reasoning won’t lead you to any valid conclusion.
You force “nature” every day. The day you start to avoid it, you’re in deep trouble.
From a genetic point of view, our nature is slow to adapt to what our intellectual potential has become and to what society has built in a few thousand (hundreds?) years. Your “nature” today is a mix of intellectual evolution – which can adapt within a life span – and an animal infrastructure that will take countless generations to change. If ever, it will take hundreds of thousand years for your instincts to tell exactly what you need as a social and intellectual being. I don’t know about you, but I won’t be there. We need a solution before.
You want a healthy impact on your nature, not an unbridled nature.
Selection and sacrifice
Anything you do has a cost. Moving an object has a cost. Going against your instincts has a cost. Thinking has a cost.
Cost may be intellectual energy, sugar, ease, opportunity, safety, certainty. Time.
You pick or do something at the expense of something else.
A selection happens, whether you want it or not. No selection, no being. Even Zen implies a selection.
And some choices are up to you.
You decide a direction and it inevitably implies sacrifices. So, sacrifice is wired to any progress you can make. If there is no sacrifice, you’re not making any steps toward your goals, because you’re not choosing and you’re just listening to greedy me.
Greedy me is not particularly farsighted, not in modern terms, at least. A selection will happen anyway, but not the one that will take you where you want.
By knowing where you want to go, and why, sacrifice can take a different aspect. It may even become pleasant, someway. But it will remain something that your greedy me won’t like and will try to sabotage.
No spontaneous force in nature will push you to edit your book draft.
Your will, habits, and motivation must be those forces. Once you’ve chosen your line, you should support it.
And that effort line needs specific food.
Feeding your life
Back to Scooby, if you want a fit body, you must choose how to feed it. That’s not the fun part, but it’s the road to your goal.
Your food can and should be healthy. But it must be picked, with knowledge and awareness. And it’s very likely that the food that can have a long-term impact on your fitness is not the food that the animal in you considered tasty a million years ago, to survive, and still does.
The same is with your life.
What tastes good now is for your present, for your instant gratification. But if you have plans for your future, if you see a gratification at a different level, picking the appropriate food must be part of your effort line.
You can have fun, and you should. You need that food too. But the way you feed your life inevitably sets who you’ll be tomorrow.