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The Pleasure Trap

March 5, 2009

obese_boy1You are really only programmed to do 2 things in life: Survive and Reproduce. That’s it!  Your body is designed to have feedback mechanisms that push you towards survival and reproduction to make sure your genome is passed on for the survival of the species. How many Monday to Friday’s have you survived through just so you could get to the weekend to hopefully reproduce? Right? Now there are 3 things that motivate you to fulfil these genetic drives:

1. Seek pleasure

2. Avoid pain

3. Conserve energy

Now this triad served you extremely well back when you were a cave dweller-  Back when you were unsure where your next meal was coming from, it was critical that you sought food anywhere you could get it.  You hit the jackpot when you found food that was tasty and nutrient dense so you could store whatever you didn’t burn immediately (seek pleasure), and so you could avoid future starvation (avoid pain). This is why you crave sweet high-calorie foods because your brain runs on sugar and your body always wants to store excess calories either in fat stores or in the liver.  And you would do this while making sure that you conserved as much energy as possible. In fact all animals follow these rules.  A great white shark won’t swim its butt off to chase a healthy tuna, it’ll sense vibrations from injured and distressed tuna with its ultra-sensitive snout so it can have an easy pleasurable meal using as little energy as possible.

Years ago as a hunter-gatherer you didn’t know if you would even eat lunch that day!  For most of you now this isn’t an issue- Now a days you think “I’m starving, what should I have for lunch?”  Unfortunately in modern day these innate drives can backfire.  This is what is called the Pleasure Trap.  All these delicious/sweet foods that our brains instinctly crave are not so good for you anymore. Fast food industries sure know how to manipulate this instinct don’t they? How about conserving energy? This obviously works against you when it comes to getting to the gym or exercising since you have a primal desire to lay on the couch and eat doritos.  And there are unhealthy things that we do to avoid pain like ignoring emotional conflict.  How many people do you know have issues they need to deal with that are weighing on them but are avoiding them because they don’t want to deal with that emotional moment?  So there are instances where this motivational triad actually becomes a pleasure trap in modern life. 

This is no excuse.  You can’t say I eat sweets because it’s a naturalt instinct.  You can’t say I don’t exercise because I would rather lay on the couch.  These are suicidal behaviors, and the body has absolutely no genetic defence against chronic stupidity.  You must eat right, think right, and move right to express health.  Without your health nothing else matters.

Stay tuned for tips on eating, moving, and thinking strategies that will help you express your optimal health potential.

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