Thursday, March 29, 2012

thinking too much

The title of today's post is a little on the ironic side to me, as i'm inclined to think that few people are guilty of it.  Perhaps, to be more accurate, i should have said something more like "over-analyzing" because that seems to be a preoccupation of some modern hunter-gatherer wannabes.

What proportion of my diet is too high for protein, too low for carb/fat ... dare i make that paleo chicken-wing recipe in such quantities, because after all, it includes the skin which is full of omega-6s ... i don't feel like fish for dinner but i haven't had a good source of omega-3 in days ... even though i have a cold, i feel guilty about missing my workout yesterday, so should i go to the gym even if i may be contagious....

Mark's Daily Apple has an interesting post today, which influenced me to write on this subject, a thing that has been on my list for some time.  His theme asks, how much should one react when in the possession of certain abstruse bits of information; he begins with the story of one individual who learned he had genetic potential for diabetes, and started tracking certain epigenetic changes.  Like many of Mark's articles, it's worth reading -- that guy is no one-trick-pony....

My slant is, how much micromanagement is wasted time, money and energy?  We already know that young people can abuse their bodies for decades before the damage starts to accrue.  We also know that remarkably small time-investments in fitness can pay off in a big way.  Also, technique X may work for person Y but not for person Z.  When should one stop hunching over the spreadsheet, and go outside to throw sticks for the dog?

There's something to be said for instinctive behavior.  If you have an unreasoning aversion to a food, don't eat it, no matter how many paleo nutritionists tell you it's "healthy"!  Even if people you respect say EVERYBODY should do something-or-other (or not do it) -- if it doesn't feel right to you, don't blindly obey!  Generalizations are generally wrong!  (I, like the Pirate King, enjoy a good paradox.)  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors managed to survive quite efficiently using their instincts in the absence of science.

Being health-conscious and willing to take pains for the sake of wellness is a terrific thing, but i can't help but think that some people micromanage it to a ridiculous extreme.  If you have a health condition which is sensitive to small variations in nutrient status, by all means count your milligrams, but if you're essentially robust, don't waste resources you could be using to actually LIVE.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Tess. The stress of micromanaging and freaking out over every bite has to be so much more damaging than the occasional _______ (insert unhealthy indulgence here).