Influenced by the evolutionary theory behind modern cognitive sciences, I tend to understanding not just human behavior, but physiology from a similar perspective. I approach exercise and nutrition by asking myself how nature designed my body to work.
The principle theme is adaptability. Our brains are only the most somatic development in our evolution that made us adaptable to new environments and led us to dominate the planet. The rest of our body also comes ready to adjust to its surroundings, like a plant growing towards sunlight, a tree dropping leaves when they aren’t worth the energy investment, or a bear fattening up for winter hibernation.
This is much simpler than prescribed training regiments or exchange-counting diet plans. As I figure, physical training is about alerting your body that it is not sufficiently prepared, and needs to allocate more energy to strengthening specific muscle groups (including the heart) than storing fat.
Similarly, I subscribe to Margaret Cho’s Fuck It Diet, perhaps more eloquently termed The Abundance Diet. If you starve yourself of, say, carbohydrates, your body will adjust to living without them and horde up when it does see them. I’m not confident I can outwit nature’s design of my nervous system with conscious thought, so I listen to cravings and try to satisfy them. In the spirit of the Paleo Diet, I avoid processed foods, and it takes a bit of discipline to not eat while distracted so I notice when I’m full. I also happen to be pescetarian, which is in answer to my natural cravings.