Every year it seems as if a whole wave of diets come into fashion and then quietly disappear as people discover that they don’t actually work. Despite the fact that they know the diet is probably just a trend, dieters keep jumping on the bandwagon and joining the latest diet over and over again.

Then there are the other people, ie the ones who quietly lose weight and don’t brag about their weight loss methods, and in so doing, they spur everyone else to cut another few hundred calories in a vain attempt to ‘catch up’.

These people have discovered the natural way to lose weight, by simply paying attention to what our body naturally tries to persuade us to do, and appreciating that our ancestors lived in a much healthier way.

Where This Principle Comes From

The basics of this principle have their roots in evolutionary psychology, and the ‘environment of evolutionary adaptedness’, or EEA. In simple terms, we have evolved over millions of years in a vastly different environment than the one we have recently fashioned for ourselves. If human history were condensed into one calendar year (for the sake of comparison), we lived in small, mobile foraging groups in the EEA until the morning of December 51st! Cities only sprang up midway through the day, and the industrial age hit in the evening. Our bodies and minds are adapted to life in the EEA, not our modem world.

How We Lived in the EEA

Humans certainly didn’t have many of the modern conveniences that we do these days! We were mobile, lived in small groups, and experienced far fewer stresses. Overall, humans were tar healthier and only worked perhaps twenty hours a week, taking turns hunting and gathering food, resting in the camp and repairing tools or babysitting on our ‘off’ days.

Overall, our health was much better, as proven by modem foraging societies and historical evidence. This leads some evolutionary psychologists to propose that many of the diseases and illnesses of today are caused by this mismatch between the conditions we evolved in and those we live in now. One of these side effects of the mismatch is our trend towards obesity.

Our Lives Now

How we live now is obviously very different. We obey many of our body’s impulses without really realizing why we have these impulses. Our unwillingness to exercise or curb unhealthy eating stems from our needs in the past: we wouldn’t have as much of a chance to rest and relax in safety, and food would have to be eaten as soon as possible whenever it was available. Therefore, we are driven to relax whenever possible and eat whenever possible. So it is no wonder we have weight problems!

Getting Back to Our Roots

The most effective way to diet is to cut down on junk food, processed food, and unhealthy manufactured foods, while increasing the amount of exercise we get. Even a moderate increase in exercise will actually serve to curb the appetite, not increase it (unless we exercise heavily). Your mother was right – simple healthy eating and increased exercise will benefit you enormously.

Rather than trying the latest newfangled trend, next time you feel the urge to lose weight, try getting back to your evolutionary roots and work with your body’s natural impulses to succeed at weight loss.