The human body operates of itself.
You don’t need to think about how to properly fire your nervous system, or to regulate your blood flow, or to grow your hair in order for these things to happen. In a sense, you do these things without you.
You lose weight when you do not eat. Your muscles repair and grow while you are resting. As long as you stay out of your own way and let these processes happen, they will happen. They do not need to be forced, persuaded or even optimized.
You do not need to ‘teach’ your body how to do burn fat or build muscle, it already knows how. You just need to get out of its way and let it do what it already knows how to do. In fact, at the time when your body was building the most muscle and at the fattest, you were still an infant, not even aware you were you.
Learning about how you burn fat does not change how you burn fat.
Along the same lines, you may also never really know the ‘best diet’ for you. Sure, science will tell you avoid butter, or eat butter, avoid grains or eat grains etc., but there will never be a consensus conclusion, instead it will always be a spinning wheel of opinions. This is why excessively detailed knowledge about a phenomenon can often lead to anxiety and contribute little to peace of mind. There is rarely a 100% ‘right’ answer.
In fact, many of the healthiest people in the world, the leanest and the strongest all share one thing in common – very rarely are they overly concerned with the knowledge behind why they are the way they are. They just are the way they are. And they just do what works for them.
In other words, if a person has a body that you find beautiful, it is very doubtful they attained that body by getting a PhD in how the body works.
This leads me to one of the biggest realizations I’ve had since I started working in the health and fitness industry – Not only can you become lean and muscular without obsessing about the minutia of how it’s all happening (or supposed to happen) but from my experience, the less you concern yourself with excessive knowledge, the easier it is for your body to accomplish what it is you want it to accomplish.
You really do not need to know the Why’s and How’s of something that is effective in order for it to be effective.
There will always be something we don’t know, and every day we will discover something new about health and fitness, but sometimes we focus to closely on the ‘something new’ instead of the totality of what it is…
The point of all of this is to illustrate that how you work can never be broken down to a series of independent systems and pathways, not properly anyways.
We don’t really need to know how we grow our bodies or regulate our metabolisms in order to be healthy. Sure, we can describe it, but the mistake is thinking that learning how to describe it, is the same as being in control of it.
Understanding the downstream regulators of protein synthesis that interact after the phosphorylation of mTOR doesn’t make you better at building muscle, just as understanding how the rods and cones in your eyes work does not make you better at seeing.
A large part of understanding how your body works is to simply understand THAT your body works, and naming the processes involved does not change how or why things happen. It may make you feel better, make you feel more at ease with the process, but it also tricks you into thinking you can somehow control what is happening, forgetting that any one thing you change has multiple affects throughout your body, you and your environment.
The body’s metabolism is an incredibly complex thing, and the ability to anticipate or even understand the exquisite balance that occurs in our body will probably always escape us to some degree. So, while it would be difficult to control our metabolism, it is easy to manage what we eat.
In this sense, sticking to the big picture, what and how much you eat, how and how often you move will always be more important than the minutia.
Finally, one of the hardest parts of all health and nutrition is learning to see and except the following: If something is working it is working, if it’s not, it’s not.