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By Tracey Greenwood, Ph.D.

Excess abdominal fat isn’t just unattractive; it also increases your risk for many different diseases. Here are seven tips to help you bust that guy and shed those unwanted pounds.

FOLLOW A LOW-CARB DIET

In the body, dietary carbohydrates, sugars, and starch are converted to glucose, which indirectly instructs the pancreas to release insulin into the blood. Insulin not only transports glucose into the cells, it stores glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Insulin is the primary fat-building enzyme, converting glucose to fat. When the liver and muscles are filled with glycogen, insulin turns excess glucose into body fat. Insulin also inhibits lipolysis, and decreases the body’s ability to break down stored fat. Diets that are high in carbohydrates are a contributing factor toward weight gain.

One of the major health benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet is weight loss. A low-carbohydrate diet will lower the amount of stored glycogen in the muscles and liver. This will cause fuel sources to shift from glucose to fatty acids, thereby increasing the rate of lipolysis and beta oxidation to make ATP for energy during exercise. Lowering your intake of carbohydrates is one way to lose excess abdominal weight without having to consciously restrict calories. A low-carbohydrate diet lowers blood glucose in diabetics and it improves insulin sensitivity, which is a precursor for The Metabolic Syndrome. A low-carbohydrate, non-restricted calorie diet is generally defined as less than 10 percent of total caloric intake or no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily. Most low-carbohydrate diets replace carbohydrates with healthy sources of fats and proteins.

When choosing which carbohydrates to include in your diet, you should refer to the glycemic index scale. Carbohydrates are given a measure known as their glycemic index (GI), which rates their effects of blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream have a low GI.

Low glycemic index carbohydrates only cause a gradual rise in glucose and limit the spikes in insulin in the body. Low glycemic carbohydrates also help you to feel fuller, and give you more energy. Low glycemic index carbohydrates will have a GI rating of 55 or less and will consist of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, fructose, and products low in carbohydrates. Medium glycemic index carbohydrates will have a GI rating of 56-69 and consist of whole-wheat products, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and sucrose products. High glycemic carbohydrates have a rating of 70 and above and typically consist of baked potatoes, watermelon, white bread, white rice, breakfast cereals, and glucose.

TRY THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

If sticking to a low-carbohydrate diet isn’t for you or if you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, then the Mediterranean diet might be more appealing. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating, which includes olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine. Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet exerts a cardio-protective effect, reducing the risk of heart disease. Increasing scientific evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet may not only reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also reduce the risk of cancer, cancer mortality, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as preventing obesity.

The staples of the Mediterranean diet include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, yogurt, small amounts of wine and olive oil. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which may reduce inflammation and prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers. This diet focuses on portion control, emphasizing small portions of high-quality food.

Healthy fats like olive oil and nuts keep you feeling fuller longer than diets that restrict fat or forbid fat altogether. Instead of limiting total fat intake, the Mediterranean diet makes health-wise choices about what kinds of fats you should consume. It focuses on monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados; polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty types of fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout; and fats from plant sources, like flaxseed. This diet also limits your intake of processed and packaged foods, keeping your intake of unhealthy trans-fats extremely low.

A study performed by the University of Navarra in Spain, consisting of more than 10,000 men and women adhering to the Mediterranean Diet, demonstrated a decrease in weight gain and obesity. Another European study, which included close to 500,000 men and women from 10 different European countries also following the Mediterranean Diet, found a decrease in waist circumference and abdominal obesity. The Mediterranean Diet not only proves to decrease your risk of cardiovascular health but it also prevents abdominal obesity.

EAT MORE FIBER

Eating more fiber could also have a big impact on decreasing abdominal fat. A study performed by The National Institute for Public Health in Bilthoven, Netherlands, showed that people who consumed 10 grams or higher of fiber per day decreased their total bodyweight and abdominal fat. A significant source of dietary fiber is defined as a food that contains a substantial amount of dietary fiber in relation to its calorie content and that contributes at least 2 grams of dietary fiber in a selected serving size.

Fiber helps keep our waistlines slim by producing regular bowel movements and lessening the belly bulge. Fiber also wards off certain diseases. Carcinogens in the intestines bind to it and move through our colons more quickly than they otherwise would, reducing the risk for colon cancer. Fiber’s greatest value, however, is in helping to keep us slim. The recommended daily intake of fiber for adults is 20 to 30 grams per day, with an upper limit of 35 grams. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, vegetables, fruits (preferably with the skin), nuts, seeds and legumes.

CUT BACK ON SUGAR

Most junk foods and processed foods consist of refined carbohydrates and sugars, which when eaten quickly raise blood sugar levels, leading to an increase in appetite and a reduction in the body’s ability to burn fat. Processed foods are highly favored by the food industry and the consumer because they are very inexpensive to produce and are specifically designed to taste good. The enormous abundance and availability of these foods is evidence that they are a staple of the American diet, and this is a major contributor to the prevalence of obesity.

Foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates are digested into large amounts of glucose that quickly enter the bloodstream and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, resulting in an augmented release of insulin. The additional insulin can impair the body’s ability to maintain consistent blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

When sugar is consumed, it can be converted to glycogen and stored in muscle or the liver for future use. Many people consume an alarmingly high amount of carbohydrates that significantly exceed their storage capacity for glycogen. When this happens, the sugar resulting from carbohydrate digestion is converted to body fat. Many of the people who consistently consume the processed foods that contain sugar and refined carbohydrates are significantly overweight. In addition, these foods have been shown to encourage overeating, which further increases potential for weight gain.

STOP LATE-NIGHT EATING

To successfully lose weight, the last meal you eat should be at least two hours before you go to bed. The problem with late night snacking is that there isn’t much physical activity done afterward, and this will cause high blood sugar levels and no energy expenditure, causing the excess sugar to quickly be converted to body fat.

Your body begins to shut down a few hours after dinner preparing for sleep, causing your metabolism to become minimized at night. This natural slowing down of your metabolic rate overrides any metabolic or thermogenic boost you would obtain from eating. During sleep, the minimal amount of calories you will burn are those used for cardiovascular and respiratory function and REM sleep. The last meal you eat for the day should consist mainly of lean protein and low glycemic carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables. You should avoid all starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.

GET SOME SLEEP

Short sleep duration is associated with obesity, increased abdominal fat, and type 2 diabetes. Sleep patterns consisting of less than 5 hours per night are associated with insulin insensitivity, leading to impaired carbohydrate oxidation and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The growth hormone (GH) is secreted during the first round of deep sleep. Shorter durations of sleep cause lower GH secretion resulting in the fat-gaining process. Stress imposed on the body due to lack of sleep causes enhanced levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol interferes with falling asleep or remaining asleep. The cycle of hormone output, insulin release, and hunger continues. Shift work with its interrupted sleep patterns can be directly linked to belly fat deposit.

Cortisol causes fats and sugars to enter the blood circulation to increase energy for handling stressful situations. Shorter sleep patterns cause an increase in appetite the next day and most often fatty foods are eaten. The blood glucose increases and then decreases, resulting in the repeated presence of cortisol, resulting in a vicious cycle and increased abdominal fat.

EXERCISE CONSISTENTLY

Although diet plays the most important role in losing abdominal fat, exercise is a key ingredient in the belly fat-burning process. During exercise, the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine are released, which stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of stored fat molecules. When these hormones are released into the blood, they cause a metabolic reaction, resulting in the activation of the enzyme Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL). HSL triggers the breakdown of a stored triglyceride molecule in adipose tissue to release free fatty acids, which can then be further oxidized, producing a loss of body fat.

Combining different types of exercise is the best cocktail to burning fat. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends moderately intense cardio-respiratory exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or vigorously intense cardio-respiratory exercise 20 minutes a day, three days a week, with the addition of eight to 10 strength-training exercises (8 to 12 reps of each exercise), at least twice a week.

During aerobic exercise, your body goes through several stages before it reaches the point where you are burning fat. You will hear people say that you are only burning sugar (carbohydrates), not fat, during the first 10 minutes of exercise. This is true to a certain extent. Stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen can be used for fuel during exercise up to 60 minutes, depending on the intensity of the exercise and the type of diet consumed. If you consume a low-carbohydrate diet, glycogen stores will be depleted sooner, causing lipolysis to be activated sooner rather than later. Also the intensity of the exercise will determine if you are utilizing your stored fat.

A study performed by The Cooper Institute in Dallas found that the duration of aerobic exercise was more beneficial than the intensity of exercise for decreased bodyweight and waist circumference. A longer duration produced the greatest loss of bodyweight and body fat.

Weight training is a vital component in decreasing abdominal fat and the key to burning fat at rest. Weight training is an anaerobic activity that will often cause you to burn more calories per minute than aerobic exercise. The calories that you are burning during weight training exercises are mostly calories from carbohydrates (because weight training is usually shorter in duration than endurance exercise), but the calories you burn at rest are mostly calories from fat. The reason you are burning fat at rest is because weight training increases lean muscle mass, which is highly metabolic and therefore increases your basal metabolic rate, which uses your stored fat as energy. To make your body the ultimate fat-burning machine, you should do a combination of aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight training) exercises.

References:

American College of Sports Medicine (2010). Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th edition. Philadelphia: PA Williams and Wilkins.

Beunza Juan-Jose’, et al. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet, Long-Term Weight Change, and Incident Overweight or Obesity: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010; 92:1484-1493.

Chambliss H.O. Exercise duration and intensity in a weight-loss program. Clin J Sport Med, 2005; 15(2):113-5.

Dorn Joan M., et al. Alcohol Drinking Patterns Differentially Affect Central Adiposity as Measured by Abdominal Height in Women and Men. The Journal of Nutrition, 2003; 133:2655-2662.

Kwon Soyang. Association Between Abdominal Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Normal Weight Korean Women. HealthCare for Women International, 2009; 30: 447-452.

Lopez-Garcia E., et al. Sleep Duration, General and Abdominal Obesity, and Weight Change Among the Older Adult Population of Spain. Am J of Clin Nutr, 2008; 87(2): 310-316.

Ludwig David. The Glycemic Index: Physiological Mechanisms Relating to Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. JAMA, 2002; 287(18): 2414-2423.

Romaguera Dora, et al. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Associated with Lower Abdominal Adiposity in European Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition, 2009; 139: 1-10.

Samaha F.F., et al. A low-carbohydrate as compared with a low-fat diet in severe obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 2003; 348:2074-81.

Sanches F.M., et al. Waist Circumference and Visceral Fat in CKD: A Cross-sectional Study. American Journal of Kidney Disease, 2008; 52 (1): 66-73.

Shai Iris et al. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 2008; 359(3): 229-241.

Westphal S.A. Obesity, Abdominal Obesity, and Insulin Resistance. Clinical Cornerstone, 2004; 6(1): 23-31.

Yancy W.S., et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia. Ann Int Med, 2004;140:769-777.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post 7 Ways To Lose Abdominal Fat appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: 7 Ways To Lose Abdominal Fat
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/nutrition/tips/7-ways-to-lose-abdominal-fat-copy/
Published Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:46:59 +0000

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The Hazards and Blessings of Being Male: Embracing the Seven Challenges For a Successful Life

Captura de pantalla 2024 05 17 a las 20.33.26

Captura de pantalla 2024 05 17 a las 20.33.26 1
Photo by: Alexander Grey | Unsplash.com

Although there have been infinite varieties of life forms that have evolved on Earth in the last 4 billion years, two life forms that are our male and female ancestors evolved a billion years ago. Here’s how this first sexual experience occurred according to cosmologist Dr. Brian Swimme and historian Dr. Thomas Berry in their book, The Universe Story.

The first male organism—they call him Tristan—and the first female organism—they call her Iseult—began life in the ancient oceans. Swimme and Berry describe their chance encounter this way:

“They were cast into the marine adventure, with its traumas of starvation and of predation. Able to nourish themselves but no longer capable of dividing into daughter cells, such primal living beings made their way through life until an almost certain death ended their 3-billion-year lineage.

A slight, an ever so slight, chance existed that a Tristan cell would come upon a corresponding Iseult cell.They would brush against each other, a contact similar to so many trillions of other encounters in their oceanic adventure. But with this one, something new would awaken. Something unsuspected and powerful and intelligent, as if they had drunk a magical elixir, would enter the flow of electricity through each organism.

Suddenly the very chemistry of their cell membranes would begin to change. Interactions evoked by newly functioning segments of her DNA would restructure the molecular web of Iseult’s skin, so that an act she had never experienced or planned for would begin to take place—Tristan entering her cell wholly.”

Of course no humans were there to record this original encounter, but we all have origin stories and this one resonates with me. Dates are never exact and change as more information is gathered. Here are some additional dates I found important in The Universe Story timeline:

  • 12 billion years ago, the universe begins.
  • 4 billion years ago life first emerges.
  • 1 billion years ago sexual reproduction evolves.
  • 216 million years ago the first mammals appear.
  • 30 million years ago the first apes inhabit the earth.
  • 2.6 million years ago the first humans appeared.
  • 200,000 years ago Archaic Homo sapiens evolved.
  • 10,600 years ago first settlements in the Middle East emerged and wheat and barley were cultivated.

Needless to say, we have a long evolutionary history to embrace. In their book, Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain, Douglas T. Kenrick, PhD and David E. Lundberg-Kenrick describe seven evolutionary challenges we must all face and embrace. They offer a visual summary as a revision of Maslow’s original Hierarchy of Human Needs which they call The New Pyramid of Human Motives:

pyramidimg

The Seven Challenges for a Successful Life

            During the billion years of life, all organisms must embrace these challenges and they are particularly relevant beginning with our mammalian history. In their book, the Kenricks ask, “What are the fundamental problems of human existence?” They go on to share the results of their research.

“Together with a large team of researchers at more than 30 universities on five continents, we have been investigating the universal motivations faced by human beings around the globe.”

Here is a summary of their findings:

  • Survive.

We must meet our basic physiological needs for shelter from the elements,

water, and food.

  • Protect yourself from attackers and plunderers.

Given the scarcity of resources and the ever-present possibility of starvation, there has always been competition among different groups (most often the male members) for precious real estate and resources (including access to females).

  • Make and keep friends.

As the Kenricks remind us. “Our ancestors were not rugged individualists.

They need to band together not only to protect themselves from bands of

marauding bad guys but also to accomplish most of the tasks of everyday life.”

  • Get some respect.

Some people have always been more resourceful and clever than others and

some were more willing to bravely defend their groups against armed marauders.

Those resourceful and courageous individuals won higher status and gained

greater respect.

  • Find a mate.

“From the perspective of evolution by natural selection,” say the Kenricks, “this

step is essential. Every one of our ancestors managed to attract at least one

person who wanted to make with them. Not everybody in the ancient world got

to reproduce, though, and a reasonable percentage of men went unmated.” This

fact, is of major importance when understanding male desires, fears, and

behavior.

  • Hang on to that mate.

From an evolutionary perspective, we not only have to find a mate who will have

sex with us, but we need to hold on to our mate long enough to have a child and

raise the child to maturity, so they can find a mate and continue the process.

  • Care for your family members.

Unlike other animals, human males are much more involved with raising children, since human children require long-term care before they reach reproductive age.

Males and Females Are Alike and Also Different

Males and females are alike in that they must both successfully meet the seven challenges noted above. However, there are also significant evolutionary differences. These differences first came home to me when I first met psychologist David M. Buss and read his book, The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating.

“If mating desires and other features of human psychology are products of our evolutionary history,” says Dr. Buss, “they should be found universally, not just in the United States.”

To test his theories, he conducted a five-year study working with collaborators from thirty-seven cultures located on six continents and five islands. All major racial groups, religious groups, and ethnic groups were represented. In all, his research team surveyed 10,047 persons world-wide.

Dr. Buss concluded that there are actually two human natures, one male, the other female. What do women really want? Buss found that the top three qualities that women look for in men are exactly the same as those things that men look for in women: Intelligence, kindness, and love. Then, what women want diverges from what men want.

“Women then look at a man’s ability to protect her and her children, his capacity to provide, and his willingness to make commitment to a relationship,” says Buss.

What do men really want?

“A man is drawn to youth and beauty,”

says Buss.

“This interest is not just a modern desire driven by advertising and male desire to control women [though advertisers take advantage of our evolutionary-driven desires]. It is a universal desire based on evolutionary pressures for reproductive success. Men who mated with women who were incapable of bearing children left no ancestors. Every man alive today is descended from men who did not make that mistake. Worldwide, men are drawn to younger women.”

Note: Just because we have these evolutionary-based desires does not mean we must act on them, that they are good for us, or will make us, or the partners we desire, happy. It also does not mean they are hard-wired into our biological makeup and can’t be changed. It does mean that we must take seriously our evolutionary-based desires and listen to the ancient “whisperings within” that pull us in certain directions.

The Hazards and Blessings of Gender-Specific Health

The ancient Roman philosopher, Virgil offers a simple truth to consider.

“The greatest wealth is health.”

A modern American medical doctor, Marianne J. Legato, M.D., world-renowned cardiologist and founder of The Foundation For Gender-Specific Medicine, says,

“The premature death of men is the most important—and neglected—health issue of our time.”

Although human males, as a group, occupy more positions of power in government and business than women, it has come at a price. This was first brought home to me by psychologist Herb Goldberg, in his book 1976, The Hazards of Being Male.

“The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power. He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically and physically.”

In recent years we have learned a lot more about the realities of being male.

“If it’s true that men rule the world, it comes at a heavy cost,”

says Dr. Legato.

“From conception until death, men are inherently more fragile and vulnerable than women. In virtually every society today, men die first.”

Dr. Legato offers the following facts of life:

  • The male fetus is less likely to survive the womb than the female.
  • Boys are six weeks behind in developmental maturity at birth compared to girls.
  • Men have four times the developmental disabilities of females.
  • Men suffer more severely than women from seven of the ten most common infections that human experience [Including Covid-19].
  • Men are likely to experience the first ravages of coronary artery disease in their mid-thirties, a full 15 or 20 years before women.
  • Twice as many men die of heart disease, the leading cause of all deaths, than do women.
  • Men die by suicide 4 times more than women.
  • Murder and homicide are among the top four killers of men from the time they are born until heart disease and cancers begin to claim those who survive into middle age.

Accepting the realities of our own inherent weakness and vulnerabilities instead of trying to pretend we are masters of the universe is the first step we just take to begin our own healing and recovery.

I have been writing a series of articles on the Future of Men’s Mental Health. In Part 3, “Gender-Specific Healing and Man Therapy,” I explore my own healing journey and issues that address the unique problems faced by men and how the emerging field of Gender-Specific Healing and Men’s Health is a key to the future of health care. If you’d like more information about upcoming trainings, drop me an email to Jed@MenAlive.com and put “Gender-Specific Health Training” in the subject line.

The post The Hazards and Blessings of Being Male: Embracing the Seven Challenges For a Successful Life appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: The Hazards and Blessings of Being Male: Embracing the Seven Challenges For a Successful Life
Sourced From: menalive.com/the-hazards-and-blessings-of-being-male/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-hazards-and-blessings-of-being-male
Published Date: Sat, 18 May 2024 02:41:58 +0000

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Mens Health

The James Bond Workout

James Bond Workout 2

Illustration titled "The James Bond Workout" depicting six exercises: 20 slow push-ups, straight leg lifts, toe touches, chair dips, deep breathing, culminating in a hot and cold shower.

When you have a license to kill, you’ve got to keep yourself in tip-top shape.

So what did James Bond do for his workout? 

From the James Bond novels, we know that 007 liked to do all sorts of physical activities that could count as exercise: boxing, judo, swimming, and skiing. He was also a golfer, so he got some activity in that way.

As a Commander in the Royal Navy Reserve, Bond likely incorporated some of the calisthenics he learned from the military into his workout routine. It’s possible that he even drew inspiration from the Cold War HIIT workout, 5BX. 

You can see these influences in the workout 007 does in From Russia With Love. In that novel (one of the 5 best books in the Bond canon), Fleming describes a short calisthenics routine that his secret agent does that’s capped off with a “James Bond shower”:

There was only one way to deal with boredom — kick oneself out of it. Bond went down on his hands and did twenty slow press-ups, lingering over each one so that his muscles had no rest. When his arms could stand the pain no longer, he rolled over on his back and, with his hands at his sides, did the straight leg-lift until his stomach muscles screamed. He got to his feet and, after touching his toes twenty times, went over to arm and chest exercises combined with deep breathing until he was dizzy. Panting with the exertion, he went into the big white-tiled bathroom and stood in the glass shower cabinet under very hot and then cold hissing water for five minutes. 

A pretty quick and straightforward bodyweight workout, that we’ve illustrated for reference above. With one adaptation: Bond scholars and aficionados have never figured out exactly what Fleming meant by “arm and chest exercises.” We substituted chair dips; they work both the arms and chest. You can imagine in your own arm and chest exercise if you’d like. Performing that portion of the workout, and all the rest of them, in a tux with a pistol and martini glass on hand is optional, but highly encouraged if you’re an operative training to face the unique challenges of international espionage. 

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The James Bond Workout
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Published Date: Thu, 16 May 2024 17:20:27 +0000

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Man or Bear: What Evolutionary Science Can Tell Us About Male Violence and How to Stay Safe

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Captura de pantalla 2024 05 08 a las 17.49.44 1
Photo by: Mark Basarab / Unsplash.com

Have you been following the discussion that began with a question to a small group of women: If you were alone in the woods, would you rather encounter a bear or a man? The great majority of the women answered, “a bear” and explained that they would feel safer encountering a bear in the forest than a man they didn’t know. The hypothetical question has sparked a broader discussion about why women fear men.

I’d like to share my own experiences. I will start by laying my cards on the table so you know my biases from the outset:

  • I have been a man all my life which now totals 80 years.
  • I was born in New York City, grew up in Los Angeles, and have lived in cities most of my life where I never encountered a bear or any other wild animal.
  • I am a psychotherapist, author of 17 books about men and their relationships, and have worked with what many consider “dangerous men” in jails, prisons, and treatment centers.
  • In 1991 my wife and I moved out of the city, bought land in the hills of Mendocino County outside a small town of Willits, California and I had my first encounter with wild animals including several bears.

The impetus for our move to the country began when I was diagnosed with a rare adrenal tumor which kills most people before they know they have it. Luckily, I didn’t die. My doctor made the diagnosis—a pheochromocytoma. I had emergency surgery and the tumor was removed.

When I asked the doctors what caused me to get a tumor, they didn’t know. “Maybe genetics, maybe bad luck, who knows?” they told me. Well, I believe we all have an inner healer who does know. I asked and the answer I got was clear and concise:

Inner Healer to Jed: Adrenal tumor, adrenaline! Don’t you get it? You’ve living in stressful environments for way too long. You have to slow down.

Jed to Inner Healer: I have slowed down. I was born to New York, pretty high-stressed place. We moved to Los Angeles where I grew up and went to school, a lower stress place. Now we live in Mellow Marin County. I’ve been slowing down, really I have.

Inner Healer to Jed: I do hear you. You have slowed down, New York, Los Angeles, Marin. You’ve gotten your stress score down from 100 to an 88. But you have to get it down to a 9.

Jed to Inner Healer: You’ve got to be kidding me, a 9! I’d have to change my whole life!!!

Inner Healer to Jed: Yep.

So, we found a little cabin on 22 acres of land and moved in and I planned to relax more. It was quiet and peaceful and the neighbors were nice. But the truth was, everything scared me. It was too quiet. After we had been there a month and I was sitting on a ridge overlooking a valley, I heard a very faint sound. So soft, I wasn’t even sure it was there. I finally realized that what I was hearing was the sound of my eye lashes blinking. I was used to the sounds of a big city. It was difficult to think with only the sounds of silence to keep me company.

            What really scared me, though, were the animal sounds I would hear at night. I was determined to follow my inner healer’s advice and learn to slow down and relax. I knew I needed to settle into my new surroundings. There was  a deck at the end of our property where I often went to think about my future. I decided I would learn to address my anxieties and fears by sleeping outside every night during the first summer we were there.

Each night after dinner, I would walk in the dark from our house to the deck, about a ten-minute walk, where I would spend the night. I walked first with a flashlight, then stop, turn it off, and listen to the night sounds. I would hear the bugs, birds, and small animals moving through the brush. I would snuggle up in my sleeping bag and gradually I got used to the night sounds and got to know the creatures that lived in my new neighborhood in the woods.

One morning as I was just waking up I saw a large animal coming my way on a narrow trail that led away from my deck where I slept. At first I didn’t know what it was. It was bigger than a big dog but walked differently. It didn’t take me long to realize that a large black bear was walking towards me.

My mouth went dry, my heart began to pound. I didn’t know what to do. Should I yell and try and scare him away? Should I run and hide? I had no idea. What I finally did was to start talking very fast: “Ah…bear…I’m Jed, I don’t have anything you would want to eat, including me, I know this is your home, I just moved here, I really want to be a good neighbor, please don’t hurt me, I…”

I ran out of words and the bear stopped a hundred feet from me. I looked at him (or her? I had no idea) and he looked at me. And I wondered whether the next thing would be a bear at my throat. Instead, he turned around and walked back down the path.

It was a strange rite of passage for this city boy. I felt like he had decided that I was definitely a little strange but I was OK. He came back periodically when I wasn’t there. I could tell because he marked his territory by scratching marks on the posts of my deck. I had a number of encounters with bears, a few real scary one when we encountered a mamma bear with her cubs and she reared up on her hind legs and barked her cubs up a three. I bowed low and slowly backed away. I had a healthy respect for bears and other wild animals but we got to know each other.

Not so, when I had my first encounter with a strange man. One morning I was walking on my property and suddenly a strange man turned the corner on the trail. I yelled, turned around and ran. I looked over my shoulder to see if he was chasing me and realized that he was running away, looking over his shoulder to see if I was chasing him.

We both stopped running and slowly approached each other cautiously. I told him I owned this property and told me he was visiting neighbors and had gone for a walk and gotten lost the night before. He had slept out all night and was trying to find his way back when he ran into me. I drove him back to the neighbors who saw me as a hero for finding their friend and we shared stories about our encounters with bears and men.

What Evolutionary Science Can Teach Us About Bears and Men and How to Stay Safe

We can’t understand bears, men, or how to be safe unless we know something about evolutionary science. In their book The Universe Story, cosmologist Dr. Brian Swimme and historian Dr. Thomas Berry, share our evolutionary history. Here are a few key players and the dates they joined the party:

  • 12 billion years ago, the universe began with a bang.
  • 4 billion years ago life first emerged.
  • 216 million years ago the first mammals appeared.
  • 55 million years ago the first bear-like animals evolved.
  • 2.6 million years ago the first humans, Homo habilis, walked the earth.

In a recent book, Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain, evolutionary psychologists Douglas T. Kenrick and David E. Lunberg-Kenrick, detail the seven fundamental problems the humans have faced since we arrived. We have to:

  1. Survive by meeting our basic needs for water, food, and shelter.
  2. Protect ourselves from attackers and plunderers.
  3. Make and keep friends.
  4. Gain status and respect from our fellow tribal members.
  5. Find a mate.
  6. Hang on to that mate.
  7. Focus on family and raise good children.

What they say about basic challenges number 1 and 2, can help us better understand how to stay safe in today’s world. The first step is clear. We must get what we need to survive or our story ends here. All our direct ancestors survived and completed all seven steps.

They go on to talk about the reality that in our evolutionary past, as well as in modern times, we have a lot more to fear from men than we do from wild animals. In the Bronx Zoo, there is a classic sign on one exhibit that advertised, “World’s Most Dangerous Predator.” Above the sign was a mirror.

            Humans truly are a dangerous species and the danger is most commonly coming from men. Whether you are venturing into the remote unexplored jungles where modern hunter-gatherers live or looking at death rates from our evolutionary past, Dr. Kenrick and other evolutionary-informed scientists have found that men are the more violent half of humanity.

“The odds that a stranger is a potential threat to your physical safety are many times higher if that stranger is a male. They are especially high if he is a young adult male and if he is with a group of other young adult males.”

So, it is natural that women, and men, would be more fearful of meeting an unknown man in the woods than a bear. But the fact that our modern brains still have the old wiring from our evolutionary past, does not mean that we should be afraid of all bears or all men. As I learned, we are all safer when we learn about the others who we will encounter in our lives.

I learned to get comfortable with the bears who lived in my neighborhood. I also learned I could talk to the bears, let them know I was no threat, and I imagined they would listen. I found out I could overcome my immediate reaction to flee or fight when confronted by an unknown male. I could stop and realize we were both afraid of each other and taking time to calm down and talk helped us both connect in a positive way.

What I have learned from evolutionary science is that most wild animals can be our friends and so can most men. The way to be safer in the world is to connect more deeply with ourselves, each other, and this beautiful planet we all share.

            One more point. Humans have certainly done our evolutionary job well in populating the world. We don’t need more and more people, but we could certainly use more wisdom from our animal elders. As Thomas Berry reminds us,

“We never knew enough. Nor were we sufficiently intimate with all our cousins in the great family of the earth. Nor could we listen to the various creatures of the earth, each telling its own story. The time has now come, however, when we will listen or we will die.”

I have worked with a lot of dangerous and violent men in my life. I agree with the world of psychologist James Hollis. “Men’s lives are violent because their souls have been violated.” I invite those interested to check out our Moonshot for Mankind.

The post Man or Bear: What Evolutionary Science Can Tell Us About Male Violence and How to Stay Safe appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: Man or Bear: What Evolutionary Science Can Tell Us About Male Violence and How to Stay Safe
Sourced From: menalive.com/man-or-bear-what-evolutionary-science-can-tell-us-about-male-violence-and-how-to-stay-safe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=man-or-bear-what-evolutionary-science-can-tell-us-about-male-violence-and-how-to-stay-safe
Published Date: Wed, 08 May 2024 23:46:04 +0000

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