Your body is spending all day and all night trying to maintain balance. Steady heart rate, steady blood pressure, steady body temperature, and countless other subtle and not so subtle systems are in a constant battle for balance. If you get too hot you start sweating. If you get too cold you start to shiver. These responses are your body trying to get your temperature back into the “comfort zone.” You may run a little hotter or cooler than your office mate, or your spouse and find you are in a constant battle over the thermostat. That is just your quest for balance being at odds with their quest for balance. I like to sleep naked under one sheet with the window open all year long. I share sleeping quarters with someone who likes sleep in Patagonia super puff onesie under two comforters with two space heaters running all night long. So there is suffering. This internal balance our bodies are constantly seeking is homeostasis. Homeostasis is that sweet spot when your body is happy with the status quo. Homeostasis isn’t just about temperature. It covers all of the systems in your body. And homeostasis isn’t fixed. Your homeostatic position today could be wildly different from the position five years ago. It doesn’t happen over night but you adapt to small changes, and with enough small changes over a long enough timeline your new normal could be quite abnormal. While you may feel like you humming along, your body is under performing, or worse, headed toward a chronic disease state, and you would hardly notice because it feels “normal.”
Imagine you have been eating too much pizza, doing too few squats, situps, and running, and now your new normal is fat, weak, and tired. So you decide to take your life into your own hands and to make a change for the better. Homeostasis doesn’t differentiate between change for the better and change for the worse. It resists all change. So you drop into a CrossFit class and 20 minutes in sirens are going off in your head telling you that you are going to die. Not maybe die. Legit, stop what you are doing or you will be dead in minutes, if not sooner. Because, you are disrupting the status quo. Your body doesn’t want to do burpees. Your body wants pizza. Your brain says vacation in Cancun coming up so I should get ready for a swim suit, but homeostasis says #acceptyourbody you should eat a bagel and lie down. So if you have ever wondered why it doesn’t always feel good to do things that are good for us this could be a significant part of the reason. You didn’t create the new normal in a week so it is going to take more than a week to get to the NEW new normal. Stay the course though. You will find a new balance if you keep inching along and trusting the process. One day at a time, one workout at a time, one meal at a time. You can be a transformed version of you, but it will take time. Don’t fear homeostasis. Understand it so that you can work with it towards your fitness goals. Don’t be a homeophobe.