Mission - The Why?
“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The Why: Physical (and Mental) limitations are not inevitable, even as we age
Our bodies are biologically designed to stay strong and capable from birth to way past 70 years old.
There is a very common misconception about the average life expectancy of our hunter-gatherer ancestors: that they all somehow died in their 30s, because that’s where average life expectancy at birth was.
But did you know those who did not succumb to infantile mortality (very high) or violent deaths went on to live strong and healthy past 70?
Modern medicine solved infantile mortality and our modern societies solved violent deaths. So if our bodies are designed to live strong and healthy past 70 even without the benefits of modern medicine and modern societies, then we should now live way past it, and still be strong and healthy, no?
Well, we all know it’s unfortunately not the case, as we witness, year after year, negative health trends in our modern societies, with well documented exploding rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic depression, etc…
The causes behind these trends are also quite well known: our lifestyle provides too little movement and most often too much calories (and of the wrong kind) to our bodies, which are not able to cope with it and eventually start to break down.
And yet, as individuals and as a society, we don’t seem able to change our ways. Why?
It’s both a knowledge problem and a behavior change problem. Knowledge because there is no longer enough awareness of what stimuli our bodies need to remain healthy, both in quantity and quality. Behavior change because habit change is one of the hardest things for us humans and because our current social norms make it even harder.
What’s needed? A revolution, nothing less.
We want to spark a revolution in how we think about the relationship between our everyday lifestyle and our physical and mental health.
A revolution is needed because:
The consequences are not doing anything are overwhelming: the exploding negative health trends in our high-income societies are clearly linked, in large part, to our modern lifestyle, resulting in physical limitations, mental health issues and all around limited lives.
It goes against our natural instincts: we evolved to avoid as much effort as possible and get as many calories as possible. In a world of sedentary living surrounded by cheap calories, those instincts are betraying us and making change almost impossible.
It also goes against our social norms: physical activity is viewed, almost exclusively, as fitness workouts and if you choose to seemingly spend extra physical efforts doing an activity, you’re quickly labelled as being “weird”.
The lost opportunity is huge: modern medicine heals us from an incredible range of diseases and accidents. Coupled with a healthy lifestyle, our potential should be almost unlimited. And yet most of us live lives limited in small or large parts by physical or mental limitations. We could be truly unstoppable.
The planet urgently needs it: the healthier our lifestyle, the more sustainable it is. Literally every improvement we make for our health is also positive for the planet.
What are we up against?
We face important obstacles and it’s important to spell out some of the main ones:
Social norms on what’s a normal and healthy adult: it’s now normal to live with a range of physical and mental health issues or limitations, at ever younger ages and certainly when getting older—which some now define as the 40s (!)
Social norms on what _normal_ activity levels are: 3 one-hour workouts a week is seen as being very active, even if you don’t move the other 165 hours of the week. While 3 hours are certainly much better than nothing’s the reality is more complex…
Social norms on where and when physical activity should happen: doing push-ups waiting for the bus to move a bit during our commute or crawling and jumping at the playground while the kids play is frown upon and certainly discouraging for most of us.
Our own natural instincts: we evolved in a calorie scarce environment and our instincts lead us to minimize all efforts to save energy as well as gorge on calories when available, preferably salty, fatty and sugary.
A vocal minority of natural health influencers denying the obvious benefits of modern medicine: this is discrediting other lifestyle changes that are beneficial and rooted firmly in science, and pushing a dangerous myth of an idealized hunter-gather lifestyle.
A minority of healthcare professionals diminishing the importance of preventative care: they prioritize the medical treatment of conditions that are preventable, in large part (though not for everyone), through a better lifestyle. They also dismiss as unrealistic the current public health guidelines on physical activity levels and healthy eating. They do this because they think most people can’t change their behavior, but we disagree.
What we have going for us
On the other hand, more and more people are rediscovering the importance of living more natural lives, often when they are trying to deal with new health concerns. And we are blessed with a lot of efforts being put into making far easier to improve our lifestyles. Among other things:
An accumulating body of knowledge from evolutionary biology and medical research: we now know more about the human body than ever before and in a much more nuanced way than even 5 years ago.
More and more results from behavioral science: under the label behavioral economics or choice architecture, there has been an explosion in popularity of behavioral based approaches, and an equally important explosion in the number of case studies and results we can take advantage of. This enables us to craft tools that result in lasting behavior change and achievable by anyone.
The resiliency of the human body itself: it can withstand years of abuse and if you start improving your lifestyle, results are quick to start. It’s of course better and easier to start early, but it’s definitely never too late to improve and see sorting results.
Digital technologies: they have their drawbacks but the upside is we can now connect with each other to support and inspire us on our individual quests but most importantly in our attempts to make society evolve. Since we’re up against the dominant social norms, we do need this support group of people and social media makes it possible.
Finally and perhaps more importantly: the fact we’re coming up against a wall as a society with only a very small minority retiring healthy, strong and capable. With even crude measures of health like average life expectancy decreasing in high income countries like the US and the UK, it will soon be apparent to all that something has to change if we don’t want to live sad and shortened lives.
Join us on our mission and towards a better you in a better world. If you’re hard at work towards a future aligned with our mission, we want to hear from you so we can connect and amplify your work. Please connect with us here.
But you can do it by simply improving your lifestyle. Because we need pioneers and role models showing what strong and confident women, men and children are and can accomplish. Your actions day after day are what will make our dream come true. Start your journey here.
Our dream world
is a world where:
- there is no opposition between a natural lifestyle and a modern lifestyle.
- we are physically strong and mentally resilient so we can seize each day with energy and confidence to make progress towards our goals and dreams.
- we view physical activity as normal, necessary and a satisfying part of our lives rather than just dreaded “fitness” workouts.
- we have access to natural foods providing us with balanced and satisfying meals that make us healthy.
- we are provided with an “owner’s manual” for our body and mind. The human body is incredibly resilient and it’s never too late to recover and improve. Later is harder than it needs to be though.
- we can confidently and competently help each other when disaster strikes and solidarity is needed.
- kids are inspired and guided to develop healthy habits that will keep strong, resilient and happy throughout their long life.
- we live in harmony with the planet.