At Davids Way we teach to be proactive instead of reactive. This simply means to be creative and in control of your life as opposed to just accepting every negative event that life throws at you as inevitable. Believe me, this makes all the difference in the world in your level of happiness. If you believe that your “weight problem” is genetic rather than a result of what you put in your mouth, you will always be overweight. David wrote about genetic contributions to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in his article here
It’s Up To You
Genetic links to obesity have been studied at length. According to T.H. Chan of the Harvard School of Public Health, while there are genes that can contribute to obesity in ways such as interaction with fried foods in a unique manner, everyone who has these genes does not become obese. (1) It is not your destiny. It is still your choice. If fried foods make the scale go up, the answer is, “Don’t eat fried foods.” I don’t. It’s a choice.
Genes Are Not King
The research has made it clear that these genes make a very small contribution to obesity risk. Genes are not your destiny. Healthy lifestyles can more than compensate for these cellular differences. While there is a single gene mutation that can contribute to how often or intensely we feel hunger, it is rare and can be managed. If I eat empty calories, foods with little nutritional value, I stay hungry. If I make every calorie count with quality nutrition, I rarely experience true hunger. The key is to make absolutely sure that every calorie is a good nutrition source. I have to get the recommended amount of protein for my body as a heavy weight lifter and avoid all added sugars.
When I was growing up, my mother was obsessed with my weight. While that was not really a completely good thing, one of her strategies to control my weight was to remove empty calories. She provided healthy, wholesome meals and baked a cake no more than once a week. Sometimes she would go weeks without having any desserts in the house. When I followed her plan, I would lose weight. I had friends who appeared to be genetically blessed to be thin. When their moms furnished an abundance of junk foods with sugar, those genetically blessed creatures would fatten up. This supports the statements in the various studies that a healthy lifestyle can change your destiny while poor food choices can exacerbate the tendency to put on weight.
Genes Are Not The Cause
While genetic anomalies have been observed, the number of affected genes is an incredibly small percentage of our total gene pool. Their ability to affect the amount of fat on our body is insignificant when we make good food choices and get active. The genes of humans have remained largely the same throughout history so it is changes in society that have made a negative impact on obesity rates. Environmental changes that make it easier to overeat far outweigh any genetic input. Changes that curtail physical activity also contribute to the current explosion of obesity. Easy access to food 24 hours a day contributes on a large scale. The current trend to sit all the time even after leaving our jobs is deadly. While I love the internet, I do not allow it to prevent me from working out. I turn this off and get under that barbell or bridle up my dog for a walk. Sometimes I grab my backpack and head into the wilderness for a long hike. On those days, I fuel my workouts with adequate calories of healthy foods but never use that activity as an excuse to overeat. I actually gained weight one time because I would swim laps for two hours and then go to the yogurt shop for a “healthy” sundae. There is a huge influx of added sugars into our diet. It’s up to us to cut it out of our lives if we want to be healthy. Our habits create the body that we live in.
Knowledge is power. Since you have read this article, you can no longer use genetics as an excuse to be unhealthy. What will you do with the information provided here on the blog? Will you continue with unhealthy habits and pay the ultimate price with your health and eventually your life? While some people believe that they had rather die than change, death is not usually quick or painless. Death caused by the complications of obesity is usually long and painful. Make a decision today to be your best self. and live a rich, rewarding, full life able to be active with your grandchildren and enjoy doing things that only a healthy body can do. It’s up to you. Get proactive today. Read about being proactive here and here