If you’re overweight, the good news is that it may be primarily caused by genetics, rather than any sort of failure or lack of willpower on your part. The bad news is that your body doesn’t want you to lose it. And if you do lose it, your body wants you to gain it back. Which leads me to wonder: Doesn’t my body read Vogue?
Today, The New York Times published an excerpt from Gina Kolata’s new book, Rethinking Thin: The New
Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting. It’s pretty interesting reading, and I’m resisting a lot of choice quotes.
70 percent of the variation in peoples’ weights may be accounted for by inheritance, a figure that means that weight is more strongly inherited than nearly any other condition, including mental illness, breast cancer or heart disease… The results did not mean that people are completely helpless to control their weight, [but] it did mean that those who tend to be fat will have to constantly battle their genetic inheritance if they want to reach and maintain a significantly lower weight.
[E]ach person has a comfortable weight range to which the body gravitates. The range might span 10 or 20 pounds: someone might be able to weigh 120 to 140 pounds without too much effort. Going much above or much below the natural weight range is difficult, however; the body resists by increasing or decreasing the appetite and changing the metabolism to push the weight back to the range it seeks.
Those who doubt the power of basic drives, however, might note that although one can hold one’s breath, this conscious act is soon overcome by the compulsion to breathe. The feeling of hunger is intense and, if not as potent as the drive to breathe, is probably no less powerful than the drive to drink when one is thirsty. This is the feeling the obese must resist after they have lost a significant amount of weight.
To me, this does not negate the need to eat healthily and get enough exercise. Far from it. It just means doing the best you can, and allowing your body to find a happy weight within your own genetically predetermined range. And then, once you get there, it’s an argument for not beating yourself up too much.
Thanks to Kari for sending me this article.
Posted by mo pie