General chatter - Speaking of cop outs, what about "Weight problems run in our family?"




Blueberries
12-06-2011, 06:42 PM
So I was talking to my mom about the work I'm doing digging into childhood issues that may have contributed to my weight issues, and she mentioned that there is some history weight problems in our family. My mom's dealing with a lot of extra weight, too, and I feel like it might just be a cop out to avoid dealing with what she needs to deal with. I mean, binging episodes beginning at age 7 (me) aren't exactly normal.

I feel like I've heard this same statement from lots of people. So, what are your thoughts? Is "It runs in the family" a cop out?


severine
12-06-2011, 07:26 PM
In a lot of families, including mine, there is a legacy of being overweight. My mum and grandmother are both heavy, and so am I - at least for now! I think that the cop out is in failing to ask WHY it's running in the family.

In my family, it's a combination of unhealthy eating habits and unhealthy links of self worth/emotions to body image.

My mother and grandmother were constantly in a dieting/gaining cycle. Our family meals would be lasagna and potatoes and ice cream sundaes one week, and salad and broccoli the next week. I grew up learning that food is a delicious reward and also a dangerous enemy.

From the time I was a little girl, I was told by my mother and grandmother, who both struggled with their weight, that I wasn't thin enough, that it was bad to be fat and I had to lose weight. I was told that I was chubby and everything I ate was judged. I remember going to my first day of grade 2 in tears because I felt ugly in my brand new overalls, which I thought made my legs look fat. When I look back on photos and see how normal and healthy I was, I am amazed at how deluded I was.

Unfortunately, it has taken me a long time to understand how linked my weight problems are to my way of thinking about food. I am still struggling to unlearn those things, so that it doesn't continue to run in the family.

Misti in Seattle
12-06-2011, 08:17 PM
Kind of both. I do think it is true that some of it genetic. However, that does not mean we have "permission" to use it as a cop-out... just means we have to be really disciplined and work harder at it.


NorthernExposure
12-06-2011, 10:17 PM
I think some people are genetically predisposed toward a tendancy to put on weight easier than others; which is not totally unlike the genetic tendency of some people to be alcholics.

That doesn't excuse overeating and not being active. I know those are the reasons I got fat. But I do think some people have to work harder to lose weight, keep it off, or stay thin (if they never let themselves get fat) because that's just the body type they inherited.

We all know of people who are "naturally thin" and have a hard time GAINING weight. Many will say that "isn't fair", but it's really no different than the inherent differences in intelligence, beauty, natural talent, etc. between humans. It is what it is.

The good thing is, as hard as it may be, 99% of us (excepting those people who really do have thyroid problems and that sort of thing) CAN control our weight. We may have to work harder at it, but that's far better than being powerless.

kaplods
12-06-2011, 10:44 PM
I think that we tend to make obesity and overweight about "blame." We find it so important to blame the overweight person and to "make them" blame themselves, that we don't even care whether the blame actually does any good.

God forbid a person acknowledge factors that might be making their struggle more difficult... it's always seen as a "cop out." Whether the person is succeeding or failing, doesn't even seem to matter as long as they're "taking accountability" and by that we mean blaming themselves 100% for their weight. It's as if we want the overweight person to admit and feel horrible or the weight loss isn't going to "count."

I always blamed myself for my weight - even when I was five years old. No one else in my adoptive family had ever been overweight as a child - not my brother (both of us were adopted, but aren't bio-related), nor my sisters who came after me. My parents and my doctor did everything they could, even things that today would be shocking (like putting a 12 or 13 year old on stimulant prescription diet pills).

I thought I was lazy, crazy, or stupid or in some other way "broken," because that's what I learned that overweight people were supposed to think about themselves.

Then I learned about the genetic factors of weight loss, and started wondering - hey I wonder if that's why no one else in my (adoptive) family except me have ever been even overweight as a child (let alone morbidly obese, as I was at 225 lbs in 8th grade), and maybe that's why no one else in my family has ever exceeded 300 lbs (let alone almost reaching 400).

Instead of being "a cop out," it made me think "maybe I'm not such a freak, afterall. Maybe it's not just in my imagination, maybe weight loss IS more difficult for me.

When I thought my weight was "all my fault," and something that I should have been able to conquer with simple willpower, I always felt like the biggest, most useless, idiot on the planet for finding it so difficult. But when I thought that there might be a reason that weight loss was harder for me, it gave me more motivation. I thought "I may have to work harder than most people - and there may be a good reason for that. I may not be as big of an idiot as I thought."

When I was diagnosed with health issues that are known to contribute to obesity, and prescribed medications that make weight loss more difficult, I could have used it as an excuse, but I realized that I would have to work ten times as hard to get 1/10 the results.

Pointing to the factors that may contribute to weight issues can be used as motivation to work harder or can be used as excuses to give up, or they can be entirely irrelevant. Just because you believe that weight issues run in your family doesn't mean that you're going to use it as an excuse, or even that you're going to use it as motivation either (some people may find that it doesn't affect their motivation at all - it's just trivia).


I'm succeeding now, almost despite myself, but not because I'm accepting more blame, or making fewer excuses, or even being more accountable. I have always understood (even at 5) that ultimately, my weight was my responsibility - regardless of the "why's").

I'm succeeding (though at a much slower pace) because I stopped accepting and following the popular expectations and traditions of weight loss. I stopped judging myself by the standards I was taught that I was "supposed to." I stopped blaming myself, and stopped dieting the ways I was taught to (with lots and lots of self-punishment, until I couldn't take the abuse anymore).

I think the biggest enemy to weight loss is the way we're taught to go about it. Virtually noone volunteers for as much self-inflicted abuse as dieters do.

We define success in such a way that it's almost unacheivable. And then we blame people for "giving up" when giving up is the logical course of action for constant failure. How long would you work without a paycheck?

We judge ourselves by standards so high that virtually no one meets them - so we don't even realize when we're doing better than most people. We assume that "everyone else" is losing 2 to 3 lbs a week, so we must be really lazy and stupid to be barely losing half a pound.

That finally clicked for me, when I complained to my doctor about only losing 1 lb per month when I was at my highest weight (and had so many health issues I was usually house-bound and virtually bed-bound), and said "I should be losing at least 2 lbs per week like a normal person," and my doctor told me I was essentially full of crap. He said that "normal" isn't losing 2 lbs a week, it isn't even losing 1 lb a week. Normal is losing nothing, or is giving up after a few weeks, and regaining it all, and maybe a little extra."

Weight loss is like a marathon in which you assume you're in last place, because you see 1,000 people in front of you, not realizing there are 25,000 people behind you.

We don't know how everyone else is doing, because everyone is too ashamed to admit that they're not losing the 2 lbs a week, we've convinced ourselves is normal.

We also treat "not losing" and even "losing very slowly" as if it were every bit, or at least nearly as bad as gaining. So when someone doesn't meet their weight loss goals (and almost no one does, because we set them too high), they decide "If losing slowly, or not losing, is every bit as bad as gaining - that is if I'm going to be failing anyway, why not at least get to eat what I want...)

We also expect to diet by the perfection method. It's "tradition" to react to a food mistake with intense guilt and then reckless abandon - "I've blown it by eating one cookie, so I'm going to eat the whole box and start fresh tomorrow."

If mountain climbing were like weight loss, no one would survive it, because whenever you stumbled, you'd have to throw yourself off a cliff, so you could "start fresh in the morning."

For me, successful weight loss has been more about unlearning, than learning. My problem wasn't how much blame I heaped on myself, it was all the crap I believed about weight loss, and how it was supposed to be done.

And my biggest mistake was in believing that weight loss was primarily a mind-game of willpower and mind-over-matter.

Ironically, when I started considering "physiological" factors, I started finding techniques that have made weight loss easier. Such as dealing with the hormonal issues of PMDD with the right birth control, and discovering that the "rabid hunger" that I experienced from the time I was a small child when dieting, could be virtually vanquished with low-carb eating.

Knowledge is power - whether and how you use that power is entirely up to you.

ArtyKay
12-07-2011, 04:25 AM
While I think there is some merit to the "it runs in the family" thing, for me, personally, its a cop-out.

Most of my family is overweight, but I'm starting to realize that learned behavior is a huge factor. We all eat a lot. We all diet and regain a lot.

Case in point...my dad is an identical twin. He and his brother were fit military men until their 30s and then they both ballooned up. My dad is still overweight, while his twin lost a great deal of weight in the past few years. Their parents were both overweight, their sisters are all overweight...but my uncle still maintains a healthy weight because he changed his eating habits.

They are biologically the same, basically. But they're about 80 pounds apart physically.

So for me to blame my weight on genetics...yeah its a cop-out. Unless loving pasta and cheesecake is genetic...Oh lord, I have the potatoes are yummy gene!

Just because my parents are big doesn't mean that I'm destined to be.

Esofia
12-07-2011, 06:18 AM
As well as the psychological stuff and a small genetic component, I think a big part of family weight trends is that families tend to have the same eating habits. There's a huge cultural factor to this as well. I'm from a Jewish family, all keen cooks, where it's considered that you're cooking healthily if you're not making traditional Ashkenaz1 heart-attack-on-a-plate cooking, never mind if you're still making enough to feed the whole neighbourhood. Food is so central to every Jewish festival that there are even sections in recipe books for Yom Kippur, the big fast day!

unpretty
12-07-2011, 07:01 AM
I think there is definitely a greater propensity for one to become overweight according to their genetics. My mum is overweight, her sister is overweight, and my 3 cousins are overweight. My mum's brother is also overweight, as is my grandmother and my grandfather.

I know people who are skinny, yet they eat a lot without any real exercise. I will never understand how they can possibly do this. I could lead the same lifestyle as them and be well overweight. Surely enough, their parents are also thin.

While I do think weight has a lot to do with genetics, its never an excuse to make no effort to lose the weight and keep healthy. Like I said, we have a greater propensity to be overweight, doesn't mean we have to be. We just have to work a little harder than those who are naturally skinny.

astrophe
12-07-2011, 10:58 AM
I don't think it is so much of a "cop out" as it is a different "square one" that others.

If your family has genes that lean a certain way, that's either a leg up or not.

If your family's food culture/cooking skills/fitness knowledge/skills lean a certain way that can be a leg up or not too.

But we all have to start SOMEWHERE, right? Other than the genetics, the other stuff can be learned/improved/changed.

And even the genetics -- you can learn to work with it. If everyone in the fam leans toward diabetes for instance... well, then somewhere in the plan there must be a health check for that right? And keeping an eye on blood sugar and so on.

A.

Coondocks
12-07-2011, 11:59 AM
I think it's Nature vs Nurture most often. Just as previous people have said already, you learn a lot of habits from your family be it healthy, excess, minimal or what have you. That's what you learn and that's what you know.

I don't think it's a 'cop out' unless you intend it to be one. I think there are aboslutely genetic/hormonal factors that cant be helped or controlled, however, you can make the choice to use that as an excuse or work with it. You can say "Well I'm destined to be fat/unhealthy" or you can say "Ok, I've got some extra hills to climb, but I can still make this work"

popspry
12-07-2011, 01:31 PM
This is kind of a sensitive topic for me. Sometimes people who have lost a lot of weight get all "holier than thou" and act like anyone overweight is just excuse-making. We all make the decision when it is right for us, and I think there's a big problem when it comes to weight loss in our society of feeling like it is okay to shame fat people, it is okay to say fat people are disgusting, and there is little support for how hard weight loss can be. There's no compassion, or support. Food is not good or bad, and eating certain things doesn't make you bad, or even lazy. It is simply less or more healthy.

Things like this really bother me, especially from the formerly overweight/obese because it is all about criticizing people without actually helping them.

TurboMammoth
12-07-2011, 01:42 PM
Genetic or physiological issues CAN have a role in the way you lose/gain weight. Diabeties, having a higher/slower metabolism, hormons fluctuations after pregnancies, etc.

However, only a minimal percentage of people has trouble losing weight du to genetic issues (can't remember the exact % though, but it was something like 1-2%), stricly scientifically speaking.

Food intake (both quality and quantity) and fitness habits are mostly the family issues passed from a person to another that cause weight gain in my opinion. And I'm not making any judgment on people here, my own mom was overweight all my life.

I think that at a point, we have to stop pointing out genetic issus that interfer in our weight loss, because there is 1% of the chance that this is actually the problem.

One of the biggest challenge you encounter in a weight loss process is to stop making excuses (''I had no choice eating junk, all my friends wanted to go at this restaurent'', etc etc). I agree that taking the genetic disposition is much more and comforting ideas LOL. But in 20 years, we'll all be glad that we stopped using those excuses and that we made real and definite changes to our lifestyle without caring of our genetic ;)

Blueberries
12-07-2011, 03:02 PM
Interesting points all around. I do think it's situational, depending on the person and the particular motivations. For me, I grew up heavy and always just assumed that's the way I was destined to be. I never tried to lose weight until I was in college, because I honestly had no idea that I could actually do it. I wasn't using "it runs in the family" as an excuse, so much as I honestly believed that's just how it was for me.

kaplods
12-07-2011, 10:07 PM
However, only a minimal percentage of people has trouble losing weight du to genetic issues (can't remember the exact % though, but it was something like 1-2%), stricly scientifically speaking.

I think that at a point, we have to stop pointing out genetic issus that interfer in our weight loss, because there is 1% of the chance that this is ctually the problem.



This is one of those numbers that actually gets thrown around frequently, but with little or no actual science behind it.

The number of people who cannot lose weight is actually zero percent - because if you prevent a person from eating anything, they will lose weight until they die (though they frequently may die before they lose much weight).

However, the number of people who "have trouble losing weight" because of genetic factors may be far, far greater than we ever suspected before (but mostly because we weren't looking).

Not only have scientists found several "obesity genes" in animals and humans, they even know how some of them work (and can estimate how many people in a given area carry that gene - and all of them so far, have been found in far more than 1% of the population). Every year, the researchers are estimating genetic factors to be more and more influencial than ever thought before. 1% is a ridiculous number, especially if you're reading the research that is actually trying to determine which those genetic factors are, and how prevalent they are in the population.

One doctor explained it very well, saying that obesity is always a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some environments are so short of food, and require so much physical work just to survive, that regardless of your genetics, the odds of anyone becoming obese is virtually zero). This is the environment that humans evolved under - in the "natural world" overpopulation occurs long before calorie-concentrations will support widespread obesity.


An environment can also be so overabundent in food (combined with a sedentary culture and social pressure to overeat) that virtually everyone would be overweight (and the USA is heading there).

This doctor also said that some people (because of their genetic inheritance) will be fat in all but the scarcest food environment, and some will be thin in all but the most overly abundant environment - but most people fall in the middle (but there's still a very wide bit of territory in between).




The current knowledge of genetic factors usut isn't sufficient to justify making any numerical claims as to "how much" is environmental and how much is genetic. Or to measure the effects in any individual.

If you don't believe me, look for the science. Try to find research to back it up (and look at how they're measuring "genetic" factors - because we don't yet know all of the genes that contribute to obesity, so how are we going to identify the people with and without those genes).


You also have to consider the interactive effect. Most of us do not live in food-impoverished nations - so do we "beat" our genetics by moving there? Well, that's a little extreme.

Both genetics and environment are largely inescapable. When we undertand genes well enough (probably in several hundred years) gene therapy may be part of the solution, but that's not generally an option now. Environment is all we can control, so that's where we have to focus our efforts, but there's still no way as of yet, to determine whether any one person's obesity is mainly genetic or mainly environment (and it really doesn't matter anyway, because we can't do much about the genetic at this point - so we're still left with modifying the environment).

DezziePS
12-07-2011, 10:26 PM
I agree with most of the other posters on here- it's a cop out if you want it to be one, but sometimes it does help to understand, or try to understand, how we got to where we are.

I do think that there is less of a genetic component to it than a social component, though I agree with Kaplods that it's hard to tell which is which and science in this area is fairly new. Still, I know that I have a moderate thyroid disorder and since being medicated for it, it's not like the weight has just melted off. I have had a bit more energy than I did before, but usually people don't blimp up to obese weights JUST because of a medical condition- it's because they're eating too much and not moving enough (both of which can be made worse by medical conditions and medicines).

My dad and his sister are both very overweight. My mom and her siblings are not. I am overweight, and none of my siblings have ever struggled with it at all. My dad and his sister are also the ones in the family who have always struggled with a lot of depression, as have I. I think there is a possible connection there.

It's also easy to look at others and say that they can eat whatever they want and not gain, but really, we don't know what they're eating most of the time. Just because some skinny girl in your office always eats a HUGE piece of birthday cake every time someone brings one in doesn't mean she eats like that the rest of the time. Maybe she only eats cake at the office and never eats sugar or fat other than that! Maybe she skips lunch on those days to be able to eat cake.

Though I do think there are people with particularly fast and particularly slow metabolisms, I would venture to say that most of us are probably somewhere in the range of average. I know that when I'm not lying to myself about what I am eating, when I'm honestly tracking every calorie and staying in my range, I lose. Period. When I quit tracking and start estimating and start lying to myself about how much I'm eating, that's when I start to stall or gain and I tell myself that I must just have a slower metabolism than everybody else and pity poor me, it's just going to be so much harder for me than for anyone else out there. That's not true, though. For me, at least.

rubidoux
12-08-2011, 01:15 AM
kaplods, You rock my world! :hug: I have to admit that I didn't read every word you wrote, but I will after I get my kids to bed.

OP, What would it mean if it was a "cop out"? Then do they deserve to be fat and unhappy and die young because it is their own damn fault? I can't quite imagine not having sympathy for anyone going through a problem as difficult as being overweight. It is obviously a very, very difficult problem to overcome. If it were not, why would anybody be fat? We're all just copping out? And does that mean that we really want to be fat? I just don't get it.

ArtyKay
12-08-2011, 02:36 AM
kaplods, You rock my world! :hug: I have to admit that I didn't read every word you wrote, but I will after I get my kids to bed.

OP, What would it mean if it was a "cop out"? Then do they deserve to be fat and unhappy and die young because it is their own damn fault? I can't quite imagine not having sympathy for anyone going through a problem as difficult as being overweight. It is obviously a very, very difficult problem to overcome. If it were not, why would anybody be fat? We're all just copping out? And does that mean that we really want to be fat? I just don't get it.

What I got from this thread was the question of how much merit there is to obesity being genetic. I know that for a long time I had the mindset of "My whole family is fat, its just my natural weight and there's nothing I can do about it." To me, that's a cop-out and an excuse to not even try.

That doesn't mean that I got fat from being lazy, I just had an excuse to not care about it. I don't think anybody on this website believes that fat people deserve to be fat and unhappy...

mandalinn82
12-08-2011, 02:45 AM
The idea that "Weight problems run in our family" could be used as an excuse to not take action - in that case, it could be called a "cop out".

But otherwise, it's just information. "Everyone in my family is overweight, and perhaps I will need to be aware of that or perhaps use some more specific strategies in order to successfully lose".

I know that my weight is (mostly) within my control - I can't change my body type to be long and lean, but I can get to a healthy zone for me. That didn't stop me, when my wife and I were looking for a donor for the baby we're expecting in May, from ruling out anyone with a family history of weight issues. I do believe that genetics play a role, and I'd rather help my future child overcome my own genetic legacy in this area by picking a donor who is less likely to pass on the genes for a thrifty metabolism.

Kahokkuri
12-08-2011, 02:59 AM
If mountain climbing were like weight loss, no one would survive it, because whenever you stumbled, you'd have to throw yourself off a cliff, so you could "start fresh in the morning."
So true, and though I remind myself of it all the time, I especially love this analogy! Another great post, but this really stuck out.

indiblue
12-08-2011, 03:56 AM
The idea that "Weight problems run in our family" could be used as an excuse to not take action - in that case, it could be called a "cop out".

But otherwise, it's just information. "Everyone in my family is overweight, and perhaps I will need to be aware of that or perhaps use some more specific strategies in order to successfully lose".

Agreed. In my family- well, my mom's side- it's used as a cop-out. Everyone on that side is obese or mobidly obese with diabetes and high blood pressure... and if you came to Sunday "supper" with them you'd see why (thirds, fourths on biscuits/gravy, pie, fried chicken, etc... with no activity or exercise in sight).

Yet my mother, who has gained a few pounds in recent years, has told me repeatedly she hates that she's gained weight, but it's "inevitable, because look at my parents and aunts and uncles?" I also remind her to look at what they eat each meal as well. We have no idea what size each would be if they ate proper portions.

However, I think it can also be used to manage realistic expectations. I do not come from a family of slender women; my mother and her mother (before she gained tremendously) have big thighs. My thin sister and I do as well. Realizing this genetic, rather than anything I have control over and thus have the responsibility to change, is hugely important in me coming to terms with my body as unique and quirky as it was designed.

kaplods
12-08-2011, 05:42 AM
The adoption studies of addiction are actually quite similar to the adoption studies of weight (as an adoptee, I'm fascinated with adoption studies - especially since I'm such an "odd duck" in my family - it makes me wonder whether I inherited some of the quirks, or whether they're completely unique to me).

Adoptive children's weights (like the potential for addiction) are correlated more closely with biological parents than with the adoptive parents. There is a loose correlation with adoptive parents, but a much more significant/strong correlation with the bio-parents. The fattest bio parents had the fattest children, regardless of the slimness of the adoptive parents.



Turning down a drink, "because addiction runs in my family" (whether or not I've ever displayed a problem myself) is more socially acceptable than a fat or a thin person turning down food, "because obesity runs in my family."

And no one would accuse me of "making excuses" for myself or for my addicted family members if I did the former, but many would if I said the latter.



What I think is so odd, is that no one blinks an eye anymore when someone with substance abuse issues says "alcoholism and addiction run in my family." In fact, we tend to assume that the person is more aware and prepared to fight the addiction when they know there's a propensity for it - and even though there's obviously a environmental component as well (when children are raised by their bio-parents, at least).

Yet we almost never make that same assumption about obesity. Even when there's evidence to the contrary. Even though I didn't start gaining control of my obesity until I understood and addressed the physiological (possibly, even probably partially genetic) issues, I'm still often told I'm "making excuses" whenever I mention the connection.

Well, I guess then - in my case - making excuses has helped me to lose weight, when being "brutally honest" (meaning blaming myself) kept me fat. So, hurray for making excuses.

Blueberries
12-08-2011, 11:05 AM
kaplods, You rock my world! :hug: I have to admit that I didn't read every word you wrote, but I will after I get my kids to bed.

OP, What would it mean if it was a "cop out"? Then do they deserve to be fat and unhappy and die young because it is their own damn fault? I can't quite imagine not having sympathy for anyone going through a problem as difficult as being overweight. It is obviously a very, very difficult problem to overcome. If it were not, why would anybody be fat? We're all just copping out? And does that mean that we really want to be fat? I just don't get it.

I think you're misunderstanding me. I certainly would *never* think that someone deserves "to be fat and unhappy and die young." Hearing those words from my mom just struck me in the moment, and maybe it's because I know my mom so well. I know she knows how to lose weight, and I also know that she eats a lot of junk and then threw out to me that there's a history of weight problems in our family. It makes me realize that in that moment, what she was telling me wasn't about me and my journey at all, but was about her making herself feel okay about where she is right now.

If you saw my next post, you saw that I realized that it's pretty dependent on the person and the situation. Yes, there's a history of weight problems in my family, but I know now that I don't have to follow in that path anymore.


Turning down a drink, "because addiction runs in my family" (whether or not I've ever displayed a problem myself) is more socially acceptable than a fat or a thin person turning down food, "because obesity runs in my family."


I think this is a really interesting point. One of the things that I've realized is that I really do have an honest-to-goodness addiction issue, and to be successful long-term I'm going to have to deal with it as such.

TurboMammoth
12-08-2011, 12:00 PM
This is one of those numbers that actually gets thrown around frequently, but with little or no actual science behind it.

The number of people who cannot lose weight is actually zero percent - because if you prevent a person from eating anything, they will lose weight until they die (though they frequently may die before they lose much weight). I have a strong science background, studied pharmacology in college, reading mass of science peer-reviewed paper every week and in currently doing a master degree in science too.

However, the number of people who "have trouble losing weight" because of genetic factors may be far, far greater than we ever suspected before (but mostly because we weren't looking).



That was the numbers I red about back in the days, and I'm not the type of person to throw numbers I've heard from some kind of guru on a weird wesbsite.

They might not be the EXACT numbers (because, like I said, I red this review study a long time ago) but the take home message from the paper was still that, YES, there IS genetic factors going around in family that might make weight loss harder. But the big point was that instead of taking the best of it by saying ''okay, it might be harder for me and I have to take the good mesures to make this lose weight process works'', people blame the ''science'' and genetic issues behing weight loss by making excuses as ''it's just genetic and there's nothing I can do about it'' instead of realizing that one of the big reason of being overweight is mostly du to bad eating and fitness backgrounds.



Not only have scientists found several "obesity genes" in animals and humans, they even know how some of them work (and can estimate how many people in a given area carry that gene - and all of them so far, have been found in far more than 1% of the population). Every year, the researchers are estimating genetic factors to be more and more influencial than ever thought before. 1% is a ridiculous number, especially if you're reading the research that is actually trying to determine which those genetic factors are, and how prevalent they are in the population.



There is no ''obesity genes''. There is genes expression of genes mutations that can lead to PREDISPOSITION to obesity. Some of those genes can be from parents heritages, some other not. And sometimes even having the genes doesn't mean that there will be a phyiological outcome to that (exemple : 40% of the people having mutations X on the gene W are known to get physiological outcome Z).

Don't get me wrong here, epidemiolgy and genetic studies are wonderful and can truly help understand diseases. Obesity is truly a problem in the society right now, especially for kids. It's just that to me, the solution is not to put so much emphasis on the genetic portion when simple changes concerning the food and exercice could already make such a big difference, whereas since gene therapy isn't totally accepted and prooved safe right now.



The current knowledge of genetic factors usut isn't sufficient to justify making any numerical claims as to "how much" is environmental and how much is genetic. Or to measure the effects in any individual.

If you don't believe me, look for the science. Try to find research to back it up (and look at how they're measuring "genetic" factors - because we don't yet know all of the genes that contribute to obesity, so how are we going to identify the people with and without those genes).


Both genetics and environment are largely inescapable. When we undertand genes well enough (probably in several hundred years) gene therapy may be part of the solution, but that's not generally an option now. Environment is all we can control, so that's where we have to focus our efforts, but there's still no way as of yet, to determine whether any one person's obesity is mainly genetic or mainly environment (and it really doesn't matter anyway, because we can't do much about the genetic at this point - so we're still left with modifying the environment).

It was never my intention to say ''it's 1% and that is the number''. It was from the memory I had from the article.

The point I was trying to make is that in the society, the genetics issues is frequently and badly used as an excuse to not even TRY to lose weight, and that we should put much more attention to our environment instead of focusing on the genetic when, like you said, we can't do much about it.


I will finish on saying that this was an open discussion, I joined it, and I honestly felt like you were just throwing in my face ''you don't know what you are talking about but I do, go read science, I have the right answer''. The truth is that nobody really does have the right answer, not even the science people that you quote. So why not just try to help each other out in our weight loss journey instead of bringing people down?

kaplods
12-08-2011, 12:48 PM
I will finish on saying that this was an open discussion, I joined it, and I honestly felt like you were just throwing in my face ''you don't know what you are talking about but I do, go read science, I have the right answer''. The truth is that nobody really does have the right answer, not even the science people that you quote. So why not just try to help each other out in our weight loss journey instead of bringing people down?


So why not just try to help each other out in our weight loss journey instead of bringing people down?

Is ironically, exactly what I was trying to say - not throwing anything in anyone's face.

I'm just saying that there are genes that make weight maintenance easier and those that make it more difficult (both to folks who are trying to lose fat, and folks who are trying to gain muscle or even fat), and that it's somehow sacrelige to point to, or even consider genetic or physiological factors.

Obesity gene is an inprecise and misleading term - but so is "eye color genes" and "hair color genes" and scientists and non-scientists still use the terms. "Genes regulating appetite, and fat storage," would have been a better term.

The 1% number has been used since the 60's, and it's still being used, even though it's no longer accurate (and therefore actually never was, because our genes haven't changed in 50 years). We know a lot more about the inherited aspect of obesity than we did then, and every year we learn more.

This is an open discussion, and that's why it's ok to disagree,if it weren't, I could just as easily be upset that you were using your posts "throw it in my face" that I was wrong.

I don't believe that of either of us, I believe we were both stating our opinions, and trying to back them up with facts. Yes, I am suggesting to you that you might want to check your facts - but you certainly don't have to, and even if you do, you may come up with different interpretations.

My main point is that for decades we've dismissed the possible role of genetic and physiological factors. We've told obese folks that their belief that weight loss is "harder" for them for some reason is "all in their heads" that it's simply a matter of willpower and mind-over-matter, and that if they can't manage their weight on their own, it's due to a severe defect in character or mental fortitude, and that they're all simply 'making excuses.'

For years I believed that crap, and it kept me fat - because for more than 30 years, I've been looking inside my brain for the answers and it wasn't there. Only when I started addressing the physiological factors (that everyone told me didn't exist - or only existed for 1% and therefore probalby not for me) did I start having success - albeit with a body so damaged that even maintaining my weight was more of a battle than losing had ever been. I had to find a way to lose weight when the calorie level at which I lost weight rapidly in my 20's now maintains my weight.

We spend a lot of time telling obese folks, "it's all your fault, now do something about it," and then criticising everything they attempt to do as insufficient for success, and a reflection of their "just making excuses." And now with the "Biggest Loser" style shows, it's becoming even worse, because if the people on the shows can lose 15 lbs in a week, and you're not losing at least 2 or 3 lbs a week, you're "doing it wrong," and "making excuses.

Environment and genetics both affect the expression of obesity - but we can't escape either, and can't seperate a person from either their genetics or their environment, so trying to use a number doesn't make sense on either side of the argument, especially since it's a number we cannot verify at this point, not even in the science, but there certainly is a lot of science that makes it look to me - that 1% is an extremely outdated number.



The tools we give people to lose weight, and the weight loss traditions are inadequate. If they were not, the success rate for weight loss would be much greater. In many ways, I'm succeeding despite myself, just by "unlearning" most of the crap I was taught about weight loss. Not only about whose "fault" my obesity was, but also the best strategy to combat the weight.

I was told that "willpower" (ideally fueled by self-recriminations) was the answer, and thank God I learned that something works a lot better, because I burned out my willpower and any energy I had for self-contempt 20 years ago.

Rana
12-08-2011, 02:28 PM
I think that it is a cop-out, but not necessarily in the negative way.

My parents became overweight as they got older and I think we all assumed that was the natural progression of things. My mother had arthritis and started losing weight very slowly. My father was then diagnosed as diabetic and he lost about 50-70 lbs in less than six months. My mother followed suit.

It's been years now and they haven't gained the weight back and continue to maintain, although my mother wants to lose a few more pounds.

Both of them could have said, "Genetics rolled the dice for me, I'm destined to be overweight." My father's father was overweight. My mother's mother was also chubby. But when they went to heal themselves through their diet, they discovered that even if their genetics made them more susceptible to being overweight (insulin resistance my father has, the suspected IR I think my mother has, combined with her immobility), they also found ways around those genetics.

My own journey has been similar.

Yes, I have IR/PCOS and I gain weight very quickly and easily and it's taken forever to take it off.

But I didn't know what PCOS/IR and diabetes in my family REALLY meant. I could have sat here gaining weight every year, assuming that because my family was chubby, the same fate awaited me. I did that for many years too.

We don't get enough information about how our environment and food affect our weight. I never got a nutrition class in school! We all know we don't get good information in the general mass media outlets about diet and nutrition and health! I get plenty of HCG ads, though.

Anyway, my genetics do make predisposed to being overweight. But I had to find out, through experiment and information, ways to go around those genetic patterns.

I think the people that say "Well, my family is all overweight, it runs in the family" is a cop out, but I think it's also because there's no other information out there that really tells you it can be different. Like others have said, you try to get information and what you get is a lot of junk and a lot of people telling you that you ARE to blame for being overweight and you'll fail anyway even if you try.

Think of how often the media attacks celebrities who gain weight (again)...

I wish we could educate people better about how to get started on their journey. The Biggest Loser show doesn't do it. Celebrity Fit Club doesn't do it. Cosmo magazine doesn't really do it. Medical doctors aren't even trained to help patients figure this out!

I do think that everyone, with very few exceptions, can be a relatively normal weight and fit level. But I think it takes a lot of energy, resources, and determination to get past those obstacles.

And like the mother/grandmother who don't see their mistakes in how they ended up overweight, I can't blame them either. They don't know any better. They do what they were taught to do -- whether by her own mother or by society/friend/family.

This journey isn't about counting calories, really. We can all count really easily. It's the stuff that happens in our heads/emotions/real life that really make or break these journeys.

Beach Patrol
12-08-2011, 03:35 PM
I think that "weight problems run in our family" IS a strong existence for some people/families. As in "LEARNED BEHAVIOR" -more so than genetic problems. After all, it's quite clear that kids learn what they learn from their parents, grandparents, etc. So when you see a whole family that's fat/overweight/obese, you can safely assume that the kids have learned their eating habits from those who are teaching/feeding them.

This is not to say that any one person (or a whole family) cannot learn to eat better, adopt a healthier lifestyle, and therefore lose weight. But when habit becomes nature, and habits are passed down from generation to generation, this is what you get.

My own family is mostly made up of thin or "normal" weight people. Within my IMMEDIATE FAMILY (parents, grandparents, brothers, aunts/uncles/1st cousins) there are only about 20% that are overweight or have been overweight, and I am one of them. My mother and father, while both have carried EXTRA weight on their frames at one time or another, in general, neither have ever been fat. I've been fat. Two aunts on my dad's side, one aunt and two uncles on my mom's side, 4-6 cousins from both sides - have been or are currently fat. To my knowledge, no one in my immediate family has been grossly obese (by grossly, I don't mean vulgar or disgusting, I mean big, bulky, as in 300+ pounds). One uncle (mom's brother) died of complications due to adult on-set diabetes, and that was largely due to his eating habits.

So yeah, I do think weight problems can run in families. But it's LEARNED BEHAVIOR more so than GENETIC PROBLEMS.

cuteazz1
12-09-2011, 03:22 PM
Reminds me of a Talk show where the State wanted to take a Womans 500 pound son.She Insisted that he was so big because of Genetics and that her WHOLE family was Obese.She went to Dr's and everything so she just felt like it was destined to happen(her son being obese)..The son went to live with his Aunt and 2 years later he had lost 200lbs!!! Yea,Genetics...Eating habits is more likely...

Yes! Some of us are 'more likely" to be Overweight due to genetics..but MOST of us are overweight because of the habits we learned from our families.My parents have 6 kids..4 of us are fat...the two that are slim exercise daily and eat way different than the rest of us...

kaplods
12-09-2011, 04:38 PM
Part of the problem is that people talk about this issue as if it's an "either/or" argument. It's not either genetics or learning/environment, it's a combination, and the percentage of each probably varies not only between people, but even for a given person it may vary over the course of their lifetime.

Even at 5, I understood that I ate more than most children and often even more than some of my adult family members (even the obese ones). What I didn't understand was why food was more important to me than to anyone else in my family, or why I was hungry all of the time, often even after I had just eaten, sometimes even to the point that my stomach hurt, but I was still hungry.

Mind and body don't work independently of each other - and neither do genetics and environment. But when it comes to weight loss in our culture, integrative methods aren't the standard treatment. "Mind-over-matter" is the predominate view of dieting, and hunger generally isn't really taken into account at all. "Suck it up and suffer through it" tends to be the prevailing view.

Until I discovered the physiological aspects of my weight issues (whether they're "genetic" or not, I have no way of knowing without seeking out my bio-family which I really have no interest in doing), I constantly failed at conquering or ignoring my hunger, and blamed myself for it (because that's part of the tradition of weight loss as well).

Even at 5, I knew that there was something wrong with me, the weight was all my fault, and that "all I had to do" was eat less and move more. By eight, I was reading diet books in the adult section of the library, trying to find ways to gain the illusive "willpower" that everyone said was vital to mastering weight control.

My physiological issues were never addressed, because "everyone knew" that weight loss was 99% a "mind game." I'm surprised at how little respect or attention the role of hunger is given in weight loss. It seems intuitive that hunger (regardless of the source) and cravings can be incredibly important, and yet most plans - even today - don't address the issue head-on.

The first sustained-success I had was with prescription stimulant diet pills at 14, and while it addressed the hunger, and I lost weight - the effects were only temporary (I was lucky that the effects lasted 5 to 6 months, rather than the three months that is the average).

Now I know that a low-carb diet and the right birth control almost completely conquer my hunger. Unfortunately, my metabolism is now so slow, that the calorie-level it takes to get one to four pounds off per month, once consistently netted me weight loss of 5 to 8 lbs per week. God, how I wish I'd discovered this formula at 10 or even 16, but virtually no one was looking for the physiological components of weight loss.

The effects of genetics and even environment are largely inescapable - but that doesn't mean that "nothing can be done," about either.

There are genes that actually predipose folks towards antisocial and even criminal behavior. It doesn't mean that if inherited the "aggression" gene and come from a long line of murderers and serial killers that I have no responsibility for my own behavior.

If you think that a genetic predisposition to obesity means you don't eat any more than anyone else, and that you're doomed to be fat no matter how little you eat - you don't have a very good understanding of genetics or even basic physiology. Using it as an excuse only works if you don't have all of the facts (or are deliberately choosing to ignore them).

The genetics and the environment interact. Take my brother who had difficulty gaining weight as a child, and me who had difficult losing weight - if we had been raised 1,000 or even 300 (heck even 60) years ago - and we both would have been much thinner. In fact, I very well might have had a better chance of surviving to adulthood.

You can only change parts of your environment. I could make weight loss easy by moving (without taking any money) to a part of the world where food is in extreme short supply and a great deal of physical activity is required just to survive...

but I don't value weight loss enough (above my family, friends, and all the benefits of living in the midwestern United States) to do that, so changing my environment is a little more complicated.

Sadly, the history of weight loss, has been to focus on the individual making changes only to their thoughts and behaviors - and not addressing either the genetic/physiological issues OR the environmental issues.

We're essentially expected to change neither our physiology nor our environment - and so are left with trying to change our internal behavior (thoughts) and external (actions).

In fact, until relatively recently, if you couldn't "change yourself" without changing your environment, you faced quite a bit of scorn (if you couldn't keep ice cream and chips in your home, you were failing).

That idea thankfully is changing, and more and more people are being encouraged to change their environment to make it easier to change their behavior, rather than being told they just need to exercise more willpower.

Genetics, physiology, environment, learning - they all interact to create obesity, and often all four have to be addressed or at least acknowledged, but until recently only the latter was considered at all (and even then - it has often been assumed that you could and should do all that learning entirely on your own).

The shame and blame has to be eradicated from weight loss, because it's not helping. Weight loss needs to be addressed earlier and it needs to be addressed on multiple levels, and it needs to be addressed without shaming, ostracising, and alienating the person who is struggling, and perhaps most importantly it has to stop being so taboo that it's socially painful to even mention, let alone discuss a problem (that everyone can see, and talks about behind a person's back anyway).

LittleBrownBike
01-19-2012, 03:36 PM
I once (mostly jokingly) told my husband that I was destined to be the size I am because all the women in my family are basically built the same... my sister and I could be twins even though we are 5 years apart, and my mom could almost be as well... all the women on my moms side are basically built the same... 5'4ish, 190ish lbs... so I said well, I'm pretty much doomed... Then he pointed out something else we all have in common: eating too much of the wrong food... and something else we all have in common: basically zero exercise... so... hes like well, no wonder you guys all look the same, you eat the same garbage food and you do the same amount of exercise... zero... I thought that was a pretttty good point... lol..

I have - HAD :) - an awful diet, I rarely eat breakfast and if I do its usually a candy bar and a coke... a few months ago I was visiting my parents and we were going out early (7 am-ish) to run some errands, my mom stopped for gas and came back to the car with an assortment of candy bars and passed them out... I had never really thought about it before but it kind of made me laugh, like wow, its no wonder.. this is where I got it from...

I know that in my situation - I did have a large weight gain after using the birth control shot Depo Provera - but I never tried to lose the weight and I continued gaining due to crappy eating and lack of exercise etc... I don't - to my knowledge - have any medical reason that would cause me not to be able to lose weight except for my own laziness ;)... so now that I have challenged myself, lets see!