Did you see this piece above in the NY times on November 23rd?
There is lots of talk lately about the “fat gene” and I gotta say it annoys me a bit. Why, you might ask. Well, because to me, having been in the shoes of feeling like I can’t get the weight off my body, I see it as just another scare tactic for the “fat” person to feel like they have to change. “Oh, and you’ve got a bad gene so you are screwed. Good Luck.” Reynolds even says it herself. “These findings would seem to suggest that most of us are doomed to be tubby.” Yes, can you say Unhealthy Voice?
Here’s my thought:
Let’s stop making the genetic part of this whole weight/obesity crisis a chance to disempower people. Let’s empower them with knowledge about themselves. When we did the Curves Complete curriculum we talked about Genetics as a major factor in all of this. Yes, it is ONE factor among many! Is it the cause? No. I know America is just dying to get to that one zinger that causes the obesity, but it’s never going to happen — because there are just too many factors in play that contribute to the root cause for each individual.
If someone can know their genetics aren’t holding them back, they can actually empower themselves to change. Let me give you an example. I’ve got the gene of slow metabolism in my family. I don’t know who had it, but I’ve got it. So, ever since I was a kid packing on weight, I’ve known this but it wasn’t until I got walking/running in high school and college that I dealt with it. Now working out is part of my lifestyle, because I choose empowerment. I started working with my genes (and actually fitting into jeans at the same time.)
The beauty is not only that it’s helped me maintain weight physically. It’s helped keep me sane mentally. (That a whole other research topic – how exercise positively affects your brain chemistry.) That brings me to the other huge genetic factor. It isn’t just physical health like diabetes. It’s mental illness like addiction, depression, anxiety that runs in families. For example, I have anxiety in my history. There is depression in my family. Guess what else there is? Addiction. Yes, it took me years to make the connection between the way I ate and even exercised and the addiction gene. I had it with food…and lots of other things. But now it empowers me because I know that I’ve got that gene so I know my limits, which allows me to make better decisions. An amazing thing. You’d think it would disempower you – nope. That’s society’s Unhealthy Voice about what addiction really is that does that. So, you have a choice. You can embrace you genetics and say, “I got diabetes” or “I got a slow metabolism” or “I got a food addiction” and I’m going to do something about it and get moving?! Or you can hang out on the couch and eat bon-bons watching Biggest Loser.
That to me is more motivation than anything, cause I know it’s empowered me and I’m grateful for it!