We often blame laziness and gluttony for the startling rise in obesity, but it turns out there’s much more to it. Every day, overweight men and women vow to turn their lives around and set out on a weight loss journey that includes a six-week program and the age-old advice to exercise more and eat less. But, while many are successful and reach their weight goal, they’re also likely to pile all the pounds back on soon after.
It turns out your body puts up a fight with your weight loss endeavors. That’s because it wants to maintain its current weight, even if you’re overweight. So much so, that if you lose weight, your body may slow down its metabolism and burns fewer calories so that it can stop the weight loss or even put the weight back on.
In addition to your body working against you, your mind does as well. We’ve been trained from birth to think of decadent foods (like chocolate lava cake and cheesy nachos) as rewards. So as you diet, your mind has a stronger reaction to food, making you want it even more than you did before.
This brings us to an alarming likelihood: Once we’re overweight, we’ll likely stay that way.
Back in 2010, Nature Genetics reported that there were at least 32 genetic variations that were linked to obesity or BMI. One variation in particular, FTO, carried a high obesity rate in people that carried it: 30% higher with one copy and 60% higher with two copies. In comparison to others, carriers of the FTO variant were more likely to choose higher fat and calorie food options.
Want to rush out to see if you’re a carrier? You may want to think again. Studies show that once people find out that they carry fat-promoting genes, they’re more likely to eat unhealthily because they develop an “I can’t do anything about it” attitude.
So while your genetic makeup may state that you’re destined to be overweight, and stay that way, you can still live a healthy lifestyle (and should).
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