Obesity Did You See The Memo?…I’m The Boss
Sometimes people just don’t get the memo. The same seems to go for the fat on your body.
Body fat needs to understand this simple message: “I’m the boss.”
It is a constant power struggle as to who is in charge. Is it fat? Is it me? Um…yeah…about that.
That may be difficult to comprehend. Often you feel like obesity and genetics are controlling you and you have no say in the matter as to what it does or doesn’t do. You may feel like the boss that no one respects and makes fun of behind their back because they are incompetent.
Well you shouldn’t. The truth is that you are the boss. You were always the boss. You just have to figure out how to manage your fat appropriately. Simply obesity is a choice.
In this Obesity Series we will talk about how you get obese, what it does to your body, and what you need to do to put it in it’s place.
So in order to help show obesity who is boss, you need to understand how it works. If you can understand how fat works, you can get it in line with your “company policies” and control how much of it is on your body.
How Obesity Does Its Job
One of the common misconceptions is that fat is controlled solely or primarily by how much a person eats and not what they eat. The idea is that if you burn more calories than the calories you consume, then you will lose weight. So basically all calories are created equal.
This is like saying all employees act the same. We know that is bull. This concept known as “calories in vs. calories out” is just simply false. While quantity plays a part, it only comes into play when you consider what type of calories you are throwing into your body. Obesity’s performance, while highly impacted by the type of food you eat, it primarily dictated by genetics and hormones. Genetics and hormones, as you will see, are really the managers you must properly employ to control how well obesity does on the job.
George Wade, a researcher at UMass, was performing studies on the connection between sex hormones, weight, and behavior. He removed ovaries from female rats and put them on a strict diet.
Wade noticed these rats ate quite a bit less post-surgery compared to prior to the ovarian surgery. These once vibrant rats would barely move other than to scarf down some food. The diet was rather strict with the same amount of food daily, but they gained more weight and at a faster rate and became less active.
Wade then took those same rats and put the ovaries back (with estrogen) into the rats. With the estrogen back in the rat they lost weight. What was interesting is that they were more active and ate more calories, but still lost weight. Why did this happen?
Estrogen influences an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). I am sure you knew that and think about LPL all the time. But in case you didn’t know, LPL pulls fat from the blood stream into whatever cell demonstrates this LPL. So for instance, if the LPL is connected to a fat cell, it will pull fat from the blood stream into a fat cell, making it more puffy like a Corn Puff, and in turn making the person more fat. If this LPL is attached to a muscle cell it will pull the glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle cell and burn it for fuel.
Estrogen is an interesting hormone in that it inhibits this process from happening with fat cells. The fat cells hog calories. As they get fatter and heavier they need more food. If you don’t feed that cell, then the fat cell says “bleep you” and counters by giving less energy into your bloodstream to burn. This in turn makes you more sleepy or lazy like those rats.
Not a Character Flaw
So what would make hormones act this way? As we mentioned there are two reasons– what we put in our body that impacts hormones and also how we are genetically made up.
The common misconception is that if a person fails on a diet, then it must be a character flaw and they automatically need treatment for obesity. The person must be a failure full of gluttony and sloth. It is like saying the employee was lazy, it wasn’t bad management or faulty organization structure.
Shock therapy, guilt or any other tactic is not necessary solutions to obesity. One of the major reasons people are obese, or more adapt to obesity, is because of their genes.
Genetics play just as big of a role in our weight as it does in our height, skin tone, eye color, hair color, or any other feature. This makes sense doesn’t it? We have always believed that genetics play a role in how tall we are, but yet it seems like blasphemy to think our fat is related as well.
As Edwin Astwood of Tufts University mentioned in his lecture called The Heritage of Corpulence, “Why can’t heredity be credited with determining one’s shape?” Or to be more detailed, why do some people get fat on their stomach, while others get more fat on their hips or butt? Why do some get fat on their arms, while others on their chest?
Come closer…I will whisper the answer in your ear: genetics. Hormones and enzymes are battling for the control of food, how it moves around your body and where (or if) it gets stored in our body.
Genes not only predispose how your fat is regulated by hormones and enzymes, but it also impacts what areas we may be weaker in. For instance, some of us are more predisposed to grow radical cells that are fed with this glucose in our blood stream that grow into cancerous tumors. Our genetics promote not only obesity, but all diseases that come from obesity like heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more.
Let’s not forget, fat is a necessity. It’s is as important as board meetings. We need a certain level of fat in our body. In fact, it can be dangerous to your health to get below 5-10% depending on if you are male or female. Fat is necessary for energy, padding to protect our organs, childbearing, cell structure, transfer of nutrients, and other fun stuff. We were genetically predisposed to have fat, we just need to make sure that we are influencing our hormones to effectively manage it.
As we will talk about, these hormones not only impact gaining fat, but also getting rid of fat. The more you eat healthy, exercise, sleep, and avoid stress, the better the chance you have of dictating how hard your genetics work for you to control fat. Your hormones and genes are in essence the managers controlling obesity and making sure it stays in line. You can dictate how they work in either adding to or preventing obesity.
If you empower your hormones wisely, then they will make sure obesity get’s the memo that you are the boss.
In the next post we will talk a bit more about how food works in your body and a couple different type of fat workers you should be aware of.