What Big Brother Type Impact Does Genetics Have on Easy Weight Loss?
I remember seeing this friend named Brad at a party for the first time in about six months and he looked like he got into good shape. I was impressed with his lean figure in a straight male sort of way. It looked like easy weight loss was not an issue for him.
I told him so and mentioned I could never look like that. I was born naturally husky.
He responded, “Cade you can look however you want. It is solely up to you.”
At the time I remember giving him an awkward look. I wanted to punch him in his face with his cockamamie Tony Robbins Voodoo magic. I thought certain people are just born more fat than others. No person can control their weight. Most of it you are just born that way.
I couldn’t get lean on my own. I had no choice. That was all Genetics right?
Genetics Is Big Brother
Genes apparently strangle any chance at easy weight loss or more importantly body fat loss. Genes control everything: how you look, breath, speak, what shows you watch, what cereal you eat, and how much money you make. It’s all Genetics!
Genetics actually follows you home at night and has a GPS tracking device connected to you. Genetics checks your browser history. I heard that Genetics even lobbied to get the Patriot Act passed.
It is true right…right?
As I have come to learn there is some truth that genetics definitely impacts your life, but it doesn’t deserve a capital G. It isn’t a person controlling you like I had led myself to believe.
How Genetics Are Really Involved in Easy Weight Loss
Unlike the “Big Brother” theory on fat that a lot of overweight people play, there is another thought that is at the other end of the spectrum. The common thought is that if someone can’t lose weight, well then it must be a character flaw. They are simply lazy and slothful. This is why we see a lot of counseling and hypnotic therapies to help overcome weight issues.
The truth is that weight issues come from a balance of both. One it is genetics and two it is what choices you make as a result of your genetic disposition and previous choices.
First, genetics are absolutely involved. Genetics play huge role in our height and how we look. It impacts why someone has green eyes while another person has blue eyes. Is it that big of a stretch to think that fat isn’t genetically influenced as well?
How else do you explain why women get fat on their hips and butt, while guys tend to get more fat on their stomachs and love handles. How do you explain how one women gets more fat on her arms while another at the same weight deposits more fat on her chest?
As girls enter puberty they have on average 6% more fat than boys, but as they leave they have 50% more fat than boys as they develop their figure. This isn’t because of how the girl ate or how much she exercised. It is because of genetics.
A pregnant mother can influence the genetic risk of obesity and disease just based on what they eat or the genes her and her husband carry on from their parents. This is why we have an infant obesity epidemic.
There is even a condition called Progressive Lipodystrophy where a person can have the body of a defensive tackle from the waist down, and the body of a Kenyan marathon runner from the waist up. Talk about making it hard for easy weight loss.
On the other hand, no matter what hand we have been dealt by Big Brother Genetics, we have the choice on how we respond to it. No one is forcing us to eat donuts at gun point. While sugar and grains can be addictive by triggering high dopamine levels in the brain, we still have the choice whether we give into those cravings or go after healthy food. We can each decide if we want to mentally and physically make this easy weight loss or difficult weight loss.
The Genetic Spectrum
- Brad Pitt Circa Fight Club:There are a few that are genetically gifted that can eat anything and still look like a Greek god or goddess. Remember the first rule of Genetic Club is you do not talk about Genetic Club. I don’t know much about these people or if that is true, because I wasn’t invited into Genetic Club.
- Norbit: But there are those that are on the opposite end of the spectrum that will take a great deal of effort through fitness and meticulous eating than your average Joe or Jane. I am talking years with the right help. And even then, while they can make changes, they might not look physically like Brad Pitt ever. At the same time, they can get in solid shape and take care of their health.
- You and Me: Around 80% of all people will fall somewhere in the middle and that is probably you.
We talk about the different body types and how people can fall all over the spectrum. Genetics aren’t a simple thing. If they were, we would all have cures for obesity and countless other diseases. We each have to tinker and figure out exactly what to do for ourselves to get the best and fastest results for our body composition.
Spolier Alert: You do have a choice to be healthy and get in shape no matter what genetics you have.
Sorry to be sarcastic, but it is true! Most people will have a choice as to whether they adopt healthy habits that lead to a long term healthy lifestyle or habits that lead to disease risk and potential depression.
Numerous times we have talked about what it takes to eat healthy at Know My Body. For example this post: The Right Weight Loss Tips. And here: How to Measure Success in Your Muscle Building Diet.
Each person is unique and will have very different results. Easy weight loss may be easier for some compared to others. Some will see drastic changes in months, and others will take longer by choices or genetic makeup. No matter how long it takes, for the most part each of us control whether we add or lose body fat and lean muscle.
The important thought to remember is that you can’t compare yourself to others and their easy weight loss. Your only competition to measure against should be you. Figure out your own body type and what works best for you to get results. Then look to beat your own body fat percentage each week by learning from what decisions did and didn’t work.
Genetically Where Do I Fall?
With all of that said, here are several genetic aspects that influence whether this will be some “easy weight loss diet” for you, or if this may be a bit more challenge.
1. Joint Circumferences
Joint size will impact the way your body is shaped. No, “big boned” doesn’t mean you are fat or impact your ability to cut fat or gain muscle. To determine your mass bone size (small, medium, or large) you can wrap your thumb and middle finger around your opposite wrist to determine where you fall. If you fingers overlap each other, then you are small. If they touch, then you are medium jointed. If they don’t touch, then you are large jointed.
2. Muscle Insertions
Muscles connect into bones in all people, but where they insert can impact the ability to build strength and increase leverage. They may vary person to person where certain muscles groups you may have an advantage over someone else and they may have advantages in other muscle groups. My chest is naturally larger than other people, but my arms don’t grow nearly as fast as others when it comes to muscles.
3. Limb Span
I have two friends that have similar bicep sizes and body fat percentage, but one has longer limbs so his biceps look smaller. At the same time he looks leaner than my stocky friend with the shorter limbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, depending on what your goals are.
4. Digestive Capacity
Certain individuals have the ability to absorb more nutrients or store more fatty acids as triglycerides than others. This can highly impact your ability to take on more calories than someone else and exceed your daily maintenance while storing a larger amount of protein, calcium, or other positive nutrients.
5. Food Allergies and Insensitivities
A well balanced nutrition plan can be challenging for some because they are physically unable to eat certain foods that will cause illness or worse they die from it. This happens with dairy products and proteins like peanut butter more commonly. Certain foods also impact individuals differently through their taste buds or resulting physical strength. This why you see people lean toward becoming vegetarians or heavy meat eaters.
6. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Your Resting Metabolic Rate is the rate at which you burn calories in your normal routine. These are the calories you burn from breathing, digestion, and circulation. There are people that will burn more in their common actions, compared to someone that has a similar level of physical activity in their daily routine. Obviously muscle plays a role, but just your genetic disposition will impact this too. With that said, people tend to burn very few calories no matter where you are on that spectrum.
7. Fat Cells
We all have a unique number of fat cells that we are born with. Some are unfortunately born with more than others. You will only gain more as you grow older unless you get liposuction and there are a lot of documented risks doing that. What is nice is that through nutrition and fitness you can shrink the size of these fat cells no matter how many you were blessed with from birth.
8. Muscle Fibers
Muscle fibers can vary on humans just like fat cells. Some are born with more than others. This can impact your ability to grow faster and stronger than someone else. This is another example of why supposed “easy weight loss tips” aren’t necessarily easy for everyone. Some will just have longer roads to travel.
9. Muscle Fiber Type
There are two different types of fibers in your body: Red or White. Red fibers support endurance while white fibers support strength, power, and explosive activities. It is easy to conclude that people that might gravitate toward running as a primary exercise may have more red fibers, while a football player may have more white fibers.
10. Insulin Response and Sensitivity to Carbohydrates
This is one of my challenges I face. Certain people can pound down countless carbs and maintain a six pack while others get bloated and lose immense amount of energy. If you have carbohydrate sensitivity, then your blood sugar rises rapidly with the consumption of even minor amounts of carbs. This can release high levels of insulin and cause you to go into fat storage mode. If this happens, it becomes hard to keep your metabolism up and continue to burn fat or prevent from losing lean muscle mass. Also certain people are naturally more sensitive to carbs or glucose and their insulin becomes shot earlier than others, even with less sugars, dairy and grains.
The Chromosome Bottom Line
You may feel like you don’t have a chance in hell to be successful because your parents aren’t professional athletes and no easy weight loss plans will really ever work.
That is a terrible lie. You should give yourself a paper cut for thinking something like that.
Some of the greatest athletes and most physically attractive people that you get all flustered about have had to work for years to understand their body and it didn’t come over night. The important thing is that they get it. They are living a healthy lifestyle that allows for them to look good, but more importantly they feed their bodies with correct nutrients.
They have formed habits that will benefit them not just to look good, but to extend their lives, avoid terrible illnesses, and feel like they have control of their life.
These are habits and life lessons that the “genetically gifted” won’t have the benefit of learning or implementing if they take their gift for granted by eating 15 Ding Dongs while laying on a couch watching Dancing With The Stars.
Unhealthy habits always catch up to all of us.
Throw it on the list with death and taxes. You may get away with it now, but it won’t last forever. Everyone will have to eat healthy at some point in their life if they want to extend it.
No matter how your double helix looks, consider it a blessing that you realize that you can learn now to eat and exercise right. It will make such a huge difference even 5-10 years down the road on so many levels. There is really no easy weight loss program for anyone, but by understanding true principles of nutrition and fitness you can drastically change the direction of your life.
Many of these concepts are collected courtesy of Tom Venuto at Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and other education sources.