Welcome back to my 10 multi-part series about the “10 Biggest Myths & Lies About Weight Loss.”
Today’s Myth #8 is that Losing Weight Is About Will Power
And if you’re joining me for the first time and you missed the first 7 weight loss myths, I suggest you check them out some point after today’s article.
Now, the other day I was having lunch with a client who is one of these fitness models and actors with great genetics. He’s actually very well-known, but I’m not going to name him.
Anyway, there was someone eating lunch at the table next to us and they were overweight.
My “fitness model/actor” friend then made a stupid, insensitive, and yet, a very common comment which was “why doesn’t this person just control what they eat. They are obviously lazy and have no willpower. Just eat less and exercise more – it’s not rocket science”.
I then said “yes, you’re right … it’s not rocket science, it’s much more complicated!”
You see, obesity is a very complex disorder with dozens, if not hundreds of contributing factors.
There are numerous genetic variables that have been shown to associate with obesity, and various medical conditions (hypothyroidism, PCOS, depression) that can increase the risk of weight gain, and making weight loss so much more difficult.
The body also has numerous hormones and biological pathways that are supposed to regulate body weight. These tend to be dysfunctional in people with obesity, making it much harder to lose weight and keep it off.
Not only are there various hormones and peptides – such as thyroids, sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc.), GH, IGF, Insulin, etc… there are hundreds of enzymatic pathways … NOT to mention, receptor sensitivity, fat cell sizes, quantity, the type of fat your body has (brown vs white) and so on and so forth.
Genetics plays a major role and your lifestyle can actually turn ON or OFF or magnify or minify these genetic factors.
For example, being resistant to the hormone leptin is a major cause of obesity.
The leptin signal is supposed to tell your brain that it has enough fat stored. When the leptin isn’t managing to deliver its signal, the brain thinks that you are starving.
Trying to exert “willpower” and consciously eating less in the face of the leptin-driven starvation signal is extremely difficult, if not impossible for many people.
There are even infants that are obese. How can anyone blame that on personal responsibility or a lack of willpower? It is very clear that there are biological factors at play.
Eating is driven by behavior, and behavior is driven by physiology and biochemistry. That is an undeniable fact.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that people should just give up and accept their genetic fate. Losing weight is still possible, it is just much harder for some people.
They need to put in the extra effort with what they eat and drink, the type of exercise and duration, managing their stress levels and optimizing their fat-burning hormones.
Now, you can never change your genetics, but you CAN turn on your “fat-burning” genes, so it makes it easier for you to lose fat, reduce your appetite, increase your metabolism and keep the weight off, long-term.
As always, thanks for reading and have a happy and healthy day!
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