A couple of days ago I watched an infomercial about the reasons for obesity. There were some very good salient points made but I also found some of it initially difficult to swallow.
As you know I am a morbidly obese person myself. I have struggled with my weight for the past 12 years but to apportion blame elsewhere? Well I have to wonder would that be taking it too far?
The crux of the infomercial runs almost along the lines of the Horizon program stating that it is beyond a fat persons control to deal with being overweight. It claims that obesity is a disease and not a lifestyle choice and maintains that those who suffer from it require treatment and not judgement.
When fat people are introduced (and I know this from experience) we are often judged unfairly by people assuming we eat too much and exercise too little. However, please do understand that there is a whole lot more to this than meets the eye. After many years of trying to deal with it on my own, I decided to seek medical advice and outside help. I also investigated the disease and over this past year learned a great deal about how obesity affects me and why it does so. Having already discussed that weight is a balance in It Ain’t Rocket Science and that we need to balance “calories in” with “calories burnt” it is partly simple common sense, however it may now have been determined there is more to obesity than originally thought. Unfortunately as far as I am concerned this where I become unsure of whether it is a helpful determination or not.
As already stated, anyone who maintains this balance maintains their weight, anyone who goes over or under on the calories either gains or loses weight. People are usually active or not, eaters or not. This is the lifestyle choice they talk of. They don’t allow however, for the large people who have a small person inside trying to get out but cannot do so due to illness, disability or many other completely valid reasons. It is never always cut and dried. There is also our body’s make up, gene’s or DNA call it what you will.
The new findings state there is in everyone, a specific point that the brain has set itself to do with fuel and fat storage. It knows itself how much body fat it wants you to have and dictates to your body how much fuel to take on board in order to gain and then maintain that level. As I said before, I wasn’t always a fat person but have gradually grown over the years. Maybe this point has always existed in me or maybe I have developed it over the years of living life to the full. Obviously if this is the case, when I was younger I managed to kept it at bay by being a very active person and so burnt off those excess calories and fat storage. Now I am older and a lot less active due to injuries that have become disability issues I have no real way of determining this truth, but the validity of the idea? I would imagine this a fair assessment. It is also a fair assumption to make that it is your brain that regulates the calories in to the calories out; and in order for it to do this it needs to be aware of how much energy you body has on board at any time. Leptin hormones, muscles, internal organs such as pancreas, liver and even gut are involved in telling your brain how much fuel you have in the tank. With all of these different body markers sending their information, it is easily able to determine whether you are under fuelled with low-fat stores or completely up to date. Don’t forget it was your brain in the first instance, that created the set point it wants all of these levels to be at.
Therefore the body can start to work against itself when you finally decide enough is enough and start to fight back. I can categorically state that I have found this to be true. I start a diet and an exercise regime of sorts, I begin to notice good results and quickly become enthused by my achievement but as one part of my brain is doing this, the other is already thinking of ways to fight against the losses and work out a way of restoring the fat I have managed to fight. It makes me hungry all of the time, it reduces the calories I burn to a minimal amount. This is basically the brain defending its preferred levels. It must then be assumed that if I were to put on more weight, my brain would be happy for me to lose it, because this level is higher than my brain has set. In fact, I could hazard that I may know this for sure to be true as I have in the past reached the heady size of 159 KG but I am back down to 146 KG with some effort but I am there because I am sure this is my brains favoured level and it allows me to get here before fighting back by dismantling my will power piece by piece therefore preventing me from dropping below it.
In all honesty, we must agree that the above statement rings true with so many people. How many times have you or friends started great guns with a diet only for it to peter out after a couple of weeks and then they slowly but surely start back on the weight gain.
It kind of makes you think doesn’t it?
Is our brain really working against us?
Well it might be if we determine that the brain truly doesn’t know it needs to lose weight. All it really cares about is maintaining those preferred levels. It kind of then suggests that regardless of what diet we put ourselves on and how much exercise we attempt, we find it nearly impossible to get results because we are pre programmed to sit at a specific weight. So then why did I develop obesity? I can categorically state that I didn’t consciously sit one day and say “From now on, I shall be fat” and immediately set up a direct debit to Dunkin’ Donuts. It kind of just happened. Maybe things conspired against me in a perfect storm to ensure that my trousers would get bigger and bigger and bigger. There certainly is the argument of environment. That is to say, changes to the chemical and nutrient content of foodstuffs will most definitely have been a factor. More sugar and salt in everything, marketing of fast food, preservatives etc I suppose the list could be endless. I do get it was me who opened my mouth and put it in it although in hindsight, that could have been a direct result of poor sleep, prescribed medications and increased stress – all three are issues I have on a daily basis. Apparently we all respond differently to this modern environment and I have thought for long many a year that part of my issue with weight gain was the medication I was prescribed. I am absolutely positive it changed my relationship toward food. According to this infomercial it would maintain that my system still works, it is just that my “set point” where my brain is happy with its stores of fat and energy is now too high.
If this is the case, I was correct in getting medical help to deal with it and not enlisting a personal trainer/guru/chef/life coach etc…
The infomercial this blog post is based on is really just to get you ordinary thin folk out there looking at us fatties with a little less judgement. It even ended by saying it was about time the world acted on this.
Well I’m doing my bit by getting the medical help. What about you?
Stay out of the fridge.