Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Genetics, schmenetics

Still busy, but I wanted to contribute something before I get flooded with those fecking “Where are you?” e-mails. I’m writing this in short bursts throughout the day so it will probably sound completely discombobulated, but deal with it.

I’ve noticed a lot of fat people hide behind the argument “It’s genetic” and “I have fat genes”, which is by and large a load of rubbish (unless they actually said “I have fat jeans”, in which case, yes, you do). Some people do have a legitimate problem, the same as some people won’t gain weight no matter what they do, but I think the majority of that is just them playing that American game “Let’s take no personal responsibility and instead blame our problems on somebody / something else.”

You’ll notice that naturally thin people won’t admit that maybe they have it easier than the others – they always insist it’s their diet and exercise, even if their diet consists of pizza and beer and their exercise is walking to the refrigerator to get more pizza and beer. I once worked with a woman who was very petite and attractive until she opened her mouth and spewed a stream of redneck stupidity past her tobacco-stained teeth. She had that country hick Southern way of talking, where every word has twice the number of syllables intended. When a coworker said she had fat genes, Redneck Woman responded “Ah-aw, thay-uts boo-ull shee-it.” She then went on to say her tiny body was due to the fact that she ate “good foods”, such as ‘possum and grits and chit’lin’s.

A lot of people say the Japanese are thin due to genetics (except the really ignorant ones who say it’s because they’re all starving), but I don’t think that’s true in their case either. Since finding Umezono and the Tomato store (local Asian market), I’ve been in frequent contact with the local Asian community, and several of them have obviously adopted the American way of eating. Trust me – a tiny Japanese guy weighing over three hundred pounds is quite a site. If dressed in bright colors, he could have passed for an errant beach ball.

The reason this is on my mind is because I missed a wonderful photo opportunity last night. I was in the regular supermarket and I saw a life-size cardboard cutout of an attractive woman wearing (I think) white shorts and a blue top with the caption “I lost 80 pounds on the milk diet.” The funny thing wasn’t America’s latest fad diet, although some are pretty stupid. What grabbed my attention was the woman standing next to the sign gabbing with some dude. She was dressed exactly as the woman on the sign, and even had the exact same color and style of hair. The only way I knew it wasn’t the same woman was because she weighed at least twice what she should have, which made her look like the Before picture for the sign.


Kerry said...

Some people do have physical problems that keep them from being able to control their weight. However, the majority of tubbies are lazy and lack the control to put down the bag of chips!

I exercise so i can eat! and drink... and eat ;)

VomitGod said...

C'mon...I'm big boned - like the dinosaurs!

The Stiltwalker said...

I'm fat and I don't think it's really genetic, but I do speak for myself. And I believe that certain people are predisposed to being overweight, just like there are people that can eat like vikings and never gain or anything. Mine comes from years of physical inactivity. I figured out that when I don't workout, I gain, very easily. When I work out, I drop tremendously. That's just how my body works. Regardless of what I eat.

But this was hilarious!: “good foods”, such as ‘possum and grits and chit’lin’s.

Seven said...

It's epidemic Grant. I'm in decent shape because I do enormous track workouts by choice. I just like to run fast. The being in shape is merely a by-product.
Still, when I look around me in all public places I see a majority of enormous men and women. I mean just flat out FAT.
Maybe but by hte grace of God I would go there too with out the workouts, but I can't help feeling don't these people ever LOOK in a mirror!
I know its judgemental. I know its their life; nevertheless that is what I catch myself thinking.
As far as the excuses, I don't buy the fat genes thing either. It's sloth and overeating, pure and simple.
Those excuses? Thay-uts boo-ull shee-it.
Now I'm going to hunker down and hide from the fat flame throwers. See Ya.

Doug Murata said...

I'll admit that I'm skinny despite a diet of pizza, fried chicken, and soda. I don't really exercise, but I don't gain weight. I'll freely admit that it's not because of anything that I've done and that I'm just lazy and damn lucky. Everyone in my family is basically the same way. It could be genetics.

Saying most of the population of a first world country is starving and that's the reason why they're skinny is pretty damn hilarious! In Japan's case, they've mostly got a diet of fish and vegetables. (It's expensive to import those fatty foods that Americans eat!) I've also seen my share of fat Asian kids brought up on American diets.

However, like you said, there are some people who won't gain weight no matter what they eat, and there are some who will no matter how they try to take care of themselves. The rest are just shunning responsibility. How do you weed out the liars?

Enemy of the Republic said...


I wrote a blog on this ages ago, somewhere in the archives. I actually suffer from anoxexia; it began when I was a teenager. All my sisters had it, but I'm the one who just can't get past it. It can be just as lethal as being overweight, and it is very difficult to explain. I finally had to tell my students because I was missing so much work because I kept getting sick from bad nutrition. You know things are bad when your own kid is telling you to eat.

I'm coming from the opposite spectrum, but what I hate is when people tell me how great I look when I am just losing more and more weight. Lately, I've been trying to address the issue more, because I am sick of being sick. I don't envy fat people since I always feel I am one, and my husband would like to cut out my tongue every time I ask, but I would love to feel comfortable in my body.

One day you have to explain what a red neck is to you. Sorry to make this a serious post.

messiah said...

sure, genetics plays a part, but i'm pretty sure you're right when you say people's habits have a big impact.

the beachball phenomona is frightening. the worst i've seen is the female equivalent packed into spandex at a safeway. oddly enough, in the snack aisle.

wonder if that has any impact.

Anonymous said...

i'm what the call skinny and the person everyone tells to eat more - untill they see me eat.

its definitely not my diet that does it. I gave up on organised sport and i eat like crazy - McDonalds, junk food, chocolate, coffee.

Mine is derived from skinny jeans + high metabolism + low sleep + regular healthy foods.

The last one is based on the fact that when u sleep u convert sugars into fat - "apparently".

SJ said...

I think there are two things here...the extremelt obese are actaully teh ones who have problems like food addiction or a over-secretion of thyroid enzymes. Those who hover around the middle are those who can lose weight.

Then there are those like me who have right to stay thin but do.

Liz said...

You should have asked her if she was teh before. Mean,, but you have to wonder.

There is a big genetic factor but that is not all. Both my parents, and brother are over wieght. It isn't a cake walk staying thin but I do eat a bunch of junk. I just eat less of it.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Well, I don't think anyone can blame genetics completely...although if most of your family is heavy, odds are not in your favor that you're going to end up looking like Nicole Richie, know what I'm saying???

patti_cake said...

I try not to obsess about weight/body image. Yeah I could stand to lose a pound or two.
No, people don't point and snicker when I walk down the street.

Saur♥Kraut said...

That photo would've been pure gold! There was a study done in the early 90s that said that metabolism was the same for everyone. It was a very intricate and detailed study. I think it's true, BTW. It's what you eat (and the portions) and how you exercise.

PBS said...

Diet doesn't seem to make as much difference as exercise does. But I do think metabolism/heredity has a LOT to do with it. I have a tough time losing weight no matter what I do, and I eat healthy foods. I take medication for a low thyroid condition, but it doesn't really help all that much as they are (justifiably) cautious about prescribing thyroid. The more thyroid you take (in a pill) the less your body makes--it adjusts and ends up at the same low level.

Grant said...

everybody - I'm too busy today for individual responses, so I'll just say that, yeah, some people have problems but I think too many of us use genetics as an excuse. I'll post more on this later as there's plenty of territory and theories we can explore.

annush said...

my two cents:
Both my parents are overweight and I was an overweight kid. I know for a fact that I am genetically predisposed to be fat; however, I work very hard at keeping my weight down. I exercise tons and I eat extremely sensibly. Most people don't believe me when I say that being me takes obscene amounts of effort but what are you going to do, right?

And I can't even imagine what eating possum must be like...and grits? I heard about them watching my cousin vinny but I can't say i ever had those or chit'lin's either.

poody said...

Hey I'm not fat, I'm fluffy!!

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