Why Some People Never Get Fat

Written by on October 5, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page


If you have problems with obesity or with losing weight, you’re probably painfully aware of lucky people who never seem to have any problems staying lean. As it turns out, genetics plays a role not just in determining how easily you keep or gain weight which would be unsurprising. Genetics also plays a major role in determining if you are more likely to engage in binge eating – that is, eating even when you’re not hungry.

In several studies, it’s been observed that in given sets of children and adults, some would continue to keep eating even when not hungry – others would stay hungry no matter how much food was available. In other words, some stopped as soon as they felt full and feel no compulsion to keep eating even if there’s food left, while others – the invariable majority- continue eating so long as a supply of food remains available.

The propensity for the latter has been linked to mutations in the melanocortin 4-receptor in our genes.  Interestingly enough, this mutation was once useful, as it allowed our ancestors to store up necessary fat reserves during abundant times to compensate for periods where there wouldn’t be much food. People without the mutation will feel sick if forced to eat much more if they’re full.

Fat is an incredibly efficient way of storing energy. In an experiment, a 450lb man lost more than half his weight by living off nothing but water and vitamins and his fat reserves for over a year. He was under medical supervision for the whole duration so we would never recommend this.

But this should drive home the point that fat is there for a reason- that is to supply us with energy for emergencies, among other things. However, in an age where the mutation that allows the majority of humanity to still derive pleasure from food even when not hungry, this mutation’s usefulness is questionable.

This presents a tremendous problem for the majority of people with problems with fitness due to their eating habits – it’s not just simply a matter of willpower either. Other studies suggest that willpower is a finite resource – that is if you spend a lot of time resisting things throughout the day, you might find it very easy to give in to temptation as the day goes on.

Fortunately there are several findings that should make fitness seekers more optimistic. First off, willpower seems to be something you could develop with exercise if you will. Next, with enough physical activity, you can bring about long-term benefits to your overall fitness state, and not just through “binge exercising” either.

It seems that while things might be stacked against most of us, the road to better physical fitness need not be a painful one – it just takes a heck of a lot of time. It seems that slow and steady wins the race, the key is to slowly develop habits that limit the amount of food readily available to you, and to develop mental discipline as well as physical fitness over a long-term.

This is a guest post.  Fitness and Diet Tip by FitFarms Fitness Camp & Holiday Retreat

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