Dr Art Hister – Weight and Genes

Bad news for those of you who swear you can’t lose weight because of your genes: you’re probably wrong.

Lots of people swear that no matter what they do, they can’t lose weight, even if they “don’t eat more than a mouse eats, honest”, even if they “exercise till I can’t stand it any longer”.

But the brutal truth is that even though there are a few people out there who indeed cannot lose weight easily, most of us can, and when we don’t lose weight on a diet or from exercise, it’s very likely because we are eating too much or not working out enough, or more often than not, both of those combined.

And if you believe the data from a study published in PLoS Medicine, even most obese people who are genetically prone to becoming massively overweight can nonetheless overcome their genetic predisposition and still lose a significant amount of weight.

In this study, even in obese people who had inherited “17 variants” of genes leading to obesity (in other words, the dice were really loaded against these folks staying slim), those who did the most exercise tended to weigh much less than those who were sedentary, and some were even able to maintain normal weights by doing enough exercise.

Bottom line: if you want your bottom not to grow too large, do more, eat less.

Sorry, but I just report em as I see em.

Dr Art Hister – Do You Even Know if You’re Overweight?

At least one of the reasons we are getting so much fatter on average is that we’re so surrounded by people who are overweight that we’ve lost the sense of what a normal weight should be.

At least that seems to be the case in the US, and I am sure it’s not much different up here.

A recent Harris Interactive/Health Day survey asked a representative group of American adults how much they weighed and how tall they were. The respondents were then asked whether they thought, by BMI status, if they were normal weight or overweight.

A substantial number of the survey takers – 30% – who were overweight by BMI criteria (a BMI over 25) replied that they felt they were normal weight, while 70% of those who were obese thought they were “merely overweight”.

BMI is not a perfect measure of weight. For example, since muscle weighs a lot, a very muscular person can have a high BMI but be normal weight.

That said, most of us are not too muscular (some of us – me, for example – aren’t even slightly muscular) and so for us, BMI is a pretty good measuring rod for what our weight should be.
Most experts say that you should be aiming for between 20 and 25, although I am a lot more liberal than that, so I figure that if you’re working out or just being quite active, you can allow yourself a few extra pounds without worrying about it (never mind “allowing” yourself; how about “accepting” instead because honestly, how do you keep those (few?) extra pounds off anyway as you get older, eh?)