Can genetics affect our weight loss?
We can all agree that our bodies, while the same, are all different. Some are tall with long legs, others short with long torsos, thin legs, thick arms, “apples,” “pears,” big feet, small hands and everything in between. It is also no secret that a healthy lifestyle (exercise, a clean and diverse diet – rich in fruits and veggies – as well as drinking plenty of water) is the best way to be our best physical self. But for some of us, that’s simply not enough. Recently, studies have shown what we all seem to already know: our genes can play a huge part in how we lose and gain weight.
Our genetic makeup affects everything in our bodies and determines a large part of how we are, physically and mentally. (They even define what we, ultimately, can taste and smell! There have been many studies done linking certain genes to liking coffee, blue cheese and the ability to smell apples!) That being said, it is no surprise that they can affect our weight. There are hundreds of genes that affect weight (fat storage and distribution) overall, but there are only a select few that clearly are linked to obesity.
Yup, you heard that right: Our Genetics can determine if we will be overweight or not. Okay, so how does this work? What exactly is being “determined” here? Well… the setup of our bodies (muscles, bones, etc.) make certain activities – like running – easier for some and not others. As well as the specific storage of fat around our bodies. As mentioned before, our genes can deter us from liking certain foods, like bitter, leafy greens that we know we should be eating, in addition to other healthy foods. In short, our DNA can actually be playing AGAINST our desire to be healthy and fit! (UGH! C’mon! We’re on the same team here!)
Now, this shouldn’t become your overriding excuse as to why you’re not reaching your fitness goals. This is an asset. Knowledge is power, people! A big reason why the majority of people don’t have success in their weight loss journey (lack of motivation, aside) is because they’re not doing the right thing for THEIR body. Weight loss is not a “one size fits all” solution. In fact, weight management should be as individual as your body.
Play the cards you’re dealt. Use your knowledge of your body and where you hold your weight, and the help of a dietitian/weight loss professional to determine what is right for your fitness journey. Your genes may determine where you hold your fat and how fast your metabolism is, but it doesn’t determine your fitness fate! Some will have to work out more, others will have to clean up their diet – a lot! Some people may have to avoid certain types of foods, like sweets. Others may have to watch their sodium intake. Point being, no one is perfect; we all have our problems. Focus on what needs to be done for your individual set of genes and do what it takes to outrank your genetics. Be happy. Be healthy.