I am sure that many people have ask that very question. I know I have. For many years I been told it was my fault. That I had caused my own obesity. Which created a vicious cycle of depression and overeating.
Many years later, I found out that it wasn’t completely my fault. In fact, the fact my body retained so much fat storage was because of genetics. The genes I inherited. I had learned like everyone else that my genetic make-up gave me my eye color, my height, hair color, etc., but could it be the reason why I retained fat also?
To understand this we must go way back into mankind’s history. Back to before the agricultural revolution. We used to not have an abundance of food all the time. In fact, it was almost as cyclic as the weather. You couldn’t grow food or hunt in the winter. So you hunted and gathered all through the good months and hoped you had enough food to make it through the long winters. And some times, more often than not, you were literally starving before spring hit. This caused a natural selection process to occur. The people with a genetic disposition to better store and more effectively use fat lived while the rest died off. Generation after generation this process was repeated until it was so reinforced that a large part of the then population had this genetic condition. And that was not a problem then. They would put on a great deal of fat on before winter so they could survive, then when spring came around they would be more active and burn that fat off and start the whole cycle over again.
If you are overweight and have a hard time losing you probably are descended from the metabolism efficiency crowd that made it though those periods of starvation. The good news is that if we ever have starvation cycles again, you would be one of the ones to survive.
So, along comes the agricultural revolution and suddenly there is a great deal of food to go around. Also, preservation techniques are created so that food can be easily stored for long periods of time and suddenly we had no periods of starvation. Everyone had a year round abundance of food. Yet we still had those inherited genes that made us so efficient in storing and using fat.
To make matters worse, our dietary experts then began to tell us that fat and red meat were bad for us, clogging our veins and causing cancers to form. It was then believed that grains were the perfect food. Whether this was done as a gigantic conspiracy or in ignorance by the scientists and the food industry, we found ourselves gaining more and more weight. Since we no longer had those “famine” cycles due to the abundance of food, we just gained and gained. Go to a cattle farmer and ask him how he fattens up his herd to make more money at market. He doesn’t feed them fat or protein. He feeds them grain. The grain is the fastest way to cause them to gain weight. And the same is true with us. Carbohydrates are the only food source that can be easily turned into fat.
So, we have three factors against us. What we eat, how much we eat, and how we convert it into fuel.
So, the first thing is to figure out just how many calories you need to maintain your weight. Once you determine that you can then reduce it to slowly start loosing that unwanted fat. In order to be able to know your calorie requirements you will need to stabilize what you eat. Unfortunately, that is going to be pretty boring, food-wise. The same daily food is the only way you can figure out what you need to eat for maintenance. If the foods are varied daily it will be exceedingly harder to calculate what you need to do. Once you have figured out your calorie requirement, you can then start adding other foods in. Just need to adjust as needed so you are always burning more than you are eating.
The sheer volume of food plays a factor also. Large, heavy meals overwhelm our bodies, making us sedentary and not wanting to move. I certainly want to vegetate if I have eaten a large meal. To counteract that, I have figured out that more meals spaced about 3-4 hours apart seem to help. I just take the amount I would normally eat in a day and divide that by the number of meals. Here is a typical day for me from My Fitness Pal. I have found it is a wonderful way to keep track of food and exercise.
As you can see I ate 1500 calories yet only had 2 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of protein, and a whopping 132 grams of fat.
Which brings me to the last point; How we convert food into fuel. Over 90% of fat storage comes from carbohydrates. They are turned into glucose and whatever the body can’t immediately use as fuel is eventually converted into fat. Just reducing carbs in your diet is a big step in the right direction. Some people say that a person must have carbohydrate to properly fuel muscles, organs, etc. Not true. Protein can be converted into glucose, although the process is slow and the body will do that with just enough to cover any immediate needs. It will not convert it just to store it as fat. So that leaves fat. First of all, fat has essential nutriments that cannot be found in anything else. You brain runs on fat as the preferred fuel. And, not 1 gram of fat eaten can be converted into body fat! Not one.
In summary, if you eat more often, while eating less overall so that you have a slight negative calorie deficit, and eat mostly fat, moderate protein, and very, very few carbs, you will have a work around from the genetic programming that is our heritage and causes our obesity.