“I have a slow metabolism…”
“I was always fat growing up…”
“I can’t build muscle. My entire family is skinny…”
“Diabetes runs in the family…”
Any of these statements sound familiar? Do you ever sound like that when you’re defending your current state of fatness or laziness? Do you ever tell yourself these things in order to not break down and cry when you’re confronted with a mirror?
Stop looking for excuses! Actually, no. F*ck your excuses!
If you’ve been blessed with hands, feet and a functional body, you have absolutely no excuse to be in bad physical shape, least of all your genetic heritage.
The “Bad Genetics” Debate
How come some people are lean and fit while others are overweight and sick? Bad genetics? (Can’t be the junk food diet and the lack of physical activity, right?)
I can’t tell you how many times I had people tell me it was their genetics that kept them from losing weight or building muscle… boo hoo.
You know why everyone is whining and bitching about their genetics?
Because it offers a convenient exit. You can tell yourself and everybody else that you suck, but hey, it was not for you to decide, right? If it were up to you, you’d be lean, athletic and playing for your favorite football team but, you know… genetics.
I realize I might be stepping on some toes writing this, but this self-sabotaging perspective is something I will never understand (and have zero tolerance for). The victim mentality will not get you anywhere. And the truth is, I see this with more and more people every day. Always looking for the easy way out. Always looking for the next best excuse because they’ve been “dealt a bad hand” by fate, the universe, or their parents.
But I’ve got news for you:
When it comes to weight-loss, fitness and health, there’s no such thing as “bad genetics”, just bad information we send our genes via our shitty diets and lifestyles.
Ever Heard of Gene Expression?
Genes are switched on and off by the foods you eat and the things you do on a daily basis. Your genes adapt to your actions and habits. If you lead a sedentary life and base your nutrition on processed garbage, guess what? You’re inviting the devil to show up at your front door (death might actually show up instead). Not the scientific explanation you had hoped for? Do your research (read, read, read)
Did you know that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease? Low levels of activity coupled with a western diet, dominated by highly palatable, high energy foods and boom – you’re fat and sick.
Granted, some people are genetically predisposed to suffer from specific diseases. But it’s only when genetic predisposition clashes with environmental triggers (the stuff you do on a daily basis), that you actually express the genes that cause disease.
Studies have proven over and over again, that type 2 diabetes can be reversed in as little as a week, simply by eating less and exercising more (actually, a decreased energy intake is sufficient in reversing T2DM). Don’t take my word for it, though. Do your research! (read)
What’s Your Excuse Now?
“What do you know Victor? You’ve always been somewhat lean and athletic!?”
Yeah… I wish.
The truth is, if I didn’t know my body as well as I do today, I’d be a weak 5 foot 8 skinny-fat twerp, with no muscle to speak of. But I chose to do something about it. I chose to adopt a different approach to eating and living.
Having said that, I’ll never grow up to be 6 foot tall no matter how long I hang from a pull-up bar. You’re also unlikely to see me bench press 500 pounds or win an Olympic medal in the high jump, because I wasn’t built for that.
“Wait a minute… are you looking for excuses?”
No. What I’m saying is, there are some genetic rules set in stone, but they are not the ones that determine whether you can get/stay healthy or get/stay in shape. Everyone can lose weight and build a decent physique regardless of genetic make-up or environmental factors.
We are not victims of fate or luck. We are simply trying to find the easiest, most comfortable way of going about our lives. But guess what? That’s not how this works.
Comfort is in the way of our survival. If our ancestors had traded in the daily hardship for comfort, we wouldn’t be sitting atop the food chain today.
Survival of the fittest, remember?
We live in a society that breeds chronic stress – The bills, the marital problems, the deadlines etc. – but we’re severely lacking acute physical stress in our lives. The fight or flight reactions, the need to lift heavy things and walk/ run long distances, the need to endure cold temperatures and food shortages. We have lost the type of stress that kept us healthy and fit and traded it in for TV sets and la-z-boys.
Your sedentary lifestyle coupled with your modern, industrialized diet have made you a “genetic inferior”, not the evil gene fairy!
The good news is, you have all the power in the world to change that. You can be who you want to be, and all it takes is for you to get off your ass and start switching on the right genes. How? Read my articles on how to train and how to eat for a better life.
Thank you for reading
Hietaniemi et al (2008). The effect of a short-term hypocaloric diet on liver gene expression and metabolic risk factors in obese women. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Mar;19(3):177-83.
Kallio, et al (2007). Dietary carbohydrate modification induces alterations in gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in persons with the metabolic syndrome: the FUNGENUT Study
Lim, E. L., Hollingsworth, K. G., Aribisala, B. S., Chen, M. J., Mathers, J. C., & Taylor, R. (2011). Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia,54(10), 2506–2514.
Vargas, Teodoro et al. Genes associated with metabolic syndrome predict disease-free survival in stage II colorectal cancer patients. A novel link between metabolic dysregulation and colorectal cancer. Molecular Oncology , Volume 8 , Issue 8 , 1469 – 1481
Viguerie N, Montastier E, Maoret J-J, Roussel B, Combes M, Valle C, et al. (2012). Determinants of Human Adipose Tissue Gene Expression: Impact of Diet, Sex, Metabolic Status, and Cis Genetic Regulation. PLoS Genet 8(9)