I’ve always had a problem with skinny people telling me how to be “not fat”. How awesome and fun your life must be. With your normal proportions, and well fitted jeans. Have you ever had to alter jeans because your waist-to-pant length is so spectacularly un-proportional, that your size doesn’t exist?
Have you ever had a personal vendetta with a shirt that rides up, all damn day, exposing your blubbery mid section?
So, yeah, I’m a little apprehensive with genetically gifted people telling me to eat less. Calories in, calories out. Exercise more. How about you let me ride that unicorn, when you’re done.
You genetically perfect freak.
The Struggle Is Real
When I take a look through family photos, going back several decades, I see something incredibly haunting. We’re all fat. And I don’t mean, a little out of shape. Carrying a few extra pounds.
No, I mean all-you-can eat restaurants were afraid of us. They probably had some sort of alarm, a fire-drill of sorts at the Sizzler when we pulled up.
This was my life and this was my family. And from a very early age I was stuck in the obesity loop. Drafted into a cycle of overindulgence, poor eating, seconds and thirds at dinner.
First, I started out chubby. Then husky. Then big boned. Then, by the time I was ten, I was just big.
It also made me an incredibly sad panda. I hated being the fattest kid in school. But I was. The anxiety at the beginning of every school year was like a gut punch. But every year, like Christmas, I just kept getting bigger and bigger.
It was normal, for my family anyway. Until the summer before my freshman year of high school when something happened that changed the way I viewed life, and food — forever.
My Turning Point
No one told me what to do, and no one shamed me into changing. I said one, simple, seven word sentence that changed everything. I Asked my mom one question that empowered me, gave me control, and changed my relationship with food to this very day.
“Can I start making my own dinner?”
I was twelve.
Every night, I began making and eating the most bland chicken imaginable. The extent of my cooking knowledge was “put salt on it”. I didn’t even know how to make rice. It was under cooked and crunchy half the time.
But I kept doing it, and I kept eating it because the weirdest thing started to happen. I was losing weight. While everyone else was chowing down on fried chicken and french fries, I was eating skinless chicken, rice and vegetables every night.
It didn’t take long for people to notice. Less than a year later I was considered “skinny”. Me, the fat kid. I was skinny.
Here’s my chicken recipe, for those that want it:
– Cook it
– Put salt on it
See Also: How to lose weight over age 40
So What Did I Learn?
Everyone’s journey is different. Your journey will be different than mine, but they all seem to rhyme. My aunts, uncles, and cousins — they all share genetic threads, and adopt learned behavior conducive to obesity. They were taught these eating behaviors from their parents, and most have passed it down to their own children.
I look at my sister and her young children and I see a struggle eerily similar to our own childhood.
Her kids struggle, because she struggles. Their excessive weight is normal, and acceptable in the walls of their home. They aren’t judged when they walk through the door, they don’t shame each other, because they struggle collectively as one family.
Some people burn through calories faster than others, and some people are more likely to retain body fat. It’s not a myth. I wasn’t born with genetics that keep me skinny, I have to work very hard to stay fit.
But genetics alone, don’t determine who you become.
They can influence, and make things harder than they should, but they don’t pigeon hole you into a life of obesity. I lost weight, and have been able to keep the weight off because of a conscious decision to be different. To act different, to eat differently, to take control of this depressing insanity haunting my family for generations.
Genetics establish the floor and the ceiling of who you become. Genetics can make life easier, or make life harder but it doesn’t write or pre-determine your destiny.
You can only eat what you have in front of you. If your family is ordering pizza twice a week, guess what you’re eating twice a week. I’ve tried to help my sister with her struggle, her personal journey, and one of the most puzzling choices and a question I ask repeatedly is:
Why is this here?
If you don’t want to eat a box of donuts why did you buy them? Why is there only one bag of rotting vegetables in the fridge but there’s four bags of cookies and six barrels of ice cream?
Oddly, the ice cream fairy always seems to replenish the empty buckets faster than the vegetable fairy. If you truly want to change, why do you continue to sabotage your own efforts?
Why do you continue to start a new diet but fill your house, pantry and fridge with items that will directly undermine your goals?
To truly turn the corner, to make a permanent change you have to change your environment. Change what you eat, change what you buy, and change the restaurants you visit.
Ultimately, your fate lies with the choices you make. Your genetics may not be favorable, and your family may surround you with food that makes you fat, but control is yours for the taking.
It’s your life, it’s your body. You can choose who you want to be.
Everyday, you make that choice with the actions you take. I’m going to wave my magic weight loss wand and empower you to be different.
Right here, right now. I just did it. It happened. I give you the power, the control to make decisions that are truly life altering in so many beautiful ways.
Choose to be different. Choose to be better. Choose to be happy.
Good luck on your journey.
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