In the news
If you follow health news, you have probably heard about "leptin," a hormone that controls both appetite and how your body uses energy. Recently, scientists have discovered a so-called "obesity gene," which directs the action of this hormone.
In other words, there seems to be a genetic component to how we handle both hunger and fat storage—two major issues in losing weight. Some of us have been waiting all our life to hear this news. Wow! There actually are such things as "fat genes" that may lead to "fat jeans!"
Having said that, I am not suggesting that we all hide behind our genetics as an excuse for obesity. Instead, if your genes make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight, you need to factor that into your individual healthy eating equation. After all, no one would say that if your genetic makeup (some call it IQ) makes learning difficult, you should give up on education. As far as I know, schools are not only for geniuses! In the same way, being healthy in terms of your weight is not just for ectomorphs.
If fat runs in your family, you may never be as slim as the current culture dictates, but you can still be at a weight that is healthy for you.
What's the secret?
I wish that I could tell you that I knew the secret to weight loss that would work for everyone—be it hormone shots or anything else! Believe me, if I did, I would give it away, free of charge.
The best that can be said is that, if you eat a variety of fresh, whole foods in moderation, and avoid empty calories and processed foods as much as possible, you will go a long way towards your goal of maintaining a healthy weight.
Each positive change that you make will help, especially if it becomes a new habit that lasts a lifetime. Every time you choose a healthy food over junk food, every time you slow down and enjoy each bite, and every time you choose to take a walk instead of sit on the couch in front of the television, you have literally moved yourself closer to your goal of being healthy—regardless of your genetics.
Don't be taken in
One caveat to this story--with all the news stories about leptin and its connection to obesity, many new diets and diet products have sprung up claiming all kinds of weight loss miracles. However, so far there is no evidence that taking leptin or leptin-related pills will help the average overweight person lose weight. Even injections of this hormone, only seem to help those rare persons who actually have a genetic deficiency and seem to have few advantages for the average person trying to lose weight.
Factors affecting hunger, appetite and food intake
-Time of Day
-"Clean Plate Club"