Oh Look, Honey! The Duh Truck’s Here Again!

And it brought us a BBC article that drops this staggering bombshell: Obesity may be largely genetic.

MY GOD! COULD IT BE?!? Hang on — I need to go call my fat sisters, fat brother, fat aunts, and fat cousins and ask if they’ve ever heard of such a thing.

The article is shite, but the study it describes sounds pretty good: they evaluated 5,000 pairs of identical and fraternal twins, to sort out how much of body size is genetic and how much is environmental. (Fraternal twins are assumed to have similar eating habits and environments, but don’t have exactly the same genes.*) And looky what that turned up:

Their American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that differences in body mass index and waist size were 77% governed by genes.

NO! Never would have guessed.

Of course, we must remember — as the article hammers home to the point of completely overshadowing the study’s results — not to take this as AN EXCUSE to just eat whatever we want like grown men and women or something. Obesity being more then 3/4 determined by factors outside one’s control is no reason for people to let themselves get fat!

*headdesk*

Thanks to Lindsay for being the first to post about this.

*How interesting that the whole study is predicated on this assumption, when I just recently met a woman who has fraternal twin boys, one of whom is bigger than the other — and she told me the pediatrician is on her ass about that kid’s weight. Because of course the only logical explanation for that would be that she’s overfeeding one kid but giving the other a normal amount of food. As, you know, mothers of twins are totally wont to do. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

45 thoughts on “Oh Look, Honey! The Duh Truck’s Here Again!

  1. Regarding the twin thing:

    I use my kids for at-home experiments. This is why I tell them that the couch is really called a “spider” and to be careful! It might get them!!

  2. Because of course the only logical explanation for that would be that she’s overfeeding one kid but giving the other a normal amount of food. As, you know, mothers of twins are totally wont to do. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

    I know! I am one of 6 kids, and on top of my parent’s dieting issues, one of the huge issues surrounding food in our family was that everything had to be exactly equal. Or else there would be mutiny, you know? And I’m sure that even in families where “making everything equal” isn’t such an obsession, parents tend to feed all their kids the same stuff. (Except when they’re harping on one kid about his/her weight and forcing a diet on him/her, but that’s another story.)

  3. Has anyone seen the actual study? It sounds like a heritability estimate, and 77% heritable does not mean 77% governed by genes, although journalists usually think it does. “Heritable” measures differences between people, who share an environment, it does not measure causes. (for instance, the number of fingers you have is 0% heritable, because differences in the number of fingers between people are caused by the environment.)

  4. Oh man, I feel for that mom. My (identical) twins are a couple pounds apart in weight as well, stemming in large part from an imbalance in utero, and heaven help the doc who tries to get on my ass about feeding/exercising them properly.

    I suppose I’m supposed to force preschoolers onto treadmills or something. Of course, the problem, the thinner one is the one who spends his days sitting on the couch drawing on a MagnaDoodle, while the slightly chunkier one gallops around the house re-enacting his favorite scenes from Cars.

    The thing that kills me with the whole “doctors comparing twins” thing? Is that both of my kids are /normal/, they’re just at either end of the normal range, and if they didn’t have a same-age, same-sex sibling to get compared to, the docs wouldn’t think twice.

    I actually found myself thinking the other day that, should some pediatrician in the future start giving me a hard time about my kids’ weights, and I for whatever reason can’t just fire said doctor? I’m going to start taking my kids in for checkups separately. It’s asinine and will be ridiculously time-consuming, but hopefully if I remove the temptation for some lab-coated idiot to compare two separate children, each of my kids could get treated like individuals, whatever their genetics might be.

  5. In order to believe in genetics, you have to give up the fantasy of being thin – and that fantasy is just too enticing for most people. If you believe in genetics, then you have to face the cold hard facts that (if it’s in your family history) you’ll probably be fat, and probably get cancer or heart disease or diabetes, no matter what you do. If you believe in the fantasy, then you can control your life and feel like maybe you won’t get those diseases. Giving up the fantasy is never going to be easy, because the truth isn’t as pretty a package.

  6. If you believe in genetics, then you have to face the cold hard facts that (if it’s in your family history) you’ll probably be fat, and probably get cancer or heart disease or diabetes, no matter what you do. If you believe in the fantasy, then you can control your life and feel like maybe you won’t get those diseases.

    Totally. Furthermore, you have to give up the fantasy of having thin kids. How many of us have thought, “I’ll never let this happen to my kids”? How many of us saw our own parents obsessively struggling not to “let us” get fat? And that’s even more of a minefield, because of course what you want to save your kids from is not really ZOMG TEH DIABEETUS but the incredible emotional pain of being a fat kid in a fat-hating society. It’s one thing to accept that you’ll always be fat; it’s quite another to accept that your beloved child is going to go through the same ridicule and ostracization you did.

  7. dm, I have a copy of the actual study. It is a heritability study that found 77% heritability for BMI and 76% heritability for waist circumference. However, they looked at shared-environment effects as well and found only 10% greater similarity than would be expected based on genetic similarity, thereby pretty convincingly “smacking down” the idea that parents make their kids fat by overfeeding them.

    The money quote, IMHO: “Results from the present study highlight the fact that excessive weight gain in a child is unlikely to be the fault of the parents and is more likely to be due to the child’s genetic susceptibility to the obesogenic features of the modern environment…[this result] certainly counsels caution against assumptions that, if all parents followed current childfeeding recommendations, the obesity problem would be solved.”

    If you or anyone else would like a copy, drop me a line at viajera06 at gmail.com

  8. Thorn, I have twins too. They’re fraternal, a girl and a boy. They do eat differently in some ways. Teddy eats about ten foods total, mostly cereal and waffles and occasionally meat or chicken. Katie eats a wide variety of foods and adores fruit, although she’s still hesitant about many vegetables. Teddy is quite sedentary and hates gym. Katie never stops moving and loves gym. (I don’t know how long that will last, but at least for now the gym teacher doesn’t seem to shame her.) Guess who weighs 80 pounds at 4 feet and who weighs fifty pounds at 3’8″?

    I admit I wish that nature had reversed them. Teddy is demonized by that awful Scholastic Food Sleuth game as a weakling who needs to power lift weights at seven, and Katie as a 4500 calorie a day glutton. And socially that’s how they will be seen by most people. If Katie had been short and slender and Teddy tall and fat their teachers’ and peers gender expectations would be met. I’m afraid what they will go through in middle school. And we’re not rich enough to home school, since my husband is the one who makes the good money and has the skills to teach well.

    I AM seriously considering finding a homeschooler we could pay to take on our kids too as they reach sixth grade. Junior high literally made me suicidal, I don’t want them to go through it.

  9. My twins are thin and my singleton is not. She eats a larger variety of foods than her five year old brothers without complaint but they eat the same things. But she has always been bigger – they were 5.5 ish lbs at birth she was 8.75 lbs, and now at 2.5 to their 5.5 she is ~50 lbs to their ~45 ish and I only know those numbers because we need to know for medicine doses. Yet the pediatrician could not look at say “oh genetics – duh!” She had to suggest putting the 2.5 year old on a diet.

    I first posted here as “upsetmom” in the Diets Do Work comment thread and I have fired the idiot doctor. But we haven’t found a new doc yet, I am dreading the interviews. We are planing on taking the kids medical records and having both myself and my thin husband present at the interviews and it really suck to have to plan this much just to find a doctor willing to not talk about my kids weights in front of them.

  10. “Hey, we know that what you eat isn’t making you fat…..but still, watch what you eat so you don’t get fat.” How do these tools manage to navigate their way out of bed in the morning?

  11. I don’t have twins, but I do have an older biological half-sister who was not raised by my mom. (She was adopted.) It was after I met her that I really started understanding how strongly genetics is part of size and shape! She has exactly the same shape as my mother and me. She was raised by thin people.

  12. isn’t height close to 80% heritable too? Or am I confused? (Well I know I’m confused… it’s a constant state, but still)

    we don’t often see people obsessing about how they feed their children because it would be just SHAMEFUL if the were under 5′ 7″ when neither of the parents reach 5’5″

  13. Did you see that tacked onto the end that fat rats have differences in their brains?

    An interesting study, but it also made me think of the normativity of being thin, and how that doesn’t really make sense if 68% of the population is o/o.

    The overweight and obese made up 44% of the population in the Golden Age of the Sixties, before the OMG OBEESITY EPIDEMIC, if you adjust the BMI changes backward and judge that population by the standards we’re judged today (CDC).

    So, if that’s our baseline – and why it is, I have never seen – and 44% of the population has always been o/o, then that’s a sizable minority. Pun intended. It’s not a rare and has never been a rare variation. Overweight always was; it didn’t suddenly show up in the 90s.

  14. Furthermore, you have to give up the fantasy of having thin kids. How many of us have thought, “I’ll never let this happen to my kids”?

    Man, I am so struggling with this right now. Even with everything I know and the weight (haha) of my own experience as the child of fat parents who tried desperately to “save” me from being fat (and we can all guess how well that turned out) I still find myself becoming absolutely psychotic when I try to figure out how to navigate the troubled waters of influencing my son’s eating habits.

    On the one hand, I’ve always tried to be the good fatty and the good fatty mommy, so we don’t do soda and juice, “empty” calories, HFCS, and all the other bugaboos du jour. We eat whole grains and vegies and all the other “good” things we’re supposed to be having. Still, I find myself freaking out when he asks for dessert every night and wondering if the cookie or piece of candy he gets is going to be the one that makes him grow up fat. I try really hard to honor his hunger and his pallette, but I am still trying to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with food myself and so am at a loss about how to instill that in a child.

    The problem will, I expect, be magnified when we have our second child in May–probably a girl, so even more of a minefield.

  15. My brother is two years older than me. Even when we were in high school, we had people asking if we were twins. This confused the hell out of me, but it’s something about the way he and i interact (we did have a private shared language at one point).

    When he and i were children, i was the pudgy one who was always being put on diets or just outright denied food. He was the one whose ribs you could count from a distance and ate three times as much as i did. Teachers used to send notes home with him to ask my mother if she was feeding him at all, because he was so thin and ate his lunches like they were going out of style. But no – he ate like that at home, too.

    I find genetics fascinating. I have a cousin i’ve never met, but i found her on MySpace a while back. OMFG, she looks like me! So much so, it still freaks me out. I’m not used to that. Heh. She’s not skinny, either.

  16. Being a fatty mom is, my hand to Dawg, the hardest thing I’ve ever faced.

    I’m constantly battling myself – do I let their appetites rule them, or do I try to guide them? Where do I draw the lines? How hard-and-fast should I make my rules?

    It doesn’t help that I’m not much of a ‘good fatty’ myself, so I’m not only battling myself as a parent, but also as a person. There are plenty of times I’m sitting there trying to model good eating behaviors for my kids, but then I sneak off into the other room to eat a “bad food” where they can’t see me.

    It’s so easy to get completely neurotic about what I’m doing and why, and what’s the “correct” route to take – it makes me crazy on a fairly regular basis.

  17. I’m two and a half years older than my sister, but people always asked if we were twins too. I was always short, small, thin, and young looking, while she was always tall for her age, stocky, chubby and mature looking for her age. It used to just drive me nuts that my little sister looked older than me. Now I’m fat and she… well she keeps herself thin by very, very carefully watching what she eats. But the weight she gravitates toward when she lets herself eat normally is still lower than mine (although if she keeps yo-yoing like this, it might not be forever).

  18. The part about not letting yourself get fat reminds me of the care instructions at the tattoo shop where I used to work. The first line was “don’t let your tattoo scab!” Because of course, everyone has complete control of their bodily processes and force of will alone can prevent scab formation.

  19. Overwhelmingly depressing that most of the comments I’ve seen on this story today have been along the lines of ‘Oh, we all knew that. Some people just put on weight easily. They’re the ones who have to be careful about what they eat while the rest of us can eat what we like.’ Anyone who uses the words ‘being careful about what you eat’ as a euphemism for the sort of starvation necessary to make the majority of fat people (temporarily) lose weight knows squit all about it.

    And, out of interest…hands up all those here who were fat kids? Did your or your parents’ ‘being careful’ result in your ending up as a thin adult? Come to think of it, how many of the fat kids in the study have already experienced underfeeding in an attempt to overcome their genes, and are already fatter than they’d otherwise have been as a result? Inquiring minds would love to know.

  20. Bekbek, um… isn’t that kind of only really possible for hemophiliacs?

    (disclaimer: i belong to the LITHA school of tattoo/piercing aftercare, and am heavily biased along those lines. IMO/IME, scabs are just fine where tats are concerned.)

  21. I am profoundly lucky. I came from a non-restricting family and the only things that have ever restricted my food choices are physical illness (occasional) and poverty back when I was too mentally ill to work. After eating plain rice once a day for over a year because I couldn’t afford anything else I was a size 14 briefly. I got nothing but praise. At 150 pounds I was too weak to walk a mile. At 240 I walked over five miles each way to a minimum wage job that still didn’t allow me to ride the bus because of cost. Unemployment was terrible in the Reagan years.

    My abusive grandmother bought me a dress to celebrate, the only garment I had gotten in a “normal” women’s department. (Lane Bryant opened my senior year of high school just in time for me to get a white dress that FIT for graduation.) Before that I wore men’s clothes. Then I got hooked up with psychiatric treatment and got a job and went back to my usual size.

    Other than that…well, I have a degree in physiological psychology. I can interpret statistics. I knew that most claims made about “Healthy” foods were unfounded. We evolved as omnivores, and human groups have survived through the millenia eating virtually anything as staple foods. This is not to say that *malnourishment* did not occur, it did. But the human body is pretty darn forgiving on what it can use as fuel for basic survival.

    So I ate what I wanted and stayed fat. I was so unhealthy at a “healthy weight” that I never wanted to try it again. None of my family taught me to hate myself because I was fat. I got teased for asthma as well as fat by my peers, so I knew they were full of shit. Also, I’m rebellious and stubborn and did not mind being different much.

    You know what? If I could take a pill daily that could make me genuinely healthy at a “normal” weight, I’d do it in a heartbeat because of arthritis and the ability to clothing anywhere for much less money. But I don’t hate myself for being fat or eating normally.

  22. And, out of interest…hands up all those here who were fat kids? Did your or your parents’ ‘being careful’ result in your ending up as a thin adult? Come to think of it, how many of the fat kids in the study have already experienced underfeeding in an attempt to overcome their genes, and are already fatter than they’d otherwise have been as a result?

    “Big” kid –> fat kid –> “big” adolescent (“normal” for adult age, but still considered too big for a kid) –> fat adult here. And by “big” I mean that my genetic frame is stocky and strong. Similar with my husband. Plenty of food regulation in there, of course. We’re doing several experiments with our kids, based on what makes logical sense to us and our suspicion that the common “wisdom” is actually pretty stupid. One is the weight experiment. We’re betting that by bringing them up in a household that provides healthy and appealing food but does not regulate food (calling “unfooding” by some) our kids are not going to tip over into the obese category, except possibly temporarily and normally if they put on weight in preparation for height growth for instance. I’m also betting they’ll all end up in the weight range that is currently considered “overweight” by our society, but that that will be the normal and healthiest state of being for their well-nourished bodies.

  23. (And — after reading Mary’s post — I just want to say that I’m not saying that eating normally can’t result in storing large amounts of fat. Just that for our family, given our genetics, I think true normal is somewhere in the mid-range of fat.)

  24. My mom’s whole family, as far back as we know, is thin, except for one of my aunts, who was always at least slightly fat, even when she was in tons of athletics in high school. My grandparents were always on her to lose weight, too, and she was always getting put on diets. In her adult life she has been put on diets by doctors I don’t even know how many times, and every time she has gotten fatter.

    The really sad thing, to me, is the way my family talks about it. Everyone talks about how much she eats–how every time anyone’s visiting she makes a huge batch of bacon and eggs for breakfast, things like that–when every single one of them eats the same amount, and every single one of them cooks the same way when people are over for breakfast, because my family eats a lot, and my family does bacon and omelettes after a night of partying. The difference is, they’re thin and she’s fat, so even though she puts the same amount on her plate, and she goes back for the same number of extra helpings, she must be eating more than they are.

    You know what, if they pull that shit at my wedding I’m calling them on it.

  25. Anyone who uses the words ‘being careful about what you eat’ as a euphemism for the sort of starvation necessary to make the majority of fat people (temporarily) lose weight knows squit all about it.

    Yeah, no shit. I don’t think most of those people have a clue on earth just what it is they are asking (demanding?) that we do. “I lost 20 pounds and kept them off, so you should be able to lose 50/75/100-plus pounds, no problem” is exactly the same thing as saying, “I can hold my breath for 60 seconds, so you should have no trouble holding yours for 5 minutes.” Just how far do you expect me to go in order to meet your body ideals? Four hundred calories a day and 3 hours a day in the gym, forever? Okay, you first. Sounds like a totally healthy regime, you betcha.

  26. @Meowser:

    Four hundred calories a day and 3 hours a day in the gym, forever? Okay, you first. Sounds like a totally healthy regime, you betcha.

    But… at least you’d be thin. ;P

  27. Overwhelmingly depressing that most of the comments I’ve seen on this story today have been along the lines of ‘Oh, we all knew that. Some people just put on weight easily. They’re the ones who have to be careful about what they eat while the rest of us can eat what we like.’

    This was basically the response I got from one person to a comment I made on Feministing about Wyclef Jean’s recent “no fat women on stage” comment…I said something along the lines of, “Imagine if I had requested no Asian women come up on stage…” and I heard that well, Asian women can’t stop being Asian, but fat women can stop being fat so it’s your own fault what you get if you don’t.

    It amazes me (well…it doesn’t sadly, but it should), that people can be so steadfast in their hatred that they really don’t care what people have to endure, so long as they live up to the Social Standards. Even if we could become permenantly thin by living on 1,200 calories a day and exercising for 90 minutes, we are under no obligation to do so just so we can qualify for respect. We earn respect by virtue of being alive and being respectful to others; it isn’t a free gift you get with a pair of size four jeans.

  28. And, out of interest…hands up all those here who were fat kids? Did your or your parents’ ‘being careful’ result in your ending up as a thin adult?

    *falls out of chair laughing*

  29. Yeah. Everything everyone else already said.
    Plus this: When I was a kid, I was totally threatened with “fat kids become fat adults — so don’t be a fat kid.”
    Even as a kid I think I was confused by this logic.
    I think I looked at the natural world around me, and saw variation. Small plant, big plants, both of the same species. Small dogs, big dogs. Miniature poodle puppies didn’t grow up to be Standard Poodles. The runt of the litter was always smaller — smaller as a puppy, smaller as a grown dog.
    Why or earth would we think that we could prevent big kids from being anything other than big?
    I look at my little one and marvel at how different I was at the same age. How much chunkier. I try not to worry. I try not to feel guilty that I’m grateful how it will be different for my child in this one regard than it was for me.

    If we want to prevent “unnecessary excess weight gain” (above and beyond what is “natural/genetic”) it seems to me the best thing we could do, for kids, and for adults, is to PREVENT DIETING AND FOOD RESTRICTION. That might mean the difference between a healthy fat child and adult and a less healthy one.

  30. Okay, so I read the actual journal article.
    It concludes this: “Results from the present study highlight the
    fact that excessive weight gain in a child is unlikely to be the fault
    of the parents and is more likely to be due to the child’s genetic
    susceptibility to the obesogenic features of the modern environment.”
    So, Shapeltariat, where do we stand on the “obesogenic features of the modern environment?”
    Do we take to task the presumption that children are actually fatter?
    Do we legitimately want to point out some of the unhealthy features of the modern environment, such as the complete (and IMHO immoral) consumerization of children (with regard to all things, not only food)?

    What the study authors go on to say is: “Strongly genetic conditions—notably, phenylketonuria—
    have proved to be entirely treatable by environmental
    interventions, eg, a phenylalanine-free diet in the case of phenylketonuria.
    It is therefore possible that aspects of family life
    could be modified enough to achieve a protective environment
    for children who are vulnerable to obesity.”

    This supposes that obesity is on par with phenylketonuria in health impact. I don’t have much direct experience with phenylketonuria. I assume it’s really hard for parents whose children have it, and for the children themselves, but I think this may be an unfair comparison.
    I think we could make the case that the harm from modifying aspects of family life to protect agains obesity would outweigh the benefits.
    Here’s a link to the free text version of the journal article, if anyone is interested:
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/87/2/398

  31. Phenylketonuria is a very rare condition. The incidence is about 1 in 15,000 births. There is a very specific management plan that treats it — a diet low in pheylalanine and high in tyrosine — that works in the vast majority of cases.

    On the other hand, supposedly half the kids out there are ZOMG OBESE. And despite trying and trying and trying until people’s heads explode, nothing anyone does really makes much of a difference in what kids weigh. So really, their comparison is not very felicitious at all. Unless they propose that more kids starve to the point of malnutrition and walk 10 miles a day in the snow, and that we bring back all the infectious diseases we’ve wiped out through vaccination, seeing as high fevers are so “antiobesogenic” and all. Then there will be more skinny kids. But the idea that kids were “healthier” under those conditions just boggles my mind.

  32. *boggling at the to phenylketonuria parallell* Yeah, irreversible, progressive mental retardation and seizures is totally comparable to being fat, in terms of consequences.

    Also, I’m sure those kids have some unfortunate side effects from their diets, psychologically if nothing else. If these people discovered that chemotherapy cured plantar warts, would they go for it?

  33. Also, I’m sure those kids have some unfortunate side effects from their diets, psychologically if nothing else. If these people discovered that chemotherapy cured plantar warts, would they go for it?

    Heh, good point. For the record, the PKU diet is pretty extreme. Pretty much all non-synthetic proteins and flours have to be excluded from the diet. Why would you do that unless your child had a very rare degenerative disease that would respond to eating like that and to nothing else? C’mon, being fat is not so horrible that functionality grinds to a total halt, unless you really are The Girl Who Had No Leptin.

  34. ‘Obesity being more then 3/4 determined by factors outside one’s control is no reason for people to let themselves get fat!’

    That’s the reaction I’ve been hearing to the BBC report. And I just have to point out that 3/4 being genetic doesn’t mean that the other 1/4 is within people’s control, or that it’s caused by ‘lifestyle’. What about conditions in the womb? There’s more and more research showing that adults are affected by things that happen before they are born. Take the twins you mention, for instance – it sometimes happens that one twin gets more nourishment than the other while in the womb. It seems that the undernourished twin may then be more likely to become obese later in life. That remaining 1/4 includes eating habits and ALL factors other than genetics.

  35. “The results suggest that parents whose children are at the greatest genetic risk may need support to make sure they provide a healthy environment, the researchers said.” Reuters this morning.

    So, it is largely genetic but don’t let em get fat. Back to only good fatties are marginally acceptable.

  36. We followed the idea of letting our kids eat what they wanted and trusting them to eat healthy. None of our friends who were parents did so–they all restricted or pushed food or did the no-dessert unless you finish your dinner thing. The food we kept in the house was on the healthy side, but not extreme (no soda but plenty of icecream). Our kids are now 14 and 17 and thin, but they take medication for ADD which reduces appetite so that doesn’t mean anything. But I’m proud of brought them up without the feelings of deprivation about food that it has taken me so long to get over.

    I had an interesting conversation with my 14 year old daughter when she was studying for exams last fall. I was suggesting what foods were most calorie dense to provide fuel for her brain during exam week when she didn’t feel like eating much. That isn’t trusting her appetite (because of the medication) but it is an approach that doesn’t make any foods inherently bad. And she seemed open to it.

  37. Did anyone catch this, in the 3rd paragraph: “An anti-obesity group said regardless of genes, a balanced diet and exercise were vital to good health.”?

    I lay you dollars to baby-flavored donuts that Me!Me! just haaaaad to get her $.02 in, and released a press-release regarding the study.

  38. While I don’t doubt genetic factors in the least, it’s sort of like the debate over whether homosexuality is genetic or a choice or whatever–so the fuck what? So if it’s genetic, then it’s “okay”? I don’t think going down the “But it’s genetic, there’s nothing anyone can do about it!” road is a good plan.

    Besides, I am living proof that genetics aren’t the only thing that can make someone with lifelong healthy habits really fat. My mom was 115 lbs her entire life, could still wear this belt she had in high school (that wouldn’t have fit around my thigh when I was twelve, much less my waist when I was in high school) after having three kids…and she ate cheerfully and with abandon, was always hungry, and to my knowledge never had an eating disorder.

    Wait, I lied, she gained like ten pounds when she quit smoking when I was a teenager and then lost a scary amount of weight afterwards, which everyone agreed looked terrible on her (and she gained back a somewhat reasonable amount of it). So that wasn’t the healthiest eating behavior, I guess. But still. Mostly my mom ate huge meals (mostly veggies, very healthy, but huge nonetheless), ate cookies when she wanted them, etc.

    My two sisters are and always have been tiny. They both “watch what they eat” (but don’t starve themselves scarily) and work out (but not obsessively and not entirely for weight-loss purposes). So I think both my sisters are actually thin people, even if they’re a few pounds below their set points.

    My father was paunchy but not unusually so for his age. As far as I know none of my grandparents had a weight issue except for my maternal grandmother, who according to my mother was heavy as a kid and then had a mysterious metabolic event when she had gallbladder surgery in her early 20s, after which she ate like a horse and was thin as a rail her entire adult life. I’m not sure what to make of that one. Like my mother, she died young (of cancer), so I never got to ask her.

    I did start to wonder a bit about my mother and food when I read (as an adult) an article about how lower birth weight babies tend to be heavier adults, and I was thinking about that, and how I was a tiny baby and my sisters were both big babies. The article went on to say that calorie restriction during or immediately before pregnancy can slow the mother’s metabolism, result in a lower birth weight baby, and–ta daa!–cause that baby to have a slower-than-average metabolism for life!

    Now, my mom had my sisters when she was in her early 20s and me at 35, so it wouldn’t be farfetched to assume she had a harder time staying at her high school weight when she had me than when she had them, so maybe she did diet at that point in her life? I mean, it’s simplistic to say “my mom dieted, hence I’m fat,” clearly, but it’s also hard to overlook things like this when you look at me (fat, and also the most athletic member of my family from early childhood) and my skinny mom and sisters.

  39. Pingback: I’m Too Lazy for my Blog, Too Lazy for my Blog « Gender Goggles

  40. Pingback: Too Fat to Work? « sprinkles on top

  41. Pingback: This Month’s Asuka… « Cicadas in May

Comments are closed.