13

votes

Are we "pre-destined" to our genetic "body type"

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 29, 2011 at 11:13 PM

Weird question but I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

I understand there is the "body type theory", and whether or not it's true is debatable, but I'm wondering if some (or all) of us are slaves to our genetic body makeup, or is there true, sustainable potential to evolve to another body type.

For myself, I was a porky kid growing up and have been at a healthy body weight for a few years now. I've been chasing a very lean, "ripped" physique (I can hear the eyes rolling) and despite all out determination, I can't seem to trim the last couple of pounds of fat.

I know alot of people will probably say that I just need to up the intensity (diet and training wise) to 1000%, but even if I do, will it be sustainable? The big existential question is; Am i fighting a futile battle with my self.

I would love to be able to keep a trim build by way of yoga/running exclusively. I have no interest in bulking up. But Does my body want me to? I have a radical apetite, should I be eating more, and lifting heavier. I've honestly never tried that route.

Any thoughts?

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I guess it's not that new... the most successful diets I've ever done were before I heard calories were all that mattered. After I learned about thermodynamics I started incorporating treats into my diet.... and promptly couldn't keep to my caloric target. Who knew ice cream wasn't diet food...

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 30, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Also, Rose, you are of course one of the people I was referring to re: massive inspiration.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 30, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Now I'm trying to decide, between the back surgeries I had as a kid and my horrendous vocal chords, whether it would take me more effort to be an olympic athlete or an opera singer...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Great answer; I especially appreciate the cost/benefit issue. I'm an artist, and spend whatever non-office-job and non-household-maintenance time I have in the studio. Those of us who choose not to become Olympic athletes (for example) are no less worthy than those who choose not to be brilliant opera singers (for another example).

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on December 30, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Rose, thank you for that link. A very interesting subject. Your dedication to finding a solution, and finding your plan, and how well it works for you, are inspiring and a lovely example. Thank you!

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:08 PM

+1 for the greek yogurt + sweetener addiction. I can't buy the kilogram tubs of fage anymore; a container is a serving, willpower be damned.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 06:37 AM

Can't add anything to that. Well said. Wrote. You know.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:42 AM

I **love** sweet potatoes. Yeah, not magic, but keeping treats to 1-2x per week certainly helps keep cravings really low for me. Now I just need to wean myself off of greek yogurt + splenda.... Plus, eating the same thing every day really helps with cooking. Make a monster frittata and eat it for 3 days of breakfast. Make a monster curry and eat it for 3 lunches.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:35 AM

That's awesome. I don't think low-reward is magic, but I don't get why people poo-poo it so much. Define reward/palatability however you want, but eating ice cream or bacon makes it easy to eat more ice cream or bacon. Eating plain sweet potato makes it easy to...lose weight.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:31 AM

By the way, I really enjoyed reading about your food reward experiment. That's probably the only new idea I've heard in the last couple years that will make any real difference with body composition. I'm already trying it out to good effect.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:29 AM

Indeed. Cognitive dissonance is crazy. Where is brainhacks.com when you need it?

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Also like the Shakespeare reference.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Agree so strongly. People tend to focus on whatever they *want* to believe will help them rather than the things they really should know are more important.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:19 AM

But...good answer.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Therein lies the rub, no? The human brain is wired to hack. We are problem-solvers who dominate by adaptation, and worrying about things that probably shouldn't be worried about sometimes could be lead to an evolutionary advantage (rampant speculation on my part). Thus, we choose to avoid the sunshine and outdoors for most of the day, sitting in one position, working at jobs we don't like, and hacking lifestyle details that pale in comparison to the bigger things that we can't or won't change.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:18 AM

I liked Kung Fu Hustle... Shaolin Soccer is pretty good too!

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:51 AM

@Travis, constant sedation isn't bad, I plan to be constantly sedated for all of new year's eve.

91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

(614)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:50 AM

Thank you, Kamal, for completing my thought : We can't possibly know what is going on when people "feel hopeless and can't muster any effort" unless they tell us directly - it is asinine to assume they are lazy or just aren't trying hard enough.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:42 AM

In sports like running inflexibility is useful to an extent where it can store elastic energy, which is why inflexibility predicts running economy. So in that case hamstrings can easily be too flexible. Olympic lifts lack significant eccentric portions which are critical to the hypertrophy response, so in that way they are not ideal.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:40 AM

Sorry couldn't flesh them out, was watching a tv show, now there's a commercial so... Heavy eccentrics cause a lot of muscle damage and will destroy most naturals if done too often. For almost every goal I don't see a point to eccentrics, except possibly tendinitis but you weren't referring to that I think. If your goals are general health, 2 jogs and 2 weightlifting sessions are all you need. Throw in a couple sprints or something now and again. GPP is just to stroke your ego about being the 'most fit' a la things like crossfit. It's also my goal, but that doesn't mean there's a point.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:35 AM

I would say on the otherhand that you should not be "chasing" anything. If you are eating clean and providing sufficient stimuli through 1-2 high intensity workouts and lots of low and slow throughout the week were you land should be just perfect for you. Could you morph into something else by doing things different? Sure, but I beleive there may be negative effect to your health on most other paths.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Gotta agree completely with both you and Travis. While the manner in which you express this to someone may seem rash, or even like you are blaming the person....it is really not meant to. It is in my view a simple truth that should make someone feel more empowered. Those of us not born with a hard wired genetic disorder are not genetically deficient in any meaningful manner. Now if we start talking about "choices" that occurred while in the womb or as an infant effecting current health that gets a bit more hairy.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:12 AM

I DID see Kug Fu Hustle .... and loved it.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:04 AM

Good job. .

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:01 AM

No, we shouldn't, depends on the sport/goal, yes.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:00 AM

You asked for it conciliator: Temporary gains from megadose eccentric loading -- does it translate to long term gains? General physical preparedness -- why should we care? Hamstrings -- can they be too flexible? Olympic lifts for hypertrophy -- a waste of time?

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:51 AM

And @Travis, if you're not gaining muscle, I think zinc deficiency is the last place I'd look... There are really 100 more likely possibilities such as poorly programmed workouts, not eating enough, etc. Exercise nutrition/physiology is sortof my main interest in the world of nutrition/physiology so feel free to make a question if you need trouble shooting.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Breast feeding does some interesting hormonal things actually that make stubborn fat go away more easily...

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Yep, pretty sure, but I'll let you test it. :-))

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Obviously, genetics will help determine what is within reach. Anyone will always be able to improve themselves within their own genetics. Is 'ripped' in reach of everyone? Yes, probably. 220 lbs and ripped? No. I don't think Travis is saying it's all in reach, but most peoples' goals are in their own control.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Kung Fu Panda 2 is great. I didn't know what to expect. Look, if I can cry watching KFPanda 1...KFP2 better be great and it was. Meredith, enjoy the ride. DI you see Kung Fu Hustle?

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on December 30, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Do you mean we'll eventually come back upside down if we think about this too much? ;-)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Regardless of the specifics of this debate, I do think this is an apt saying by Travis: "There are those who immediately give up when the slightest bit of resistance is presented and those who will become red in tooth and claw in order to annihilate all obstacles." However, I would hope that when when people feel hopeless and can't muster any effort, I have the compassion to make them feel more hopeful. And when I feel hopeless, I'd like people to be unnecessarily nice to me and make me an amazing dinner and tell me how I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:07 AM

@ Andrew - hi! The physique you think may be most attractive may not be what the (insert gender)'s want. For instance, I vote highest for sense of humor, smarts, and self determination. Do what makes YOU feel really good in your skin, then put yourself in places that jibe with you (like the yoga studio) then get on with it. <3 <--- that's a heart not a butt.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Travis, it's awesome that you're helping your dog like that. As a former sufferer of childhood seizures (and years of phenobarbital), I totally applaud your refusal to put him through that. But (had to be one, of course), Andrew's question was will he have to fight a lifelong battle. The answer, revealed not just by things like the National Weight Loss Registry, but by your own ever-battle-ready attitude, is "of course." I don't think it's defeatist to acknowledge that change is hard, and that once achieved, needs constant vigilance. Or magically healed mitochondria with superhero underoos. ;D

91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

(614)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:04 AM

THAT is a strawman argument. You were equating "those who immediately give up" with everyone. And I sincerely hope your dog heals and you have success with his/her treatment! Sending tons of good vibes.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:53 AM

I rescued a dog who has epilepsy but I absolutely refuse to make him endure the terrible side effects of constant sedation. I've been tweaking his diet and supplements and I keep putting more weeks in between seizures. I'm beginning to think I can actually completely reverse it. He drew a bad lot but I will not give up on him. There are those who immediately give up when the slightest bit of resistance is presented and those who will become red in tooth and claw in order to annihilate all obstacles. This is a choice.

91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

(614)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:49 AM

I do not believe anyone here expressed the idea that these things are death sentences. I do not see ANY defeatism. You are asserting that. How is this a strawman? There is a ton of peer-reviewed scientific literature out there that belies your statement. Perhaps it's just easier for you to believe that you can control everything?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:48 AM

If this guy's goal is to get ripped for whatever reason he can do it, unless he thinks he's genetically doomed, in which case he cannot. There are piles of people who drew a bad lot and still did amazing things, but I suspect that many of us drew a pretty good lot but pretend that it was a bad one. I refuse to live in an imagined genetic apocalypse.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:43 AM

I'd love to address that strawman, but obviously we all agree that they have an influence and can predispose a person *toward* something but they are not the death sentences that the defeatists would have you (and themselves) believe. There are a small percentage of people who actually are genetically doomed with no use of their limbs, death in childhood etc. etc. but most of us here are not them and we should not disrespect their actual predicaments by creating imaginary ones for ourselves.

91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

(614)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:42 AM

^ Pardon. That should say *sex*, not gender.

91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

(614)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:38 AM

Travis, that is a bold assertion. Can you please, then, provide citations that show genetics, epigenetics, gender and hormonal factors have no influence?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:38 AM

I used to think I was genetically doomed to have reactive hypoglycemia. Oh shit, it was a chromium deficiency. Never could gain any muscle. Damn it, zinc deficiency. People think they're doomed to heart disease, but maybe that's just a magnesium/K2 deficiency. See a pattern? Maybe some of us have an exercise deficiency or we really haven't tried everything to healthfully decrease our diet's energy density. Maybe that 100g of fat per day paints a person into a corner, who knows? I never wake up and say "fuck, I'm doomed" I say "how can I improve today?"

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Well, no Paul Newman - and then there's the whole James Bond theme (which I am not into). Mater plays a pretty bid role though. Maybe even the starring role. You might just like it!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:33 AM

It's supposed to be good. Should I not watch Cars 2? I love Tow Mater, even though he's a nightshade. (sorry, had to keep it slightly on topic)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:29 AM

A sequel??? Oh yeah - gotta go work on the Netlix queue. BUT if its anything like Cars 2 - I will be disappointed. Maybe it'll be more like the Empire Strikes Back?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:27 AM

It's similarly your choice to be illogically defensive.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:25 AM

So good. I've been wanting to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 for as long as I can remember. (bad long term memory)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:22 AM

I've never seen it. But I may be able to watch Kung Fu Panda every day. :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Is it worth it to watch "Gnomeo and Juliet" on DVD then? I liked it, but am not sure I would want to watch it every day for the rest of my life.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:00 AM

And there it is Travis. You FINALLY just came out and said it. It's all everyone's own damn fault isn't it? You always seem to hint at it but I didn't actually think I'd ever see you come right out and say it. So there ya go. Fat, sick, imperfect people are that way by choice and nothing more. Well no wonder you have such disdain for us.

4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on December 30, 2011
at 12:04 AM

i've been wondering the same thing. in my case, i've been on the heavier side for as long as i can remember and have tried every extreme and non-extreme thing i could think of to lower my weight. when i went from completely sedentary to working out 2 hours a day most days a week, i replaced fat with muscle (which i've maintained) but i weigh EXACTLY the same. i feel better where i am, and i've stuck with my healthy life-style, but it's been hard to accept that THIS is my weight. i don't work out 2 hours a week anymore, i've tried IF'ing...anything you can think of, but i just think this is it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 29, 2011
at 11:20 PM

No, that's all defeatism. People have skeletal frame sizes, but the rest is up to you.

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9 Answers

13
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 12:37 AM

I think most people can lose or gain some body fat and muscle with the appropriate effort (if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have tried all the approaches I did before finding the one that worked for me), but how much and where seems to be largely genetically determined. For instance, here's one interesting study on body fat deposition in identical twins.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on December 30, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Rose, thank you for that link. A very interesting subject. Your dedication to finding a solution, and finding your plan, and how well it works for you, are inspiring and a lovely example. Thank you!

12
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 29, 2011
at 11:33 PM

There are all kinds of things that determine body type, some of which are under our control, others which are not. Genetics is the tip of the iceberg in that latter category. We also have epigenetics and hormonal factors. With women it can be frustrating how fat is distributed in the hips, buttocks, stomach, and breasts. With men the main frustration seems to be gaining muscle. But you'll never know what your personal limits are unless you try different things.

10
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 12:58 AM

Well, I could see my abs when I was breastfeeding, doing HIIT and weights and eating very low carb. Once I stopped bfing there went my abs. I certainly could not keep on bfing for the rest of my life to keep my washboard, and calorically there is not way in hell I have time to "burn off" the 500 to 900 calories a day I was using to make the breastmilk.

I can't help but think that the only things worth doing are the things you are willing to do every day for the rest of your life. Then be happy with you (I am working on this myself). :)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:29 AM

A sequel??? Oh yeah - gotta go work on the Netlix queue. BUT if its anything like Cars 2 - I will be disappointed. Maybe it'll be more like the Empire Strikes Back?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Is it worth it to watch "Gnomeo and Juliet" on DVD then? I liked it, but am not sure I would want to watch it every day for the rest of my life.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:22 AM

I've never seen it. But I may be able to watch Kung Fu Panda every day. :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:33 AM

It's supposed to be good. Should I not watch Cars 2? I love Tow Mater, even though he's a nightshade. (sorry, had to keep it slightly on topic)

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:37 AM

Well, no Paul Newman - and then there's the whole James Bond theme (which I am not into). Mater plays a pretty bid role though. Maybe even the starring role. You might just like it!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:25 AM

So good. I've been wanting to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 for as long as I can remember. (bad long term memory)

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Breast feeding does some interesting hormonal things actually that make stubborn fat go away more easily...

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:12 AM

I DID see Kug Fu Hustle .... and loved it.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:42 AM

Kung Fu Panda 2 is great. I didn't know what to expect. Look, if I can cry watching KFPanda 1...KFP2 better be great and it was. Meredith, enjoy the ride. DI you see Kung Fu Hustle?

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:18 AM

I liked Kung Fu Hustle... Shaolin Soccer is pretty good too!

9
20eefe24d8ccf096096f05b5bce1ea40

(988)

on December 30, 2011
at 06:03 AM

Mother nature doesn't make to many failures, most of them died a long time ago. Mother does make variety, I'm tall and fairly lean, my friend is short, thick, barrel chested and heavily muscled. I'm better at running, he's better at beating the hell out of whole groups of men twice his size. Each 'body type' will have its ups and downs. Figure out what the advantages that come with your skeleton type are, and go with that. My friend will have to try way harder than I will to run a marathon, his legs are too short and big around and he weighs 215 at 5'7", very little body fat. I have to try harder than he does to stay warm in the winter at 6'2" and 180, I don't conserve heat as well as he does. Your physical shape will give you advantages in some areas, and drawbacks in others, no way around that. Go with what your going to be good at, 'don't judge a fish by its ability to climb trees' as I believe Einstein said. Don't judge yourself against others, you are a key that will perfectly fit a lock somewhere, go find it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 06:37 AM

Can't add anything to that. Well said. Wrote. You know.

7
Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

on December 30, 2011
at 04:11 AM

Things out of your control:

  1. Set point
  2. Bodyfat distribution
  3. Muscular/athletic potential

Things in your control:

  1. Your diet
  2. Your training/exercise

That's why I like the term 'set point' for your hard-wired level of leanness and the term 'settling point' for the place you arrive as a compromise between set point and your society, behavior, food choices, etc. SO you can think about it like your level of leanness falls in a range whose boundaries are out of your conscious control. However, you can work to move within that range, where you 'settle' so to speak.

In my opinion most men can settle at 10% bodyfat (faint 6 pack) with meticulous attention.

There's also absolutely no point to worrying about things out of your control. Worry about things in your control.

Some people have to work harder than others, so it goes.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I guess it's not that new... the most successful diets I've ever done were before I heard calories were all that mattered. After I learned about thermodynamics I started incorporating treats into my diet.... and promptly couldn't keep to my caloric target. Who knew ice cream wasn't diet food...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:19 AM

But...good answer.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:31 AM

By the way, I really enjoyed reading about your food reward experiment. That's probably the only new idea I've heard in the last couple years that will make any real difference with body composition. I'm already trying it out to good effect.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Agree so strongly. People tend to focus on whatever they *want* to believe will help them rather than the things they really should know are more important.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Therein lies the rub, no? The human brain is wired to hack. We are problem-solvers who dominate by adaptation, and worrying about things that probably shouldn't be worried about sometimes could be lead to an evolutionary advantage (rampant speculation on my part). Thus, we choose to avoid the sunshine and outdoors for most of the day, sitting in one position, working at jobs we don't like, and hacking lifestyle details that pale in comparison to the bigger things that we can't or won't change.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Also like the Shakespeare reference.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:29 AM

Indeed. Cognitive dissonance is crazy. Where is brainhacks.com when you need it?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:35 AM

That's awesome. I don't think low-reward is magic, but I don't get why people poo-poo it so much. Define reward/palatability however you want, but eating ice cream or bacon makes it easy to eat more ice cream or bacon. Eating plain sweet potato makes it easy to...lose weight.

Cccb899526fb5908f64176e0a74ed2d9

(2801)

on December 30, 2011
at 01:08 PM

+1 for the greek yogurt + sweetener addiction. I can't buy the kilogram tubs of fage anymore; a container is a serving, willpower be damned.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 30, 2011
at 04:42 AM

I **love** sweet potatoes. Yeah, not magic, but keeping treats to 1-2x per week certainly helps keep cravings really low for me. Now I just need to wean myself off of greek yogurt + splenda.... Plus, eating the same thing every day really helps with cooking. Make a monster frittata and eat it for 3 days of breakfast. Make a monster curry and eat it for 3 lunches.

5
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on December 30, 2011
at 03:19 AM

Yes, I think we are very much bound in some ways by our individual body types and weight/fat set points. These things are partially genetic, but also highly influenced by our immediate ancestors, our gestation, our diet in childhood, and of course our current daily habits and nutritional status.

That doesn't mean we should all give up, of course. But I think it's much healthier to have realistic expectations about what fitness/vanity goals are healthy and achievable for you as an individual, with your current/past body in mind. The alternative seems to be a heck of a lot of young beautiful paleohackers wasting the best years of their lives obsessing about the .5 lbs of fat on their abs, or how their arms aren't jacked, or how they have 'jiggle' on their thighs.

I mean, I'd love to look like Jessica Biel, too, but even if I gain that 30 solid lbs (and look fantastic) no way am I going to have arms or boobs like her (since I am a stick-armed pear shape like all my kin). You know?

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 29, 2011
at 11:49 PM

This question can quickly turn into a mobius-strip-like sequence of circular thinking.

I mean, in many ways my body type--by which I mean the soft tissues surrounding my skeleton--reflects my behaviors--by which I mean nutrition, exercise, sleep--which reflect my personality--by which I mean my mental beliefs, stability, experiences, aptitudes, etc.--and they reflect my upbringing--by which I mean how I was fed, how I was supervised, childhood diseases/injuries, what was going on in my family--and they reflect my parents/grandparents--by which I mean DNA and gene expression--which reflect their personalities, upbringing, etc.

Other than bones and incurable diseases/impairments, I don't think we're locked into a body type while we're still living. Our bodies are as changeable as our abilities to impose our will upon the elements of the body that are important to us. Mine has certainly swung between extremes a number of times and was never the same twice at any point in the cycle.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 30, 2011
at 02:46 AM

Yep, pretty sure, but I'll let you test it. :-))

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on December 30, 2011
at 02:25 AM

Do you mean we'll eventually come back upside down if we think about this too much? ;-)

4
724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

on December 30, 2011
at 08:33 PM

So, here's my husband's super annoying but totally correct take on things when I recently whined about my own lack of abs: there's no point in thinking you can't do anything, you totally can, the only question is the cost/benefit analysis. As you get closer to where your bodily limits are, the costs may just be unacceptably high.

So, CAN you have totally ripped abs? Probably. I probably could, too. Is it worth it? That really depends on the amount of effort it takes you, and the amount of efffort I think is defined by your genetics/body-type/weight history. It takes me no effort to have skinny legs, I'd have to gain an absurd amount of weight to not have skinny legs. On the other hand, it takes ridiculous effort for me to have and keep a perfectly flat tummy, let alone abs. I could do it, but man do I have better things to do with my time/obsession.

You can read a lot here about formerly obese people and their herculean struggles to keep the weight off. It's probably the most inspiring stuff I've read and really highlights how different bodies handle things differently and the amount of effort it takes different people to reach different goals. It probably takes someone who was 300lbs a HELL of a lot more effort to stay at 150 than it does for someone who's always had a healthy weight to have abs. Where those two individuals end up totally depends on their own personalized effort/reward calculator.

So, I strive to work pretty damn hard and then aim in the right direction, and then I'll just end up wherever "pretty damn hard" takes me. Striving obsessively to be totally perfect in this one area seems, to me, totally not worth it. Not trying at all and letting myself go, also not worth it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 30, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Great answer; I especially appreciate the cost/benefit issue. I'm an artist, and spend whatever non-office-job and non-household-maintenance time I have in the studio. Those of us who choose not to become Olympic athletes (for example) are no less worthy than those who choose not to be brilliant opera singers (for another example).

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 30, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Also, Rose, you are of course one of the people I was referring to re: massive inspiration.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on December 30, 2011
at 09:29 PM

Now I'm trying to decide, between the back surgeries I had as a kid and my horrendous vocal chords, whether it would take me more effort to be an olympic athlete or an opera singer...

3
Medium avatar

on December 30, 2011
at 02:39 AM

Does your body want you to? That kind of question makes sense if the body is a phenomenon that exists over there, across the room. But in fact you and I are creating our bodies anew with every breath we draw, inseparable from the phenomenon we call mind. Do genetics matter? Of course they do. But regardless of one's genetic draw, lifestyle choices can and do affect genetic expression. Even when you put the word predestined in quotes, still it's a circular way of thinking. I second Travis Culp: "There are those who immediately give up when the slightest bit of resistance is presented and those who will become red in tooth and claw in order to annihilate all obstacles." That's not blaming anyone. It's common sense.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 30, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Gotta agree completely with both you and Travis. While the manner in which you express this to someone may seem rash, or even like you are blaming the person....it is really not meant to. It is in my view a simple truth that should make someone feel more empowered. Those of us not born with a hard wired genetic disorder are not genetically deficient in any meaningful manner. Now if we start talking about "choices" that occurred while in the womb or as an infant effecting current health that gets a bit more hairy.

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