WHY oh why do we get fatter? Fat and what makes it STICK?

WHY oh why do we get fatter? Fat and what makes it STICK?

Have you ever felt that you were graciously given more fat cells than your BFF? And if so why? And even when you manage to get rid of the flab, it seems to magically appear again!

We believe that today everyone is getting fatter due to lack of exercise, possibly eating junk including high volumes of sugar-laden treats. But the question remains what is making us fatter and is it possible that some people are just blessed when it comes to being skinny… do they have less fat cells, are they just predisposed to ‘being’ skinny?

The sad fact is that it has been shown that all that happens to fat cells in our bodies is they increase. From birth to adulthood our fat cell number increases stabilizing around adulthood… Now we may work extremely had at ‘burning fat’ through exercise and limited calories but what actually happens to these little critters? Fat cells or as they are fondly scientifically referred to, adipocytes are basically variable. Their size is expanding and contracting based on the volume of donuts finding their way into our pie hole… More donuts, more weight gain, and fewer donuts, possibly weight loss. Now like any cell in your body, fat cells do go through their life span and do die, which got me excited as that may mean I don’t HAVE to replace them, not so, our body loves us and is willingly producing replacement fat cells just to ensure we never run out…

Have you ever felt that you were graciously given more fat cells than your BFF?  And if so why?  And even when you manage to get rid of the flab, it seems to magically appear again!
What crosses the lips never leaves the thighs…

But here comes the scary bit, yes, with fat we can count on there being some part which makes us go “OH dear!“. Whether you have had liposuction, or bariatric surgery or gone on a very low-calorie diet, your fat cells are either removed or shrink in the process, BUT fill out again to get back to the previous ‘balance’ of fat as they were previously, or new fat cells are produced to get all back in equilibrium, hence most people gain the weight back within a year.

Let me not stop the bad news there, there are studies that show that when the do-gooders go on diet on a consistent basis going through a cycle of up and down in weight, there is an INCREASE in the number of FAT CELLS with weight regain making it EVEN TOUGHER to keep weight down and maintain weight loss… my shattered nerves… a double-edged sword of our body working for us and against us at the same time… “But how does that work?” you may cry out in frustration!!? Well, it has been shown that our fat kindly secretes proteins and hormones (yes – fat is like an organ in your body, it HAS A JOB) and these have an impact on energy metabolism. Now go on a diet, or lipo or whatever you decide to do to fight fat and these fat cells do reduce in size, with that there is a train of thought that says that now these fat cells, though slimmer, is in a fair amount of distress as their job may be compromised… red flags go up and they send masses of signals to increase our appetite and leading from that FAT STORAGE!!!!  Now, of course, this is not an absolute fact but a hypothesis, but it is enough to make any dieter weak at the knees…. and possibly lead to eating for the 1st team rugby squad again…

What are we to do? We eat ourselves into a bigger frame, clothes become tight and diet becomes our middle name, no matter for how long but with absolute determination we take on a regulated plan in food and exercise or go to the extreme of bariatric surgery. But armed with this knowledge of our fat cells being kind enough to ensure we get back to where we were we HAVE to question weight loss! Basically, we could be working against our natural state of being which gets us back to the beginning over and over again, fighting fat on a cycle of on diet off diet with every journey assisting us in adding more to the stockpile residing on our hips…  

In the perfect world, we would say, Just don’t get fat!!” Yeah right, what happens if we are ALREADY FAT!!!??  There is an old saying that ‘Knowledge is power’, yes, true, but for me applied knowledge is power if we know that yo-yo diets are a massive problem based on our bodies’ drive to an important equilibrium then STOP these. Pick a plan and STICK TO IT.  Then make damn sure you do NOT gain the weight back… So the answer lies NOT in the weight loss but rather in MAINTENANCE.  Simply put, to prevent reaching Heffalump status we HAVE TO make sure we are aware of every morsel that crosses our lips FOREVER. Get to the weight and measurements you desire and guard it carefully, note not obsessively but carefully. Learn to eat intelligently once the weight is gone and be diligent about reigning in on wrong choices continuously. I have found with many of my clients that they maintain quite well if they have learned to apply 80% to 20% weeks. We all know weekends can be ‘WEAKends’ when it comes to consumption, set a rule that for 2 days of a week you are lenient but for the rest of the week stick too good practice when it comes to food and exercise. So let us say you picked a regulated diet plan that only allows lots of water, black coffee and tea and no cooldrinks for your allowed fluid intake… keep this rule for 5 days out of 7, if you have adapted to it, consider doing so for life. We drink way too many of our calories! If your plan to lose weight included NO refined white starches then keep this rule applicable for your week and let it go over weekends if needs be. You WILL control weight by just applying some basic rules once you are done losing the weight, I am not saying stay strict forever, or not have a life, BUT do not go into the process of being ON DIET and OFF DIET or you will feel you need to catch up for the days of being on diet and soon you will notice the skinny jeans turning into fatty jeans again.

If you are overweight, decide on a plan of action, stick to it, get to goal and then STICK TO THAT to ensure you do not end up fatter than before! 

#RWC2019 motivation – be inspired!

#RWC2019 motivation – be inspired!

As the world settles down after crowning the South African Springbok Rugby team World Cup Champions 2019, I reflect on the pique physical condition these titans were in as they rammed their way to the final. Solid masses of muscle found themselves locked in a scrum, then ‘pirouetted’ with ease to score tries and I was left wondering what enables a few elite sportspersons to get to that caliber of performance AND make it look easy?

Of course, being South African, I have a sense of pride for what these amazing human beings did, and like many, I cheered, screamed and gritted my teeth as the minutes of the final game ticked on, literally feeling as if I was PART of the game, exhausted by half time but ready for the next 40 minutes! United as a country we were emotionally, and at times physically (or so it felt), on the field with them. 90 minutes felt like an eternity!

90 minutes of inspiration!

Now, I am NOT by any stretch of the imagination a person prone to exercise daily, in fact, give me a book and a cup of coffee and I am extremely content. The idea of running on a field and reaching heights of agony, sweating in the process and not being able to lift my legs the next day due to the numbing pain experienced has NEVER excited me. In fact, many a friend has cried out to me, “Come and exercise! It will be fun” they said… I have never, and chances are will NEVER believe them. I know (watching paint dry) as I get stuck into the covers of a book would be my chosen alternative! Some call this lazy, I call it at Peace, with no need to chase goals or become as lithe (and amazingly sexy if I may add) as Mr. Pollard on the Rugby field. But watching that game this weekend inspired me, it felt like a call to action, with the sweet victory came the feeling of joy and elation, the feeling of being graced and blessed with the ability to jump up and down, run around like a crazy person and feel the sun on my face as I did so. That feeling was a feeling of being ALIVE, able, and yes, at Peace – oddly, the same feeling I have sitting with my nose in a book.

Pollard

For the first time ever I understood the crazy activity people took on, for them, it may not be the Peace I consistently strive for but that feeling of ALIVENESS can also be PEACE!  The knowledge that they are living breathing interacting thriving individuals. There is an energy in all actions which is contagious to the spirit of life. One rugby match made me realize that it was not just a physical unity of success for the team, the country and all of its people, but a spiritual oneness, a feeling of being ALIVE, of MATTERING, of PRIDE, the ability to call each and everyone a brother and a sister. There is a lot more to the pain and distress, time and effort it takes to get up and go and exercise, besides the health benefits physically and emotionally, there is the feeling of belonging, of forward movement, an acknowledgment of being one ball of energy which can expand and grow or wither and die.

I personally strive to go walking as often as possible – this is my sense of exercise and it makes me feel part of this little blue dot we find ourselves on and the universe that surrounds us. Every now and then I make sure I am shoeless to feel the energy of the earth and get rid of the energy overload within me, expelling it earthwards. It is a contemplative spacetime interval in my daily doings which I always feel blessed for having besides the time for a good book. After the #RWC2019, I understand that my walk and any other form of exercise I chose needs to be intentional, not just to keep bones strong, joints supple, to build muscle or gain health but to connect with an energy that is freely availalbe; the knowledge of being ALIVE and celebrating that!

As I deal with people daily coaching them in weight loss and health improvement, I am totally aware of the fact that some are just too large in stature to even take a walk around the block, my advice to many has been just to increase what you do daily. Start with small steps, set a timer and every time it goes off get up and take a short walk. Then when visiting a store, park your vehicle far from the entrance, climb stairs instead of using lifts, do what you must but do something to allow the blood to circulate in the body for your body to become aware of the fact that it IS alive and well. Do a little EVERY DAY!

Keep in mind that you do NOT have to slog it out in a gym or run a marathon within a month… start purely with the DESIRE for movement, the DESIRE for feeling ALIVE and interconnected with everything and everyone around you. I am also understanding of the fact that we tend to WITHDRAW from society when we gain weight. We let our EGO get in the way and FEAR JUDGEMENT so we start cocooning ourselves – trust me, I have been there, the thought of putting my expanded waistline out of the door proofed a to be a daily challenge. Start by BELIEVING that YOU are EVERYTHING AND MORE, made perfect by perfect and keep reaching for those better feeling thoughts. Better thoughts lead to better beliefs and better actions which in turn WILL lead to better results. Continuous hours of the ‘DUMBBOX‘ aka the television and watching OTHERS reach their goals fools us into believing that we are reaching ours without moving a muscle from that oh so comfortable coach position.  MOVE… a little each day, THINK WELL OF YOURSELF… a little each day, tune into YOUR ALIVENESS to stay vibrant and truly alive… a little each day!

Once you get to the point of seeing and experiencing the value of movement besides the so needed circulation of blood (energy) in your body, reach a little further! Start understanding that this movement (I am not referring to hours of balls-to-the-wall exercise here!!) is helping improve your range of motions, strengthening your muscles, bones, and joints, and helping prevent memory loss – all part and parcel of being ALIVE!

At this point, you may even feel inspired to take on a more regulated exercise/movement routine for as happiness is an inside job, being inspired and motivated to LIVE is so too. You may want to look into some sort of activity to get you out of your home and interacting with the world we know. Start easy, slow and steady wins the race. For my larger clients and or those who like me were stalwarts of limited motion I advise the following as the next steps to a more active life:

WALKING

It sounds simple, it is! Yet extremely powerful! This little package of dynamite helps weight loss, strengthens bones, keeps blood pressure regulated, cholesterol level improvement improves mood and of course lowers the risk of a few life-shortening diseases.

Get on a pair of comfortable shoes (critical especially if you are on the hefty side as pressure on ankles and knees means you need better cushioning on the feet), comfortable clothes and an understanding of what you are CAPABLE OF.  Refrain from just pushing it to the limit, many would say do MORE, but, again, slow and steady wins the race. If you tackle this with right mindedness, you will learn to love it. Keep to 10 to 15 minutes until you feel your body CAN do more, tune in, the body is after all your learning device on this planet, do not ignore it. If you experience pain, slow down the pace or you end up with shin splints, knee issues, and hip problems. Over a period of time – which is dependent on your body and how it grows stronger which only YOU will know – increase the time period of your walks.

Choose your movement – stay ALIVE

SWIMMING

This CAN be intimidating, especially if the idea of getting into a cozzy and exposing the muffin tops may rain down terror in your heart. But, you may have access to a pool in the privacy of your own home or you may have zero concern about the perceptions of those who surround you – even better. Swimming is fantastic as the buoyancy of the water supports your body taking the strain off joints protecting knees, hips, and ankles! This makes motion FUN instead of a sweaty task if you THINK of it in THAT WAY.

CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS

This may seem an interesting one to include, again I am dealing here with people who are either overweight or have NEVER had the desire to exercise. This specific option is not necessarily the fighting scenes we witness on our dumb boxes but rather a physical art form of movement and relaxation being good for body and mind. An example, as there is more than one option, is Tai Chi which is a series of graceful motions, strengthening your core and balance with limited impact on joints. Besides the movements, like meditation, breathing is an important factor in most Chinese Martial Arts, with right breathing, you supply oxygen throughout your body in the correct manner – sometimes I think we have forgotten HOW to breathe correctly but this alone is vital to being alive after all!

 STRENGTH TRAINING

As I watched the giants of the Springbok team clashing with the giants of the English team I had to concentrate to keep my mouth shut for fear of swallowing a fly… Again, for the first time, I understood muscle mass… I have previously found it tedious to watch as people worked out for the ‘show of’ muscle mass in gyms, in fact, one of the reasons I stopped going to gym is I could not deal with the consistent staring of muscles flaring in the mirrors – it made no sense to me. Now yes, there are the bulkers who love their bodies to be ripped and find joy in struggling to find shirts to fit their bulging arm muscles and they find perfection in this, I do take my hat off to them.  BUT, on Saturday, 2nd of November 2019, in walks the titans on the rugby field, like the Vikings and the Scots of days gone by, their muscles are there for a battle, and here it is not about bloodshed (though there was some on the day of course), but as the wars of those years, this was all about winning or losing… desire, strength in muscles, alertness, prowess, the pride of each country, overall health, and fighting spirit, this was what determined who one the day. This IS the muscle I understand and LOVE! It is not just a frill that is paraded, the icing on a cake, it is FULLY FUNCTIONAL and is the means to the cause. These are the muscles I speak of in strength training, it is the motions put in place to keep muscles strong (which in any even assist in fat burning). As we age, we lose muscle mass, how do we hold on to this precious eye-popping candy? Strength training is it! Strength training with a purpose, of course, get the right input before starting a weight training program, start LIGHT!! Just as I advised in walking, slow and steady wins the race.  Increase the weights over a period of time, as and when YOUR BODY SAYS YES…listen, it will tell you.

A special Thank you to the Springboks for bringing the Webb Ellis Cup back to South Africa in this Rugby World Cup 2019, you were all beyond inspirational, from Rassie Erasmus all the way through to physios who kept our boys in peak physical condition! #imstaying #strongertogether
Victory!

We live in a world of human economics, corporate takeovers, and technology, but don’t be fooled, the fittest (and smartest) WILL survive and THRIVE. As we saw this past weekend, there are winners and losers from all walks of life, and both are completely acceptable as those who strive for the gold are never lost. Their walk on their journey has allowed them to come ALIVE with purpose, desire, direction, pride, and a spiritual drive far greater than their physical bodies. If there is a need for motivation and inspiration in your life, first acknowledge being ALIVE and realize the 4 trillion to one chance of the fact that you ARE ALIVE blessed with gifts and capabilities beyond your WILDEST IMAGINATION, with this in mind you BECOME EVERYTHING AND MORE!

A special Thank you to the Springboks for bringing the Webb Ellis Cup back to South Africa in this Rugby World Cup 2019, you were all beyond inspirational, from Rassie Erasmus all the way through to physios who kept our boys in peak physical condition! #imstaying #strongertogether

A special Thank you to the Springboks for bringing the Webb Ellis Cup back to South Africa in this Rugby World Cup 2019, you were all beyond inspirational, from Rassie Erasmus all the way through to physios who kept our boys in peak physical condition! #imstaying #strongertogether
#strongertogether
WHO walks your WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?

WHO walks your WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?

In a heartbeat, we decide to drop the excess weight, we choose our regulated diet and start unencumbered with our eyes on the prize… so our WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY begins.

Personally, I have started and stopped this journey innumerable times… The most fat I ever removed was 40kgs and with every kilogram removed from the scale, my confidence and self-esteem improved. One problem with the journey, in the process of the journey, using my body as a learning device did not apply. With that said, the scale number climbed back up and over making me take on this journey over and over again… We have the tendency to focus so HEAVILY on the prize of that magic number that in the process we do not GROW INTO our very own skins and ‘relearn’ love of self.  YES, once we did indeed love ourselves.

Let me continue the story, within these journeys, there are many who either give up or gain the bulge once again. The backlash of this seemingly global phenomenon is the inevitable BLAME of the chosen regulated diet or the miscreated belief that we are MEANT TO BE FAT or our bodies have LET US DOWN.   All of these beliefs in my mind are incorrect. Only time (and kilograms) has allowed this knowledge and understanding to come into the light for me.

Let us start with the blame of the chosen regulated diet. I have made mention of this before. In a world where we reach for anything externally to right the wrongs we see internally, we have the tendency to take on a ‘recommended regulated diet’ at a drop of a hat, whether it is a diet that suits us has a shocking lack of relevance. It may be a friend, a family member or a well-branded advertising strategy that attracts us to the MAGIC SOLUTION to the elimination of our muffin tops. When on earth do we put ourselves IN THIS JOURNEY  besides the ‘MONDAY‘ we choose to start? It is never starting the whimsical choice in the regulated diet that is the challenge, it is rather HOW we choose the regulated diet and prepare for what is to come.  

When you choose a specific regulated diet start with:

YOU

YOUR LIFESTYLE

YOUR UNDERSTANDING of what you are CAPABLE of – which is ANYTHING you put your mind to.

and yes,

YOUR SPIRITUAL LOVE OF SELF.

YOUR journey YOUR way
YOUR journey YOUR way

Let us take each of these topics to heart.  

Starting with YOU. If we start with the principle that thoughts become things then our point of departure is to THINK well of ourselves, to see ourselves as perfect beings, yes, we are. No matter where we find ourselves, (specifically speaking of our weight and the present possible distaste we have for our bodies) it is as it is, if we dwell on the obvious, and judge ourselves for it, we are likely to get STUCK in that mindset, fearing moving forward. And, as we judge it, we perpetuate that feeling of low self-esteem into our future. Think about it, when something does not go according to plan, we say “What next!!?” expecting more challenges, lone behold, we receive extra challenges along the way. Or my favorite, “Things happen in threes” and then wait with bated breath for the rest of the sh*t to hit the fan. The same can be said for every thought of judgment we hold against ourselves, whether they be positive or negative, where we place our faith, that is what we will encounter. So, regardless of where you find YOU right now in the present, accept yourself, praise your courage to take on a life transformational journey and set the intention of success through ONLY self-love on your path. Watch as every day proceeds in a manner in which YOU have started it. To start your day, say as an example ‘Thank you for this glorious day, in this perfect body, mind, and soul, I am truly the luckiest person alive, deserving and loved’. Now this may sound a little selfish and self-serving, but if you do not see yourself as a perfect gift, loved beyond measure, how then are we able to see others in the same light and GROW in love of ourselves. This is an impactful part of your journey as without LEARNING to TRULY LOVE yourself along the way, chances are you will return to self-loathing and muffin top status again. Focus in on YOUR PRESENT state of affairs, acknowledge and accept it, do reflect that this ‘body’ is not the ‘truth’, it is only a reflection and that on your journey of transformation you will have the ability to establish a more wholesome truth within which will reflect the perfect YOU. It is not your body that makes mistakes or takes on bulges with ease, it is our minds that use the body as a vehicle for learning, sometimes we learn a little heavily.

The second point, YOUR LIFESTYLE; this is paramount for success on your journey. We choose our regulated diet regardless of our current lifestyle. Many have crossed my threshold and stated the obvious [not always the truth] “I just need to take on a ‘different’ lifestyle to keep the weight off”. Start where you are and work towards change. Once again, by acknowledging your current habits, positive or negative the choice of a regulated diet becomes easier. You may have all the time in the world, then meal planning, weighing and prepping will not be a struggle, then choosing a diet accordingly will be the better choice. You may be a salesperson, on the run with a family you only see in the evenings, then having prepared meal replacements may be a better choice. First, assess your CURRENT lifestyle before pledging allegiance to a totally NEW LIFESTYLE. Along your way, in your journey, you can steadily include excellent habitual changes that allow you to step into a healthier way of life. But declaring a 360 degree turn into a new lifestyle is extremely intimidating, after all, we tend to GO BACK to familiar and AWAY from the unfamiliar. Stick to the recipe you have currently and slightly alter it over time to embrace a healthier way of life. When your brain hears you have plans for a complete lifestyle change, the fight or flight kicks into gear!

Next, we take on YOUR UNDERSTANDING [clearly not that great if we find ourselves fighting fat on a continuous basis]. When choosing a regulated diet keep your ears turned away from speculation, naysayers, and false evidence appearing real [FEAR]. Instill self-belief. Do your OWN investigation, but refrain from over intellectualization, and follow your GUT in the process, see the truth which stems firstly from how you feel about the choice you make. I find in desperation, we tend to reach for desperate attempts at rectifying the waistline. The more uneasy you feel with the choice, the more likely it is the incorrect choice for YOU. Do not doubt yourself, your decision if you follow your guidance system will be perfect for YOU!

Finally, YOUR SPIRITUAL LOVE OF SELF, one concept which when grasped will ‘move’ you from the feeling of lack to the wisdom of wholeness. As mentioned above, if we start with the understanding that thoughts create things, we will be mindful of every thought we think. What happens if we start that process before the thought itself? What happens if we understand the truth of who we are, perfect beings, created perfect by Perfect, will this alone not influence the ‘level’ of our thoughts. With this in mind, will we not embrace self-love to its highest degree? If we grasp that the opposite of love is fear and that that which is all-encompassing, i.e. love, will be the cause for there to be no fear. If we start there, with full acknowledgment of self-love and with it love of others, there is no fear. Why am I placing fear as an important aspect of a transformational journey you may be asking? Well, generally we take on these journeys based on a ‘lack of’ be it health, a great waistline, the body we ‘used’ to have etc. which in turn is driven by fear, fear of ill health, fear of not fitting into clothes by the time of a certain event, and so I can go on. We may not coin it as fear, but at its basic element, it is such. By identifying with love for ourselves, we could also acknowledge that we lack NOTHING, that there is no vacuum within, nothing broken to be fixed and by golly you will step out each day with a light in your eye and a knowingness in your heart that you are capable of ANYTHING and your WILL to succeed will not be driven on vanity or an event but rather on the self-love and understanding of perfection and purity within. When we grasp this understanding, we cannot possibly think that we are ‘meant to be fat’ or that our bodies ‘failed us’ as this does NOT EXIST. It is not the TRUTH. If we grasp these straws we are buying into a mistruth and inevitably chose to live a lie. Some call it cognitive dissonance, [This refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. … For example, when people smoke or eat badly (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer and poor food choices lead to health issues (cognition), but still do so regardless, they are in a state of cognitive dissonance.], I refer to it as wrong mindedness. Purely not seeing the truth.  

I Love me
Start right.

Reach for self-love as you journey in weight loss progresses. Make it your ultimate aim over and above the magical figure you wish to see on the scale, with that self-love you will get to exactly the position you wish to be in and stay there. Most likely if you embrace the journey as one of love instead of body loathing, your true self will thank you by never having to take on a journey of similar proportions again.

Do my genes make me look FAT?

Do my genes make me look FAT?

Picture this, I sit down for a strictly regulated diet meal, fighting the plump – and possibly my genes once again, across the table sits Jane, the one who never ponders her weight or what she eats, skinny as hell, loves exercise and radiates overall wellness. Jane has elected the 4 cheese pizza, not giving a hoot about her gene pool or the impact of mozzarella on her thighs. All that goes through my mind is: “Was I born FAT to die FAT – what genes did I inherit!!?” 

Society seems to understand my questioning, we all know that some people can eat like hippos and never look like one and then there is the REST OF US…. we tend to look at a glass of red wine and the double chin sets in just in case we take a sip. This unbalanced scale [I am Libra, I LOVE BALANCE!] tipped in favor of those who eat without abandon without the consequences made me search for reason, I mean surely if I can intellectualize this imbalance I can beat it??? Either that or I need to be reborn… 

We are told that our size is determined by the amount of food we manage to consume, those little buggers we call calories have a massive impact [no pun intended] on our waist size… But, could it be that our environment and our genes could influence this? What about our thoughts, if one of the laws of the mind is WHAT YOU FOCUS ON GROWS do we really want to be thinking 24/7 about our expanding waist size.

THOSE CALORIE CRITTERS

How do these buggers end up being stored, burned or bypassing our digestive tract to the poop hole without negatively affecting us? At the end of the day, research shows that all of these are affected by your genes, your excitement on a treadmill and of course how much energy used while sitting on the couch binge-watching Game of Thrones… If your binge-watching is greater than your excitement for time on the treadmill chances are you will make good friends with the stored calories on the WAISTLINE.

Right here, the balanced scale ends up OUT OF BALANCE for me, the closest enjoyment and excitement I have for exercise is watching Charlie Hunnam [drop dead gorgeous lead actor of King Arthur for the uninformed] swinging his sword around. I don’t mind taking on a yoga position watching this man move but naturally, that is not enough to get the scale of critters in critters out, weighing in my favor. So what is left? Possibly decreasing the volume of calories that go in during my day and so too whilst watching dearest Charlie taking on his hero’s journey may be the trick to balancing that scale? If only weight loss was THAT SIMPLE…

When our gene inheritance is out of balance, chances are our waistline will be the judge of that.

THE GENE FOUNDATION

Scientifically speaking, a gene is a unit [similar to the calorie critter I mentioned above if it is NOT in YOUR FAVOUR!] which is kindly and lovingly transferred from your parents to you as a baby to ensure that the neighbors know who the mother and father are of said offspring… 

Made up of approximately 20 000 to 25 000 genes with a copy of both Mom and Dad within us, surely the ‘FAT’ gene should be irrelevant? I have sat in my office seeing client after client who puts the blame of ‘kankles’ squarely on the family genes. Could this be the case, could I truly lay blame to poor ‘fat’ genetics for my personal struggle with weight gain? There are over 400 different genes that could be blamed for plumpness! Within that, there is only a handful that are the Kingpins of FATNESS… So what do these genes DO?

Genes affect appetite, satiety, food cravings, metabolism, our addiction tendency when it comes to using food for ‘coping’ with stress and so too where we pack on the weight ON our bodies. But, there are more variables to this… oh dear, no simple answer exists, in fact, when it comes to the understanding of our bodies and how it works, I have heard we have the heavy-handedness of a butcher attacking it with a chainsaw… extreme? Maybe. But have you seen how conclusive findings with regards to medical science change more often than the weather patterns?  

Your gene influence on your personal plumpness varies from 25% to 70 or 80%. Finding clarity may involve taking on some introspection, take a careful look at YOUR HISTORY and if these play a role, chances are you are on the higher end of gene influence. I would, however, like to add; we CAN AND DO feed our GENES, we influence our tipping of the gene scales with what goes in! If like me you feel FAT is a constant battle, when you are tired of blaming your hormones, lack of exercise, metabolism and the myriad of options available, have a look at your genetical background, I always joke when it comes to it, always saying that my family and I came from the wrong side of the railway line when it came to health genes. Sometimes there is truth in it, we just need to be willing to investigate. Let us have a look at a couple of factors that can indicate that the genetic scales are not in your favor.

*note… this is not to promote complacency or blame, as I stated above, we can feed the gene monster or starve it.

  1.  Let us start with our parents, and their parents, it is not enough to only look at your parents. If your parents, and their parents, not necessarily all of them were overweight or struggled with health challenges attached to obesity then your chances of having the same struggle and possibly reaching obese status goes up to 80%.
  2. You find yourself exercising like a machine and eat rabbit food in an attempt to rid your body of fat and NOTHING happens… FRUSTRATING for sure! I went through a period where I exercised for 4 months 6 times a week eating lettuce leaves and managed to move only 2kgs. At this point, I decided I was fat for life and there was no point. [I was wrong – there is ALWAYS a way to beat the genes!!].
  3. The next question to ask and answer truthfully is, have you been overweight most of your life, and I am not referring to the cuddly baby fat, or the weight as a result of living on JUNK FOOD 24/7. No, the overweight I am speaking about involves living on an average daily intake but ALWAYS ending up in the plump zone?
  4. Then, you have a friend who swears by XYZ diet, you do the research and there are millions having success at it. This is not the first time that said friend has politely recommended a plan of action for you due to the battle you find yourself in. In quiet desperation, you ONCE AGAIN take on another clearly healthy regulated diet and NOTHING HAPPENS. You end up losing water weight and ‘think’ all is good this time, only to come to a standstill somewhere along in your journey. Again, frustration is the name of the game and you once again GIVE UP.  

If these 4 pointers sound familiar it may be your genetic pool is NOT in your favor. This is an honest conversation, so let us continue it, maybe it is not your genes that are the problem and sometimes we find ourselves completely UNAWARE of our own actions. I have worked with people who start a regulated diet and come back to me a week later shocked at how their awareness had escalated in the week, they had gone from openly admitting they don’t understand their weight gain to realize their walk to the fridge or pantry consumed most of their waking hours and only after being on a regulated consumption did they notice it. It may not be the genes when we realize that we have food available in our environments consistently, it is easy to go-grabba-whatever-is-available in a totally unconscious manner. It may not be genes when you gain weight after a birthday week [yes, the older you get the longer birth-days become], your birthday leftovers extend for at least a week and you happily oblige consumption instead of wastage. It may not be genes when weight gain is evident every December and January sees more of you based on the fabulous holiday meals with family. Finally, it may not be genes when you start a regulated diet and end up cheating by day 3, attacking the pantry like a homesick child and devouring the biscuits you bought for your child’s school bag. It then becomes easy to blame the chosen diet AND the GENE abnormality… 

It is safe to say that if you don’t resonate with any of the discussion above you may be like my friend Jane, eating without abandon or a seconds thought to the calorie critters associated with her intake, you may, in fact, be laughing at this article convinced that me, your friend just needs to stop watching Charlie and get my butt into a gym. I may just agree with you, I have never been satisfied with accepting the standard, I have always believed we were born perfect made by perfect. If we have a couple of plump issues, embracing a healthier take on life may resolve the issues and yes we can celebrate what our bodies can do by living said life in a more vibrant and exercise-driven way. Simultaneously, for some of us, it may just NOT BE THAT SIMPLE, and that is OK. If we understand it, we can live a vibrant life all the same with a few tweaks here and there to put the gene scale back in balance.

BUT, WHAT ABOUT EPIGENETICS?

Now we talking! As I stated, I am not pro accepting that which is, and for many years I battled with the fact that my genes are as they are. I became truly excited at the study of our genes and the associated possibility of these little bugger ‘expressing’ in a new way. Epigenetics. There is hope for the FATSOME in me…

Why did I get excited? Well, if you understand that ‘YOU are WHAT you eat‘ and that our environment AND our thoughts have a direct influence on WHO WE BECOMEAND that we are energy beings continuously evolving then genes are just the ride into untold possibility. Taken from the article above, the section below explains it in a sciency way but makes sense to basic understanding:

“Here are a few important points about epigenetics:

  • Epigenetics Controls Genes. This is achieved through (a) nature: epigenetics is what determines a cell’s specialization (e.g., skin cell, blood cell, hair cell, liver cells, etc.) as a fetus develops into a baby through gene expression (active) or silencing (dormant); and (b) nurture: environmental stimuli can also cause genes to be turned off or turned on.
  • Epigenetics Is Everywhere. What you eat, where you live, who you interact with, when you sleep, how you exercise, even aging – all of these can eventually cause chemical modifications around the genes that will turn those genes on or off over time. Additionally, in certain diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, various genes will be switched into the opposite state, away from the normal/healthy state.
  • Epigenetics Makes Us Unique. Even though we are all human, why do some of us have blonde hair or darker skin? Why do some of us hate the taste of mushrooms or eggplants? Why are some of us more sociable than others? The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off is what makes each one of us unique. Furthermore, there have been indications that some epigenetic changes can be inherited.
  • Epigenetics Is Reversible. With 20,000+ genes, what will be the result of the different combinations of genes being turned on or off? The possible arrangements are enormous! But if we could map every single cause and effect of the different combinations, and if we could reverse the gene’s state to keep the good while eliminating the bad… then we could hypothetically* cure cancer, slow aging, stop obesity, and so much more.”

With that said, maybe being born with a gene foundation that embarrasses a toad is of no concern. Maybe just maybe we have a say. This is where controlling the controllable is paramount. No matter who we are, we have the tendency to look externally to blame our expanding waistline, science, however, informed us we could look internally to blame, [even worse in my opinion as we end up blaming ourselves and our family for that muffin top]. Instead of an attitude of blame, maybe the manner in which to take on this personal jail of the gene pool is to CHANGE IT.  First, in the thoughts we have about it, then in the actions that WE CONTROL. Trying to fight the environmental impact can be done to a lesser degree, here the focus SHOULD BE control the controllable. After all, as an in-utero baby, we have no control over what our mothers eat, smoke, drink or do. The health challenges she works with and those that came through your Dad’s genes you have ZERO control over… it cannot be changed. Then your environment as a baby you too have little control over, whether Mom decides to have a cesarean or natural birth, to breastfeed or bottle-feed is of ZERO concern to you, you are truly capable of only taking control of the NOW.  Your NOW WILL have an impact on your offspring and the quality of life you live as you age. That and that alone will be up to you to decide, within reason.

WE have the ability to decide if you overeat on the calorie critters, binge watch Game of Thrones, chose a chicken salad over a pizza or light up that next cigarette.  WE decide to focus on a healthy, vibrant life versus focussing on the obesity epidemic worldwide and how we are ‘destined’ [NOOOO] to fatness based on our genes.  WE decide how much sleep we get, how we alleviate our stress levels if we stop at a junk-food joint for supper [it is junk for a reason] and the amount of water we drink daily.  WE decide on an exercise regime, or NOT.  WE can decide to jail ourselves in the blame game, the available arsenal to justify the current circumstance we find ourselves in, is endless, media, health advocates, nutritionists, dieticians et al give us daily ammunition to lock that jail door There is SO MUCH we CAN control but it is MUCH EASIER not to. To do that which is difficult is as easy as not to do it, it takes the same amount of energy whether in the instant of choice or, for that matter, later on in life.

THE GET-OUT-OF-JAIL-FREE CARD

It has been said that our attitude affects our altitude… I got so involved in looking for the reasons for my CONSTANT BATTLE AGAINST OBESITY that even I fell into the trap of the blame game jail. How did it serve me? Well, I only got fatter. With that, the continual woe-be-me struggle elevated my victim status to my gene pool being guilty until proven otherwise. Even I got tired of my hacking the food industry, the endless useless diets, the defunct gene pool dilemma, and the ridiculous suggested exercise regimes. Sadly it took over 40 years of my life to come to terms with controlling the controllables. My attitude regarding health and living to age 100 in a vibrant way was my doing and ONLY MY DOING. This clarity IS a get-out-of-jail-free card. For some it may seem like DUH… in fact, it was for me too, but, if what I am saying is simple and can have duh status, why do we STILL sit with the obesity epidemic, ladies having tea blaming diets that don’t work, writers writing about the A-Z of sugar evils? Informational purposes for sure but in some aspects, our addiction to the doom and gloom of how we find ourselves in a useless quagmire of ill health and obesity keeps us RIGHT THERE.  

Our ‘jail-time’ or our escape is OUR DOING.

My saving grace was dropping the cognitive dissonance I had embraced [this for those needing clarity, describes feelings of discomfort that result when your beliefs run counter to your behaviors and/or new information that is presented to you – basically you start living the lie you believe to suit your circumstance. – ouch], realizing that me, and only me, will result in a different outcome.

MY LIFE and obesity was a CHOICE, MY CHOICE.  

Are you focussing on health and wellbeing? Or sickness and disease?

Are you focussing on health and wellbeing? Or sickness and disease?

We realize the importance of starting our day off with gratitude, with an emotive THANK YOU, but, do we spend the rest of our day thinking of working towards fantastic health and wellbeing or the dread of sickness and disease?

Since we spend most of our time interacting with our environment, our environment has a huge impact on our thought process. Simultaneously the conversations we have, the reading we do [though these days it seems social media has trumped a good read] the tv we watch and the newspapers we read add to that environment. As I find myself researching the state of health globally, the latest diets, the impact of the food choices we make there seems to be increasing awareness and focus that lies within FEAR for the future when it comes to obesity and disease.  

As I have an absolute passion for health and living to age 100 at least [yes my children, you may have me around for a good few more years than you bargained for] and have an understanding that if I keep my focus on the negativity of health and wellness well, then I am not creating a health and wellness outlook but rather a sickness and disease outlook. I also deal with people searching for better health focus daily and to turn their energy from their ‘struggle’ to what is POSSIBLE is my main focus as a coach and mentor.

I became aware of how a person can get caught up in the negativity when I read a range of books including Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said that “You are what you think all day long.” this continued when I started my journey in weight removal. I had just asked my daughter to take some pictures to keep a record of my journey and declared my disdain of where I was based on the dreadful pictures I was staring at, she turned around and said “Mom, can you imagine what those will look like in 6 months!!!?”. In an instant, I realized where my focus was. And, simultaneously I got her optimistic upbeat response. Literally, my world opened up and my awareness of where my thought process was landed on my lap. I realized that FEAR and FRUSTRATION in thought about better health drove my reaction to the photos in a NEGATIVE WAY. That from a person who ALWAYS SAYS “What starts wrong ends wrong“. It was such a learning curve as even though I sit daily with people applying positive thoughts when it came to my own personal journey I had just fallen short. I also realized that I could choose to make my thoughts work towards ridding myself of fat OR, allow them to drive me to fear and therefore gain weight! After all, our mind truly rules our body. The sad thing about this is it is true not only on the mental level but results in the physical outcomes of what we DON’T WANT. Then it gets even a little more complicated, never do we look internally, we find blame externally, so the first thing we do when we fail to rid our bodies of fat is we blame the diet we are on, maybe just maybe it is our thoughts that led to failure…

I read an interesting article and the following was said:

The words you say come from the thoughts you have, which create the feelings you have. So go to the root of the issue: what are you thinking, and what are you putting into your body, into your mind? What is the food you are feeding this life you call your own? No one else will do it for you, and nothing that may have happened in your past is responsible for doing what you are now in control of, that which you do, think and speak. Every second is your own responsibility and within your power to change.

If we embrace the understanding that thoughts create things we will be EXTREMELY aware of our thoughts. On a physical level let me explain; when we live in a world of external stresses and we take them on and add some more, of course, dinner does not stay at one plate of food, we start feeding the stresses and emotions, 2 plates later and 2 desserts later we feel no better! This then leads to waking up the next morning, and calmness turns to anxiety when facing our wardrobe, with anxiety on high alert your body misinterprets your tight pants combined with the anxiety for a reason to feed up and bolt down. We add fuel to the fire by blaming ourselves for weakness, lack of discipline and then family genetics for the tight pants and our thoughts lead to the fatty army in our body running for the thighs! Next minute we are 15kgs heavier, at least 2 dress sizes up and on anti-depressants. Yes, just like that our thoughts turn our attempt at dieting into fat protection.

The moral of the story? Quite simple, when you decide to go on a diet to get your health back, spend VERY LITTLE TIME on bemoaning the size of your thighs, how many diets you have been on, how many sizes of clothes are in your cupboard, the possible diabetes that runs in the family and more time on how AWESOME it is going to be to tie those shoelaces with ease, acheless ankles as you walk down the flight of stairs, the ability to walk and soak in the sunshine without feeling like a wounded buffalo and a cupboard full of GORGEOUS CLOTHES to wear again. Change the thoughts you dwell on and watch how you succeed at your regulated diet. Speak health INTO your life, go on a positive mental diet that I have dealt with on my previous post and REMAIN OPTIMISTIC about a healthier life – make it easier for you purely with the RIGHT THINKING in place!

So next time you catch yourself giving yourself and your life a hard time in thought and word, assess who you with [yes, the moaners and groaners have a tendency to influence our thoughts of ourselves as well], what you are reading, watching or interacting with and maybe pause and switch lanes. Reach for a better feeling thought to assist your waistline! Trust me, that change of lane can happen in a split second and you will be GRATEFUL for it and FEEL TONS BETTER!

One diet fits all… Or not?

One diet fits all… Or not?

Some people realize that one diet does NOT fit all, some people realise that whats right for the goose, may not be right for the gander… me on the other hand, spent most of my adult life believing, truly believing, if a diet worked for X person, then it will for sure work for me. 30kgs later, I realised one diet fits all was a load of bullsh*t.

Yes, it was a light bulb moment, though, maybe not as sudden as flicking a switch, more like a slow-burning ember that gets a gust of wind and lights up EVENTUALLY, I am slow like that. Sadly, even though I fully realize that I AM an individual with individual body requirements, somehow the idea that one diet DOES NOT fit all did not dawn on me until I walked that path and paid dearly for it.

Light bulb moments may take time and be at a great personal cost.  But when you have them, it is close to magic.
Light bulb moments may take time and be at a great personal cost. But when you have them, it is close to magic.

My journey started at over 90kgs the first time I took on RIDDING my body of FAT, it was a wholesome eating plan which got me on the right track and I lost 30kgs over a year, as I reached my goal I fell pregnant with my first child, 2 pregnancies later I was tipping the 90kg zone again. Slowly the weight crept up to 106kg. At this point, I decided that feeling like a wounded buffalo was not for me. I started following the same food protocol which I had successfully used before and started exercising 6 times a week. My weight did not budge and I resided to being FAT AND FURIOUS for life. I had OFFICIALLY given up.

A friend introduced me to a shake diet and I decided to give it a shot, I was desperate and had never thought my weight was an issue until someone I had not seen in a while saw me, their jaw dropped non politely to the floor, truly, I heard the echo as it hit the floor, and in an instant if the earth could politely have swallowed me up I would have gone without putting up a fight! I started the shake diet with MASSIVE SUCCESS. At age 39 I gained my body back, moving to a wonderful 65kgs over a 6 month period. I never felt more like a lithe cheetah, 40kgs lighter, happier and more confident than a second hand car salesman.

Then, LIFE HAPPENED, AGAIN – she does that…. This was an interesting journey, but one in which sadly I spent 5 years questioning my worth, value, ability and leadership skills. Life literally sucked it all out of me and I ate my way out of the hole I found myself in. In that time, I moved home, got divorced, gave up my Art Degree, lost both my parents in a matter of 9 months, lost the work I loved and thrived in for 7 years and beat cancer. It was a shocker and I carefully reminded myself of the mirror I broke a couple of years prior which may have caused the quagmire of bad luck, though some would say that I had thought it into manifestation, so made it my REALITY [a different subject and sadly I tend to agree for parts of it]. Regardless, this time brought me back to packing on 40kgs plus to my small frame.

Long story I know, but at around this point that burning ember sparked, I decided to make friends with food, [for the fatties like me out there, we AIN’T friends with food – do not try kid yourself]. I decided to do the Hormone diet, the Metabolic diet, the HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) diet, Keto diet plan, the Cinderella diet, the 14-day diet, the Blood type diet, etc, etc… I was determined to become friends with food, I ONLY got fatter. Now some would argue and state that I did it WRONG. Sorry to disappoint folks, I have actively worked in the health and wellness industry since 2011, coached people to rid their bodies of over 8000kgs of FAT in that time, I understood what it means to stick like a postage stamp! Now spending time for 5 years questioning ALL I AM, then failing hopelessly with my supposed BFF food… did NOT HELP. I had not found the answer in that relationship-building process. In fact, that BFF food, lied, undercut, cheated and abused me and hampered every possible means of progress.

Some people, you know who you are, have had massive success in weight removal in the programs above, some have even said to me you just need to do X, Y, and Z and just like that weight will melt off you based on above programs… YOU JUST NOT DOING IT RIGHT… ARRRRGHHHHHH – KILL ME NOW. At a point, I decided that exercise will be my only saving grace, my NEW BFF, bugger food, even though I have always believed you can NEVER outrun your fork. The minute this buffalo decided to start walking the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. Knees started swelling, ankles ached, and shin splints set in. “Let us exercize” they said, “it will be fun” they said… not for this buffalo!

Back to the drawing table, I went, these diets worked for EVERYONE, after all, one diet fits all!?? The more fat I ate, the fatter I got, the more variety my diet got the more my joints ached. Then I checked my blood type, I am a keen supporter of Peter D’Adamo of course, and my blood type told me to steer clear of Avo, Banana, Butter and chicken [which when you eat salads, chicken is a firm favorite in most food-based diets…] – all of these foods were top of my list when I followed the listed regulated diets above, excepting banana, when I effentually took a look at the blood type dieting guidelines, I realized, – WHAT WAS I THINKING!!? Besides the fact that with my blood type I basically had to survive on tofu and lettuce.

Needless to say, I felt like a total failure. Self-esteem shattered. Confidence equivalent to a teenagers first kiss. Broken. Now the embers spark was well lit. The light bulb moment.

I started my investigation and realized that both the diets I had resounding success in was 50% Carbohydrate- GOOD ONES ONLY [Check out my course on Coach : no diet in which I explain the constant companions], 30% Protein and 20% GOOD fats and fiber. Both the diets required eating breakfast [intermittent fasting, I forgot to add that to the list above, but this one goes out the window if I look at my success dieting history]. Both required a large quantity of water a day. What I realized, not being a lover of cooking and baking, preparing and weighing [sorry Mom, I am no good at it and love foods starting with ‘RESERVATIONS‘ of a table for you Madam?], that the choice of my shake diet was the best way to go. The interesting thing about this diet is I helped all sorts reach success with it. Possibly the reason being that it IS BALANCED nutrition, 3 to 4 meals a day, with the correct fiber and water balance for your body. It was also not only shakes but food so it covered the best of both worlds.

A meal replacement diet - it worked!
A meal replacement diet – it worked!

Sadly I needed to go through the wringer to get back to it. I had to walk journeys highly recommended by all as “This diet will work for you, it works for everyone after all!!” Then failing, feeling that failure, QUESTIONING MY GENE POOL [Possibly alien, the verdict is still out according to my children] and fattening up in the process. I am one of the lucky few in my opinion that found the RIGHT RECIPE for me. Some never find it and do literally GIVE UP and GET FATTER. Fat not being the problem of course, the health challenges as a result of fat, now therein lies the TRUE problem. The second TRUE problem is our perception that one diet fits all. Herein lies the failed attempts, the yo-yo dieting, the health compromise, the breeding of low self-esteem.

Hear he, hear he, hear he… take note of the punters, the converts, and the believers and the naysayers, listen only to your heart when making your choice to go fat to fab, [and listen to your gut as well, it will let you know in possibly unflattering ways] YOU will know what is working if you gaining fat be weary. Look closely at your regulated dieting history – it tells a story. Look closely at responsive emotions over your lifetime, some may have a direct impact on your gaining and losing of fat. Draw a timeline and look, more stress, less stress, more sleep, less sleep, more exercise, less exercise, YOU GET THE PICTURE. Then, like a puzzle piece, put it all together and chances are you will be able to identify what regulated diet would be the right course of action for YOU, not your sister, brother, mother or bestest friend, but rather for you. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! Bugger the latest science, use it as a guide but tomorrow they MAY tell you how grass-fed cattle are killing you too…

How do you know what is the right diet for you, simple, IT WORKS, YOU WILL MOVE FAT OFF YOUR BODY... Whether you drop size, centimeters or kilograms – SOMETHING WILL MOVE!

Take a special page out of my flabby book, it is NOT about the diet, it is NOT about the diet being to blame, it is our closer inspection AND introspection of WHAT WORKS FOR US that leads to a regulated diet success!

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