Weight Loss and Heredity

Anyone that struggles with weight would much rather blame their genetic makeup than their eating habits. While heredity plays a role, weight loss is based on simple math- calories in must be less than calories out. Although there is some truth to the concept of weight loss and heredity, long-term or permanent weight management goes beyond your genes.

Here are some factors and tips to consider for permanent weight control.

Metabolism. Everyone has a fixed metabolic rate that determines our rate to burn calories while at rest. Known as the basal metabolic rate, every person will burn calories differently based on their body. Age, gender, and muscle mass all play a role in the rate you burn calories.

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Brown fat theory. It is difficult to discuss the concept of weight loss and heredity without addressing the brown adipose (fat) theory or BAT. BAT was first recognized in 1949 by two researchers, Bawcett & Jones (Bray, 2009). The concept behind BAT was that this type of tissue was rich with mitochondria which produced the brown color. Mitochondria are considered the powerhouse of all living cells and produce much of the activity. The challenge to the theory is that lower mammal forms were studied, specifically during hibernation. In humans, our BAT disappears in the infant stage.

Birth order. There are some experts that believe that younger children are fatter than older siblings. While the research is inconclusive, your weight and where you rank on the sibling scale may have more to do with your environment than your genes. Environment plays a significant role in weight management. Culture, physical layout of your home, and health beliefs you were exposed to growing up, are but a few factors that impact your weight in relation to your environment.

Tips to Lose Weight.
You now have a better understanding of weight loss and heredity. Here are some tips to help you succeed with your weight loss and weight management goals in 2012 and beyond.

Increase your muscle mass to lose weight and keep it off.
While you may not be able to change your age or gender, you can change your muscle mass. Muscles are lean active tissue that burn more calories than fat. Practicing strength training to build your muscles along with aerobic exercise helps you burn more calories. More importantly, muscles help you burn more calories around the clock, not just when you are working out. Burning more calories aids weight loss quickly. Also, while diet and exercise are important to lose weight, studies show that consistent exercise is the secret to keeping your weight off.

Create a healthy environment.
While your health choices as a child impacted your current lifestyle, as an adult you can make decisions to change your environment to improve your health. Making simple changes to your home and current habits such as removing tempting foods to make room for healthy ones, exercising while watching television or introducing new holiday traditions with better food choices are simple ways to improve your health.

If you've lost weight in your life, you're probably an expert at dieting. The key to improving your health is to learn to lose weight and keep it off. Simple, daily changes to healthy habits and choices are the secrets behind locking in those lifestyle changes that are key to permanent weight management. Although weight loss and heredity plays a minor role, keeping your weight off and improving your health is dependent on your actions!

Reference: Bray, G. (2009). Obesity: Science to practices. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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