Being fat is not in “your genes”
Some people believe that being fat is hereditary, that it is genetic and there is little or nothing that can be done about it. This is rarely true.
Yes, many overweight people are influenced by their families but they are more a product of their environment more than any genetic coding. When your parents are heavy and you are brought up eating the same diet then you will be heavy also. It is assumed that you are fat because it “runs in the family”.
The only thing that “runs in the family” is the tendency to eat the wrong foods. That was the case for me, and I proved that my ‘fat genes” do not have to control me.
How my weight problem started
My difficult relationship with food started in my teenage years as I gained weight compared to my friends. My attempts to control my weight led to disaster. After one heavy spell of dieting at the age of 17 (on a cabbage soup diet) I had no periods for about 6 months and found myself too weak to function. I actually fainted one day but, even then, did not see that this was not working.
My weight fluctuated dramatically depending on my mood, the time of year and whether I had a boyfriend. My weight was a constant noise in my mind and undermined my confidence. I tried everything to control my weight and became almost obsessed. I took up smoking and would drink as much coffee as I could stand to control my appetite. It seems so ridiculous now.
Hit the bottom
The situation got worse when I moved to work in a big city. Long hours and the constant demands of city life left me tired most of the time. When my body needed a healthy, balanced diet more than anything, I was seeking a quick fix through more coffee, sugary snacks, highly processed food and fast food. I ate a lot of meat and dairy products due to convenience, habit and even addiction (cheese and ice cream were my guilty pleasures). These foods were making my body sick and low in energy.
My skin was clogged and dry, I developed premature wrinkles (at the age of 23!) and was relying on lots of makeup to look good. I always knew how to dress, so I managed to hide my huge weight gain with smart clothing tricks. But the makeup and clothes could not hide my poor health, low energy and disappointment with myself.
My body started the alarm signals and I suffered back pain, bladder infections, regular colds, headaches and sore throats. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome which, as a friend said to me, really means “STOP”.