Can You Overcome the Obesity Gene?

If you come from a family of heavyweights, you might think you are doomed to be fat for the rest of your life. However, I am letting you know you CAN CHOOSE how you want to be the rest of your life. Starting today, YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL of your fat gene and trade it in for some trendy, sexy jeans. I know because I live it every day. I have a strong family history of obesity. My grandmother was morbidly obese. Although she lived into her seventies, her quality of life was severly compromised. From the time I was a toddler, she spent most of her time in her rocking chair because it was too difficult to move her bulk around. My mom had to do all her grocery shopping. The only times I remember her going out was to ride in the car with my grandfather — usually to take us for an ice cream — or to our house for holiday dinners. My grandmother developed gout and later died of complications of diabetes.

My mom was also very overweight and along with it came high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and severe arthritis requiring two knee replacements. She died prematurely in her mid-sixties and I still miss her every day. She missed seeing my kids grow up and my brothers' and sisters' kids grow up. And for the little time she had playing this role, she was the best grandmother.

My sister overcame the obesity gene. After being obese most of her adult life, she embarked on a life- changing campaign to lose weight. That was three years and over a hundred pounds ago.  She looks marvelous and has more energy and confidence to do all kinds of things she missed while carrying the extra weight. You should have seen her three weeks ago, when my niece — her oldest daughter — got married. My sister had on the most beautiful pale pink dress that gently hugged her waist, and she was a stunning mother of the bride. Who, a few years back, would have believed she would ever be able to wear anything but a shapeless tent dress, but she chose to transform her body and life. What I find really exciting is to discover that she has figured out her own the formula to manage her weight, and I absolutely believe she will never gain the weight back.

My brother, only in his mid-forties, was also carrying extra weight and his blood pressure and cholesterol were already climbing into unsafe territory. He knew where to seek help, and together over a couple of months I helped him make the dietary and lifestyle changes to lose the extra weight and get his blood pressure and cholesterol back into the normal range. For him, it was really great to have a registered dietitian for a sister, but the motivation we tapped was inside him.

Me. I started struggling with my weight and body image as a teenager. I made my choice of how I was going to walk through life when I was in my early twenties and have maintained a healthy weight ever since. But it's not always easy. It takes commitment, focus, determination and a little know-how. It also takes balance and flexibility and not giving in to negative and counter-productive self-talk. It also means allowing imperfection. Like my sister and all the rest of you out there who achieved and maintain a healthier diet, lifestyle and weight, I have a formula too. I can help you discover yours as well, so you can say goodbye to both your fat gene and your fat jeans.

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