Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pizza, Fat and Genetics

My 12 year old granddaughter is as slim as a rail. Not "skinny" but just perfect... looks great in pants etc. Like I never did, never was. And she basically eats what she wants too. Fast food, pizza, whatever. Even according to the fat-a-phobes, she is apparently like 90 percent of the other kids because the so called "obesity epidemic" only affects 10 percent of kids!

And I was in the "lucky" 10 percent!

I remember those darned kids who lived on pizza and coke when we were in High School and never had a weight problem. I had to starve, literally, to get down to 135-140 and then the minute I stopped starving I gained right up to 170. (And I'm 5'5" so I'm somewhat altitudinally challenged). Unlike these modern kids, pizza and coke was basically never in the house for us - neither candy except at Christmastime and Easter. We had apples and oranges for snacks.

Pretty much through elementary school, I did 2 hours daily of bicycle riding or skating or playing ball (after school that is, and during school, we had P.E. daily and also active recesses - something kids do not have now).

In High School, I was in intramurals twice a week (played volleyball or tennis or badminton or had trampoline), I swam during my study halls and I walked home from school, 3 miles every day with books and a violin. I also walked to stores and/or my violin students homes (what I did to make a few bucks in High School) That kept me at a weight of 170 lbs, unless I starved (ate about 500-800 calories a day) so I DID starve to stay within a somewhat normal size in High School. No breakfast, no lunch and then, a small supper... can we say "eating disorder" sports fans? Of course no pizza and very little coke. My High School social life was spent in watching others stuff their faces with goodies with apparently no worries about "getting fat".

So, my 12 year old granddaughter told me that they had pizza the other night. Now she's somewhat active but not near as active as I was, riding my bicycle for hours etc - Just out of curiosity, I asked her if pizza filled her up. She answered "Oh yes!" and I said "how much pizza do you have to eat because you are full" and she answered "about 1 and 1/2 pieces!"

I remember distinctly, not only did pizza NOT fill me up but left me with hidden hunger and a sick stomach if I ate more than a bite. And that to fill me up, took at least 3 or 4 pieces of pizza. And at 400 calories a slice, that's a bunch of calories to consume at one time.

Maybe there is something to this satiety disorder thing.

So now I eat mostly veggies, still no pizza, fast food, candy or junk food. And I exercise at least 40 minutes of cardio a day and often more. That to keep at a svelte (not) 250 lbs. (I'm not counting the half hour of yoga I do daily because that's not "fat burning" - actually seems nothing is fat burning for me!)

I talk about this because I see in the papers daily and on TV, slim people expounding about how ALL fat people eat too much and move too little. The latest study (maybe I should put that in quotes!) tells us that you should diet when you are pregnant because if you have a big baby, you are "dooming" your child to a "miserable" lifetime of obesity.

Well, ironically enough, I -ate- during my pregnancy (gained 40 lbs), was clinically obese when I delivered by natural childbirth - I also exercised daily during my pregnancy so was a fit fat mom. I had a normal sized baby who was an Apgar 10 (that's a scoring system from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest score a baby can get meaning no birth defects and perfect healthwise).

So much for the "diet during pregnancy - deliver a small baby" myth. Add that to the numerous myths we hear daily about obesity - like the one which states that -all- fat people eat too much and move too little.

And my 12 year old granddaughter, you know the one with the ideal figure? She weighed 9 lbs at birth and now can eat anything she wants and still is slim without being overly active (like I was).

The name of the game here is -genetics! As geneticist Rudy Leibel states "Size is 40-80 percent genetically controlled".

Genetics, the big "G" word that no one wants to put in the media because we people of size are not only a great target for derision and bad examples, we also are a great market for the diet industry which has now "ballooned" to 55 billion bucks a year just in the USA.

That's a twofer - two for the price of one. Verbally abuse fat people then sell them a diet, over and over again. No wonder the 90 percenters who do not have to deal with clinical obesity are not wild about stopping -that- gravy train!

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