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Obesity Is a Disease – Part 2: Do Not Be a Victim

Take note of the research.

Studies have already shown the potential for people to give in to obesity due to its classification as a disease. In one study, overweight individuals who read a story about obesity being genetic ate more cookies than a group of individuals who read a different story. In another study, overweight individuals who read an article explaining that obesity is a disease ordered and ate more calories from a menu at lunch than a control group.

Distinguish “disease” from “doom.”

A drawback of labeling obesity as a disease is the tendency to feel doomed or to feel like a victim. That could lead you to stop trying to be healthy, but that mindset is ridiculous. That would be like giving up using sunscreen simply because skin cancer is technically a “disease,” or skipping the measles vaccine because measles is a “disease.”

Genes and the environment interact to affect your health.

You do not need to succumb to obesity simply because it is a “disease.” A disease means that something it wrong; it does not mean that you cannot do anything about it. Even if you suspect that you do have obesity gene or two, your own choices still affect your weight.

Consider identical twins with a genetic predisposition to obesity. If one twin eats 3,000 calories a day from pizza, ice cream, and beer, she will end up weighing more and being less healthy than the other twin, if she eats 1,500 calories a day from vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Rather than feeling sorry for yourself because of your genes, make the most of what you have. Any effort you put in will yield benefits.

Pull your weight (so to speak) in the doctor’s office.

Doctors may have general guidelines for treating obesity patients, but that does not make them experts. You have the right to the best possible treatment, which means you have the responsibility of helping your doctor along as needed. Let her know if the plan she suggests is not going to work for you, and tell her what you really need. She should be grateful to hear from you, since the concept and practice of treating obesity rather than ignoring may be new to her.

In addition, demand the compassionate and respectful care you deserve. If your doctor or anyone in the office is rude to you or treats you without respect, speak up. You might consider being polite the first time; they may not even know they are demeaning.

Obesity is a disease, but it is one you can influence with your healthy behaviors and your decision about weight loss surgery. Let yourself feel better knowing that it is a disease, but do not let that be an excuse to play the victim. You can fight obesity successfully!

Nice article Alex. Thanks!

I think the research in epigenetics is going to be seminal in helping us take our lives (and action back). As victims, we have no power. We are just tossed on a windswept sea at the whim of whom/whatever has power over us. We are powerless to change the course of our future. I think sometimes when you have a disease, it can sometimes feel that way. You can feel helpless.

But the cool research coming out shows (epigenetics), means that there are switches (on/off) on each gene that determines whether the power of that gene is "released." Our lifestyle choices and actions regulate the gene expression of thousands of genes. That notion empowers me. It means, my simple choice to have a salad with shrimp for dinner, rather than a Mac and fries, might just make the difference of whether or not I get a hormonally driven breast cancer at some point in my future!

Amazing power. I think that is especially true regarding "giving in" to our fat genes!

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