The Genetics of Eating and Exercise

imageLet me start off this blog post by saying I’m sorry to anyone who gets offended by this especially members of my family who I love dearly. Also this is just knowledge that I have gained about myself, it may not necessarily apply to you.

Genetics, by definition is the study of heredity and inherited characteristics. Obviously your eating habits aren’t something that is passed down in your DNA, but they most certainly something passed down from generation to generation. I’m here to tell you some new you probably are going to have a hard time learning, like I did. Your eating habits and exercise habits that you have inherited are the real problem and you shouldn’t be blaming “genetics” for your being out of shape, lazy or overweight.
Is there some truth to people being genetically pre-disposed to being larger than others or having slower metabolisms, yes. However, a lot of the people who like to blame genetics for everything realistically never learned about nutrition or eating habits or calories or exercise from the people that taught them about food. Myself included.
You see, I come from a family that is always battling with weight loss and being overweight. Numerous members of my family have had various surgeries to try and lose weight all of which have failed in the long run. My mom was overweight, my grandma was overweight, and her mom was overweight. You see the cycle, but is it genetics or is it something different? I was determined to break the cycle.
I always thought growing up that we were just bigger people, it is what it is I thought. I remember even being thinner at certain points and having family members almost make fun of me for not eating enough. I thought this was a fact of life. It’s not.
During summer vacations from school at my Grandmother’s house we would wake up eat a ridiculous breakfast and then eat cake and cookies all day until we could’ve exploded. No one ever said to me that this was wrong because no one had ever said to them that this is wrong. This was the way it was in my family. We ate and ate and ate and exercise? If you counted race car driving as exercise then maybe they exercised, but I don’t, so it’s not.
My mother would make food that she would say was nutritious and healthy, but was it? I mean it was delicious and in her head she thought she was feeding us the right stuff because that’s what her mom had made her and etc etc, but these meals were far from anything that would be deemed “healthy”. I didn’t know what an avocado was until I was 25 years old! imageI didn’t eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis until a year ago. I thought fried fish was fish so it had to be good for you. I thought corn and potatoes were vegetables….you get my point. I was being mislead because my mom was mislead, her mom was mislead her moms mom was mislead and so on the cycle continues.
I had worked out in high school because I played soccer and basketball but to me they were just playing sports not really doing a self regimented exercise program. I hated exercise, because no one in my family did it. Then my step father came along who for lack of a better term was an ASSHOLE. The guy used to blow a whistle in the middle of the night and yell “FIRE HYDRANT” and make me and my brother run down the block to the fire hydrant and back without our shoes on in our pijamas or underwear and then run back, simply for his enjoyment so he could laugh at us. Sometimes once wasn’t enough. Meanwhile this man was the laziest man I had ever seen in my life. I started to hate exercise, even started to be spiteful against it because of this. And after all since no one else in my family was doing it It had to be stupid. Fuck exercise I thought.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I began to understand nutrition and exercise A) because I was a biochemistry major and B) because people around me would be like dude what the fuck are you eating? I honestly never even thought about it before then. How could I be eating the wrong things, my family eats this stuff and they’re ok. They weren’t ok.
In college my eating habits and exercise habits would have disgusted any of you. Thinking back on it they disgust me. It wasn’t until I tried to break the cycle that it would be different. In college I would exercise on and off but nothing serious at all and I started because when I pledged my fraternity (Sigma Pi represent) imagethere was a guy that would “strongly encourage” us to go to the gym with him did I realize how important exercise was to feeling good. I was being shown the path to health, but I wasn’t ready. I still blamed genetics, I still blamed everyone else but myself and I allowed the cycle to continue.
I then started exercising a year before I went into the academy. I thought now I got it. I’ll starve myself and just do cardio non stop to lose weight. I ate 1200 calories a day and did 45 minutes of cardio sometimes twice a day. I dropped over 100 pounds in 8 months, but like I said I never learned anything. The minute I went into the academy I started to gain the weight back. The crash dieting and lack of nutrition murdered my metabolism and it was unsustainable.
Fast forward 10 years and there I was. I had all the knowledge I needed about nutrition, exercise, diet, and my family’s and my own failures to see the unhealthy cycle I was stuck in. I had to break it. No longer could I just fall in line with what my family thought was acceptable for generations. I had to do this on my own. I had to develop my own healthy eating habits and my own exercise program. I had to block out the old ways that I had been taught to eat. I had to block out the hatred I developed of exercising. I had to become a different person or risk being stuck in old habits forever…so I did. It hasn’t been easy, but what it has been is necessary. Genetics isn’t everything. Break the Cycle.

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