Do You Believe in Fate?

August 27th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

To me, all of the information that various physical attributes are genetic makes me approach them differently than if they were somehow random.

Sure, I believe the science—it’s the predestination angle I think about.  If you knew what you were going to look like in 15 years would you do something differently now to change that?  If you knew growing up you’d have white hair by the time you graduated from high school, would you start dying your hair when you turned 15? 

Isn’t this information about obesity genes the same thing?

When scientists first discovered it in certain chubby mice, they called it simply the fatso gene. Years later, when they scoured the human genome for markers that increased vulnerability to type 2 diabetes, the fatso gene (now more politely called FTO) showed up there too. Turns out, people with two copies of the gene were 40 percent more likely to have diabetes and 60 percent more likely to be obese than those without it. Those with only one copy of the gene weighed more too.
Scientists now suspect that there are lots of fat genes. “There could be as many as 100 of them,” says Claude Bouchard, PhD, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University System, “each adding a couple of pounds here and a pound or two there. That’s a noticeable difference when it comes to how much more fat we need to burn off.”
As much as 16 percent of the population has two copies of the FTO gene, and half of us have one copy. So far, scientists suspect that the other possible obesity-promoting genes have a small effect compared with FTO. The good news? “A genetic predisposition isn’t necessarily a life sentence,” says Bouchard. Exercising regularly can offset the risk.

I’m absolutely sure that many people will read this, believe they have the obesity genes, and never try to change their habits to affect their outcome.  The same way I think people deal with fate: why try if they know the end result?

Well, my response is twofold:

  1. What told you that YOU were in the percentage that actually developed obesity?  When it comes to statistics, it only matters if you’re on one side of the equation.
  2. Even if you don’t control the specific outcome (obesity) you seek to avoid if you try, you still benefit in a multitude of other ways.  You can climb a flight of steps without feeling winded.  You can sleep better at night.  You can eat a meal without sweating.  You can say “excuse me” rather than “I’m sorry” when you’re passing someone in a narrow space.  You know that you faced your genes and decided to not passively let them determine who you are or what you do.

Why try?  Because you can.  Because you deserve to give yourself a fighting chance

You really do!

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