Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, you most definitely have heard of Nicole Arbour and her infamous “Dear Fat People” rant. If you haven’t, here’s a video summing up what happened (her original video is no longer available):
When her video first offended our delicate eyes and earballs, it blew up and became viral immediately. Why? Because people were pissed that’s why.
She claimed the video was a satire, meant to hopefully empower people to eat less and exercise more (lolz). But here’s the thing Nicole, if you need to explain that something was a joke, and blame others for not “getting” your dumb joke, IT’S NOT A JOKE.
Ok, that’s enough talk about someone trying to be funny and just completely missing the mark. So why do I bring her up?
People Don’t Like Fat People
Currently, the seemingly last (although there may be more I’m not thinking of) prejudice that is not only acceptable but also kinda encouraged, is the one against overweight/obese people. Well, that and the poor innocent redheads. WHEN WILL YOU LEAVE US ALONE TO EAT SOULS IN PEACE? With our country so drastically divided on the political front, it seems pretty united on a few beliefs about overweight folk:
- It’s all their fault.
- They just need to eat less and exercise more.
- They’re lazy.
- They’re gluttonous scum.
- The more we yell at them about how much they suck, the more likely they are to lose weight.
Most people don’t even know where their own spleen is located, yet they feel like they’re an expert on the human body in regards to fat loss.
In my extensive years of researching health and nutrition, I have come across many reasons as to why people could be overweight that has ZERO to do with how much they eat or exercise. I want to share this info for two reasons:
- To educate those who are prejudiced against overweight people.
- To potentially help/give comfort to those who are not able to lose weight even though they’re doing everything “right.”
Now before I get into the nitty gritty, let me preface this by saying that yes, there are definitely people who are lazy, gluttonous, and don’t care to eat healthy who are overweight. I am not talking about those people today folks!
So…Let’s Get Started!
Reason #1: Your Gut is Borked
This is an incredible, fairly new science, and I don’t want to get too detailed here, but it’s a perfect example of how there may be microscopic, crazy things going on in our bodies we’re barely beginning to understand.
Numerous studies have found that the bacteria in our gut can influence whether we’re overweight (among 10k other things). Overweight/obese people have been found to have specific differences in their gut bacteria in comparison to those who are not overweight. The debate rages on about which type of bacteria causes obesity, but so far studies are pointing towards firmicutes being the culprit. There have also been links between low diversity of gut bacteria and obesity.
Another study introduced bacteria from the intestines of fat mice into the intestines of thin mice. Without any change in diet, caloric intake, or exercise, the previously thin mice became obese. This is a perfect example of how bacteria can override so many factors and make you fat. It’s fat magic!
Then there was this shocking case where a woman received a fecal microbiota transplant (yes, this happens and it’s pretty freaking amazing and saves lives) from her daughter (who was overweight) to cure her of C. difficile (a life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant bacteria). Before the transplant she weighed 136 lbs and never had a weight problem. Three years after the transplant she was 177 lbs. and classified as obese based on her BMI. This gain occurred despite being on a medically supervised liquid protein diet and exercise program.
What you gotta say now you fat shamers and calories in/calories out jerkfaces??? What? NOTHING?
Reason #2: Antibiotic Use
Everyone knows we are overusing antibiotics. But what are the repercussions? Screwed…up…microbiomes (the delicate eco-system of bacteria that reside in your body). Oh, and also potentially forcing us back into the dark ages where we can’t cure people of bacterial infections. But that’s another story for another time…
Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but with every positive comes a negative. While antibiotics save us by slaughtering pathogenic bacteria, they also slaughter the bacteria that protects us. Most antibiotics are like justice: totally blind yo. They don’t care who you are, or what your story is; if you are bacteria, you is gonna die. Most doctors and scientists agree that antibiotics screw with your gut in a negative way.
But did you know that a side effect of antibiotic use is weight gain? The meat and poultry industry has known this for years! This is why they give antibiotics to their animals. In some cases it is to prevent disease (because they raise these poor animals in disgusting environments), but it’s mostly to promote growth, a.k.a. MAKE THEM FATTER. Thankfully, the use of antibiotics to fatten up animals was finally banned by the FDA in 2017. But is that stopping farmers? Nope.
Reason #3: Hormonal Issues
Omg, there are so many that I’m just going to list a few. Overall, we don’t realize how much our hormones influence our weight. And by this I mean that you could eat your perfect amount of calories, nothing but healthy food, exercise like a champ, and you’ll still put on weight. Or you could be one of those really annoying people who eat burgers all day and never gain a pound.
I will list the issues here and link to in-depth explanations so you can research on your own. Otherwise this post will become a book!
- Hypothyroid (an estimated 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disease and 60% of them are unaware of it)
- PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Lack of satiety hormones (responsible for telling your brain that you’re full)
- Cushing’s disease
- Estrogen dominance
- Low testosterone
- Insulin resistance
- High cortisol
Reason #4: Medications
Apparently 60% of Americans are currently on some type of prescription drug. And many of those drugs can cause unwanted and “beyond your control” weight gain.
- Antidepressants, e.g. Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.
- Birth Control (what’s funny about this study is they say they found no evidence of weight gain, yet go on to say average weight gain was 4.4 lbs per 6-12 months. For a woman who is on BC for 10 years, that’s a possible weight gain of 22-44 lbs).
- Blood pressure medication
Reason #5: Genetics
Yet another reason to blame ol’ ma and pa for well, just being your ma and pa. Genetics passed on to you can play a huge role in whether you’re predisposed to being overweight. For example:
- If your mom was overweight/obese when she birthed you
- Obesity risk is 2-8 times higher for those with a family history of obesity
- Gene mutations
- Genetic disorders:
And these are only the ones we’re aware of…
Have we shut up the haters yet? Oh, what’s that you say? You STILL don’t believe me? Well here are more reasons then…
Reason # 6: Food Intolerance/sensitivity
Let’s get one thing straight: There’s a huge difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food allergy is pretty severe, involves the immune system, and in some cases, can send you to the hospital. A food intolerance/sensitivity is something your body isn’t fond of or isn’t sure how to digest, so it can cause slow-building, long-term consequences (usually to your digestive system) as opposed to anaphylactic shock.
Symptoms are varied and random depending on the individual. Most people experience digestive disturbances, headaches/brain fog, skin-problems, fatigue, etc. However, food intolerances/sensitivies/allergies can also cause constant inflammation, which can, you guessed it, lead to weight-gain.
Examples of common food allergies and intolerance/sensitivities:
- Nightshades (potatoes, bell peppers, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.)
- The “big eight”, which are the most common
- Dairy; specifically lactose
- Tree nuts
There are probably more, but I’m pretty sure that covers most of them!
Reason #7: Not Enough High-Quality Sleep
According to research, about 40% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep! And sure, we all probably need different hours of sleep to feel rested. But ask yourself, when was the last time you woke up refreshed and full of energy?
And according to other research involving 630,000 participants, lack of sleep or lack of good quality sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity. What’s frightening is one study observed that short sleepers needed to make 30% more insulin than the normal sleepers. This may explain other findings that those who sleep less tend to eat more, as an increase of insulin is associated with increased appetite.
So what can disrupt your sleep?
- Drinking alcohol before bed
- Being overweight (can cause breathing problems)
- Disorders such as sleep apnea
- Anxiety and or depression
- Exercising too close to bedtime
- Caffeine use
- Use of electronics before bed
- Light in the bedroom, e.g. glowing alarm clocks, lights from outside, etc.
- Not being physically active during the day
- Not being exposed to natural light
- Sleeping with your pet (I DON’T CARE IF I DIE OBESE. MY CAT WILL ALWAYS SLEEP WITH ME!)
*Note: We will be writing a future post about how to get better quality sleep, so stay tuned!*
So what did we learn here?
How about, before you judge someone with little to no knowledge about their actual situation, why don’t you educate yourself first, eh? Wouldn’t the world be a better place?
And for those who are suffering from weight gain, even though you’ve tried to do everything right, look into any of the issues listed above as a possible cause of your problems. Good luck!