Weighing In: Losing extra weight more than 'eat less, move more'

Published on Saturday, 3 May 2014 20:00 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

Think losing weight is as easy as eating less and exercising more? A Texas A&M scholar says it’s not.

Dr. Claude Bouchard, a faulty fellow of Texas A&M University’s Institute for Advanced Study, said there are dozens of factors that determine whether a person becomes overweight or obese.

The drivers of obesity can be divided into four categories: social, environmental, behavioral and biological.

There’s not a lot we can do about biological factors such as genetics and body fat biology, Bouchard said. Changing the environment and our society can be tough, too, as we rely on automobiles, and poor people don’t always have access to nutritious foods.

We most often focus on behavioral factors, things we absolutely have control over. So, this is not an excuse to avoid responsibility and accountability for one’s choices.

But I would like to point out that no one knows everyone’s story, or what goes on in someone else’s body.

It’s easy to judge, push and mock someone into losing weight. Telling someone that they must want to be fat or else they would change their habits does not help. Most people aren’t comfortable being obese and would like to change that.

There is no one factor to point to when trying to discover how a person’s weight got out of control. There’s enough blame to go around, starting with the individual.

What we can do is focus on what we can change. Small changes that lead to bigger changes, like drinking water instead of sugary drinks, not eating out as much and getting in some type of physical activity. If the social, environmental and biological factors fight against what you know you can do as an individual, you still can’t throw in the towel.

It’ll take longer than others to achieve your goals, but that’s OK. Whatever the circumstances, doing nothing is not an option.