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Article by Diet Bites
Weight is Governed by Genetics
But that doesn't mean that just because you have an overweight or obese parent that you're doomed to the same.
Does having 'fat' genes make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight?
The individual must work a lot harder to keep unwanted pounds from accumulating and it is generally more challenging to resist eating large amounts of favorite foods and drinks.
My Gene Pool
Because my relatives were pretty good about passing down information related to the family tree, I've been able to go back pretty far in identifying my ancestors. However, there is rarely information regarding the person's weight - in most family trees. We can tell a little about a person based on the form of death.
Weight Genetics From My Father's Side of the Family
I did have the advantage of knowing my great grandparents on my father's side. My great grandparents were farmers with five children on board. They of course lived through the Great Depression. At the time, elastic was in shortage and my great grandmother unfortunately lost her bloomers on the main street of town with a group of men nearby discussing business with my great grandfather. She bent down, scooped them up and walked away with her head held high while the men laughed out loud. Poor thing. And I loved her dearly. She was in her early 80's when she died from a fall. I was 17 at the time.
When she was younger, she was thin but when she and my great grandfather were heavily into farming and she had birthed so many children, she became morbidly obese. Of course, I didn't know here during these years but from the pictures, she appeared to be five by five. But as she entered her later years, she became very skinny and these are the years that I was familiar with her - from birth to age 17. I suspect that she had diabetes amid her grandiose state and it went undetected.
As to my great grandfather, he was always at a normal weight - which was quite a miracle because his wife was perhaps the best cook I've ever known. He was quite old when he passed from a stroke.
As to my father's parents, his mother and dad divorced when my father was 16 years old. They didn't have much to do with their kids after the divorce; my father joined the Navy right after their divorce.
But I did see them a handful of times before they passed - both living into their early sixties. My grandfather was overweight by perhaps fifty or so pounds during most of his later years. He died from a heart attack when driving home after attending a wrestling match. He was an avid wrestling fan.
My grandmother had a Hollywood figure and was a very beautiful woman. As she approached mid-life, she started spreading out and was also about 50 or more pounds overweight during her later years. She was diabetic and died of a heart attack. During her life, she was married seven times to seven different men.
My father was a very handsome man, particularly in his youth with dimples on his face. The girls used to go wild for him - or so my mother told me. She was always very jealous of him.
After my mom and dad were married, he started to gain weight. He had a huge tummy but his legs were always skinny. He had no rear, as it was as flat as a pancake. But that belly - oh my. He wasn't quite 6 foot tall - only 5'11" and before he tested positive for diabetes he got up to 275 pounds, which is quite fat for the height.
When diabetes settled in, he lost weight rapidly in a short amount of time - at least 50 pounds in a one-month period without changing his eating habits. Of course, we were very concerned but at that time, we didn't know that diabetes ran in the family.
His mother contacted him several months later and daddy was still getting terribly ill. We had no health insurance and this was 1970 when times were very difficult. His mom told him that she had tested positive for diabetes and her doctor had told her to contact her kids so they could be tested. And sure enough, he tested positive.
My father was never able to conquer his issue with obesity and weighed 213 when he passed in 2005 from complications associated with diabetes. During the five or so years leading up to his death he suffered two heart attacks, kidney failure, life-threatening high potassium, and sepsis [blood poisoning].
What I Can Learn From My Genetics From My Father's Side
1. Obesity runs in the family.
2. Diabetes also is prominent - and I had such during pregnancy [gestational diabetes].
3. Heart disease is also quite rampant.
4. While my great grandparents lived into their eighties, my grandparents died in their sixties while my father died in-between these tiers at age 72. Part 2, My Mother's Genetics