Although much of what I heard is both fascinating and disturbing it is worth sharing on this blog in hopes that some of you struggling with your weight may have more empathy for yourselves.
What were some of the main take take-home points? I thought I would start with the questions I typically hear and answer them based on the conference.
1. Why can everyone else eat more than I do and not gain weight?
Metabolism begins at conception: how well you metabolize food, specifically carbohydrates, is determined by the balance of how your mother ate during pregnancy. If she consumed a low protein, high carbohydrate diet it is possible you were born with less muscle mass and more body fat than is normal for a newborn.
This lack of muscle mass has the potential for increasing insulin resistance versus sensitivity, which means when you consume a normal amount of carbohydrates your pancreas will secrete more insulin, causing you to store fat more easily than others.
In addition, if your Mom gained more than 35 pounds during pregnancy, and/or you were a “big” baby – i.e. over 7.5 pounds that is a sign that your Mom was insulin resistant which was passed through to you in utero.
2. I just LOVE carbohydrates – they are my favorite foods and I can’t imagine not having my BREAD!
What your mother ate determines your taste preferences. If she ate carrots, you will end up liking carrots. If she ate bread and pasta those are foods you will have more of an affinity for.
3. I am always hungry! It feels like there is never a time where I’m just satisfied with a normal size meal.
Appetite regulation is formed in the womb. If a baby is born insulin resistant they are born hungry, which can set the tone for hunger for life.
So should you just give up on losing weight and throw in the towel?
Of course NOT!
Just because you were born insulin resistant and hungry does not mean it cannot be managed but that is the key: management.
Because insulin resistance is genetic and passed through in utero it does not take a vacation. The insulin resistance, hunger levels and preference tastes mean your diet needs a specific balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat and if that balance is not consistent weight will always be a struggle.
Is this fair? Absolutely not, but who says life is fair. The power lies in the knowledge of why and how to navigate moving forward.
If you want to fit into your jeans, embrace your genes and find out how to balance your diet to control your insulin resistance – it will go a long way toward your health and happiness.