This is a thread intended to counter the judgmental nature of some people who readily lay blame on others for various things. I intend to focus on weight but first some background.
Over the years a number of human disorders have been blamed on either the person themself or in some cases a parent's actions only to find out through research, the blame was misplaced. One very good example was the not too distant past when mothers were told outright, their child was autistic because the mother had failed to bond or essentially love the child correctly. Homosexuals were supposedly that way because they had a dominant mother.
After making these horrible and very painful claims to mothers of these children, it turns out the claims were completely wrong. Ooops. Oh well.
So now let me bring up the issue which has a more current basis. After years of blaming excessive weight on the person because it's pretty obvious the issue is calories in vs. calories burned, researchers have been trying to find ways to change the equation. Almost all of the research has been based on behavior modification in the past. And in the majority of cases, behavior modification is not successful. Are that many people really just lacking self control?
Well, finally researchers are taking a serious look at the fallacy of the underlying premise that it is just a matter of self control and behavior modification. This idea has been bantered about over the years. Genetic predisposition to obesity is well established. And drugs to suppress appetite have been researched because of the great market potential.
Now, however, there is much more focused research on the exact mechanisms of weight control. What is being discovered is that the drive to consume weight conserving calories is extremely strong and not something easily overridden. Just as you cannot hold your breath beyond a few minutes, and just as you will have a very hard time refusing water after a few days without it, your body has a physiological drive to maintain a certain calorie intake that is just as strong as the drive of thirst and even as strong as the drive to breathe. Just willing that drive away or trying to change it by behavior modification cannot always be done.
Reactions to the concept that weight loss is not a matter of will power lead many people to react with comments like, "It just gives the person an excuse to continue their over eating," and, "You have a choice to put the food in your mouth or not." These are very shortsighted statements just as was telling mothers their child's autism was the result of the mother's actions.
See if you can hold your breath. Now blame your failure on your lack of willpower. Despite this analogy, many people will conclude the drive to breathe is completely different than the drive to eat. Yes, it is. But the demonstration is intended to highlight just how strong our physiological drives are. Understanding the physiological drive to eat is critical to successful weight loss for millions of people. This doesn't mean one throws away the tools of behavior modification in treating obesity. But it does mean throwing away the blame if behavior mod is not successful.
NEUROENDOCRINE INTEGRATION OF BODY WEIGHT REGULATIONI found the following particularly enlightening, the fact there is strong resistance to losing weight and little resistance to gaining it.For more than 70 years, increasingly sophisticated methods have been brought to bear on the problem of the brain involvement in the physiology of energy homeostasis and the pathogenesis of obesity. A vast number of experimental observations have been produced and, particularly within the last decade, the combination of novel genetic and sophisticated physiology techniques has allowed for great progress. These methods have helped identify metabolic hormones and their relationship to key peptidergic systems in the hypothalamus. Although the central integration of afferent signals reflecting acute and chronic energy requirements has started to become clearer, the neuronal pathways that actually initiate changes in ingestive behavior or energy expenditure are still largely unknown. Furthermore, researchers are far from understanding the overall picture of central body weight regulation that involves multiple brain areas outside the hypothalamus. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge [May 28, 2003] and understanding of central nervous system anatomy and physiology in relation to mechanisms controlling energy balance.
Control of Food Intake in the ObeseAnd these papers had some additional points like the failure of Leptin to be the key to the castle doesn't mean we have nothing else left to try.In general, humans display a system of weight regulation that is asymmetrical—a reduction in body weight is strongly defended but weight gain is not. The body seems to tolerate a positive energy balance. There is no mechanism that can detect a positive energy balance per se or that can implement a sufficiently strong correction to behavior to maintain body weight in an environment that promotes consumption. The evolutionary process has favored biological traits associated with preferences for high energy density (sweet and/or fatty) energy-yielding foods. The control of food intake in obese or weight-gaining individuals may display various risk factors that favor an increase in energy.
Pro-opiomelanocortin and weight regulation: from mice to menGhrelin, Appetite & Weight ControlSignificant progress in our understanding of the mechanisms of weight homeostasis has been made by studying the many genetic mouse models of obesity. Positional cloning in the obese mouse led to the discovery of leptin as a feedback messenger indicating the adequacy of peripheral energy stores. This was the first in a series of important advances in this field. Shortly after this discovery, two research laboratories presented evidence for the role of hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortinergic (POMC) neurons as important mediators in the regulation of feeding behavior, insulin levels and, ultimately, body weight.Central nervous appetite regulation: mechanisms and significance for the development of obesityScientists say they may have found out why people get hungry at mealtime, why dieters who lose weight often gain it back and why a certain type of stomach surgery helps very obese people lose a great deal of weight.
The reason may be a hormone called ghrelin, which makes people hungry, slows metabolism and decreases the body's ability to burn fat.
Leptin Appetite Suppressant
Another promising discovery, leptin, an appetite suppressant made by fat cells and thought to have great promise as a treatment for obesity, has turned out to be a disappointment because most overweight people are resistant to its effects.
Diet, monoamine neurotransmitters and appetite control.