Obese, skinny or perfect; some things you might not know about Genetics and Obesity

Ever wonder why the girl next door has a perfect figure but you never see her down the gym? Or why that bloke in the gym tells you he can eat what he wants and not put on any fat? Well there are many genetic reasons for why that might be. However just because I’m saying they are genetic and therefore foster the notion of a predisposition to either gain, lose or maintain weight that doesn’t mean you can give up entirely on achieving the healthy body you want. It just means that certain body types are harder to get from your biological starting point so don’t you dare start thinking, well if it’s genetic then why bother?

So who is obese and why is being overweight a problem you might ask? Where to start is a better question. Obesity is measured as a Body mass index (BMI) of ≥30.00 (kg/m2) as classified by the World Health Organisation. Further to this it is accounted for as an abnormal or extensive fat accumulation negatively affecting health. Simply put If you continue to overeat your adipose (fat) cells will get bigger, when they can’t get any bigger they multiply. At this point it is almost impossible to reduce cell numbers and it becomes easier to store fat. Your body might start to recognise the obese weight as the optimum weight and try to drag you back to it whatever you do. From a neurological point of view you will start to react to food when you’re consuming just enough and more than enough as if you are in constant starvation. This is the point you do not want to reach. As for why does it matter, it matters. Read the rest of this entry HERE.

Body image, a weighty issue for menGlen Carrigan 5

The Central YMCA (where my fitness qualifications came from) recently found that body image issues are no longer the province of women alone. Increasingly men are feeling anxious about for example a lack of muscle and their “beer belly”. In addition us men are actually expressing our feelings to eachother nowadays which goes against the stereotypical Alpha male persona which can be a good thing but also a burden at times.

The University of West England’s appearance research department asked 384 British men with an average age of 40 years their opinions on their appearance. A huge 60% of respondants thought their arms, chest and stomachs weren’t muscular enough and 1 in 5 men reported that they were on a high protein diet. 35% of participants said they would give up a whole year of their lives to attain their ideal body.

Thought’s that come to mind quite readily here are that men seem to be alot more body concious in today’s society. Blame what you will for that, media representations of the ideal, perceived expectations of the opposite sex, and many more catalysts to why people critique their bodies. Might it be true to say that pride and a sense of self worth might drive those of us who seek to be better physically? I think so. Whilst there is a wealth of research out there that reports exercise and a balanced diet is good for us we cannot over look the fact that such practices when they border on the obsessive may give rise to eating disorders for example as an obligatory exercise routine is often a factor of an eating disorder (Lepage, Price & O’Neal 2012). However a good diet and regular exercise do more good than bad, just be aware of what you’re doing and more importantly why you’re doing it….. for yourself. It is one of my great hopes for this country that if more people watched what they ate and exercised regularly we could lessen the impact of the obesity epidemic apparent in this country at the moment which takes a vicious toll on the NHS of 1.9 – 2 billion GPB a year.

Eating disorders and health issues asside it shouldn’t be a problem that men are becoming more in touch with their body image so long as it doesn’t cause us to brood over it and become unhealthy to the point of self destruction. Eat healthy, stay physically and mentally active and you should be fine!

BBC News for the full story

Basic Fitness Knowledge

Glen Carrigan

Glen Carrigan CYQ fitness instructor

A question I’m asked constantly is how do you even begin to get into fitness without the basic knowledge? I agree it can be intimidating walking into a gym without the first idea where to begin, I know it was for me when I was 15 years old. The answer though is using your own motivation, discipline and a desire to learn and change. To that end this post will detail the basic guidelines for cardiovascular exercise to promote fitness first and also for health which you can then build upon. Choose what is applicable to you however I would suggest using the health regimen for a while until you get used to exercise. Once you’ve achieved a decent level of fitness you can change the routine to include more specific training techniques for fat loss, fitness maintenance and other goals. Read the rest of this entry HERE.

Breast size and self-imageBreast image

Nature has sculpted us into a species that appreciates the physical form and so we should there is so much beauty in it. A friend of mine, a fellow ex-soldier recently started a company catering to women in the larger bust category DD+ and that got me thinking about women and their self-image issues. A previous post discussed the issues of self image in men and so this one will briefly address the same with regards to figure and particularly breast size in women.

For current image based psychological research see our research page

Evolution is a sort of predicator of what people find attractive, what a man will find attractive in a woman and also what a woman will envy about other women. Historically the young were married off for their ability to bear children and bigger hips and breasts were associated with the ability to bear and rear young successfully. Men today for example seem to think large breasts are an advantage as generally they seem to regard medium to larger breasts and a smaller hip to waist ratio as more attractive (Zelazniewicz & Pawlowski, 2011) although this does differ across cultures (Dixon et al 2011). The media also presents the opinion through many outlets that to have larger breasts is a benefit (Harrison 2003) although in my eyes Kiera Knightley is one of the most gorgeous women to ever live, is very successful in the eyes of the media and also very flat chested. It is also interesting to see that lots of women having a greater level of perceived breast development also had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depressive symptoms. This could suggest that the pop culture view for larger breasts and slimmer waist is correct or that it distorts women’s views of themselves or perhaps that women also identify with the same standards of what is attractive as men do and are less confident in themselves if they do not possess those attributes, increasingly opting for surgery as method of correction (Harcourt et al 2011). This is debatable though as everyone finds different people attractive to a greater or lesser extent.

The main point in this little post is that like it or not self-image plays a large part in the lives of women (and men) and breasts are an important factor in that image. Large or small they’re fine the way they are and for those women out there with larger breasts they might feel they’re a curse and a blessing. For those ladies I would recommend that you talk to my good friend of many years in and out of the Army Leonie Wooster, who is starting up the business mentioned previously that caters specifically for you at Leonie Loves.


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