Condition or Condishun?

___DNA Adjustments___

Genetics, or fatlogic? Condition, or condishun? It seems like a new “fat gene” is revealed every other week. Nevertheless skeptics, many of them formerly fat, accuse their obese brethren of lying, or at the very least, of self-deception. The derisive term “condishun” is used by Reddit users against those who assign blame for their obesity in a faux-scientific framework. Many anecdotal reports discredit the science, and even rudely call the whole thing BS.

We have seen life stories from people who were bamboozled by families reluctant to take responsibility and change their ways. Despite a chaotic upbringing, some people eventually find out about sane food choices, exercise, and 12-step programs. Some believe that a condishun might just be a learned behavior that was never questioned. A Reddit contributor wrote:

Growing up, we always had a bit of a snack before bed, usually on the sweet side. Now, it was always small, and wasn’t putting us over our calorie needs, so I’m not complaining. I haven’t lived with my parents for 20 years, but I still want a little sweet snack at bedtime. I don’t crave a bedtime snack because genetics. I crave it because it’s a learned behavior.


Opinions differ on how much weight gain a thyroid disorder can be responsible for, with estimates varying from 10 to 30 pounds. The thyroid/metabolism “excuse” for obesity shortens the temper of those who successfully deal with it. Typical is a person called QueenSkittlez who says:

My genetics make me more likely to have a thyroid problem, since my dad and my maternal grandma are hypo and my sister is a type 1 diabetic. Autoimmune runs in the family. Both my parents are obese.
And I’m still thin.

As always, Reddit is a bountiful source of material. One person says that, although only 2% of fat people have a real medical disorder, between 30% and 40% lay claim to a medical disorder. Someone else agrees that it is probably more than 2%, if binge eating counts as a disorder. Another participant lays down the law that “binge eating is ultimately a choice,” and a contradictory voice argues that no-one chooses to be afflicted by an eating disorder.

More Voices

One Reddit user who had lost 35 pounds, when asked how, would credit diet and exercise. Friends apparently found this answer too boring, because at the mention of the word “calories” their eyes would glaze over, and they would say the method hadn’t worked for them. The person just started answering “Genetics” instead. Similar frustration is felt by another respondent, who got tired of people acting like the diet and exercise formula was some kind of voodoo, and started to give the answer “I have a fast metabolism.” Another successful weight loser says:

What I’d do is I’d check over my shoulder like I was going to give them some really juicy advice that I didn’t want anybody else to hear. Then for added effect, I’d lean in closer to their face and I’d whisper “diet…diet and exercise.” Then I’d laugh at them for how let-down they’d be.

On one hand, staunch individualists deny the force of heredity, and insist than anyone can become lean. You just have to want it, and work hard, and they themselves are living proof of those precepts. But a commentator called Naugril calls out the arrogant:

You thought you were unable to overcome the difficulty necessary to lose weight. You found out that you were wrong. The fact that you found out you were wrong is evidence only that you were mistaken about your own personal situation, not evidence that every other person on earth is also wrong… Your body is not the only body. Your mind is not the only mind. Your experiences cannot be generalized to all other people.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Philosophical question about genetics / fatlogic from a skinny person,”, October 2014
Source: “Dismantling fat logic makes me an “ignorant prick”,”, November 2014
Source: “Don’t ask me how I lost weight. It’s just genetics,”, November 2014
Source: “Awesome woman destroys genetics fat logic argument by losing weight while having an autoimmune thyroid disorder,”, October 2014
Image by ka2rina

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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