Why People Dont Get Fat?

Here's an excerpt from the book "The Human Body" by Logan Clendening which I highly recommend for a great introduction to human anatomy/physiology for the layman! There's a reference to two figures that I couldn't bring up because my scanner doesn't work but I think his words are descriptive enough to get a good idea.







"The Combination of weight and height results in a general build of the body which may be called habitus. If you will classify all the people you see in a crowded room on the basis of general body contour, you will find that you have three general divisions -- thin ones, heavy ones, and medium ones. If the crowd is large enough, you can range a line of them from the long, thin greyhound type at one end to the broad, stocky Clydesdale at the other, the difference between any two individuals in the row being almost imperceptible.

The difference between a thin and a heavily built person is, however, far deeper than the surface, and those differences have great bearing on their health and disease proclivities. Figures 7 and 8 show extreme examples of torsos of both types, with the internal organs indicated as they were shown by composite X-ray photographs.

Compare them carefully. Notice first how the ribs flare out from the midline at the junction of the chest and the abdomen. In the thin person this angle is very narrow, in the heavy one very wide. This so-called "costal angle" is a rough index of the type of individual with which you are dealing. Notice the comparative size of the chest. The thin type has enormous lungs, more than he needs for his nutritional needs, so that air does not blow in and out of all his lung spaces, and these people are peculiarly liable to tuberculosis; it is, when you think of it, a typically "consumptive" build. The heavy one, on the contrary, has very small lungs, and because he does not regularly breathe in and out a good over-supply of oxygen to burn all the food he eats, it accumulates in the form of fat, and this may have something to do with his obesity. Notice the two hearts, and the main blood-vessel coming from the heart, the aorta. In the thin one the heart hangs dependent, with a long, elastic aorta; in the heavy one it is squat, with a short, wide aorta. The thin ones seldom have heart or arterial diseases, and if they live past youth, the period of tuberculosis, they are likely to live for ever: notice that at least sixty per cent of very old people are of this type. The heavily built, on the other hand, for some reason that is not certainly determined, appear to have associated in their germ plasms a tendency towards arterial degeneration and high blood-pressure with their stockiness; life-insurance companies shy away from overweight risks. This tendency is crystallized in the common exclamation: "He looks as if he might be going to have an apoplexy." Much more significant and regular in occurrence than any of these is the architecture of the digestive tract in the two types. The stomach of the thin one is long and drooping; the outlet of the stomach, the pylorus, is held high (by a strong and constant ligament) and there is some mechanical difficulty in getting a meal moved up from the low-hanging stomach out into the intestines. Hence these people are likely to have a heavy feeling and gas after eating; if you come to think of it, they are also the typical "dyspepsia" type. For the same reason that the stomach hangs low -- on account of the long abdomen and the thin abdominal wall, unbuttressed by a layer of fat -- the intestines sag, and especially the large intestine: they are likely to be constipated and augment this tendency by consuming cathartics. The heavier ones score on this point: his stomach is small and high places and empties easily; hence he enjoys the happiness of the table, is an epicure; and this really adds to his tendency to overweight. For this reason also, as life goes on, his islets of Langerhans become sclerotic, which gives him a tendency towards diabetes. His intestines are high, supported by thick abdominal walls and intra-abdominal fat, and he is seldom constipated. Thus each has his tendencies, his dangers, and his distresses.

But there is further a mental view-point, a disposition, as we say, which goes with each type. The thin one, because his muscles are long and slender, because his digestive tract is poorly upheld, is easily fatigued. But he may be just as ambitious as anyone else. He is constantly laying out programs for himself that he cannot carry through. This breeds melancholy and dissatisfaction. The heavy ones are much more likely to be able to accomplish their tasks easily. So they are cheerful, jovial, get through their work in a few hours, look back on it with pleasure, and are ready to begin a party at half past four in the afternoon. They like marriage feasts and christenings. The thin ones like divorces and funerals: you will find them comforting the misunderstood wives or arranging the flowers. The heavy ones like poker; the thin ones solitaire. The heavy ones are interested in getting just the right flavor to their cocktail; the thin ones in getting the most potent fluid extract of cascara. The heavy ones read Eddie Guest, Conan Doyle, and the Saturday Evening Post; the thin ones Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, and the Atlantic. The thin ones are always starting out to reform something; the heavy ones have found that it saves trouble to subscribe to the cause right away and take no further part in it, knowing from experience that the thin ones will not have the endurance to carry the reform to any uncomfortable extreme.

These things are said, of course, in a very general way. There are, it is acknowledged, plenty of exceptions. But let it not be supposed that there is not abundant evidence for the statements made. Indeed, a recent author [my note: recent for this publication in like 1922], Dr. George Draper of New York, in a book entitled The Human Constitution... ..has gone far beyond any of my tame statements. He has made careful measurements of all kinds over thousands of bodies -- such as the angle of the jaw -- the gonial angle. He makes statements tending to show that a certain type of individual is disposed towards gall-stones, while a different type is disposed towards ulcer of the stomach -- and that the gall-stone individual will seldom have ulcer and that the ulcer people seldom have gall-stones. There is a pernicious-anemia type of face, an asthma type of face, and so on.

And all of these statements are fortified by table after table of exact measurements, collected in the most painstaking fashion by a conservative and scientific physician.

In the words of Sir Arthur Keith, who writes an introduction to the book, Dr. Draper "seeks to link up the machinery of growth, the machinery which gives the human body its shape, texture, and constitution, with its liability to disorder -- to disease." As the title of his book implies, he has laid a scientific foundation for that idea which we young fellows used to laugh at so hard, that the family physician was the best man to call in because he understood his patient's "constitution."

What can be done to help guide a constitutionally thin or heavy person past his dangers? Considering the inherent difficulties of the task, a good deal. For the ones we have called the thin people -- other names have been given them, as carnivorous, asthenic, hyperontomorph, linear -- they should sooner or later be brought to a realization of the very important fact for them that they have not the same powers of endurance as other people with stronger structures. This sounds very logical as put down here, but it is astonishing how long it takes some of these people to come to this conviction, how much turmoil they go through, how many diagnoses are pronounced upon them. My colleagues in the medial profession have been very slow to grasp this idea of the whole man. It is, along with another matter which I shall speak of in the chapter on the relation of mind to body, the greatest reproach which, I believer, can be laid at their door in modern days. Because the patient complains of a pain in a particular spot -- say the stomach -- doctors are apt to concentrate their attention on that spot and make a diagnosis of ulcer of the stomach or gall-stones, or atony of the stomach; or, if the patient complains of backache, they diagnose lumbago, or focal infection, or scoliosis. They see the little area where the symptoms are and miss the sight which is always so difficult to get just because it is so obvious -- they miss the whole person. The matter of diagnosis, then, should be emphasized because it is both so often wrongly conceived and so primary a consideration for treatment.

Rest for certain periods in the day sufficient to renew the stores of energy which these bodies need is the first element in treatment or adjustment. When leisure permits, they should rest on a bed or a lounge -- that is, in the recumbent position -- for half an hour to an hour after each meal. The time after meals is selected because the recumbent position helps the mechanical difficulty under which the stomach ordinarily labors -- it brings the low part of the stomach upwards and facilities easier emptying. But rest itself is necessary. Dr. Bryant, who conducts a large charity clinic of these patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital, has found, because his patients are under heavy economic necessity, work hard and continuously, and would scorn the idea of lying down an hour after meals, that if he can get them to rest, lying down completely relaxed, five minutes out of every hour, they can in that way get along very well.

Other accessories to treatment are exercise to strengthen the abdomen -- lying on the back and raising the legs to a vertical position -- the wearing of supporting corsets [my note: lol who's actually going to do this?], and an increased diet to fatten up persons of this type. When they reply, as they usually do, that they do not eat because they have no appetite, the answer may be: "An appetite is a luxury, not a necessity." A person can eat without appetite. The hopeful thing about them is that as middle age comes on and their supporting ligaments become stiffer and the stresses of life fade, they will get more and more comfortable and will begin to expatiate on the way of life they have led as an aid to longevity.

The heavy ones -- who have been called also herbivorous and hypersthenic and the lateral type -- must also adjust their way of life to the form of their body. They mist learn to be abstemious at the table, they must renounce the limousine and walk and exercise. The story for them is of the Epicurean philosopher who starved himself for three days in order that he might have the exquisite pleasure of gnawing a stale crust of bread. The trouble with them is that they enjoy existence so much that their fate is upon them before they begin any restrictions. For them, as for the thin ones, their way of life must be a lifelong task."
 
But there is further a mental view-point, a disposition, as we say, which goes with each type. The thin one, because his muscles are long and slender, because his digestive tract is poorly upheld, is easily fatigued. But he may be just as ambitious as anyone else. He is constantly laying out programs for himself that he cannot carry through. This breeds melancholy and dissatisfaction.

Um, nope. No general weakness here, unless you catch me at the beginning of a period.
 
Um, nope. No general weakness here, unless you catch me at the beginning of a period.

You might be more on the normal side. In the figures that I couldn't scan there was a picture of that type of person that looks long and cadaverously skinny and another that was more stout and stocky with some fat. I think he was referring more to these "archetypal" body-types.

It's also possible that you're some kind of exception. I remember you mentioning that you drink a lot of red bull which would probably give you some kind of kick - so maybe you're countering the natural fatigue you feel with lots of red bull?
 
Genetics, metabolism, even un/sub conscious exercise. I know a guy who bounces his legs/knees for hours as he sits online.
I eat a lot but have to exercise it off or I could be prone to an extra inch here or there.
That fidget thing is probably true, too. And caffeine or other drugs.

stateofmind's long post about body types was interesting. Here in America we are getting fatter. I think they now say at least 70% of adult Americans are overweight. If you look around most public places you will see it's true--especially restaurants, stores, churches, etc.
 
i guess im one of thoes lucky people iv gone a year without working out doing anything eat like shit and still cant gain a pound.. if i do the first time i go for a long run i lose everything i gained im stuck at 170 tryin to get to 190-200 but its just not working.. eating protin carbs lifting every day just getting no where
 
You might be more on the normal side. In the figures that I couldn't scan there was a picture of that type of person that looks long and cadaverously skinny and another that was more stout and stocky with some fat. I think he was referring more to these "archetypal" body-types.

It's also possible that you're some kind of exception. I remember you mentioning that you drink a lot of red bull which would probably give you some kind of kick - so maybe you're countering the natural fatigue you feel with lots of red bull?

Not really. I'm more on the hyperactive side naturally, unless it's before 11am, in which case I am a low functioning zombie.
 
The secret to being slim is to have a high metabolism. I'm 6 feet tall, weigh 210 pounds, very little body fat if any, yet for all of my life I seem to be able to eat or drink anything I want. My heart rate increases significantly when I chow down and I can sweat just by standing still. Sometimes it seems like a curse but I'll gladly trade it for no body fat. I am not a big drinker and I don't smoke so maybe that helps, plus I do exercise but not regularly. When I golf, I walk the course. So basically I just don't worry about getting fat.
 
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