Ask Brandon Ingram if Body Weight Is a Choice

If you think that body composition – and thus obesity – is primarily the result of personal choices, we ask you to consider the case of Brandon Ingram. He is a “skinny kid”  who is desperately trying to put on some weight so he can reach his full potential as a professional basketball player. As it is, he’s already one of the most talented rookies in the NBA.

After playing just one year for Duke University, Ingram was the top draft pick of the LA Lakers in this year’s NBA draft. In fact, he’s one of the highest draft picks the team has ever made.

Ingram’s iPhone reminds him to eat every three to four hours. Though he clearly doesn’t enjoy it, he wants to put some weight onto his “broomstick” frame. “It gets sickening,” he says, “but I just try to stick to it.”

Ingram’s mother says “he was a fat little boy, believe it or not.” But in middle school, he began growing at a remarkable rate to reach his present height of six feet and nine inches, while weighing 190 pounds. That’s a BMI of 20.4 – putting him in the lower half of the “healthy” range.

A debate swirls among highly skilled trainers about the best weight management strategy for this incredibly talented young man. Even with all this attention and effort, he can’t gain weight fast enough to satisfy his handlers. And all the focus on his body image clearly annoys him:

I think it just gives me motivation to show these guys that the skinny part doesn’t matter. It got me here today. Being skinny didn’t mean nothing when I was battling with each and every guy, each and every night.

Does any of this sound familiar? Biology is a powerful thing. Our bodies have their own ideas about how to regulate our weight.

People hanging onto the notion that body composition is a simple matter of choices about diet and exercise should consider the case of Brandon Ingram and think again. We all have much to learn.

Click here to read more from ESPN.

Brandon Ingram at Kinston High School, photograph © Zach Frailey / flickr

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August 9, 2016

One Response to “Ask Brandon Ingram if Body Weight Is a Choice”

  1. August 09, 2016 at 10:18 am, Stephen Phillips said:

    . The set-point theory suggests that body weight is regulated at a predetermined, or preferred, level by a CNS feedback control system. . Thereby deviations from that range (weight loss or gain) is met with powerful compensatory biological mechanisms that facilitate returning to that set-point weight range. This evidence supported theory is a lot better then then the tired “willful misconduct” myth.

    Thick or Thin …”.A Waist Is A Terrible Thing To Mind”

    Stephen Phillips
    American Association of Bariatric Counselors