How long were you breast fed?
An important consideration in regards to obesity has to do with the question of whether or not you were breast fed and for how long. There is an association between breast feeding and a lower incidence in obesity in adult life. There are actual changes in the compilation in human milk that act as a cue for the duration of nursing, as well as a marked increase in fat content which provides a signal to the infant to stop feeding. This indicates that there is a natural appetite control mechanism protecting from overfeeding. Bottle fed infants do not develop such a control mechanism, because in bottle feeding there is a uniform composition in formula as well the mother affects the amount that is consumed. There are physiologic differences in breast fed and non breast fed infants because bottle fed infants consume significantly more milk than breast fed infants.
There is a greater insulin release in bottle fed infants as well. Insulin stimulates fat disposition, affecting the early development of fat tissue and as such has a relationship to fat cell number as well as cellular fat content of fat tissue. There is convincing evidence that over feeding in infancy leads to an increase in the number lipocytes and fat cells and fat content, two of the characteristics or obesity. There are two critical periods in the proliferation of fat tissue. One is before the age of two and the other is during the adolescent growth spurt. Before the age of two, is directly related to infant malnutrition while during the adolescent growth spurt maybe due to the result of accumulative fat content of the fat cells.
There are differences in body composition between milk fed and formula fed infants. Milk fed infants deposit more fat and breast fed babies have a tendency to be leaner than those that are bottle fead. Bottle fed infants have a tendency to be over fed. There is a significant protective effect of beta feeding against obesity in adolescents and young adults. Obesity is largely determined in the first two years of life and breast versus bottle might be a major determining factor. The nutrients in breast milk might be somewhat lower in concentration in order to avoid depriving the mother of her nutritional requirements, and therefore the breast fed infant is slightly underfed and therefore protected from obesity, providing that there is no overfeeding after weaning.
One of the questions of the intake process of the Emotionally Focussed Eating program is to do with breast feeding. The reason being that nutrition before the age of two is actually extremely important in regards to resulting obesity. Those that are not breast fed have a tendency to be able to have difficulty in fat disposition. It is important to recognize that your start in life is hugely important to where it is that you are now. Your start in life is actually out of your control, if mom was stressed during pregnancy with an increase in stress hormones then this has infant impact. If breast feeding was non existent or minimal, then the ability to be able to signal fullness already has negative impact.
It is good to recognize that these are elements that are out of your control and yet, they may explain a lot to why it is or how it is that you are where it is that you are. Recognizing it is half the battle, dealing with it is the other half.