Just in time for New Year’s resolutions comes a New York Times magazine cover story on the increasing evidence that, once fat, a body is likely to stay fat.

The hook is a new study — small and not yet viewed as definitive, but nonetheless drawing wide attention for challenging conventional thinking on weight loss, willpower and obesity.

For years, the advice to the overweight and obese has been that we simply need to eat less and exercise more. While there is truth to this guidance, it fails to take into account that the human body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped. This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.

The article is about growing evidence of “biological determinism.” But don’t let it upset your good intentions. There’s plenty of research, too, that says eating healthily and getting lots of exercise prolongs life even for people unable to avoid being fat.