We are all given a set of genes thanks to the generous donation from our parents. Some of these genes we like and some we are not so fond of. Accepting your genetic blueprint is the first step to living a life of health and vitality. If your shoe size is eight, you would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six. Why does this same rule not apply to clothes? It is equally futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. Respecting your body and your genes helps you feel better about who you are.
One of the first processes in accepting your genes is to know your risk factors. Does your family have a history of certain diseases? If so, have you had your screenings done for bone density, cholesterol, prostate cancer, breast cancer, etc? What dietary changes can you make to help protect your body against your genetic predisposition?
Next, what type of exercise does your body respond to the best? Do you have a difficult time running because it causes your knees to ache? Try bicycling or some other cardiovascular exercise. Tailor your exercise to your genes and your likes and dislikes. It is difficult to enjoy exercising if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape and your body’s abilities.
Throw out diet books and magazine articles that tell you what works for others and provide false hopes of quick weight loss. Instead focus inward on your hunger and fullness signals. What signals does your body give you that it is biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates? If you disregard your body’s hunger signals and get too hungry, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. A rule of thumb to help you tune in to your body is practicing the art of Hara Hachi Bu – eating until you are 80 percent full.
If you are genetically prone to suffer from anxiety, anger or other emotional triggers, find ways to comfort, nurture, distract and resolve these without using food. Each of these has its own trigger and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, but you may find yourself with a food hangover and feel worse in the long run. Food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run.
Part of accepting your genetic blueprint is respecting your body. Trust me, it is the only one you are going to get, so be good to it and it will respond back.