There’s just no escaping it, whether it’s your mothers eyes, your fathers nose, or your inability to lose weight, your genetics play a role in what happens in your body.
One person might be able to eat 2500 calories a day and never gain a gram, and yet you eat like a saint and just can’t shift your excess weight.
It can be incredibly frustrating fighting against your genetics, but there are things that you can do to get around them and make the most of what you were born with.
Which of the following genetic dispositions are you looking to change?
Fight medical risk factors
Impossible to change the future right? Wrong. Your family history doesn’t have to be a mystic prediction of your years to come. Small every day changes can have a very big, long-term impact on your health and help you avoid history repeating.
Just because you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, doesn’t mean that you are fighting a losing battle. Heart disease risk can be drastically minimised by regular cardiovascular exercise, limiting your intake of saturated fats, and ceasing smoking for example.
Diabetes risk can be minimised by working towards a healthy weight, regular moderate exercise, and having regularly spaced meals composed of moderate amounts of low GI carbohydrates and avoiding excess added sugar in your diet.
High blood pressure risks can be minimised by following a low salt diet such as the DASH diet, exercising regularly, and undertaking stress management techniques.
Genes for obesity/overweight/low metabolism
One of the best ways to help get into shape is walking. But did you know that regular walking for 30 minutes and help you lose weight change your body shape and help your metabolism? You also get the added bonus of fresh air and sunshine which can always help after a bad day.
If walking isn’t possible, you can try water exercises like swimming, hydrotherapy workouts, or even walking laps up and down the pool using the resistance of moving your body through the water to get your heart rate up but without all that pressure on your joints.
Depression/anxiety and the link to emotional eating
Yes, you may come from a long line of family member who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, and it has been well established that there is a genetic link making you more likely to experience these disorders yourself on some level if you have a family history. Does that mean you are doomed to misery and should just accept it?
Absolutely not. There have been great results found with changing to meditteranean diets, as well as regular exercise (especially in the mornings), and of course speaking to a qualified counsellor to get the strategies under your belt to manage how you feel can be a huge benefit.
Make a commitment to yourself for a walk around the block, a bike ride or even a dance class. You might not want to go at the time, but you WILL be glad you did!
The “I’m terrible at exercise” genes
Were you the kid that couldn’t catch a ball for the life of them, came dead last in any aerobic event, and just couldn’t quite figure out how to move to the beat? Compare that to the natural born athlete that made he leaps and bounds in fitness with barely any effort, and just seemed to be built to be fit and active.
Everyone has strengths in life, but if physical fitness or being good at sport just isn’t one of them, does that mean exercise is no use to you? Lets face it- no one is good at anything the first time. You have to work at it and practice. Set small realistic goals and challenge yourself.
For your first week try walking for 30 minutes a day. By week 2 you will be surprised how far you can now go in that 30 minutes. Forget what everyone else is doing. Do what do you enjoy (or at least hate the least), and what works best for your body.