Friday, December 2, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Rule your genes

One of the most common excuses for being overweight, or having poor health is to blame it on genetics. People often say and think that they gain weight or get sick based on some predetermined configuration of their genes. It is true that our genetics play a huge part in how we look and function, but blaming genetics for physical problems is very often nothing more than an excuse.

It is a common misconception that our genes lay down a blueprint for our lives that can't be changed or affected. That getting overweight is unavoidable because they carry an unfortunate set of genes that makes them predestined to obesity.

Blaming genetics is a very easy out, but it is false science. The truth is that while the genes give a number of set rules for how you grow, look and metabolize food, that is all they are. A set framework for how your body works. Within that framework we have tremendous opportunity to determine our own health.

Consider two cutlings from a tree. These cutlings will have identical genetic material. If the genes were in full control of how the trees would grow you would expect them to grow into almost identical trees.

If the cutlings are given the same growing conditions, this will happen. The plants will not be identical, but they will grow up to be very similar to each other. But if the cutlings are grown in different conditions, that can have a dramatic effect on how the plants end up.

If one cutling gets very little water it will be very small and frail, the leaves will not be as green as they should be. If one cutling is given the perfect mixture and amount of fertilizer it will grow large and powerful. If one cutling is grown in the dark it will die, and so on.

Despite the plants having identical genetic makeup, the quality of their environment has a dramatic impact on how the plants end up growing. The exact same thing is true for us humans. Even if our genes might set an upper limit for how tall we can get, how tall we actually grow is impacted by what we eat as children for example.

How all our different genes interact with each other and the countless environment variables is a complete mystery to me. I know nothing about the science behind how genes determine our various traits. I do know however that just like a plant can not live without sunshine regardless of it's genetic make up, there are factors that we can control that determines how our genetic blueprint manifests itself.

So if you are ever tempted to think that you are heavy because you just don't metabolize food as fast as your skinny friend, stop that thinking right away. It might be true that your body is quicker to store fat than someone else's body, but that is irrelevant. If you want to be healthy and strong it is your responsibility to find out what you need to do for your genes to be able to make that happen. It might mean eating less, exercising more, stress less, eat different or any number of things. The solution will never be exactly the same for everyone, but there is a way of life that is perfect for you. The trick is just to find out what that is.



  1. On a more general level, distinguish between trigger and pre-disposition.

    Those without the disposition are not affected by the trigger. Also there may be varying levels of pre-disposition related inversely to level of trigger.

    Self help requires knowing one's triggers and taking the responsibility to avoid (or at least markedly reduce) them.

    As you say "The trick is just to find out what that is."

Powered by Blogger.
Copyright Reserved COURAGEOUS MIND 2010.
Design by: Bingo | Blogger Templates by Blogger Template Place | supported by One-4-All