Genetics. It’s a tricky thing. Sure, you can probably point to some part on your body you don’t like and find that same feature on one of your parents. Genetics are influential, but you shouldn’t hold your genetics responsible. I know people who throw their hands in the air, give up, and say, “Being overweight is just in my genes. Look at my family.” But that attitude won’t get you anywhere. More importantly, it’s not true.
Your genetics determines about one third of how you look–you have more than 50% control over your weight! How you look is a choice you make daily. I always say that genetics loads your gun, but environment pulls your trigger. Your body tells a story about you, based on all of those daily choices. It tells who you hang out with, what you eat and how you live.
Who do you hang out with?
Have you ever heard that you are a combination of the five people you hang around with most? Other people—your associations—have more of an influence on you than you think. If the people you surround yourself with most make bad choices about food or don’t care much about exercise, it becomes much easier for you to make those same choices. But if you are around people who approach each meal determining what protein they will have, how to fill half their plates with fruits and veggies, and deciding when to get exercise in—will steer you in a totally different direction. Look around you. Decide who is influencing you. You should have at least a couple people who share the same values and goals as you—so you can be influenced in positive, healthy ways. Better yet, align yourself with someone who is where you want to be and model their behavior. This can be a friend, family member or a fitness professional.
What do you eat?
Are most of your choices helping or hurting you? And more importantly, do you ever think about it? It’s easy to eat whatever we want if we never really think about it. But those choices will show up on your body. The more thought you put into what you buy, what you eat and how much, the more in control of your body you will be. You know whether or not you are making smart choices.
How do you live?
Are you active? Is exercise something you think about daily or do you just dabble with it once in a while and then skip it for weeks at a time? The hardest part about exercise is often just getting started. Once you can get exercise off the ground, you will build momentum and it’s easier to keep it going. So strive to just get into an exercise groove or pattern so it becomes automatic.
Lastly, how honest are you with yourself? Sometimes, chalking how you look up to genetics is just the easy choice. If you blame genetics, you don’t have to change. You don’t have to take ownership for how you look and you keep doing what you are doing. If you decide to see how much control you do have over your weight and how you look instead, you just might embark on an exhilarating journey of lasting change. To be able to change your body with your choices is empowering. You can stand in front of a mirror, like your reflection and know that you did it. You got yourself in shape.
While we do all have different body types, ultimately how we take care of our body is up to us.