What's Heredity and Genetics Have to Do with Weight?
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What's Heredity and Genetics Have to Do with Weight?

There is more to a healthy diet and adequate exercise than meets the eye. I came across an article this week that reminded me how intricate heredity and our systems from conception are. Heredity can determine the effects of biochemical reactions on our bodies making a significant difference across all systems. It affects our learning, troubleshooting skills, balance, coordination, readiness of the body to burn fat instead of muscle, recruitment of muscle fibers, and our emotional/psychological affects. How do heredity factors influence our body systems? Can we change it or are we stuck with it? Are we a product of our genetics or do the decisions we make determine our destiny?

Our movement patterns are genetically programmed early in life. Watch children and their parents together. Even though young children imitate their parents purposely, teenagers do not. It's when the teenagers have the same or similar mannerisms to their parents can you see how genetics affects movement patterns. The tricky part is that a person has half of the chromosomes from each parent.That means you will see a bit of both parents in your child!

Our diets along with our exercise habits can either program our bodies to store more body fat and determine our body type, but it can also affect our ability to learn, reason, and absorb information, as well as set us up for diseases such as cancer, thyroid diseases, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, heart disease, among many others. Our predisposition toward developing these diseases are in our genetics, but it doesn't mean we will get them if we begin living a healthy lifestyle.

Also, our own diet and exercise can affect our children and our children's children! According to Jonathan Ross of ACE Fitness, "The majority of obesity we see today does not come from genetic determinism or mutations, as previously thought, but rather from harmful environmental factors that force good genes to behave badly by switching them on and off at the wrong time." (Ross, 2016) Our lifestyles can affect our health down to the genome level, either for good or bad.

When we eat healthy and exercise regularly, we not only do it for ourselves, but also for our children and our grandchildren! What we eat and what we do turns on and off genetic coding passed down to our children and grandchildren. (Ross, 2016)  According to Harvard University, " our genes are not our destiny: Many people who carry these so-called “obesity genes” do not become overweight, and healthy lifestyles can counteract these genetic effects." (Harvard) Think of hashtags on the internet, but in our bodies. We can place positive or negative "tags", depending on our living patterns that switch certain genes on or off. It's our choice and our legacy we leave behind for future generations.

We may have the genetic propensity toward obesity, but we don't have to be obese! This brings new thought to the sins of the fathers will affect the next three to four generations (Exodus 34:7!  Even though we are not considered guilty for the sins previously committed by generations before us, we are affected by them (Ezekiel 18:19-20). Gluttony and laziness (slothfulness) are sins! We certainly don't hear sermons or Bible studies address these topics (Proverbs 23:2, Proverbs 28:7, Proverbs 23:21, Proverbs 12:24, Ecclesiastes 10:18), but you can find them in God's Word!  We don't need to put a knife to our throats, as Proverbs 23:2 says. It's all up to us whether we continue the sinful patterns of previous generations, or change them. We can create a healthy legacy for generations to come, but it takes persistence to develop a healthy lifestyle!

Here are some ways you can positively affect your genetics:

  • Immediately change what you eat. Press yourself to stick to new eating patterns even when the cravings are tough. 
  • Develop an active lifestyle now! Begin with doing work around your home and yard like pushing the lawn mower, raking leaves, powering up your steps, broom sweeping hard floor surfaces, tilling and planting your own garden, washing and waxing your car, etc. Stop telling or paying someone else to do it for you.
  • Turn on music with a dance-able beat! Sing your heart out and dance to it while you clean the house!
  • Develop a joyful attitude! Write down blessings God has given you then post them where everyone can see them. Invite the rest of your family to join you in your Joy.
  • Develop an exercise plan that fits into your lifestyle. Be sure it includes activities you like instead of ones you hate.
  • Get your children eating healthy foods with you. Make them fun and tasty! Involve them in the food prep. 
  • Keep only healthy food available in your home. Ditch pre-prep foods in favor of DIY foods. Make sure you have fruit and veggies handy to grab for snacks.
  • Get outdoors with your children. Play ball, ride bikes, rollerblade, go on nature hikes, shoot hoops together. Not only do they learn to enjoy physical activity, you also build a strong bond with them!
  • Encourage your children to physically play. Limit activities that encourage sitting for long periods of time.
  • Make household chores fun for your kids. Turn them into a game.

Over time, you will begin to see a shift in your mood, you body, and your family. Don't expect everyone to hop on board with you right away. It will take time before you catch them doing what you do and eating what you eat.Switch those good genes on! Remember, you are not only doing it for  yourself, but also for future generations.

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