Could you really think yourself thin?
What about combat disease?
Could you build muscle simply by focusing your mind on doing so?
Epigenetics is a concept that researchers are very interested in as it could hold promising hope for those who have been dealt a bad hand of cards, so to speak, in the genetics category.
The word epigenetic essential means ‘in addition to changes in genetic sequence’ according to the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.
You may think that is quite a mouthful. In simplistic terms, it refers to any process that will alter gene activity without having to actually change the DNA sequence of the cells.
Basically, this is a chance in your phenotype without a change in your genotype. Phenotype being observable traits or biochemical characteristics that are based on an individual’s environmental and genetic factors.
These changes are influenced by a number of factors including age, your lifestyle choices, the environment you live in, as well as certain states of disease.
If you’re still asking yourself what is epigenetics, check out this video where I explain it into greater detail.
So the question remains, can you really changes your genes? The biology of belief is very powerful and when you believe something to be true, very often, as you may have noticed in your own life so far, that truth can start to manifest itself.
For instance, let’s say you believed you were going to fail an exam you had to write. You strongly believed that no matter what you did, you were destined to fail.
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How would this impact your desire to study? Chances are, you wouldn’t really feel much like it. You’d probably think, ‘what’s the point – I’m going to fail anyway, so I might as well not waste my time!’
So this then leads you not to study. But anyone who doesn’t study is going to have a higher probability of failing because they just haven’t learned the information they need to.
But because you believed you were going to fail from the outset, that belief became your new reality.
There are many situations that occur this way. Let’s say you firmly belief that you are not attractive and will never get a date. How will this impact your confidence if you were to ask someone out? Chances are you’d come across as very unconfident and that more than anything else, will impact the outcome.
Likewise, let’s say you want a promotion at work. But, you don’t believe you will ever get one. As such, you never ask for one. Will someone come out and hand you that promotion? Likely not. But if you voiced that you felt you wanted more challenge and were ready and willing to advance your career, that may have led to another outcome.
All of these are examples of how you mind can shape your future. But, what about your body?
The Biology Of Belief
Can you really think yourself thin? That is the question.
While there’s no doubt that you can’t magically wish away pounds of fat, you must not overlook the power that what you think has over your body weight.
For instance, ever met a dieter who always seems to be trying new diets (and equally as often, is falling off those plans)?
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Why do you think they are not seeing the results they want and achieving a healthy body weight?
Chances are good it’s because after so many previous failed attempts, they don’t really believe they are going to be able to get the results they are looking for. This may, even on a subconscious level, be causing them to hold back their effort or sabotage their own results.
Perhaps they aren’t really trying all that hard to lose weight because in the back of their minds, they know that it’s not a worthwhile cause. It just won’t happen to them.
So while they state they may be going on that diet and they very well may be, they aren’t really positioning themselves – in their mind – to see results on it.
This is powerful stuff. You will attract what you think and this can in turn change your biology.
Can You Change Your Genes
Let’s look at another example of how this can work and how you can impact your body on a more physical level.
Take Derrick. Derrick is a naturally overweight individual who has had a very hard time losing on any body weight. As a child, he was always the chubby one of the group and the same carried into his teenage years.
Now, at the ripe age of 21, he wants to take charge. He wants to get fit, get lean, and get healthy.
As he begins his exercise program, he starts implanting a number of strategies he reads about.
- He starts eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
- He ensures that he’s eating a lean source of protein with each meal
- He removes all added sugars from his plan
- He participates in strenuous interval training
- He lifts weights 3-4 times per week
As all of this is happening, he begins to start seeing the weight come off. Great right?
There’s more. What’s really unique about this situation is that as he’s making these changes, his body is changing on a physical level as well.
While initially he may have started out with high levels of insulin resistance (which essentially made gaining weight very easy for him), now, with all of these changes, he’s become more insulin sensitive.
Meaning, his body is become more prone to staying lean. He no longer becomes the ‘fat guy in the room’, but instead, is someone who can naturally maintain his body weight.
Sure, he may never be the guy who can eat anything he wants and never gain a pound, but provided he keeps up his efforts, his body has now been conditioned to remain leaner and healthier overall. He has, more or less, changed his genetic background to some degree.
While this example is being given with regards to losing fat, you can apply this same principle to many other areas of your health.
If you want to build muscle? The more muscle you build through positive thinking and continual effort, the more likely your body is to maintain that muscle through both the good habits you’ve built as well as the changes to your body’s strength and ability to withstand the continual stimulus that weight lifting provides.
Essentially, the body becomes it’s function.
Take a runner for instance. If you’ve never run a step in your life, there’s a good chance that first run is going to feel pretty brutal. You’ll be out there, running away and just praying it’s over soon. Your muscles ache, your joints ache, and fatigue sets in.
But as you keep at it, soon you’ll be able to run further and further distances. What’s more is that your cells are changing a well. For instance, your bones will actually be growing stronger. With all that stress being continually placed on the bone joints, they will remodel themselves, growing back stronger than they were before.
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This can then result in less pain, less risk of injury, and you enjoying yourself a lot more while performing that exercise. Before you know it, you may actually find that you are signing up to complete your very first marathon race.
You’re now in love with the activity of running and your body has adapted so that you can better handle those longer distances. If you think back to your very first day out on that run, there is no way that you would have ever experienced such a thing.
So there you have a closer look on how you can use biofeedback, your belief systems, and changes to your lifestyle and environment to impact your genes.
Epigenetics is the study of how all of these interact to impact your genetic make-up and research has now suggested that there are a number of genes that can be influenced in this manner.
While you will never change who you are at the core of your genetic make-up, you can shape yourself to become closer to what you want to be. That is the real message here that you need to know and remember.
You are not destined to be a certain way if you don’t have to be. Through hard work, persistence, and some knowledge, you can mold your body and direct your future.
Do you have an experience with this that you would like to share? Have you taken steps to outsmart genetics and become something that you’d never thought you’d be?
Comment below and share your story with us.
Weinhold, Bob. “Epigenetics: the science of change.” Environmental Health Perspectives 114.3 (2006): A160.