Q&A w/Stephanie Solaris: How Lifestyle Affects Weight Loss & Health

Q: Does my lifestyle affect weight loss and my health?

A: YES! How you spend your day, what you do, think, ingest and surround yourself with has the ability to alter and impact your health and change the expression of your DNA.

We may be born genetically pre-disposed to certain things like cholesterol, diabetes and so on, however, the way we choose to live each day either increases the expression of our genes OR decreases the expression of our genes.  This has been the topic of many articles in the last few years and was THE topic of discussion at Dr. Jeffrey Bland’s seminar (the ‘father’ of functional medicine) this past weekend.


Dr. Bland illustrated that “genes are plastic in the way they are expressed.  They can be changed. We don’t have the ability to dial in new genes, but what we have the power to do is dial in a new environment”. A great example of how a city’s change in environment can alter the expression of a generation of peoples genes and alter their health is in Hong Kong.  Dr. Bland explained that the Type II diabetes seminar he did there in 1980 was not effective because they didn’t even know what it was!  20 years later they invited him back to speak, citing that Type II diabetes was now a leading health issue for Hong Kong.  With the advent of fast food in Hong Kong, the genes of the city didn’t change; it was the environment that changed which then altered the expression of those genes.

Likewise, identical twins exposed to the same stressful situation may perceive the outcome in two completely different ways.   Person-1 may perceive the outcome as positive while Person-2 may perceive the experience as negative and relive that negative experience daily.  The stress that Person-2 undergoes daily will certainly alter their stress level, their metabolism and the way they internally process new information and foods.

Another more obvious environmental factor affecting our genetic code is the endocrine disruptors found in things like plastic bottles and pesticides used in the food we eat.   According to New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, scientists found that some of the adverse health defects that result from exposure to these chemicals include ‘genital abnormalities in boys, misshaped sexual organs and cancer in girls.’  The scary part is that these newborns seem fine at birth.   In addition to the defects, scientists believe that endocrine disruptors also play a role in obesity, affecting thyroid and metabolism.  Kristof goes on to say ‘everyone is exposed’ however there are ways around it.

1. Eat healthy and eat organic.

If our bodies don’t recognize the chemicals we are consuming in many of the fast foods and prepared foods that are available to us today, our bodies and genes will adapt in a negative way and will not thrive, resulting in disease.  In addition, a great deal of these chemicals are used in agricultural pesticides, so eat organic when at all possible. Eat a healthy, balanced nutrition plan that is right for you.  If you have not been successful at this, seek out a health care provider that will support your overall health journey.

2. Drink filtered water and drink out of metals bottles rather than plastic bottles.

3. Breathe, take some time for yourself and laugh!

Studies have shown that taking 10 minutes a day in silence will increase your happiness.  It’s also been long known that meditation and or ‘breath work’ can effectively decrease stress and improve your health.  In one study published in the July/August 2003 edition of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers found that people who did eight weeks of meditation training produced more antibodies than a flu vaccine.  Participants in this study who meditated also showed more signs of increased activity in brain areas related to positive emotion than people who didn’t meditate.

Dr. Mercola sites other research which has shown that meditation can be useful for a variety of ailments including:

  • Stress, tension, anxiety and panic
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Fatigue
  • Skin disorders
  • Mild depression
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Look at life and situations with a perspective that provides you with love and relief.  If you can’t find that perspective, have a friend or professional help you.

How you age and the quality of your health is in your hands!  It’s all about the choices you make each moment of each day.  Practice. Practice. Practice.




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