Every time I ask a client this question, the answer is always definitive! People know exactly which side of the “wrapper” they’re on.
My answer – I’m a whole chocolate type of person. I can say that easily now, without resentment for myself, without judging myself or without feeling guilty. But you know, this wasn’t always the situation. For so many years, probably decades I beat myself up because I wasn’t the 1-block of chocolate person. Why didn’t I have more willpower, why couldn’t I be more disciplined, why was it so hard to only have 1 block of chocolate? What the heck was wrong with me?
Can you relate to this conversation? And maybe it’s not chocolate. Maybe it’s something else, maybe it’s cashews or chips or ice-cream or maybe it’s not even food. Maybe it’s TV or shopping or Facebook – where you just can’t get enough, you can’t seem to stop yourself. Somehow a little just never seems enough to be satisfied.
What I’ve always known intuitively but now understand scientifically is that this is not just about feeling full. It’s about feeling satisfied and if you’re like me, one block of chocolate just won’t do it. But why?
It has to do with the genetic expression of genes like DRD2, FTO and COMP. My mentor and dear friend, Dr. Mansoor Mohammed, a world-renowned geneticist explained the following to me when I had my genetic profile tested last year. Certain of these gene expressions result in either less dopamine being produced or fewer dopamine receptors available resulting in diminished dopamine binding or if you’ve hit the “genetic jackpot” like me, there is a combination of both of these at play.
This affects amongst other things the reward circuit in your brain where your sense of pleasure or satisfaction is managed (or not). The end result – diminished intensity of the pleasure response. Meaning…someone with this gene expression (like the person writing this blog ) would need more chocolate that another person with the opposite gene expression to experience a similar level of satisfaction. This “weakened” gene expression could also increase the likelihood of developing unhealthy eating or addictive behaviors.
So how does all this information help if it’s something we cannot control?
- It sheds light and understanding on our natural patterns and behaviors. In my case it helped explain, in part, my struggle with an eating disorder for nearly two decades. I saw based on scientific evidence that there is far more to this struggle than the apparent lack of will power, self-discipline or motivation.
- From a practical standpoint it confirmed the critical importance of what I intuitively have done and recommended for decades – develop specific strategies around portion control, create a healthy food environment at home and have a plan for when you eat out to help manage the “whole chocolate bar” dilemma.
The good news is that there are multiple, simple strategies you can adopt to manage your portions and health so your genes don’t affect your jeans.
In Part 2 of ‘What’s your eating profile?’ I’ll share by top 5 strategies with you.
Until next week – embrace your inner truth, live your purpose and make your contribution in the world today.
With gratitude and appreciation,