THE BLOG
05/21/2014 07:39 pm ET | Updated Jul 21, 2014

How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better Life

Contrary to popular belief, our DNA is not our destiny, in fact, 80 percent of how we age is determined by how we behave. We do not inherit bad genes or bad luck, just bad habits! Should I eat those chips or should I reach for a nutrient dense apple? We all know that choices matter, but how much... really? The answer is actually much more than you might think, enough to change your biology and the expression of your genes. The ever evolving science of "epigenetics" supports the theory that the hundreds of decisions we make every day (and night) shape our future in very significant ways.

"Epigenetics" is the science of how the expression of our genes is modified by our environments. This dynamic process results in very real changes in the activity of our genes, which occur every day. Our behaviors and choices 'turn on' or 'turn off' gene regulation activity by what foods we choose to eat, the sleep we enjoy (or the lack of it!), and how we choose to handle stress. All of these decisions and choices have a very real and significant impact on our physical and mental health and wellbeing, affecting our energy levels, as well as our personal, professional, and athletic performance.

We do indeed inherit our DNA with a genetic code that determines certain of our unique characteristics, such as our eye and hair color, as well as many other traits and propensities for disease. Yes, we can choose to go to the salon and change our hair color temporarily, yet we will have made no impact on our biology for hair color. We can buy a fabulous pair of heels and change the appearance of our height, yet we will return to our original height when we remove our shoes. However, incredibly, we CAN biologically modify the expression of our genes and therefore meaningfully improve our health, well-being, mood and our ability to prevent disease, simply by making better choices in our lives.

Beyond, improving our own lives we can even pass along these genetic improvements to our offspring! This is called epigenetic inheritance. We have enormous power to improve our lives and the lives of subsequent generations by choosing to eat healthier food, getting higher-quality sleep, and exercising regularly.

We all want to look and feel great and get the most out of life. We want to be the best version of ourselves. A new handbag or hot lipstick will give us a temporary boost, yet a "Medical Makeover" has enduring effects with transformative results.

"Medical Makeover" is a proven-method with an actionable plan that has transformed the lives of thousands of my patients, allowing them to achieve their life goals of optimal health, improved interpersonal relationships, and peak professional and athletic performance. "Medical Makeover's" 5-point plan promotes the concept that "self care IS healthcare."

The "Medical Makeover" 5-point plan is the ultimate lifestyle prescription in achieving optimal health of mind and body.

1. Eat Healthy: Choose to eat high-quality foods to fuel the demands of every-day life. Eating non-processed foods that are nutrient dense will support a healthy immune system, improve your skin's appearance, improve mental and physical energy as well as help you prevent acute and chronic diseases (eg. the flu, diabetes, and even cancer). Think lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit and plenty of water for hydration!

2. Exercise: We sit too much! Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Commit to regular exercise a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week. A combination of aerobic conditioning (walking counts!) and strength training is best. You will notice and benefit from immediate results, including better circulation, improved immune function, better sleep, improved heart health and increased self-esteem!

3. Sleep: We are all wired and tired. Sleep is the undervalued pillar of our health stories. You will experience significant and immediate benefits from "powering down" an hour before bedtime. Turn off your electronic devices (TV too!), thereby allowing your brain to unplug and prepare for high-quality restorative sleep. Sleep provides you with a reservoir of resilience against life's challenges (e.g. stress) and promotes weight-loss.

4. Manage your Stress: We all have it. How you choose to manage it makes all the difference. Exercise, deeper breathing and meditation are all effective in helping us cope with the effects of stress. For example, take five deep breaths before breakfast, lunch and dinner to reset your nervous system. This simple technique connects our emotional and physical bodies.

5. Manage your [De]Vices: We all look for a quick fix. We are tempted to "check-out" when we should "check in." We pour that extra glass of wine to relax, not remembering that it will decrease the quality of our sleep in addition to raising our blood sugar levels, a major contributor to inflammation. Instead, schedule a relaxing massage or go for an hour-long walk in the park with your favorite music. These are better choices that will improve your physical and mental health and give you an authentic sense of well-being.

We can nurture our nature in powerful ways. I strongly encourage you to take responsibility for the quality of your life by making good choices to support your dreams of living your best life. So many people have, and so can you!

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