Karen is an Eating Psychology Coach. She is the creator of the Conscious Eating Programme: Changing your thoughts about food to transform your body and your life.
Find out more about Karen's work here.
For many years I have enjoyed teaching the ‘nature-nurture’ theories to my students and listening to their debates in the classroom. In recent years we have seen huge advances in human genetics, with the mapping of the Human Genome complete. Now, the scientific evidence is clear: your genes are not your destiny. In fact, your genes cause less than 10% of all diseases.
Traditionally, we have been brought up with genetic determinism which means that we can get information about how our genes are expressed, along with statistics telling us how likely it is for us to develop a number of diseases and there’s nothing we can do about it. But we now know, that genes don’t determine anything by themselves.
Enter the latest science of Epigenetics, which is the study of how our environment affects our genes and it’s far more accurate in determining our health. Epi means above, so Epigenetics means control above the genes.
I have been following the work of Bruce Lipton, Ph.D author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Power and Miracles, for many years and his work tells us that our genes are just ‘blueprints’. They don’t just turn on and off as they have no self-control. They are turned on through some form of action. This action is called the environment and our perception of the environment. So, it’s not just the physical environment in which our genes exist, more importantly it’s our mental, emotional thought processes, our perceptions that control our genes. This new science is important because we are now no longer victims of our genes.
We can change our mental environment by changing our perceptions. As Lipton puts it, we can go from victim to master. He explains that the nervous system is between the environment and the cells, so it’s not just perception, but our interpretation of the environment. As we know, two people can be in exactly the same environment, with exactly the same information coming in, but it’s how that information is interpreted by both individuals which makes the difference in how the information is read by the body. According to Lipton “Perception is converted into the chemistry released by the brain, which then goes to the cells and, via epigenetics, controls the genes.” It is this mind-body connection that ultimately determines which secretions come out of the brain.
When we’re in love, dopamine, oxytocin and growth hormones are released, all positively affecting the body. Conversely, when that same person perceives a fearful situation, cortisol and other inflammatory stress hormones are released causing cells to shut down their growth and die. The result is two different biologies. What environment are your genes living in? When it comes to your health, are you going to be a victim or a master? Easier said than done I hear you say.
A recent study by the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds found that changes in gene expression occur very quickly when subjects used intensive ‘mindfulness’ strategies, such as meditation which is part of my Conscious Eater programmes.
I work with people who are struggling with their eating habits or have an unhealthy relationship with food. I coach individuals using a combination of modern brain science and ancient wisdom. As you have seen, your beliefs are stronger than your genes so if you want to change the way you think about food to transform your body and your life, I run monthly Introduction to Conscious Eating one-day workshops where you can experience a ‘mindful eating’ lunch and I offer a range of coaching programmes. Call Karen, Eating Psychology Coach at The Conscious Eater on 07804 529371 for your free 30 minute Discovery consultation.