When it comes to the issue of “family dynamics” and “health,” it’s a great idea to have a therapist and life coach on hand for perspective and encouragement. Of course, it was an honor to help our ladies, this week on Mission Makeover; so I thought I’d share my advice on this subject with all of you as well!

Simply put, first thing you need to understand is this…When it comes to family and transforming yourself into your healthiest you, there are two sets of variables are at play: There are social/emotional dynamics and there are genetics.

SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DYNAMICS

Each one of you — and each of our contestants — have a complex, very specific history, and several challenging-to-difficult family relationships. How do I know this? Because, none of us are spared from family drama. All families are made up of diverse members and situations that are positive, negative, or both; and all families have secrets, skeletons, triumphs, disappointments, traumas, and both positive and negative influences. If you ever look at someone else’s family and think, “Man, they have it all…what a perfect family,” you’re wrong. Trust me on this! There is no such thing as a perfect family. There’s nothing even close.

That said, my advice when it comes to social/emotional connections with family and obtaining your health goals are relatively simple and universal:

  • Embrace support and ignore negativity and skepticism about what you are capable of. (Of course, you can change your life and become healthier.)
  • Continually keep your eye on the prize. (Improved health, esteem, energy, longevity and quality of life.)
  • Maintain your sense of humor.
  • Understand that all family members have their own agendas when it comes to your health and transformation; and know that if you can’t find encouragement within your family, you can find it from myriad other sources. (Friends, support groups, the internet, books, movies, one-on-one trainers, nutritionists, and life coaches/counselors, and of course, Mission Makeover.)

GENETICS

But what about non-social issues? What about your family’s role, when it comes to genetics — what you’ve inherited biologically. You can’t help what you’re born with, right?

Well, in my experience — professionally and personally — you can almost always take steps to improve your health. One of my mantras is, “Life is 10 percent what you get and 90 percent how you respond to it.” That certainly applies when it comes to outsmarting your genes, doesn’t it?

We’ve all seen stories documenting how healthy, mindful nutrition and exercise help people control, improve, and even eliminate certain genetic conditions and predispositions. And we’ve all been inspired by folks who have participated in all kinds of athletic events and competitions despite severe health conditions, impediments, and other misfortunes.

Now, of course, not everyone is cut from the same cloth; and I’m not suggesting that you participate in anything that doesn’t feel right to you. But, I’m also asking that you please not use whatever obstacles you’re born with or into as an excuse to neglect your health. If anything (listen carefully), I want you to start to develop a take-charge attitude in the face of adversity.

Right now, I challenge you to shift your perspective. Instead of thinking, “This is what I was dealt. It’s too hard, so why bother?” start thinking, “Despite what I was dealt, I’m going to persevere and overcome.” Everyone who has succeeded in anything has issues and obstacles that stood in their way. Not some people; EVERY SINGLE ONE. If they can do it, why can’t you?

Are you familiar with the gorgeous lotus flower? Do you know it has a cult following? Here’s why: The murkier and muddier the lotus’ environment, the more beautifully it blooms. My friends, be the lotus flower. Whatever you come from, whatever you’re made of, choose to blossom. When you do, you’ll be the proudest and most appreciative of them all.

Until next week,

Dr. Jessica