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Some of us are looking (and feeling) a bit tatty as we emerge from the mist.

But apart from our how we managed our grooming - anxiety, depression and various mood disorders, along with late diagnosis of underlying health conditions are emerging as well.

Stress and anxiety have risen dramatically throughout the world. From the fear of getting sick, to the worry about vulnerable family members, financial worries and even job loss has played havoc with our emotional well-being. Home schooling and managing inter-personal relationships in confined environments has left many people reeling.

We are all feeling the strain to some extent, and the mounting uncertainty of what is to come, has changed our lives forever.

Comfort eating and sometimes eating out of sheer boredom or confusion is taking its toll on our moral, our waistlines, and our health.

Surely, at a time when we are trying to avoid an invisible virus, the focus should be on optimising our health and doing our best to improve our nutrition and make our bodies an unfriendly place for bugs or illness to survive!

We know this, but, some of us find comfort eating, or over-eating a difficult issue to control.

Eating behaviour is a complex mix of physiological, psychological, social and genetic elements. Genetic factors play a role in influencing meal timing, food intake and satiety, and food preferences. Genetics also influences taste and metabolism.

Hunger is not always the driver that leads us to eat. No wonder this is such a complex and confounding issue!

There are rare genetic mutations associated with obesity, however,it is the genes that have the smaller and combined effects that are common, and cause us much distress.

Having your genes tested, may offer some valuable insight into how to manipulate and personalise your diet to avoid the pitfalls of weight gain and risk for chronic disease.

Did you always suspect you had a 'sweet tooth' gene? Have you been labelled a 'picky eater', or do you have to have a heaped plate of food, in case you 'starve'?

TAS1R2 is indeed, a 'sweet tooth' gene. Twin studies have explained a variance in sweet taste receptors, and TASR38 is a bitter taste gene and some vegetables taste awful to individuals with a high response.

FTO and MC4R predispose you to a larger appetite and fattier food choices.

DRD2 plays a role in the reward processing centre of the mid-brain dopamine circuits and may result in binge eating and comfort eating.

CLOCK genes regulate circadian rhythm in multiple tissues and have a huge role to play in meal timing and energy metabolism.

You could emerge from the mist confident in understanding how your body and brain work, rather than putting yourself down and feeling like a diet 'failure'.

'Health is wealth' and mental health goes hand in hand with physical health. When this combination are in sync, we may become more resilient in this strange new world.


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