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Diet & NutritionFitness

Is Your DNA Keeping You From Getting Your “Perfect Body”?

9 Mins read

Many people aspire to have a perfect body. However, the “perfect” bodies of Instagram influencers – the bodies many of us are envious of – are often not a realistic or accurate representation of an ideal woman’s body. 

Health and fitness influencer Joanna Soh is a personal trainer and nutrition coach with 2.5 million YouTube subscribers who advocates for body positivity and realistic body image expectations.

She explains that many women believe that by following the latest fad diet and exercise regimes, they can look like their favourite influencer, not realizing that the “perfect” bodies they’re seeing on social media are often heavily edited or surgically enhanced.

Soh explains, “The truth is, the bodies we see on social media are more of a fantasy than reality.”

The body image ideals promoted by Instagram influencers are harmful because they’re completely unrealistic. Many of these influencers do not disclose the fact that they’ve edited their photos, nor do they disclose that they’ve had liposuction, breast implants, butt lifts, and other surgical enhancements. 

Instead of disclosing these surgical enhancements and photo editing tricks, many influencers are pretending they achieved their body through a raw vegan diet, a steady workout routine, or healthy living. In other words, unobtainable bodies are being promoted under the guise of health, wellness, fitness and diet.

Our Bodies are Interdependent on our Genetics

Soh wisely points out, “Our bodies are interdependent on our genetics”. She adds that “What we see on social media does not come close to representing the diversity of bodies existing in the real world.”

Because of genetics, some women have petite body types, and other women have a larger bone structure. Our height, body type, shape, frame and size are largely determined by our genetics.

Soh explains, “Some of you were born to be long and lean with low body fat, some of you have an athletic structure, and some of you are curvier with higher body fat.” 

We’re Not Made From a Factory Mold

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Joanna Soh explains that unlike Barbie dolls, “Human beings are not made from a factory mold, and we’re not supposed to all have the same Barbie-shaped bodies.” Soh advocates for the fact that every body is beautiful and unique. 

Despite that fact that your body is genetically predetermined to be a certain shape or size, it is true that you can implement lifestyle changes to somewhat alter your body if that’s your goal. 

“It’s still possible to improve the body you were given, and feel better in it”, explains Soh. 

If you want to improve the body you were born with, for example by losing weight, gaining curves, or toning up, what can you do? Joanna Soh used information about her body that she received through her CircleDNA test results to improve her body. 

How to Use the Information Provided in DNA Test Results to Achieve Your Body Goals

Joanna Soh says, “I wanted to understand my body better, so I did my DNA test with CircleDNA one year ago. Since then, I’ve adapted my diet, exercise and lifestyle according to my genetics. My body has responded really well to these changes.”

“By learning about your genetic predispositions, you will understand your body better, which allows you to make informed decisions about what to eat, what to avoid eating, and what to do for exercise,” she continues.

CircleDNA provides you with information about food sensitivities, the type of diet that is likely to have the best results for your body type, and the type of sports and fitness that suits you best. But what exactly will you find out about your body through DNA tests? How exactly will it help you faster achieve your body goals? Let’s use Joanna Soh’s CircleDNA results as an example:

DNA and Your Body Type: Health and Fitness Influencer Joanna Soh Shares Her DNA Test Results

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As we mentioned, Joanna Soh got her CircleDNA test results one year ago. She’s been using information about her body (based on her DNA) to work towards her health, fitness and body goals. She was more than happy to share her results.

DNA: Body Composition Results

Body composition is the percentage breakdown of a person’s fat mass versus muscle and bone mass. Soh’s test results confirmed that she has increased lean body mass, which means she has a higher metabolism than average. Soh explains, “If your DNA results state that you have a normal lean body mass, that means you might have a slower metabolism than me. You’d therefore have to increase your strength training to increase your lean muscle mass.”

On the other hand, if your DNA test results indicate that you have an exceptionally high lean body mass, this means that you might struggle to gain weight or gain curves. Your DNA is telling you that you need to consume more calories than other body types if you want to see changes.

Optimal Diet Type

CircleDNA will inform you if, based on your DNA, which diet suits your genetics the most. Some people might be suited to a low-fat diet, low carb diet, Mediterranean diet or a healthy balance. This is very important information to be aware of.

Joanna Soh’s results stated that she best suits a healthy balanced diet. This means Soh’s body can tolerate carbs and fats without issues. “Those who have a higher sensitivity to carbs will actually have intense cravings for carbs and sweets. They’ll gain weight easily on a high-carb diet, and their energy tends to be low because energy levels dip after the consumption of carbs.”

Appetite Based on DNA

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One of the key pieces of information provided by CircleDNA is your appetite control based on your genetics. Soh explains, “My results from CircleDNA confirmed that I have low appetite control. This makes total sense, as I’m always still hungry even after I’ve eaten a proper meal. To prevent me from overeating, I tend to eat smaller portions more frequently. Besides that, I add healthy snacks between meals, and I don’t keep any junk food in my home.”

If you have low appetite control, keep less junk food at home. Instead, stock your fridge and cupboards with healthier snacks! This can allow you to indulge without overdoing it on the calories.

Food Sensitivities

CircleDNA informed Joanna Soh that one of her food sensitivities is dairy. She is lactose intolerant. This means that her body will feel bigger and more bloated if she consumes lactose. Soh confirms the test results and explains, “If I consume dairy, I will feel extremely bloated, and sometimes get cramps or diarrhoea. That’s why I swap dairy with soy or nut milk.” 

It’s important to learn about your food sensitivities. For example, if you consume something that makes you feel sick, you’re less likely to go out and exercise.

What DNA Tells You About Your Waist Circumference

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Soh’s DNA results confirmed that she has a normal waist circumference, meaning she’s less likely to struggle with excess belly fat. This is important as Soh explains, “Too much belly fat can be dangerous for your overall health. If your DNA test results suggest you’re more likely to store more fat around the belly, you need to be careful. Focus on doing plenty of core-strengthening exercises, and watch your diet.”

Several genetic mutations have been linked to waist circumference and belly size. Having excess belly fat puts you at higher risk of various health risks such as diabetes and heart disease. 

Stress-Induced Obesity

Your risk of stress-induced obesity is another factor that is largely determined by your DNA. Joanna Soh found out she had an average risk of stress-induced obesity. This means Soh is more likely to maintain a normal appetite even while under stress. If you find you’re genetically prone to have a higher risk of this, don’t worry. It’s up to you to control stress eating and emotional eating. Besides that, find other ways to destress as excess cortisol can lead to weight gain.

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it’s released when you’re stressed. It’s common knowledge that chronically elevated levels of cortisol can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Soh explains, “If you have a higher risk of stress-induced obesity, you might notice these changes. You may put on excess belly fat even though you exercise often and eat right. This is because stress is linked to belly fat. It is crucial to find ways to reduce your stress levels if you want to decrease your belly fat. The CircleDNA app has some great tips on how to decrease your risk of stress-induced obesity.”

Genetics: Persistent Thinness

Just like severe obesity, persistent thinness is a heritable trait. 40 – 70% of our weight is determined by our DNA. Instead of envying your friend who eats a lot and remains slim, don’t. Understand that it’s simply her genetic make-up that allows her to be persistently thin. Who knows? That friend you’re envious of may face other problems like gaining weight. Ironically, she may be jealous of your curves.

Soh points out, “Even if you’re genetically inclined to be persistently thin, bodyweight still largely depends on diet and lifestyle choices. I am less likely to be thin based on my DNA, so I have to work a bit harder to stay on the slim side if that’s my goal.”

Endurance Capacity

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Your endurance capacity is in your genes, and some people were born with a much higher endurance capacity than others. Soh reveals, “My CircleDNA results confirmed that I have a high endurance capacity. This makes sense because I can perform high-intensity workouts and talk at the same time – no problem. Modifying your exercise routine according to your genetics is a clever way to go about exercising.”

How does one modify their exercise routine according to their genetics? Well, someone who has a high endurance capacity written in their DNA knows they can handle longer cardio sessions. They know their muscles are designed to handle high-repetition weight training. Someone with a lower endurance capacity, however, might be more inclined to enjoy a hike in nature with breaks along the way. Once you get to know what your body can and cannot handle, you can design workout routines that you’ll get more excited for, as they suit your body better.

Sleep Habits and Eating Based on DNA

CircleDNA will inform you of your sleep habits, which as you may not know, does impact your eating habits and body weight. Your DNA test results will indicate whether you are likely to be a light sleeper, average sleeper, or deep sleeper. 

Those who are light sleepers and suffer from insomnia might find that their bodies naturally crave more food throughout the day. Why? They feel low energy due to lack of proper sleep, and their bodies try to find energy sources from food. This is one of the reasons why healthy sleep habits are tied to healthier body weights.

If you’re genetically prone to being a deep sleeper, it means that you’re not easily woken up by noises in the night. It is never difficult for you to fall asleep. You tend to experience longer sleep depth. You have stronger delta waves as your brainwave patterns tend to easily become slower for longer. This means you’ll likely have more energy throughout the day after a restful night’s sleep, and you’ll be less likely to crave more energy fuel in the form of more calories.

Joanna Soh explains, “My CircleDNA test indicated that I am a deep sleeper. This is true. I can fall asleep within 5 minutes or less, and I am very difficult to wake up. I tend to have nice, deep, long sleeps. Even the duration of sleep you need is based on your genes, because those who are deep sleepers tend to have better sleeps and can get by with only 7 hours of sleep per night, since the quality of their sleep was so good. I am lucky to naturally be a good sleeper, as lack of sleep increases the risk of weight gain and impacts your overall well-being.”

Cellulite Formation

Based on your genetic results, you might find out that you have a higher or lower risk of cellulite formation on your body. It’s important to remember, however, that the “perfect” body is not cellulite-free. Cellulite is normal and many social media influencers airbrush their photos so that their cellulite is not visible in photos. 

Soh discloses, “I have a higher tendency of cellulite formation. I have cellulite, especially on the back of my thighs, and even on my arms. It does not go away, even with diet and exercise. After learning that this is ingrained in my DNA, I learned to embrace it. I’m no longer self-conscious wearing shorts. I have cellulite, and it’s okay.” 

Don’t Blame it on Your Genes: Lifestyle Changes will Greatly Impact and Alter the Body 

Although your genetics play a role in your body’s shape and size, and impact how good or poor your metabolism is, that doesn’t mean you should throw your hands in the air and give up trying if you weren’t blessed with great genes. 

Your lifestyle choices play a huge part on your body’s appearance. For example, it’s a lifestyle choice to keep your cupboards free of unhealthy junk food, and exercise self-control at restaurants. 

If you’re not blessed with the best genes in terms of body type, metabolism or waist circumference, you can still improve your body with hard work, healthy living and healthy eating. 

“Just remember,” Soh says, “Every body is different, and every body is beautiful.” 

Keep your body goals realistic, and remember that the “perfect body” is not measured by the unrealistic beauty standards that you see on social media. 


If you want to use your DNA results to help guide your body goal efforts through eating and exercising in a way that suits your specific body type, order your CircleDNA testing kit today and learn what your body needs you to modify or alter based on what’s written in your unique DNA. To sweeten the deal: Use Joanna’s promo code JOANNA33 for 33% off any kit!

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Erica Gordon
47 posts

About author
Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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