Round 1: Food VS Brain: Who will win?
Planning your food seems like such a simple thing. You write down all the food you are planning to eat the next day. Then, the next day, you just eat what is on your plan…. and WAALAAA! Instant weight loss success… if only this darn brain of mine didn’t come up with some pretty convincing change of plans.
My brain is designed to look out for all the dangers in the world. A change in routine would constitute danger to my brain. So, it goes to work to convince me that eating a salad for lunch is just plain dumb. I would feel so much better with the usual – a nice burger and fries.
Most of us agree with our brains without much more persuasion than that. A burger and fries, please! I’ll start my diet again tomorrow.
But, then we start catching on to that trickery of our brain. We deny our brain’s request for the burger and fries. So, our brains turn it up a notch – increasing desire until we give in. I’ll start my diet on Monday.
This same pattern happens over and over again. Our brain keeps leveling up the intensity and urgency of the desire. We keep giving in… reinforcing our brain’s tactics. It is like we have been held hostage by that salad, and only our brain can rescue us from the situation.
The truth is, we need to rescue ourselves from our brains. Changing habits is hard. Your brain doesn’t like it. But, you have to sit with those urges and desires. You can’t give into them. Eat your salad. Your brain will throw an all out temper tantrum that would rival a 3 year old princess wanting an ice cream cone. But, when you don’t give in, the brain eventually learns that salad may just be alright… after about 50 urges, your brain will step up and agree with you that salads are amazing, your weight loss is amazing, and WAAAAAALAAA! Weight loss is in the bag.
Round 1 goes to the Salad!
Dexter called it his “Dark Passenger”.
I call mine the Darkness.
We all have it. It is that place deep, down inside our minds that will take control if we let it.
It protects us in times of extreme danger. It allows us to do what we need to do to survive.
But, sometimes, we don’t put it away. We didn’t mean to let it back out. We didn’t even see it coming. The Darkness can consume you. It turns on you. Instead of protecting you, it destroys you.
Many of us have unleashed our Darkness.
It may take you fast… when you just can’t find the reason to get out of bed again.
But, it takes many of us slowly. One drink becomes two… three… four… the entire bottle. One piece of pizza becomes five… six… the entire pie. One cookie becomes three… five… the entire batch.
One day, we wake up and wonder what happened. How did we get here? And, how do we get back? The Darkness has creeped into every shadow, every corner of your life.
But, there is good news. You can control the Darkness. It may take some time. It has been years since you were the one in charge.
But, never lose hope. The Darkness can be extinguished by building your inner light. Strengthen your belief in yourself and find the way back.
It won’t happen overnight. There is no quick fix. Your darkness is powerful; you designed it that way. Now, it is time to craft your Light.
Worry is defined as: a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
Worry is about what might or might not happen.
Worry is about tomorrow.
Worry is not serving you.
Some mothers feel they are not good mothers if they are not worrying about their children.
Does worrying help your children? I know my worries about my kids’ grades did not help them pass.
Does worrying serve you as a mom? I know my worries about my kids’ grades turned me into an ogre. I was trying to control something out of my control.
Worrying about our children is counterproductive. Guide them instead.
Worrying about the future is counterproductive. Plan for the future instead.
Worrying about problems is counterproductive. Look for a solution instead.
Worrying is a useless endeavor.
Change your perspective.
Worry is not serving you.
What do you want to see happen in your life? What do you want to change?
The moment you decide to change, there is a problem.
The problem is when you decide to be different, to change, your brain has 1000 excuses to stay the same.
Change is not comfortable. It is messy and hard.
Have you ever gone to the gym in January? You have to wait half an hour to get on a treadmill.
Have you ever gone to the gym in March? You have all 30 treadmills to yourself.
Only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are kept. We have good intentions.
Excuses…. Excuses…. Excuses
Your motivation has to come from your “why”. Why do you want this change?
Your “why” has to be compelling enough to overcome the excuses.
I know I’ve been working towards my goal for 10 months with no success.
I haven’t achieved it.
SO WHAT?! Do these thoughts get me any closer to my goal? Um, no. What I’m NOT going to do is quit on myself. No more excuses.
Just do it. No excuses. Just go.
Have you ever thought you would be really good at something? I mean really good at something? Like there is no doubt in you mind good at something?
So, as any logical, passionate human would do, you pursue that something. You put your heart, mind, and soul trying to get there.
And, just when you are about to reach your something… so close you can taste it… BOOM! You fall flat on your face. You pull a big ol’ FAIL.
You are devastated. How could this even happen to you? You were so sure this was your path… your road to your dreams… your destiny. And, you blew it.
*failure is ok*
Wait! What?! What do you mean ‘failure is ok’? Don’t you understand my life is over? My dreams are crushed?
*failure is ok*
I DON’T THINK YOU ARE HEARING ME! I FAILED! THAT MEANS MY SOMETHING IS NOW NOTHING!
*failure is not the end. it is just a bump in the road. keep going. learn from your mistake and move onward and upward.*
Really?! You think I can still reach my something?
I CAN do this! So what I had one little fail. I’m a stronger person because of it. I will push forward. I will be magnificent at my something… and I will enjoy my journey there.
Have you ever attempted to do something you’ve never done before? Like a big something. Like something you never even imagined in your wildest dreams you would do.
Some call it a leap of faith. Some call it reckless, a fool’s errand. Some call it evolution.
Doing something bigger than yourself is both exciting and terrifying. Most of us get to that terrifying part and turn back. We go back to the safety of what we know, what is comfortable.
That big something turns into just a thought, a passing fancy.
But, it is what you were meant to do. You feel it deep down in your soul. Stop waiting.
It will never be “the right time”.
It will never be perfect.
Your ducks will never be lined up in a row.
Just take the first step toward your dream. Today. Right now.
You can’t stay stagnant. You need to grow, to evolve, to become the person you’ve only dreamed of becoming.I
It is time to GO BIG. Because, you can’t go home again.
Sometimes, we get bogged down into doing the same routine day in and day out.
Every week brings the same chores, the same driving kids around, the same work routines.
We get stuck in apathy.
Apathy is defined as “a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern. Apathy is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation, or passion.”
Life becomes empty of meaning.
We rationalize it by renaming it… Too busy. Taking care of my family. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. It is an illusion: a distraction.
This world is dying to know who you are.
Find your gift, or rediscover it.
Share it with the world.
Be generous by sharing your gift with others.
Expect nothing in return.
Wake up with a purpose.
Do one thing everyday that reignites your spiritual fire.
It will require faith.
Use what you have to bless the world.
What is your gift?
Of all the things I’ve learned from my coach, I think the Thought Downloads are right up there at the top in my list of favorites.
It really is a simple process. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes each day (unless I’ve had a whopper of a day and have tons to write). But, it gets all of those thoughts out that loop in my head endlessly!
Thought Downloads are simply writing down your thoughts about your day (or whatever you want to write about). I usually write about how I want to handle things in the future as well.
Here is an example. I was frustrated with a few people at work already one morning. One of them said something flat out rude to me. Normally, I would find that interesting and wonder what was going on in their world to make them behave that way. But, instead… I reacted… all of my filters came crashing down, and I spewed “word vomit” right back at them. I made that person cry.
Whoa! These days, I don’t do that. That was my old way to settle conflict – be meaner than the other person. Where did that vicious reaction come from?
When I got home, I did a Thought Download about it. It helped me release all the guilt I felt for being so mean. More so, it helped me realize WHY I did it in the first place. Knowing the reason behind it allowed me to fix the error in my thinking, assuring it won’t happen again.
Thought Downloads: I highly recommend them.
Although I am all about my routines and staying in my comfort zone, spontaneity, excitement, and a change of scenery is refreshing once in a while.
Cut, dye, or style your hair differently.
Volunteer your time.
Paint your nails a bold color.
Adopt a dog.
Get a tattoo.
Travel somewhere you’ve never been.
Read a book in a different genre. (I know… we are living the vida loca now!)
But, spontaneity should not be a part of making your food selections when trying to lose weight. Your food should be planned… 24 hours in advance. Joy and excitement shouldn’t be coming from your food.
Plan your food… make it boring even. Make your food be part of your routine. Heck, add your eating time to your calendar.
Look for pleasure in other areas of your life instead.
Find your joy in your life – not in your food.
In polite company, we don’t talk about politics or religion… or about nutrition. Let’s face it. 1 in 3 of us are having to deal with being overweight – and so are many of our kids. You can find expert advice on how to lose that weight on every street corner – a dime a dozen. But, what no one talks about is the emotional addiction to that food. We use food in our culture to celebrate. We reward our children with treats. When most of us think about food, it makes us happy.
I recently watched a video of Dr. David Kessler explaining the science behind this emotional attachment to food in “The End of Overeating”. Basically, sugar, fat, and salt in combinations trigger the pleasure center in our brain. Americans’ diet over the last four decades has increased tremendously in those three ingredients with the processing of our foods. Those foods, in turn, act like a drug – stimulating our brain.
The power of the food addiction (I know, no one likes the word “addiction”, but there it is) doesn’t necessarily come from the food itself. We are driven (much like Pavlov’s dog) by stimuli all around us. Anticipation is powerful. It is the smell of the pizza when I walk into Costco that gets me in trouble – long before I actually see or taste said pizza. As a matter of fact, the very thought of going to Costco makes my taste buds start watering.
So, really, those of us that are wanting to lose weight need to deal with the emotions of eating first. Changing how we think about food – and feel about food – is a necessity if we want to lose the weight and actually keep it off this time.
As a society, Dr. Kessler recommended adding boundaries back into how we view food. Over my lifetime, smoking has made the transformation from being acceptable to not. Food can’t be demonized the way smoking has been done, because we all need food. But, going back to it being three (or two) meals a day (instead of grazing all day) will be a step in the right direction.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Lose the weight and the emotional baggage it represents for good.