What drives what you say you want to do? And what drives you to do the opposite?
I'm not drinking chardonnay this week. Oh stuff it, I can have one.
I am definitely not eating bread this week. I’ll just grab a sandwich, it’ll be easier.
Doesn't it make you feel like you are in battle with yourself? Who is that other voice in your head anyway?
Understanding the mechanics of my decision making process was another one of those light bulb moments for me when I was losing my weight.
So let's dive in and see if it resonates for you and your thinking in your weight loss journey?
When we make a decision, we engage a part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is our modern day brain system that evolved past our primal brain.
I like to think of the pre frontal cortex as the town planner at Council He runs the planning department in our brain. He wears a crisp shirt on Mondays. He likes to know exactly what's going on. He's the decision maker, he loves goals and is in his element creating them for our personal development. This guy is the one that finds the diets, the yoga schedule, invented Febtox and says no thanks after one piece of chocolate.
The other brain system, our primal brain (basal ganglia) is our primal brain. This brain system pulled our ancestors through evolution. It's main focus was to make sure that we survived as a species, using a basic set of principles called the Motivational Triad.
Avoid pain/danger (Stay in the cave.) Conserve energy (Bolt from man-eating things.) Do things that feel good. (Eat and have sex.)
I like to think of the primal brain as the loud opinionated guy at bar that farts and scratches his nether regions.
When we start a new diet or eating regime we are doing something different and potentially uncomfortable and our primal brain interprets this as danger. It creates thoughts that generate feelings that resist the change. It's sensing imminent discomfort (restriction) as a life or death situation.
To shift fat on our body we have to make an adjustment to what we put in our mouth. And this will trigger a primal reaction causing us to reconsider the decision made with the pre frontal.
When the primitive brain is triggered into protection mode. It's loud. It roars. It can overcome the town planner brain who's more of a sensitive guy. The primal brain is a bit of a bully.
If we know that this is going to happen - we can learn to expect it. And this is part of the process of learning to be aware of how we think. We can prepare and learn to over ride this “urge” and begin to recondition out thinking and our habits until we create new ones.
When you decide to commit to a plan. As well as the practical process of planning what you eat. You need to plan and prepare for the contradictory thoughts and feeling cycle created by the two brain systems.
So next time you plan something and you have another thought that wants to push you of course. Pause. And listen with some curiosity as you primal - somewhat slightly out of date brain tries to protect you. Acknowledge it. And pass on the extra chardonnay as planned.