You’ve changed your mind, and you’re starting to see more good than bad. But yet you seem to keep stumbling around with change. You find yourself repeating the same bad habits. Inside this podcast, you’ll learn why it’s so hard to change even with a positive mind. And how to implement change that lasts.
Change is hard for all of us. While some believe it’s a matter of willpower, it’s so much more than that. It’s a biochemical reaction that happens inside our brain, and this reaction has been trained from repetitive actions.
For instance, have you ever spaced off, gotten home, and realized you don’t remember the trip? Or passed your exit because your brain was on autopilot to go to work? For most of the day, our actions are driven off of auto-pilot. These are considered to be your habits. Whether good or bad, they are having a chemical reaction in your mind leading to the action we do.
While we like to believe that positive thinking will change everything, it’s actually the action you add to the positive thinking that makes change happen — the combination of think and act that make all of the difference.
In this podcast, I interview Dr. Nicole Avena, and we talk about why behavior change is so complicated and how we can retrain our brain for health. Plus we talk about overcoming food addictions, disordered eating and how to eat to live nourished.
inside our brains
If we take a deep dive inside our minds, then we can start to see that our habits, or those daily actions we can do subconsciously have are created through different circuitry in your brain. This is what makes it happen over and over without you giving it much thought.
Just as our behaviors do this, our actions, and what we consume can also change our circuitry leading to more dependency. Or more drive for whatever you feed it.
If we develop bad habits, like not eating the right foods, our brain has become wired to expect that type of behavior, and it takes some work to readjust because we have to rewire our neural connections that are hard-wired to our brains.
stress, sugar, and self-soothing
Our brains are designed to keep us alive, so we’re naturally going to find things we need to do to survive to be pleasurable. Like eating and sexual behavior. But when we throw extra elements on top, we take them to the extreme, like stress, sugar, and self-soothing. This is when we get into trouble.
While none of these are inherently bad, it’s our use of them that becomes the problem. Overeating, too much stress and trying to self-soothe using “drugs” are all common problems with the human mind. That is because these substances are acting on the reward centers of our brain. When we get a hit from sugar, or stress weights us down, we long for something to pick us back up.
The more we hit these reward centers, causing a high, the more dependent our brain becomes and the more we need.
All of this makes behavior change very difficult and why all-or-none diets or fad kicks rarely work because they’re acting against the neural circuitry that you’ve created inside your mind.
So how do you change? Through changing your brain chemistry.
slow, steady steps
Changing your brain chemistry doesn’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen all at once. But small, regular changes to your daily rhythms, turning bad habits into good habits is how you work to rewire your brain.
Remember, it responds to consistent action, so it means sticking with it over the long run.
Rather than focusing on big diet and lifestyle changes, try picking one bad habit and turning it into something good, working with your mind instead of against it. Then stay consistent with it – bad habits will naturally want to creep back in, so know this and live aware.
Beat the beast, through small, steady changes done of the long run.
Make sure you listen to the podcast to get all of the facts and tips that Dr. Avena gives to help you retrain your brain for success!
Don’t forget to check out all of Dr. Avena’s work using the links below:
- Dr. Avena’s website
- Why Diets Fail
- Hedonic Eating: How the Pleasure of Food Affects our Brains and Behavior
- Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck
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