Do you ever feel like you’re arguing with yourself?
Or that you plan to do something and then find yourself doing something else? I do.
I’ve struggled the hardest with this when it comes to food. I would have amazing intentions going into a social event, dinner, holiday, or party… then everything would fall apart. I’d make choices I swore I wasn’t going to make, I’d find myself bargaining with myself to “just have one” and “it won’t hurt” and “you’ll never have this moment again”. Sound familiar?
It always frustrated and confused me until I heard it explained in a way that made total sense and helped me take back control so that my plans would not be foiled… by my own brain.
I’m going to share it with you now, in my own words.
Back when humans were dependent on our fight or flight response (yeah, I’m going way back, stay with me), our primitive brains sought to keep us safe. We learned to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be efficient. This served us well for years.
As humans evolved and developed, we became more…sophisticated.
Food and other resources became abundant.
We created societies where we have multiple sources of comfort, highly sophisticated ways to escape pain and technology to allow superior efficiency.
Now we have a plethora of choices to make on a daily basis. Decision fatigue, anyone?
Our evolved brains (our prefrontal cortex, which allows us to weigh risks vs benefits, plan ahead, recall past experiences, learn, process and grow) now make hundreds of decisions a day and give us the luxury of choice. Our primitive brain, however, is still present.
We can think of our primitive brain as more of a reflex… a child if you will, who wants what it wants and still is useful occasionally if we’re facing a physically dangerous situation that could kill us. It still functions to keep us safe.
Our evolved, or adult brains allow us to grow as we go, learn as we experience and override our child brains.
So, in essence, you have both a child brain and an adult brain co-existing.
Starting to see why this could be an issue?
Most of us can override the child brain when we need to, but when it comes to food, a lot of us find it easier to “give in” to our primitive impulses, even when we plan ahead.
Learning to overcome this is something I found key to losing my last 10 pounds.
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