Now I know that I will be dating myself here, but remember the very famous phrase that comedian Flip Wilson brought to light, back in the 70′s; “the devil made me do it.” Maybe some of you have tried to use that one before, trying to get out of some sticky situation that you got yourself into, I know I have, but there is another one that you can use that might not be to far from the truth…my brain made me do it.
If you started to use that one, you might be right on the mark. The brain controls many more actions and reactions that we have to an immense array of didn’t situations that come into our lives, than we give it credit for.
Scientists are just beginning to scratch the surface of the incredible complex computer that is our brains. Our brain is the center of our nervous system. It controls the functions of all the other organs in our bodies. From this elaborate and sophisticated organ, come all of our thoughts, feelings, and actions that we take with us every day.
There are centers in the brain that are responsible for focus, judgment, and impulse control. There is also a pleasure and motivation center which is the main driver for all our behaviors. This is where emotional memory centers store up past experiences that trigger impulses to our behavior.
According to addiction specialist, Mark Laaser, Ph.D., “the arousal template in the emotional memory centers underlies many behaviors that get out of control.
When I was a kid, I had a sweet craving like no one else, and to help me curb these harmful cravings my parents gave me and my brother one day of the week, that we could indulge ourselves. Every Saturday was called, “Candy Day” at our house. That was the day that we were able to go and get some candy to enjoy and fill those cravings that our brains were demanding. Now we were not allowed to eat candy all day long, but we were allowed to get one or two treats to enjoy.
As much as my parents were trying to do the right thing, they only made the situation worse. Candy now became a bigger taste of reward and pleasure to me. Every time I did something that was good, the pleasure and comfort of some nice soothing chocolate melting in my mouth, was something that I always looked forward to.
This can be some of the problem that we see when people over eat, and use food as a comforting response to something that we achieved or didn’t like doing. Food than becomes the reward, comfort, or safety net that we use. It’s a place to hide, or a form of release that takes us away from whatever we don’t want to face or go through.
The first experience gets locked into our brains, and when you get older, you seek to repeat that experience because it was the way you had the first arousal or pleasurable experience. Understanding the triggers for emotional eating can be very helpful to breaking addictions. And this is the same for any type of emotional addictions, such as sex, drugs, drinking, gambling, or smoking etc.
Now I know that there maybe other factors that come into play, and this is a topic that could go on and on, but if you are struggling to lose weight and you’ve tried every kind of diet there is, you might want to take an inventory of your life. Sit down and think if there is something that you can connect the dots too, that maybe triggering the emotional responses that you’re having problems with today. Something that maybe tied to the pleasure of eating.
I know this is not an easy thing to do, but I know for me, the answers were right under my nose, but I just didn’t want to look at them. I thought if I ignored them long enough, they would just go away by themselves, but they never do. They only get bigger and intensify and also will eventually infect others around us. People that we love will get hurt by them.
Sometimes we just need a little bit of help, because we might not be able to see them from all the different in’s and outs that life can bring. Check with your doctor to see if you maybe suffering from some experience in the past that is triggering why you just can’t lose that weight, or why you just can’t stop doing that bad habit that is hurting you and your family.
Our brains are very complex, but just like the old computer saying goes; “garbage in, garbage out.” When was the last time that you took some time for yourself? Take a day or a weekend for you or with your spouse, just relax and reflect on your past. Leave the cell off, and the computer behind, and just spend some time reminiscing.Talk and listen to one another.
If you would like more information on how to use your brain to get and keep the body you’ve always wanted, you may purchase a copy of the book that inspired this article. “Change Your Brain – Change Your Body” by Daniel G. Amen, Clicking on the book to the right of you will take you to the Amazon link. This book was on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s an easy read and very informative.
Hold the mirror up to your face. Who do you see? I bet if you look long enough, you will see a wonderful person who is full of life. I bet there is a person in that mirror that you may not have seen for a long time. Someone that people love to be around because of the positive energy that flows from you.
Get rid of that garbage and start to download to your computer brain, you know the one that’s at the center of your nervous system and controls the rest of your body, the kind of stuff that will bring about the behavior that you want.
Remember, if you don’t take control of yourself, everyone else will.