Changing Eating Habits Ain’t That Easy

Bob played football in high school. He was lean and he was good. But after high school, he put on more pounds year after year. Then came the day when Bob’s best friend Mike died suddenly of a heart attack.

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As Bob put on his suit for the funeral, he became aware of how poorly it fit. It was tight, constricting. As he looked in the mirror to see where to adjust the suit, he saw his best friend. Mike had been overweight, too.

As Bob put on his suit for the funeral, he became aware of how poorly it fit. It was tight, constricting. As he looked in the mirror to see where to adjust the suit, he saw his best friend. Mike had been overweight, too.

The next week, Bob went to a personal trainer. He said, “Jack, I need you to help me lose weight and get fit.” Then Jack heard something he’d never heard before from a client. “Jack, I have gained 40 pounds over five years. I want you to help me lose 40 pounds over the next five years.

One thing we know with certainty is that quick weight-loss methods don’t work long term. Changing eating habits works. Bob understood that. Do you?

If you truly want to lose weight and become healthier, ask yourself: Are you ready to decide to commit to long-term change? It ain’t easy, but it is do-able.

To change to a habit, you must first be committed. Then you must find a technique that works and commit to the technique

Bob had a strong emotional connection to why he wanted to change. He will never be able to drink a beer and tell some of those quirky jokes that only he and Mike got, because Mike is gone. And now he sees himself going down the same path.

Bob was shocked into waking up. Most of us have to dig a little deeper to find the emotional connection to why we want to lose weight. Its important to spend some quiet time and know why.

Get to know your emotional connection to why you want to lose weight. Then commit

Can you visualize eating, drinking, and working out like an athlete? Or like a slob that falls asleep watching TV and wakes up with Cheetos all over his shirt?

Model your emotional memories like the person you want to be

 Chip away at habits. Know what works. Ask daily how well you did and never beat yourself up.

Ask yourself how well you did today and how you can do better tomorrow

Habits are powerful tools to achieve permanent change. Habits are the routine things we do without thought, as if we were on autopilot. Developing new habits doesn’t happen overnight. Some say it takes 21 days to change a habit, but I like to think in terms of chipping away and getting better and better. You must have a clear emotional view of where you want to be, and not focus on how long it may take. If you’re aware of how you feel as you change, you will get to your goal. Learn to love the journey and have expectations that are real.

For quick results, become aware of how you feel as you change, because those feelings happen daily if you’re on the right path

What does our brain like?

Our brain doesn’t like to be told that it can’t have something. It doesn’t like overcoming obstacles. Our brain likes to continue doing what it knows. Why?

Forgive me a moment while I speak in neurological terms: A specific thought develops a neural pathway to that thought. Neural pathways get stronger and wider the more they are used. Pathways that are used frequently and repetitively are coated with a sheath that makes it even more energy-efficient. Such functions as walking and chewing are powered by strong neural pathways. You accomplish such actions subconsciously, as if on autopilot.

Like Pavlov’s dog that was conditioned to salivate with the sound of bell, we have triggers that send a thought down the pathway of least resistance, and the pathway of least resistance is old habits. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”—it’s a cliché that traces the path of least resistance.

Resistance is built into change, and you will feel that resistance as you try to change. That’s where free will comes into play.

Success is not given to us, no matter how gifted we are. Instead we create our success by the things we think, say and do. That sounds like it’s driven by the conscious mind, but I would like to share the story of how DNA married free will and became successful

DNA married free will and became successful

DNA is amazing. It’s made up of four base pairs. How those base pairs are arranged in sequence determines all life, as we know it. It’s hard to believe four things make up all life but it’s true. DNA is our program. It gives us certain traits. We may be programed to be an athlete or a scientist or an artist. DNA makes RNA and RNA makes proteins. Proteins are responsible for how we feel and act. For example, adrenaline makes us want to fight or flee.

Oxytocin makes us want to bond and love. RNA records information. Every thought we have ever had is recorded in the RNA in the cells of our body. Neural pathways lead to those thoughts. Certain things trigger the pathway to the recorded RNA thought and then the RNA makes the proteins to make our body want to act in that way.

That’s where free will comes into play. We get to choose our thoughts. And in turn, our thoughts signal RNA which proteins to make. The proteins that are made drive our actions.

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Disclaimer: Please note that there's no guarantee of getting the same results as each of these patients. Specific results vary by individual patient.