This blog runs along the same theme as last week’s, it’s about being very honest with yourself about why you want to lose weight and why you have not achieved that goal up to now.
In the past when I have run one of my workshops, usually the group I am with will want or need a boost to help them achieve their goals. My job is of course to give it to them.
The first exercise I do is to “Start with Why”. When you are goal setting this is the most important question of all, because if you haven’t got a big enough “Why” then your neurology doesn’t change and you have to rely solely on will power to make you do the things that you need to do to achieve the desired results.
I get them to each write down the reasons why they want this particular goal so much. Then I ask them if these are things they have done and said to try and motivate themselves many times before, and surprise surprise, they all said “yes”. Then I tell them to tear the list up. They look shocked and say “but those really are the reasons!” and they are probably some of the reasons, but I explain that if that’s what they have been using to motivate themselves, and they had come to this workshop because they needed more motivation, then they clearly were not strong enough “Why’s”!!!!
Your brain is like a 3 story building that has been extended upwards; as we evolved we added a new floor above the last. The ground floor is our reptilian brain, essentially just responsible for survival mechanisms like heart rate and breathing. It’s what keeps us alive, but it’s not part of our thought process. The first floor is our “limbic” or emotional brain. Sometimes this is called our “chimp brain”. This complex layer is largely responsible for how we feel and learns to make associations with things that make us feel good or bad. The top storey is the cortex – our human thinking brain. This is what differentiates us from animals and makes us “human”. Our cognitive processes are carried out here as we take in and sort out information, and liaise with our limbic brain to create neurological maps that create conditioned responses to just about everything we experience.
Of course all three levels work together to keep us alive and allow us to experience the richness of life in a variety of ways. We have the neurological ability to experience pleasure, and also pain, not just physical pain, but emotional pain. Fundamentally our programming is set to avoid pain (as it is linked to death!) and to achieve pleasure.
The pleasure centre is located deep within the brain in a part called the nucleus accumbens; it’s an integration centre that receives signals from different regions of the brain. In a recent scientific study, Dr Britt looked at how the brain directs us towards or away from our goals, he concluded:
“Goal-directed behaviour is regulated by a large collection of interconnected brain regions. It is important to understand how these component parts interact with each other in order to devise treatment strategies for psychiatric diseases such as addiction, Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder,”
(Canadian Association for Neuroscience. “Investigating the pleasure centres of the brain: How reward signals are transmitted.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2014)
Dopamine is known as the “motivation hormone” and works as a chemical messenger within our brains to direct us to what we want, i.e. pleasure. It’s produced in several areas of the brain and when it arrives in the nucleus accumbens we make strong emotional connections that highlight a particular pleasure. It’s dopamine that is chemically responsible for driving us towards what we want.
If we are not producing dopamine when we think about achieving our goal, then the whole neurological network that is specifically designed to direct our behaviour away from pain and towards pleasure, is not activated.
What does that all mean?
In simple terms, it means that when you think about your goal your brain needs to be activated with a strong association of pleasure and happiness; if you have repeated the same reasons over and over and not achieved it yet, this means that you don’t truly associate enough pleasure with achieving your goal. You may do on a superficial level, but on a deeper neurological (unconscious) level, you need to find a stronger “Why”.
This always makes some of my workshop guests uncomfortable! But it’s my job to teach people how to change their brain – for the better, and what is interesting is that a few of them actually realise they don’t really want to achieve what they thought they did, and that they really want something else much more.
Once you have a genuine authentic “Why” that physiologically activates the pleasure centre in your brain, then you can set about doing the practical exercises to make it happen and create strategies that work for you as an individual.
Again I make the same point – you must constantly visualise yourself having achieved your goal, this simple exercise means you literally become wired to achieve it.
Think of this visualisation exercise just like the exercise of cleaning your teeth: you don’t just clean your teeth once and think that will last you for a few days, or even weeks! You do it twice a day to maintain the benefits. Visualisation is also a twice per day activity, especially beneficial if you do it first thing in the morning as you awake, and last thing at night before you sleep, as this is when your brain waves put you in the most suggestable and responsible state for neurological change.
If you want to learn all of this and much more – my online programme ‘The Placebo Diet’ gets you the results you need and you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
Champneys Retreat is coming up in Henlow starting March 29th– choose from a 2 night or 4 night retreat where I will personally guide you through my step by step process that will teach you how all your existing behaviours were created, and how to change your mind so that you naturally want to eat less, eat and enjoy different foods, and banish cravings.
My next one day inspirational ‘Fast Results’ Workshop is happening Saturday April 4th – BOOK NOW HERE>>