When you’re trying to institute changes – especially to do with eating – does is sometimes feel like a zombie has overtaken your body? You commit to omit sugar or resist temptation and before you know it you’ve succumbed again.
(Yes I know this graphic is horrible – but so is giving away our power!)
The zombie part of our brain likes routines – the habits and actions associated with it.
Let’s look at habits. Habits have 4 parts:
1) the cue – the trigger that launches you into zombie mode. (for example smelling fresh baking cookies) Neither helpful or harmful. It’s what we do in reaction to that cue that matters.
2) the routine – the zombie mode. The routine your brain falls into when it receives the cue. (Robot like “I must eat cookies”)
3) the reward – every habit develops and continues because there is a reward – an immediate feeling of pleasure. That’s why eating, even when you aren’t hungry, is actually a reward because you temporarily feel relief/energy/happiness.
4) the belief – habits have power because of the belief. To change a habit, you need to change the underlying belief. (Negative belief “I can’t resist fresh baked cookies”)
The battle against the zombies happens in the mind and I’m going to tell you how we can win.
The trick to overriding the habit is to change your reaction to the cue. The only place we need to exercise willpower is the override of the cue.
1) The cue – recognize what launches you into zombie mode
(location, time, how you feel, reactions)
As we develop an understanding of chemical spills from addictions…. have to fight those chemicals with another chemical spill
Replace with your stronger emotional chemicals. Discover your Why?! Why do you want to shed excess weight? When you think about that answer – how does it make you feel? “Warrior Energy?” If you don’t feel passionate about the why it’s not going to be enough to counteract the addiction/pleasure chemicals.
2) the routine (your brain automatically wants to go into routine when you get the cue). Must actively focus on re-wiring. Make a plan.
1) “Flag Pole” – Just like in elementary school where you use to practice fire drills by going out to the flag pole, we need to create a ‘safe’ place to run to when a zombie habit ‘cue’ strikes. Commit to practice your fire drills 3 x a day. At the ‘flag pole’ place something that inspires your ‘warrior chemistry” – a quote or picture of your “why”
2) In emergency – you will run to your ‘flagpole’ and if necessary add a SAGA CYCLE
SAGA CYCLE: (Feel it to heal it)
Complete the sentences for each of these to discover what emotion has been triggered. As we acknowledge the feeling it will dissipate and lose power to control us.
What do I need? (Name it to claim it) Do you need a break, promise of a future reward or support?
3) the reward: Substitute an emotional pay off (imagine feeling of satisfaction at weekly weigh in of being down on the scale) or the feeling of participating in your ‘why’ of shedding excess weight. OR create list of non-food rewards. Habits are powerful because they create neurological cravings. Only when brain expects the reward will the rewiring take place. In addition, setting a reward at a specific time gives a solid mini-deadline that can spur delayed gratification.
4) the belief. The most important part of changing the habit is believing that you can do it. When the going gets stressful you fall into old comfortable habits. Belief in your new system is what can get you through.
You have to believe that change is possible and that you are committed to change. This can be summarized by the statement: “I will until…” How long does a baby commit himself to learn how to walk? Until he does! There is a tremendous amount of energy that is available for you to use. Simply give up asking yourself, “Will I or won’t I?” “Can I or can’t I?” Nothing can stop the power of a totally committed person.
I know that WE CAN and that WE WILL if we are committed.
How long shall we commit ourselves to reshape our bodies and reach our goals? Until we do.