I was watching this weight loss show on tv the other day called “Fit to Fat to Fit”. It was about a personal trainer’s journey to be able to relate to their clients better by purposely gaining a lot of weight and losing it with their client.
AND THIS GOT ME THINKING…
So, I wanted to put together a post that highlighted what’s happening to us on a psychological level and the paths that are created by deceptive brain messages and OUR habitual responses to them, so that you can relate it to your thoughts and your journey because AWARENESS PRECEDES CHANGE, and this is the FIRST STEP to long term nutrition and weight loss success.
It’s not a surprise that most people come to Bootcamp Effect for some form of weight loss, fat loss, toning, tightening, etc…
To me it is all the same. It involves fat loss which makes you lose weight, and makes your body looked toned, tightened, ripped, shredded…
So I want to ask you some questions…
If your goal is fat loss then:
- Is broccoli good food to eat?
- Is chicken?
- Is rice?
- Is salmon?
See, you already know everything you need to know.
You just need to know the next step. Everyone knows the next step. There are just reasons you don’t do it.
Think about this quote/question:
“If a prisoner wants to escape from prison, what’s the first thing he needs to know?”
Think about the answer for a second…….
He needs to know that he actually is in prison.
If you don’t believe you are in prison you will not try to escape.
Awareness Precedes Change.
And in many cases many of us are prisoners of our own mind.
This is what happens to all of us throughout the day…
A deceptive brain message appears – could be a thought, an urge or a desire.
For example, do you ever get the feeling in the morning that there is so much to do? I get this all the time!!!
See, a lot of times we get this urge or thought and we want to get rid of this urge, and it is accompanied by an uncomfortable physical sensation like headache, stress, elevated heart rate and then there is usually a habitual unhealthy response which can be food, alcohol, checking your email a 100 times/day. (Mine is the latter of course)…
Bu when we go back here to the deceptive brain message… Why is this a deceptive brain message?
Do you believe all the thoughts that come into your head are true?
The truth is no. Most of them are not, they are bullshit. And you can’t stop thoughts from coming into your brain.
The mind part which is the conscious part of your brain can filter these.
Here are some examples of false thoughts/impulses/urges and deceptive brain messages:
- I’m not good enough
- I should or shouldn’t have
- I shouldn’t eat this
- I shouldnt be so out of shape
- This person is getting better results than me
- I’m not as good as someone else
- Everyone else is more important than me
- Theres something wrong with me
- No one likes me
- I will be alone
- I don’t deserve to be happy, I deserve to suffer
- There’s too much to do today
And these are thoughts that come into our head, maybe everyday…
And then something happens…
There is a reaction to this thought.
anxiety, heart rate increase, excessive anger, depression, feeling scared, panic, fatigue, sadness, having a physical craving for something pleasurable… which is what we are going to talk about here.
So to recap…
- first we have the thought
- then the feeling or sensation
- then the habitual response
Habitual responses like:
- using drugs or alcohol
- shopping/spending money
- wasting time on things
- excessive eating, dieting, and purging
- avoiding people/places/things
- eating things that are not good for you
- repeatedly checking something (facebook or email, no!!!!)
- avoiding unpleasant (but beneficial things) like exercise
- over thinking or over analyzing situations
So now we start seeing this loop and you can probably add to this from your own world.
Here’s an example:
Deceptive thought – I’m not good enough
Reaction – stress/depression
Habitual response – eat comfort food
Here’s another example:
Thought – I’m a bad person
Reaction – tightness in the chest
Habitual response – I’m not going out, I dont want to be around people
How deep does this go?
Thought – I’m bored
Reaction – Physical craving for something pleasurable – hunger based on a deceptive thought
Habitual response – eat some fried food (even though you may have high cholesterol).
I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.
We need to think about our brain messages consciously and the habitual responses we have to them.
Look at the pattern and become aware of it.
Awareness precedes change.
Change can not happen unless you are aware that something is wrong or something is off.
Like with social awareness… do you know the person in the room that is really annoying but they do not know they are annoying? Thats the thing, you try to help them out, but they don’t know what they don’t know. They need to become aware to be able to change.
This is the hardest thing to do. To admit it. To admit that you do this.
And it’s not who you are. Its what you do.
When you do something bad. It’s not who you are. It’s what you have done. It does not define you.
If you have weight to lose you are not fat. You have fat.
You have fat on your body.
Do not let it define you.
YOU ARE NOT FAT. YOU HAVE FAT.
You did a bad act consistently, (snacking when bored, eating shit when stressed, drinking when stressed) you have to become aware of it.
See yourself for who you really are based on your sincere striving to embody the values and achieve the goals you truly believe in. Your greatest version of yourself. Your true self.
Enter your true self:
Living according to your true self means seeing yourself for who you really are based on your sincere striving to embody the values and achieve the goals you truly believe in.
Your wise advocate (the critic in your head)
The aspect of yourself that can see the bigger picture, including your inherent worth, capabilities, and accomplishments. The wise advocated knows what you’re thinking, can see decepetive brain messages, for what they are and where they came from, understands how you feel (physically, emotionally), and is aware of how destructive and unhealthy your habitual automatic responses have been for you.
Your wise advocate wants the best for you because it loves and cares for you, so it encourages you to value your true self and make decisions in a rational way based on what is in your overall best interest in the long term.
Why is this important?
As we go through this stuff, if someone says in a convo I’m not really good enough.
If they run it through their wise advocate, is this really true?
The best version of yourself is someone that succeeds.
If you see a deceptive brain message, you have to have the ability to step outside yourself and ask yourself is this really true, is this who I am?
So to summarize….
- Your brain sends you false messages all the time throughout the day.
- You cannot stop them.
- The message are often destructive and can prevent you from achieving your goals.
- Deceptive brain message are any thoughts, impulses, or desires that take you away from your true goals and intentions in life (do they serve you?) This is my question. Does this serve me to improve my health, family, fitness goals etc…
- You are not defined by the thoughts in your head.
- The mind and the brain are 2 distinct entitites. The mind is conscioulsy thinking this is good for me, this is not.
- The wise advocate (true-self) can help you decide how to act and how you perceive/think about things.
- The mind chooses how you focus your attention, you can’t say “stop thinking about food, stop thinking about food,” because you are then giving power to the thought, you have to refocus your mind by doing something positive like going to the gym, going for a walk, getting a glass of water, or stretching.
- You have the ability to define your true self and align your actions with those goals and values on a moment by moment basis.
- You are not a disorder, disease, or problem.
- Biology is not destiny.
- Your wise advocate encourages you to make decisions that reflect your true self and that benefit you in the long term.
- YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN.
SO WHAT NOW!?
Making mental notes… the process of becoming aware of and focussing your attention towards noticing the appearance of a thought, sensation, urge, response, or event as it arises is the reason why journalling is important. It’s beyond just writing down things! It’s realizing everyday around lunch, that you have this meeting with your boss, who pisses you off and creates this stress reaction, and your habitual response is then you want to eat comfort food because that’s what you do when you stress.
Once you become aware of this, you notice this and can refocus on things. You can refocus by going for a walk in the office, doing 50 calve raises, having a glass of water, etc.
This is defined as veto power – the ability to act on a deceptive brain message , uncomfortable sensation, or habitual response.
And you already do this a lot of times in the day!
It stops us from doing something crazy and extreme, but not from the “little things” like having the cake, or the cookie that your coworker brought into the office today.
Hebbs Law states that neurons that fire together wire together. Our brain forms a locked together circuit of neurons after a while, and this forms a habit.
The more that you repeat something, it’s like a trail…
If everyone walks a trail, the trail gets very recognizable and you can see it. The more you repeat something , the more it gets ingrained in your brain. It forms a connection. Like when Karen yells at you at bootcamp, you work harder.. Our brain does this because its evolutionarily easier to create habits or shortcuts. Do you remember brushing your teeth this morning? Ingrained automatic habit!
Theres a lot of things throughout the day that happen like this, and a lot of them ARE NOT helping you.
The Quantum Zeno Effect states that focussed attention holds together and stabilizes brain circuits so that they can wire together by Hebbs Law . Once they are wired together, the brain will respond to similar situations in a reliable “hard wired” way.
So even if I get this urge to eat cake, but try to not eat cake, but then I’m watching tv thinking about eating cake, and that the cake is so great….
What I’m doing is giving the cake and the pleasure of eating cake this focussed attention, the neurons in my brain associating cake with pleasure are firing together and because I am repeatedly doing this, they are wiring together. It is basically connecting the dots and creating a reality in my brain that cake is great.
Attention density is repeatedly focussing your attention on something over and over. The more you sustain your focus of attention on something, the more likely a specific habit will be wired into your brain.
IN the brain, attention density is the first and most important step in creating strong, enduring, brain circuits. Attention density makes the quantum effect kick in and causes focussed attention to have powerful effects on the brain by activating Hebbs law and connecting circuits.
The brain has a funny thing of altering what is real and what is not.
Cue the scientific study example!
There was a study, that did finger strengthing and the other group was just thinking about it…
There was a 20% increase in the finger strengthening group, and 26% in the group that was just thinking about it. They didnt even move their finger!!!! The nervous system improved the connection between the brain, and the nerve and the finger improved!
What thoughts you give power to every day can make or break you.
So each time that cycle of deceptive brain message happens…
You get an uncomfortable sensation (stress), a habit (eat fried food), momentarily relief occurs, the underlying circuits are strengthened…
The more you walk that path, the harder it is to get off that path.
As the brain circuits strengthen:
- the deceptive brain message occurs more frequently
- the uncomfortable sensations become more intense
- the habits become more entrenched and harder to resist.
When you are able to see the uncomfortable sensations are generated by the brain and not by you, you are empowered to make new choices and refuse to give in to the deceptive brain messages.
Thats why things like coming to the gym help! It’s one little habit, then this becomes the thing that makes you feel better. You reframe your routine with a positive path, positve people, and make it deep and better for you. This is a common stress outlet that can be used in place of food or alcohol..,
The 4 steps to deceptive brain messages:
relabel – identify deceptive thoughts, urges or uncomfortable sensations, this is not me!
reframe – see why these thoughts and urges keep bothering you. Its not me it just my brain sending a deceptive brain message.
refocus – direct your attention to something else that is productive and wholesome, physical activity, water, meditation, reading a book, do something else!
revalue – do not take the thoughts and urges as face value, simply sensations caused by deceptive brain messages.
You can change your life with this information. It’s a skill set that you can improve, you can train your brain, just like you train your body in the gym to do double unders or perfect deadlifts.
CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH THIS INFORMATION!
Because without doing this, most diets and nutrition approaches and meal plans will be like banging a square peg into a round hole.
Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BSc, CSCS
The Bootcamp Effect