Our mind only does something to give us pleasure or to move us away from pain and we set up most of these links during childhood i.e. wonderful memories linked to certain foods/drinks, like ice cream at the beach & tea and toast around the fire. We also link pain with foods/drinks too and if you have every had food poisoning or a violent reaction to a certain drink (mine was Pernod & lemonade!) you will know that it’s very easy to avoid that for life!
We can, however link pain and pleasure to certain foods/drink. Have you ever said?:
“I love cake but it goes straight to my waist” or “I crave wine but it gives me the munchies and halts my weight loss”.
This send very mixed messages to our brain and so it keeps encouraging you to continue these habits because it thinks this is what’s comfortable. So we need to use our enormous mind power and to take back control if we want to release weight. This is much easier if we link pain to not changing and pleasure to our new healthy habits.
Let’s take for example that you have got into a habit of eating a small bar of chocolate every night (about 200 calories) and that these are extra calories are being stored as fat as eaten during inactive time of the day. Just this small amount in a year could mean that you gain 10 pounds in weight or in 5 years a staggering 50 pounds or 3 stone 6 pounds!
If you just focus on the enjoyment of your daily chocolate indulgence and then beat yourself up the next week because the scales have gone up, you can see that your mind will be very confused and your self-esteem will be taking a constant knock.
So identify those habits that you want to change and, just adjust your focus as you think about how your health and self esteem would be in 5 years if you keep eating it. This builds enormous pain which your mind will then understand and help you to avoid.
Then start working a new more supportive replacement habit that would give a different picture in 1 and 5 years – perhaps you in a bikini on the beach or stopping medication because it’s not needed any more and the doctors delight at your transformation.
Everything we want is because of how it will make us feel. Cake may feel good for a few minutes because it pushes down any emotional feeling but it only leads to sadness & stress. Eating sugar & drinking alcohol when stressed only makes us feel more stressed.
So be kind to yourself, become aware of your unhelpful habits and look for more pleasurable ways to feel and enjoy those new habits.