My Brain on Weight Loss
I am almost 5 weeks into my weight loss challenge program. I am hitting my stride and continuing to learn and grow on this journey. I finished Susan Pierce Thompson’s, Bright Line Eating and got so much out of that book. It has truly helped me learn about my brain and relationship with food and, well, food addiction. At this point in my journey, I am all about retraining my brain. There is no valid reason on this earth that I should crave Fritos with my chili or something sweet after dinner. It’s the insulin blocking the leptin in my brain and sending me false signals. Once I get the insulin in my body under control and back to normal, the leptin in my brain will do it’s job – shut me off when I have eaten a normal portion of healthful food and get me moving shortly thereafter.
I’m working hard on this. Learning about addiction and how the brain works is a journey in and of itself. It is the crux of my own journey.
As part of the program I’m doing, we are challenged to build a growth mindset a la Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. While I’ve not read the book, this overview of 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset got me thinking about new ways to fuel my journey to achieving and living in a “right-sized body” (as Thompson calls it and I am adopting into my vernacular) and retraining my brain.
Stop Seeking Approval
Dweck says prioritizing approval over learning causes you to sacrifice your own growth. This is huge for me. I have always sought approval and will often “learn” to gain approval (more school, more classes, more hobbies, etc) rather than learning for my own growth. I need to dig deep and figure out whether my near constant quest for learning is about seeking approval (perhaps justification?) for my path. This will not be easy for me.
Disassociate Improvement from Failure
Ahh, another bugaboo of mine and kind of goes with “stop seeking approval.” I struggle mightily when I think I am doing something well (e.g. my food plan) and am given advice on ways to improve it. I want to shout back, “Hey! I’ve done my homework!” but clearly I have room for improvement or I wouldn’t still be on this journey. I need to embrace helpful advice and not internalize it as failing.
Highlight the Relationship Between Learning and “Brain Training”
Ah, yes! I have slowly come to the realization that my relationship with food is not about the food but about how my brain is sending me the wrong signals because it’s clouded with crap (e.g. processed foods and refined carbohydrates). It absolutely amazes me that my brain “learns” but I’m having to retrain my brain. How is that even possible? I don’t really know, but I’m learning to embrace this weird new relationship with my brain – it is not always “right.”
Use the Word “Yet”
I’ve not managed to lose and keep off 50lbs, YET. There. That felt good and so much more hopeful than, “Crap, I still have 50lbs to lose.” Adding “yet” is sorta like adding “in bed” at the end of a Chinese fortune cookie fortune – it’s necessary to make sense.
Think Realistically About Time and Effort
I already know I will be doing more challenges and that I will do my best to stick to the same plan I’m doing right now when this challenge is over. I will not reach my right-sized body in 12 weeks. It will take time. I’m ok with that. I also know, having gained back all the weight I lost when on Keto, if I don’t stick to what works for the long term, I will be back where I started. It’s why I’m searching for a sustainable lifelong way of eating – not a diet.
As I enter the next week of the challenge, I have a few new mantras and/or rules.
- I neither need nor want anyone’s approval – this is my journey and only I can control what I do.
- I will accept advice freely and without internalizing it as failure on my part.
- I will retrain my brain about food.
- For every negative, I will add a “yet” to the end to turn it into a positive.
- I will get there when I get there.