THE LIFE COACH PODCAST – Episode 263

Last night, after we’d put everyone to bed for the night, our three year old, came running out of our bedroom, crying. Ten year old, Jono, followed slowly.

What happened?

Jono confessed, “Well, Julia and I were wrestling on your bed (strike 1), and I accidentally tripped her (strike 2), but I didn’t know that she was sucking on some pennies (strike 3), and so she choked (strike 4), and then she threw up all over your bed spread (strike 5), and your nice pillows (strike 6).”

If three-strikes-you’re-out, then what is six-strikes?

Today is FRIDAY FITNESS AND HEALTH. Let me escape my own world, just for a short time, to think about and listen to this savvy counsel on my future world – the world of future-me.

The principles Brooke teaches today are absolutely thrilling to me. They are empowering. I have so many thoughts running around in my head, after sitting with this podcast and the ideas taught in this podcast.

“Trust me on this. This is a game changer.”

I believe that. And not just for weight loss, though that is where Brooke’s comments are mainly centered today. Not just for making physically healthy choices, but for making emotionally healthy choices. Let’s do this, friends!

Most of us make 90% of our decisions with our primal brain, which means we are always giving in to instant gratification and reward and pleasure in the moment.

Remember: Two parts of the brain. 1) The Primitive Brain or Monkey Brain. My kids prefer to call it the Monkey Brain, and that absolutely works for me. The visual is perfect. And then 2) The Prefrontal Cortex. This is the higher brain, right?

The monkey brain, again, wants instant gratification. It is also looking to defend itself. It creates in us fear. It also creates in us stories about the situation around us and the people around us, to help us understand quickly, who is safe and who is not. It likes rewards. It seeks out pleasure. It works really really well.

I can tell you what my monkey brain has told me today already:

  • Eat that chocolate, you are hungry, and it will help you deal with your busy morning
  • Tell only the parts of your encounter with that person, that support the story we’ve created about that person, it will validate your feelings about her
  • Stay in bed, there is nothing you can do about the chaos outside of your bed
  • Cry and feel bad for yourself, cut yourself off from them, you are the good guy here and they are the bad guys
  • Now go ahead and eat some more, you need it

What about the messages my monkey brain has told me today that I haven’t recognized? The messages I haven’t called out or managed with my prefrontal cortex? The urges I have acted on because I didn’t recognize they came from my lower, primitive brain? 90% of our decision are made with this part of the brain? That is scary.

“Weight loss (or any change we want to make in ourselves) is really just a series of decisions, you have to understand how the brain makes decisions.”

That monkey brain tells us when we are thirsty, when we are tired, when we need to procreate, and, again, when we are hungry. It is useful to us. It was particularly useful to us when we were living in caves, surviving from day to day, right?

But it is in the prefrontal cortex that you can make decisions looking forward – you can plan and you can make decisions as an emotional adult, for your future-self.

“It’s completely unfair to our future self (to make decisions with the primal brain), because the primal brain will always choose immediate pleasure… you will be always at the affect of instant gratification.”

Today, what are we talking about? First, utilizing that prefrontal cortex. Second, learning how to process emotion.

“We need to learn how to process urges. We need to learn how to be present with the vibrations in our body (emotions) and not be reactive… When you have an urge to eat something or you have the feeling of hunger, there is no need to comply with that urge, with that feeling. There is time. We’re not in a hurry. The feeling of hunger will not kill us. The craving or urge to eat a certain kind of food will not kill us if we don’t answer it.

Third, we are talking about interpreting the data – on the scale or otherwise – in a non-emotional way. Those are numbers or those are facts. They do not make me who I am. They have no power until I give them power.

And the “system”, Brooke introduces? Brilliant! I am going to break this up into two posts. Tomorrow is SATURDAY SO WHAT. Let me tell you the “so what” part of Brooke’s podcast episode in tomorrow’s post. Really really something to look forward to!