Our primitive brain is the part of the brain that is already programmed with efficient thought loops and routines we have done repeatedly. Our primitive brain is what kept us alive in the caveman days. It’s primary job is to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and do it as efficiently as possible to conserve energy. That is why we are often unaware of our thoughts or why we do certain things like overeating because we have done it for so long that it is a habit. Habits are relegated to our primitive brain.
Our pre-frontal cortex or higher brain is the thinker, the observer that creates goals, makes decisions ahead of time, and is the conscious part of our brain. We can decide things on purpose or ask our higher brain questions when we don’t know what to do.
Our primitive brain is also the toddler having a tantrum when we decide to change our routine such as fuel our body instead of eating so much sugar and flour. Nothing has gone wrong, it is doing what it is programmed to do, seek pleasure and avoid the pain of sugar withdrawal. Our higher brain is the parent who listens to the toddler having a fit but does not give into their request. Your primitive brain says “I want that, I deserve it” and your higher brain responds with “Of course you do but I am not going to eat that today, I prefer to fuel my body.”
If you have not already planned or strategized for these tantrums when your primitive brain and higher brain battle it out, your primitive brain will win every time. You may be able to use willpower for a short time but the battle will be revisited unless you expect and allow the tantrum without responding to the urge to eat the cookie, chips, etc. Your higher brain needs to be programmed in advance for it to win over the primitive brain.
So to be successful in this battle, you need to plan your responses to upcoming events, stressful days, birthdays at work, boredom, vacations, spontaneous outings with friends, etc. So what are some possible responses your higher brain can use to stay on track when the primitive brain is having a fit in the moment?
– I choose not to eat that today. I can have it tomorrow if I want but I did not plan for it so I won’t eat it today
– I prefer not to (in response to offer of birthday cake, alcohol, candy, etc from well meaning family, friends and co-workers)
– Will I be proud tomorrow?
– Will eating this help get me closer to my goal of healthy eating and living?
– Haven’t I already had enough (cakes, cookies, pasta, candy, etc) for a lifetime?
Find out how to win the battle against your primitive brain. Come work with me. Go to weightlosswithwendy.coach and sign up for the 6 or 12 week weight loss program. Initial consult is free