113. Weight Loss and Falling Into Old Habits
How often do you feel like change is next to nearly impossible for you? That you have done things in a certain way for so long that you can’t change? Well, guess what? Old dogs can learn new tricks. That’s what I always tell my kids. And I’m 50 this year. And so I know for some of you that might sound like a baby, but it is half a century. And I am amazed at all the things that I’m doing that I never even thought possible at 50. Or almost 50, just a few weeks away. And so for all of you who think that you can’t change, this episode is for you. I’m so excited to share it with you. I’m Dara Tomasson and this is Love Yourself Thin, Episode 113, Weight Loss and Falling into Old Habits.
Okay, so in the fall, we fall back an hour. And so I hope that this episode will help you as you think about what happens when we fall back into a habit? Now, before I go into the episode, I love to share a win. And one of my clients, she’s been in the program for only three weeks. And she has gone down nine pounds. And when she talked about what it was like to use up those nine pounds, she was really shocked at so many of the thoughts that she had about eating and food and hunger and routine, were just not helpful for her. In fact, she said that it was about 1: 30, her time that we were talking and she said, I’m not even hungry. And I, I would have just eaten just out of habit. And so it’s just been really fun to watch how when you learn new information, you can change your habits so much easier.
Now, today’s episode, we’re going to go into a little bit of science, brain science, because one of the things that happens in weight loss is when you are given a diet to follow, what you’re doing with your brain juice is you’re actually using it to follow someone else’s thoughts, to follow someone else’s solution, to follow someone else’s plan. It’s actually not using your brain juice in that higher brain, you’re mostly just trying to follow a plan. It’s kind of like when I’d watch aerobics videos and they were doing the grapevine, it just felt really confusing to me. But once I kind of slowed down and figured out what they were doing, then it didn’t feel so awkward. But if I was just trying to memorize it or just do that rote memory, it was really awkward and didn’t feel great.
So, habits are in our lower brain. Habits are what we just do without even thinking. So one of the problems with habits is you know we talked about so every day as you see the same people and do the same things and go to the same places and look at the same objects like your car, your house, your toothbrush, even your body, your familiar memories related to the known, they remind you to reproduce the same experiences. So Dr. Joe Dispenza says your identity becomes defined by everything outside of you because you identify with all of the elements that make up your external world. Now the problem is you may not think that your environment and your thoughts are that rigid, similar, and your reality so easily reproduced. But when you consider that your brain is a complete record of your past and your mind is the product of your consciousness, in one sense, you might always be thinking in the past. Now, this is Joe Dispenza sharing these thoughts with us, and he says, by responding with the same brain hardware that matches what you remember you’re creating a level of mind that is identical to the past because your brain is automatically firing existing circuits to reflect everything you already know, have experienced and thus can predict. And then according to quantum law, your past is now becoming your future. So reason this, when you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the knowns in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. So I love how he says, you know, we wake up on the same side of the bed, we do the same things, and we basically just become robots to our own life. Now, there is this principle in neuroscience called Hebb’s law. It basically states that nerve cells that fire together, wire together. So, Hebb’s credo demonstrates that if you repeatedly activate the same nerve cells, then each time they turn on, it will be easier for them to fire in unison again. Eventually, those neurons will develop a long term relationship. And this is Dr. Joe Dispenza saying, when he uses the word hardwire, it means that clusters of neurons have fired so many times in the same ways that they have organized themselves into specific patterns with long lasting connections.
So you think about in your own life. So I coach women that are in their 50s, 60s, 70s mostly. And it’s very interesting to me because they will talk about the way they do something because their mother had done that. Which is interesting because if you are 60 years old, it has been 40 some years since you lived with your mother. So I always say like, why do you think that she has so much power over you when you have been living on your own for twice as long as you lived with her? And it’s because you’re kind of carrying on the same kinds of stories and you’re thinking the same things as you did ever since you were a little kid. And if you don’t stop to change the way you think, you’re just going to continue thinking the same way. So the more these networks of neurons fire, the more they wire into static routes of activity, in time whatever the opt repeated thought, behavior or feeling is, it will become an automatic, unconscious habit. When your environment is influencing your mind to that extent, your habitat becomes your habit.
So we get into ruts and then what happens is you have formed the habit of being yourself by becoming in a sense, enslaved to your environment where your thinking has become equal to the conditions of your life. So you create your own ruts. Now we talk about the whole groundhogs day movie. And so you’re just doing the same thing. You’ve created this loop. But the nice thing is since you created the loop you can choose to end it and I love this quote from him that says ” your personality is created by your personal reality”. So in order to change your personal reality you have to change what is going on? And then I love how he gave, these are notes that I have received from the book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. And he gives examples of people like Martin Luther King Jr. or Marie Curry, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Thomas Edison or Joan of Ark. Now, these people were visionaries. They did things that nobody else had done. I liked how he gave the example of Mahatma Gandhi. When in India, back in the early 1900s, it was colonial rule and India, the citizens themselves they weren’t treated equally. But Gandhi believed in a reality that wasn’t yet present in the people’s lives. And he wholeheartedly endorsed the concept of equality, freedom, and nonviolence with undying conviction, and so he was able to stay with what he had decided. And so, when one holds a dream independent of the environment, they create this greatness.
And I think about the women in my program, where they are constantly re evaluating the way that they think. Now, there is this concept called the mental rehearsal. So how our thoughts have become our experience. And neuroscience has proven that we can change our brains and therefore our behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs just by thinking differently. So I love when I explain to people when they say to me, how did you lose weight? I said, it’s all with my brain and they think that sounds crazy and I get it, it does sound crazy. But when you can re think the way that you’re thinking, like food brings me pleasure or I deserve a treat. When you can change that, you are now changing your relationship with how you use food. So I’ve given this example. I really love this example in this book. And I also heard the same study was quoted in a podcast a few years ago. And it was just so fascinating to me. So I’m going to share it. There was the three groups of people who were, went to play scales and chords on a piano. So the participants who mentally rehearsed also followed this formula. So they actually didn’t have a physical piano in front of them, but they were directed on the scales. And so they, in their minds, they were able to conceive of themselves playing the piano. Now, after these subjects repeatedly, mentally practiced, their brains showed the same neurological changes as the participants who actually played the piano. New networks of neurons, so neural networks, were forged, demonstrating that, in effect, they had already engaged in practicing piano scales and chords without actually having that physical experience. We could say that brains existed in the future ahead of the physical event of playing the piano. And because this is all happening in our brains.
So, this is the moment that our thinking changes our brains and thus our minds. And if we apply the same process, mental rehearsal, to anything we want to do, we can change our brains ahead of any concrete experience. There is the example of Michael Phelps, who was an incredible swimmer. And when he did one of his races, his goggles filled up with water. And he actually, because he had mentally, we hear a lot about this in sports, they visualize it. My boys play basketball and we visualize the ball going into the basket and it sounds kind of crazy, but Michael Phelps had imagined him like in his mind, racing so many times that when he literally could not see, he knew exactly how many strokes it was to the end of the pool and he was able to do his flip turn and all of that. And he actually got, that race was a world record. So Dr. Joe Dispenza continues to say, if you can influence your brain to change before you experience a desired future event, you will create the appropriate neural circuits that will enable you to behave in alignment with your intention before it becomes a reality in your life. So through your own repeated mental rehearsal of a better way to think, act, or be, you will install the neural hardware needed to psychologically prepare for an event. So in Love Yourself Thin, we talk about when you’re at a party or when you’re at a friend’s house and they offer you something or when it’s at night and you’re feeling sad or discouraged and you want to have that ice cream, what do you do?
So when we fall into old habits and we talk about these memorized states of being, a lot of the ladies I work with, they have the same stories and they’re like a security blanket. So a lot of women really love blaming their moms for things. They do. It’s a security blanket. It’s a safety feature. It’s a way of saying, but if I had a different mom. And the problem is. Yeah, our moms kind of messed us up. They kind of did. And we kind of mess up our own kids, I’m sure. There’s things that we do that we didn’t intend to. And so we have to learn to slow down enough to look at our thoughts and make a decision of, do I like these thoughts? Are these what I want? And it is hard because we have to actually take some effort to take those like the way that we used to sooth ourselves in and actually create a new way.
And so as we talked about those ruts, we have memorized that feeling. We’ve, in fact, they do show that people would rather have a familiar bad feeling than to work on creating a better feeling. And that does sound crazy to us, but it’s true, like even those women in difficult marriages, they at least know that they know how to handle that difficult marriage. They know how to handle those things, but the unknown just seems that much worse, even though their current situation is so bad. So what we have to be willing to do is get into that subconscious mind and start reprogramming it. And it’s a tricky thing because we actually have to deprogram or unwire our old thinking and reprogram the new one, which just really just takes effort and time, so it’s no longer on automatic pilot. Now, I’ve mentioned this in the past about we have the motivational triad, which is a way to survive. So it says seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy. And so when we have to go in and rewire something, it actually takes us a lot of work to unmemorize something. And so we have to be able to go into our body, we’re going to have to be able to feel our feelings now. We can’t be resisting that body’s demand to restore the old unhealthy order, but when we can learn to unmemorize an emotion, that has become part of a personality and then to recondition the body in a new mind.
So I’m going to give you an example of this. And it’s like, not what I’m like super proud of, but it is reality and I’m just going to share it. So sometimes I’m not very patient with my kids and sometimes I get kind of, I’m like, Oh, why did you guys do this? And I just kind of get like a little bit yelly and I don’t like that about me. And this happened like last Saturday and I was like, oh, I was like frustrated with them and I raised my voice and I wasn’t really super proud of that. And then I went and had a shower. And I came back and I said, Hey guys, can I have a little meeting with you? And so we all sat down and I just said, You know what? I’m really sorry. I raised my voice and I am not really proud of the way I did that. I’m, you know, I’d like you guys to forgive me. And I’m kind of embarrassed that I did that. I would expect more from myself. But I just I didn’t do as well as I thought. So will you forgive me? And so this is me having to learn a new way.
So when the mind and the body are in opposition change will never happen So one of the things that I used to do when I would lose my temper with the kids or something I would just blame them and say well if they weren’t this or they weren’t this, I wouldn’t have to stay up so late to finish things. And then I wouldn’t be so tired. It’s, it’s all their fault. But one of the things that I want to share with you is that the more that you can take responsibility for your own self, then the more you can live a life that feels a lot more authentic to you. And just like I said at the beginning of the podcast, so many of our memorized feelings are just focusing on the past and really what we want to focus on is how we can be in the future. I like what Joe Dispenza said here, he says “most of us live in the past and resist living in a new future. Why? The body is so habituated to memorizing the chemical records of our past experiences that it grows attached to those emotions. In a very real sense, we become addicted to those familiar feelings.” So just like a child with a blankie, they just go back to that. And there’s so much evidence out there of 95 percent of all illnesses are related to lifestyle choices, chronic stress, and toxic factors in the environment.
And so this is why in the month of October, 2023, we’re really focusing in Love Yourself Thin on what do you do when you fall into those old habits and how do you become more future focused rather than past focused? And you know, it’s, it’s so interesting, our genes are actually are as changeable as our brains. And there’s a whole study on epigenetics and we can really change the effect our DNA by the way that we think and the way that we rewrite our future .So if this is something that you’re interested in I would really encourage you to come to Love Yourself Thin and to look at that. Before I close I read this yesterday and I really wanted to share it in an episode and I think this would be a good episode to share it in. So there was, they talk about genes and how we can change them. There was a Japanese study about people in Japan who had type 2 diabetes. And the researchers were wondering about that because they were looking at how, because type 2 diabetes is something that you get when you have elevated insulin in your body. And so what they did was they took two groups of type 2 diabetes and they had one set of the group watch a comedy show for an hour while the other group watched a boring lecture. And they were all at the same glucose level when they started watching the show. So there was a significant discrepancy between the subjects who enjoyed the comedy show and those who viewed the uneventful lecture. On average, those who watched the lecture had their blood sugar levels rise 123 milligrams, high enough that they would need to take insulin to keep themselves out of the danger zone. In the joyful group, those who left for an hour after dinner, blood sugar values rose about half that amount, so slightly outside of normal range. So the researchers who had performed the experiment thought that this light hearted subject had lowered their sugar levels by contracting their abdominal and diaphragm muscles when they laughed. They reasoned that when a muscle contracts, it uses energy. So then that, of course, circulates energy and glucose. But when they were able to look at it further, they actually saw that 23 different genes were altered as they were laughing. So their elevated state of mind apparently triggered their brains to send new signals to their cells, which turned on these genetic variations that allowed their bodies to naturally begin to regulate the genes response to processing blood sugar. So our emotions can turn on some gene sequences and turn off others. So this study clearly showed that. So just by signaling the body with a new emotion the laughing subjects altered their internal chemistry to change the expressions of their genes. This is why we can get gray hair overnight
So I just wanted to share this, this is a little bit heavy and I relied a lot on Joe Dispenza’s book the Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. But I do really want to encourage you if, especially if you’re feeling like you’re an old dog and you can’t learn new tricks, that is just simply not true. There is so much about our brains that are so amazing. And if we can learn to use our brains and get tools to help them, we can literally change so much about our life. I am in awe of what I have created in my life because of these tools. There are many times where I’m laying in bed or just looking at the sunrise or just having a moment of quietness to myself, and I think back about how my life used to be. And it is shocking to me how different it is and what I’ve been able to achieve that I never thought a mom of five kids who lives in an Island would ever be able to create. We really are the only ones who stop ourselves. And if you want that help to change those old habits, I’m here for you. I’m here. Let’s go. I’ve got the tools and we not only do you get my support, but a wonderful group of women who when you’re in the Facebook group, you will see that support. And when we’re on your calls, you realize that you really aren’t alone. So if this is resonating with you, I invite you to join us. Your brain is your best investment and when you can learn these tools for your brain and be able to use them, there is nothing you can’t do. Alright, take care everyone. Bye bye.