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  • abbyjanegreen

My Brain on a Diet

It's called famine brain, and man was I stuck there for a long time! Sheesh. I got it every time I tried a new diet... Even though my brain is fabulous and complex, it was designed to keep me fat and happy.

My ancestors only survived and reproduced because their bodies were good at conserving fuel. In order to survive we have to eat, therefore eating is highly rewarding to my brain. My brain is very afraid of starving, so consuming food has physical and psychological payoffs. Not eating makes me feel hungry and afraid.

Natural disasters, such as famine, or a predator attack are the only real and natural emergency circumstances in which wild animals will go hungry. So for us humans, these types of conditions turn on all our psychological and physical responses to flee. So diet restriction, strenuous exercise and especially the combination of both cause the brain to become obsessed with finding food and comfort! Now! All while pumping the body with hormones to signal it to hold on to whatever it already has! Please store it all as fat and remain sedentary. Haha.

We are social creatures, and get majorly stressed out when social 'natural disasters, famine and predators' attack, for example negative judgment, social status loss, disapproval of any kind etc. So I basically sustained these kinds of stress by setting up constraints and expectations that make me feel even more panicky about keeping my diet rules which then trigger my body’s famine responses. These are much stronger than conscious thought and intention. And often we don't even realize what is happening until after the fact. They are coming from my survivor instincts! Which means, ultimately they will outwit, outlast, outplay all my attempts at dieting with willpower.

Sometimes we increase the pressure to lose the weight by swearing off all sorts of stuff forever! Or swear them off for a week, a month or even a year etc…lots of people tell the world on social media because it’ll give them accountability or whatever, I usually just tell my sisters. But this would just escalate my stress response until I wanted to eat everything insight. This also caused my personality to change, aka “hangry mamma” showed up.

This all basically sums up how I was absolutely guaranteed to turn on my strong famine brain, and there it was Yo-Yo dieting at it’s finest! This state of mind is exactly the opposite of what I needed to lose weight peacefully and permanently! I have never, will never and can never outwit Mother Nature!

What I needed was to get into a state of mind where all those skinny people live…they aren't even thinking about food. Like at all, ever, and certainly not all day like the dieting people are... That's when I figured out that the whole dang thing was a problem in my head, and that the only thing that needed to change was the way I was thinking about it! Yay, what a relief!

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