Retraining Your Brain: Part 1

by Apr 14, 2021Coach Lisa, Health, Lifestyle, Resources, Uncategorized2 comments

It’s All Connected

Hi all! Coach Lisa here! As the head coach for iTrackBites, I’m often confronted with lots of different personal stories and experiences in weight loss. I think that it’s common to both, overestimate AND underestimate the hardship of “dieting”. We look forward to the reward, and simultaneously dread the journey. We know it will take time, so pretend that there’s a tangible timetable to meeting success. When health and wellness is at hand, I have to say- it’s ALL connected. Here’s my experience with this revelation, and how it sparked a retraining of my brain!

A few years ago I started having trouble with my hands – tremors, spasms that locked them into lobster claws, dropping things. For a while I struggled to hold a pen or eat without food vibrating off the fork. It has improved somewhat as other things have gotten worse. This meant that I couldn’t really do too much of my art, which hit me harder than I expected. I used to paint fantasy miniatures, but despite several best efforts over the last few years, that is no more. Which I’ve had to simply just come to terms with.

I have always been a coloring fan, (way before the current adult coloring rage started) so I was thrilled when those books launched. I was disappointed to learn that my hands just didn’t want to cooperate there, however. Holding a pencil or marker was okay until I applied pressure and then we got some drunken monkey – color way outside the lines – action going on.

Now I’m going to switch gears here for a minute, so bear with me.

I detest talking on the phone. For as much as I am on my phone, I make as few phone calls as possible. I will Google, email, Facebook or Messenger with no problem but there is something about being on the phone in a conversation that makes me feel trapped. I’m not sure why! So what does disliking phone calls and coloring have to do with each other? Quite a bit actually!

Today I needed to return some calls and make some appointments that I couldn’t do online. This is never fun for me. So I decided to throw some positive reinforcement training my own way.

In dog training, we help dogs work past things they don’t enjoy (say nail trimming) by recreating a positive association with the experience using something they do like – food, play, affection, access to a resource…I need to retrain my brain to see phone calls as a positive thing.

Enter: coloring

I was having a pretty good muscle day so I got out one of the books I bought ages ago, dusted off the dog hair tumbleweeds from the shelf and dug out a new pack of colored pencils I bought. I sat down at the kitchen table and colored my way through the phone calls. It may seem silly but I started rewiring the pathway that says “I hate this and don’t want to be doing it” to seeing it as a potentially rewarding experience.

If I only color when on the phone, then being on the phone becomes a rewarding experience – see how that works?

So what does any of this have to do with weight loss? Everything!

When we see this journey or experience as a negative, a deprivation, a struggle – something we hate – then every part of it is hard. Your motivation has to be 10x stronger to overcome your resistance. Am I saying coloring will make you lose weight… No…. Well maybe…. Actually you could use that as a distraction instead of eating but that is for another day. What I’m saying is you have to find something rewarding in this. More than the scale, more than the inches, more than an event.

You have to change how you feel about the process, the entire head over heels tumble down the rabbit hole and find something that makes you ENJOY it.

I am in love with cooking, with food, with presentation, with learning new techniques and experimenting. The food part of this is GOOD with me. I am learning to enjoy movement again. The pool has been CRUCIAL in this. I don’t hurt nearly as much, so I have incentive to keep doing it. My legs are jello getting out once gravity returns. But, overall, I hurt far less since starting my pool days. And part of loving the pool is my waterproof MP3 player. When it died the other day, my workout was NOT THE SAME. I was looking at the clock, fidgety, not as driven. I did it, but it was truly half assed for the first half (then I got it in gear #noexcuses).

You have to find a way to #retrainyourbrain to enjoy this or you will quit, continue to “fall off the wagon” or be right back here in 6 months because it just wasn’t worth it.

So what IS worth it? What can make you love it? What can make you switch from “diet” to “for real, for life”?

edit: 

Read Part 2 HERE

Read Part 3 HERE

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2 Comments

  1. Lorian

    So helpful to see this perspective. I’d really love strategies for learning how to actually rewire my brain to stop overeating, excessive snacking, caving in to cravings etc. I’ve heard that DNRS is s course that teaches this but its thousands of dollars….help! Any more concrete steps would be awesome. Thankyou!!!

    Reply
  2. Lorian

    Looking forward to Wednesday’s edition – could you give us concrete ways to make these food choices, etc. “fun”/desirable by rewiring? I liked the phone example but trying to figure out how to combine some pleasant with not eating chocolate or not having what the rest of the family is eating, etc. Sounds promising so staying tuned — Thanks!

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