I’m reading The Willpower Instinct right now, and recently finished Welcome to Your Brain, both excellent books about how our brains work. I’ll be writing full reviews of them a bit later on Equally Happy, but I wanted to share a quick little tidbit that had to do with eating healthy. According to both books, and some other research I recently read, most of our decisions are made subconsciously. In fact, what we think of as conscious decision making is nothing more than our brain trying to justify decisions made by our subconscious brain.
This is extremely important when it comes to health because many of us struggle with good decision making. We know we should eat healthy and exercise and yet we don’t. We keep hitting our heads against the wall over and over and we hate ourselves for not having enough willpower to overcome. Well, maybe it’s not lack of willpower. Maybe it’s just your subconscious making some bad decisions? Which is not an excuse you should use for sitting on the sofa all day eating ice cream, but it’s a good thing to recognize if you’re trying to change your life.
So, with that in mind, a couple of tips, both derived from the book.
- Recognize that your subconscious is making some decisions you are not aware of and work with this fact instead of against it. For example, read my post about bargaining with your inner 4 year old.
- Practice meditation – Not to get all new age on you, but meditation has been proven to improve focus and prevent your mind from wandering away from you. In other words, it allows your conscious mind to focus and ignore those decisions that your subconscious tries to force on you. (For good instructions on a short meditation regime, try this great about.com article). Even five minutes a day will help.
Both of these tips will allow you more control over your life and more control over your eating choices.