Yes I know it is Xmas and this is a time for celebrating. We all LOVE to enjoy the festivities and that includes eating and drinking, often to excess.
If you suffer from symptoms such as acid reflux, hiatus hernia, bloating, indigestion or other digestive problems then this time of the year can wreck havoc on your gut and your mind.
The FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and, even though we know that we will be in excruciating pain for days afterwards, we still go ahead and eat those mince pies, chocolates, cakes, pork pies, and loads of other stuff! Why, why, why do we do it to ourselves repeatedly?
Its not your fault, its your brain. Remember that and keep telling yourself that.
Its not to say you cannot change it, YOU CAN and here’s how.
You think you have free will and have made that decision to eat that mince pie, but actually your brain has made that decision in your reptilian brain up to 7 seconds before you were consciously aware of it. I know right!
Your brain has rapidly processed the information in front of it “here is a mince pie”,sifted through the data in your brain to find out what we did last time we saw a mince pie, then put into action exactly what we did the last time, because we survived and it didn’t kill us. The problem is that the brain will choose the last response that gave us PLEASURE even though the pain came later. We are hard wired for pleasure. This is called instant gratification.
Once we know how our brain works we can change the process and reprogram our responses. This can be done in different ways. Therapeutic techniques can interrupt the the response by changing it to the response we would prefer and then making those neural pathways stronger. This breaks the habit loop and forms a new habit which we can then link pleasure to.
Another way to rewire your brain and its response, works because your brain does not recognise what is real and what is imagined. If we focus on our preferred response often enough, and we attach plenty of emotion to it, we are laying down new neural pathways to that action and this builds a super highway to THAT response instead. Repetition is key!
Here are some key ways to do that:
1. VISUALISE the foods that trigger and how you would LIKE TO RESPOND
2. GENERATE feelings of intense PLEASURE when you visualise saying NO to those foods
3. STOP yourself immediately you recognise you are reaching for that food you want to avoid
4. REHEARSE saying NO and how you LOVE to have a calm, pain free stomach
5. BREATHE deep and slow while you give yourself a few minutes
6. SPEAK positively to yourself
7. MOVE away from the food or just take a little walk around the room to distract yourself
The more often you practice choosing the response you want, the more empowering it becomes.
If you decide to just have 1 tiny bit of chocolate, cake, etc then be kind to yourself and remember that it is all YOUR CHOICE and you have the power to make better choices.