Monkey Brain Strikes Again

“Wait, how many of these did I eat?” Looking down you see the shiny wrappers of “fun size” (a name crafted by Lucifer himself) candy wrappers in a cheerful pile seemingly indifferent to your dismay. For no rhyme or reason (everything was going great) and then BAM the candy bowl just took you down.

Congratulations, you are human, and we are not born into the world with a blank slate. Our amazing brains come with these basic behaviors that, by design, help us to survive. Evolution is a powerful magnet and for hundreds and thousands of years, human beings have had to hunt and gather food. Imagine early humans scratching and digging in the forests… scarcity is the driver when it came to food. Calorie-dense foods are extremely beneficial when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. It is human nature to desire foods that are: high in fat, sugar, or salt.

Succumbing to food cravings is certainly not a deficit of character on your part. These cravings are an extremely powerful behavioral response. It is a basic human instinct, so when that internal critic pipes up: “I can’t believe it, I blew it! What’s wrong with me? How could I ruin all my progress by eating…?” First, don’t do that. Second, and hear me, you are amazing and you are human; craving fat, sugar, and salt is truly our nature. However, just because it is written into our DNA doesn’t mean weight gain is written into our fate. Here are some strategies you can try when cravings strike:

  • Being aware of the reason why these cravings come out of nowhere is powerful. Now that you know it is part of being human to crave these foods when we come across them in our environments we can de-escalate the impulse.
  • Being mindful while eating these kinds of foods slows us down. Experience eating the food, and enjoy it. Set a limit for how much you’ll eat.
  • Be strategic – if you can’t de-escalate and you don’t trust yourself to be mindful of limits, then avoid it altogether. Stop the craving (that we all have for unhealthy foods) before it can start. Limit those foods in your environment, and if you can’t remove yourself from the situation.

For better or for worse, we are a product of all that came before us – so expect powerful cravings in your future. Even when you give into the natural predisposition to overeat unhealthy foods it doesn’t mean that it’s the beginning of the end of your weight loss journey. It’s a moment, what happens next is what really matters, and (the good news) you are the one who gets to decide what happens on your weight loss journey.

6 thoughts on “Monkey Brain Strikes Again

  1. Great article! It’s important to remember that succumbing to food cravings is completely natural and not a reflection of our character. The strategies provided are helpful in managing those cravings.
    Joanne Tomlinson

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It does happen just like that! One moment I’m in a groove and dispensing wise advice about working the plan… and the next moment I’m indulging…
    It can give you whiplash …🤪
    But as long as the time between indulgences begins to increase- you know you’re making some progress!💪

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent! How did you know I beat myself up in this way? It’s great to read little reminders, that we are human and some of the things we experience is just part of the experience (nothing is wrong with us). Next time I indulge, which I know will be sooner than I want, I will remind myself that it’s normal and hopefully de-escalate. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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