This habit of eating sweets every night can sabotage weight loss և affect all aspects of health.
The brain is a “habit machine” built through evolution to help make life easier, says Russell Poldrak, a psychologist and professor of psychology at Stanford University in California.
Habits automate routine tasks such as making breakfast or choosing a work route, helping us avoid decision-making paralysis at every turn, he wrote in his recently published TODAY: “It’s hard to break. Why do our brains remain habits?
“People sometimes think of habits as a bad thing, but there are habits because they allow us to stop thinking about what we do when we go around the world,” Poldrak told TODAY.
Habits are “sticky” or it is difficult to get rid of them, because our brain has developed, thinking that the world will be like day by day. Why change? Studies show that only a third of people who make a change in their life are able to maintain it for a year.
Habits can serve us well, but where everything is wrong is that modern people face unbelievably rewarding temptations, like that sweet or salty processed food that is designed to be delicious in almost addictive ways.
“Our brain habits have evolved in a world where we had no potato chips, all the things our brains found so stimulating compared to the tiny piece of fruit we could find walking around where we grew by the dozens. “Thousands of years ago,” said Poldrak.
“It’s part of why bad habits are so prevalent in the world today.”
It turns out that willpower does not play a big role in changing habits. Here is what works.
Change your mindset
Poldrak was a vegetarian for about 20 years, but for his health he decided to switch to a carnivorous, low-carb diet. For a long time after the change, he longed for the chocolate candy he ate in the afternoon.
The only thing that was strong enough to overcome it was this kind of basic belief that I had to change what I had, not because I was dieting, I had to do it to lose weight. “Because I really thought this new egg was the only healthy way to eat it,” he said.
“It’s a kind of religious conversion in the sense that it fundamentally changes the way you think about the world, what is in the right world, what is in the good world, how you should live your life.”
On occasions he still eats some desserts, but generally stays on a low-carb diet պատճառով because of that mindset he was able to maintain it for 10 years.
Do not rely on willpower
The general view of willpower is simply wrong, Poldrak writes in his book.
It’s not that people with high self-esteem have a lot of desires ցանկ it’s really good to say no to them at the moment, but that they just don’t have that much desire to start, research shows. They seem to be better at developing good habits that can protect them from temptation.
So do not think that resisting the cookie in front of you is just a force of will.
“Our prenatal cortex is just weak compared to our cravings, our habits are worse if we are tired or stressed,” said Poldrak.
Plan ahead to avoid getting into the habit
It is often too late to get into this moment. Plan your life first խուսափ to avoid that moment by removing behavioral signals.
“Probably the best strategy we know to help you break the habit is to try to figure out what the temptations are, and get rid of them as much as you can,” he said.
“Think about how you plan to prevent yourself from getting in the habit, not worrying about being able to stop yourself when you are in the middle of it.”
Do not pass a candy vending machine in the afternoon. Avoid the break room if a box of cookies is displayed. If you like to go to the fridge to drink ice cream at night, you do not have ice cream at home. When the feasts are available, the game will grow considerably.
Move to a new location
It’s obviously not practical for everyone, but moving to a new city seems to help people change their habits, Poldrak said. It’s a new-place-new-you kind of phenomenon. One study found that in his book, he wrote that people who were able to successfully make changes in their lives were almost three times more likely to relocate than those who were “unchanged.”
Try “Linking Temptations”
The idea is to allow yourself to do something you should not do in return for more desirable behavior. So if you have to eat something unhealthy, do it only on the way back from the gym.
Create reminders to build good habits
“Often the hardest part about creating good habits is just remembering to ‘do it,'” says Poldrak.
A few months ago, he started chewing on protective teeth, but sometimes woke up realizing that he had forgotten to put it on. Mirroring can make a big difference in staying on track.
Similarly, visible reminders can help, instead of eating more fruits and vegetables or driving instead of going to the store. Anything you can do to create regular behavior that can eventually become a habit.
Think big picture
No one is perfect, so there will be setbacks in your search for a habit change. Do not give up.
“People need to stop others when it comes to changing behavior or changing bad habits, because our brains are built to make it difficult,” Poldrak said.