Thursday, April 04, 2013
“We become what we repeatedly do.”
― Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens
Today is the second day of my binge free streak. Hooray. I feel dramatically better already! I slept soundly, I woke energetic and hungry for breakfast, and I felt strong during my workout.
I'm continuing to read the book "Brain Over Binge" and today I read about the fact that though binges start out as an urge, often in reaction to deprivation diets, because our animal or lower brain only remembers the pleasure derived from them, we want to repeat the behavior again and again, seeking that pleasure. And the more we give in to those urges, the more habitual they become. So what starts as an urge, becomes a bad habit.
The author then goes on to talk about habit formation and neurons. The idea that neurons that fire together, wire together. Again, the more we do something, the more habitual it becomes and the more we are likely to do it again and again. It's like we form a groove in our brain and the behavior becomes automatic.
The trick is to form new neural pathways by repeating a different behavior again and again. For me, this new behavior will be to ignore my binging urges, to meditate, drink tea, read, call a friend, or just sit with the urge, but to remind myself again and again that the urge is just my lower brain and not what I really want. My lower brain doesn't remember the post-binge agony I experience, the self loathing, the indigestion, the weight gain, the fear, the shame, etc.
This summer, I went for four months binge free and I saw that my brain started to form new neural pathways. It became almost effortless to live without binging. I was convinced that I was free. Unfortunately, I went back to my old bad habits when major life stressors arose.
This time around, with new awareness of how and why binging occurs and how and why to stop it, I'm going to reform new neural pathways and live binge free despite any stress in my life. Because my upper brain knows that when I opt to ignore urges to binge, I feel so much more pleasure over time and further, I avoid adding any more stress to my life.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi