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Changing Behavior

Thursday, April 04, 2013

First, thank you to my SparkFriends who have checked in on me. I appreciate your thoughts and actions more than you realize.

I've had this incredible bout of fatigue. It's bone-sucking, brain-numbing and completely debilitating. I know it's not lack of sleep because I'm getting enough sleep. Plus, it's not a tiredness like I need more sleep. It's something else.

Thanks, also, for all your thoughtful suggestions on what it may be. I think some of them are right on target. I bought and am taking some nutritional supplements and made an appointment to see my doctor. In the meantime, I think the supplements are helping and I'm getting back some energy. So, I'm getting back into the groove of things. I've been watching my eating and have been running for 30 minutes on the treadmill for three days in a row now. So...I'm happy.

Today at work there was a seminar on changing behavior. It was fantastic and I learned a lot. And while I was listening to this well-respected neurologist, I couldn't help but recall the advice from SparkGuy - who essentially said the same thing. But first, let me give some background.

In the seminar, we learned about the different parts of the brain. One part is the core, where the brain stem is located. This is the part of the brain that controls essential functions like breathing. Next part is the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that is deep in the temporal lobe. The amygdala does a ton of stuff, but one of the things it does is control behavior. So if you want to try to change behavior, the amygdala gets involved and says, "oh no you don't" and works really hard to resist any change. We see this here while we're trying to change our eating and exercise regime. We go gung-ho for a few days, maybe a week and then we just pig out again and get back on the couch. Next time that happens to you, you can go yell at your amygdala.

So here's how to trick the amygdala. You can take small steps. Go a little at a time and your amygdala won't realize that you're trying to change behavior. You do a small step - maybe ten minutes of exercise a day. And you do it for three-four weeks. Then you do a little more and a little more. And then one day, you've totally changed your behaviour. Do too much and that amygdala of yours will get in your way.

Now, where have you heard that before? Yes! SparkGuy says it all the time! Here I am listening to this accomplished PhD neurologist and I've already heard this message right here on SparkPeople. Our SparkGuy knows what he's talking about.

So, what this means for me is that I'm going to stick with the changes I've made to my diet and just keep doing the 30 minute treadmill routine for now. I'm not going to try to add more. I think part of my fatigue is trying to do too much. I added three days of weights to my treadmilling - and then - boom - extreme fatigue. So maybe I'm ok with just the treadmill for right now.

So that gets me to another thing I learned today - reframing. But this blog entry is already very long and I need to get ready for bed. So reframing will have to wait.

Thanks again for all your support, SparkFriends. I appreciate it more than you know.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JOHGLO2011
    Really enjoyed reading your blog! Lots of good information in there. :) Hope you get to feeling a lot better soon! God bless!
    1780 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    Hope your appointment is soon - make sure they check lab work. Feel better.
    Keep Sparking!
    1780 days ago
    Once again ......

    Small Slow Steady Steps = BIG Changes !!! These are good changes that can last a lifetime. I'm all in for that !!!

    We CAN do it !!!
    1780 days ago
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