Have you tried almost everything to lose weight? You changed your diet, started working out and perhaps you saw some results but they didn't quite last. In this scenario, you’ve addressed two major contributors to weight loss and weight gain but you’ve left out one major player. Your brain! If you haven’t addressed what lies in your subconscious, where our emotions and habits are housed, then you are making the journey much harder than it needs to be. Plus you run the risk of not creating long-term, sustainable change. It is possible to address your subconscious programming, let’s learn how.
Conscious vs. Subconscious
Your conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg and your subconscious mind is what’s running the show 95% of the time. Until you become aware of it. The conscious mind is active when you are aware of the present moment and your current sensory perceptions. The unconscious mind is active when you are on auto-pilot. This could be when you are driving a familiar route or habitually reacting to a specific stimulus, like an argument or the sight of food.
To maintain sustainable weight loss you have to take what you’ve learned and store it in the subconscious brain, which is the house of your habits. If you’ve ever wondered why you may have learned all the tips and tricks to lose weight but that way of thinking didn't stick, it’s because those thoughts didn't make it to the subconscious.
There are 3 ways to shape the subconscious. A common way is through long-term repeated exposure. It takes about 60 days of repeating something before it becomes a habit. This technique works to an extent but you can still be prone to self-sabotage because you haven’t address root causes.
Another way the subconscious is shaped is in childhood. Anything you perceive before age 7 goes directly into the subconscious. Before age 7 you’re mostly in the theta brainwave state also known as the subconscious brain wave state. As children, we’re observing the world around us, the interactions between people in our lives, and the reactions that we see unfold throughout life events. We try to put a meaning to what we’re seeing. The problem is, before age 8 we haven’t developed any analytical thinking so the young brain doesn't make the correct associations or correct meanings. This then shapes the way you see yourself and the world as you grow older.
Once we've formed a belief, we tend to look for more evidence to support that belief and to discount contradictory evidence aka. confirmation bias. This gives us a stable foundation for understanding a world that would otherwise be very confusing. This is further supported at a physiological level with homeostatic impulse.
Homeostatic impulse is an automated mechanism that maintains balance in our body temperature, breathing, and the chemical cocktail of hormones in our body. It also maintains balance with our subconscious thoughts. It will keep you thinking and acting in a way that’s consistent with what you have done and said in the past. This makes it harder to change because your subconscious will make you feel uncomfortable, tense, or uneasy if you try something new. It wants to pull you back towards your already established state of being. This is commonly known as the comfort zone and why we self-sabotage or self-bully.
The evolution of successful weight loss
Physiologically, what you consume and how you move your body will have an effect on your weight. But this change only goes so far if you don’t address your subconscious habits. Nowadays you’ll find many weight loss programs incorporating Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, hypnotherapy, visualization, meditation, and mindfulness. All of which work with the subconscious mind in some regard. Beware if you find a weight loss program that has zero mindset work!
Where to go from here
You can change your subconscious thoughts because of neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to rewire and create new circuits at any age). You can unlearn and relearn. Before you can work to change your thinking habits you have to know what they are and the root cause of them.
Awareness is always the first step. I want you take a day and record how you speak to yourself. Have a note on your phone and any thought you have about you, note it down. Do you see any patterns? Look at your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes and how they affect your feelings and behaviours.