Retrain your brain to stick with fitness goals
Doctors say there is an area in our brain that can kill our motivation.
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Many people have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or improve their fitness, but it can be a challenge to stick with it.
Doctors say there is an area in our brain that can kill our motivation and has caused many people to try and stop diets or working out.
Dr. Franchel Hamilton joined First News at Four to discuss what is causing the so-called “quit trying dilemma.”
- There is an area in our brain that kills our motivation called the habenula.
- The habenula has been activated by previous failures and the kill switch motivation and triggers an anti-rewarding pathway.
- This has caused many people to stop trying diets or working out or give up on new year’s resolutions.
“One of the things I recommend people do is to use curiosity as one of their fuels to help motivate them,” said Hamilton. “Be curious about things that are working and what’s not working. For example, if people dread starving themselves from these deprivation diets or giving up sugar, that is a mechanism of the brain that’s not gonna work, so be curious of other tweaks you can make.”
A few solutions that might help people stick to their goals:
- If you don’t want to trigger the habenula, be curious, find things that are doable and enjoyable and if something does not work, do not repeat it but make an adjustment.
- Understand the process and realize you need to keep switching to something else when one process isn’t working.
- Have a designer mindset. Tweak and try different things but never fail.
- Get out of the short-term headspace. . . it takes a long time.
- The Call to Action: to have a new mindset—a creative mindset—and be fueled by curiosity, not just motivation. Be able to design your healthier lifestyle to how it fits you; We need to understand that this takes time. It’s always a lifestyle change.
Dr. Hamilton is a Triads Award-Winning, Board Certified Surgeon who gave up operating on the stomach to operating on the mind to treat chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
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