Are Diet and Exercise Mostly Mental?
Want to eat healthier and hit the gym more often? Just thinking about it may be more effective than hiring a personal trainer or trying the latest diet craze.
The brain is arguably the most powerful “muscle” in the human body and training it to choose the kale salad over the donut and to head out for an afternoon run instead of dive onto the couch, is entirely possible.
New studies show that “brain training” not only helps individuals make healthier choices but it can also curb overindulgent tendencies such as excessive drinking.
It’s not just a touchy, feely new age concept, the human brain doesn’t like negativity. Going to a positive space and thinking about what a person should do rather than what they shouldn’t is more effective. For example, “I will go to spin class today,” instead of “I won’t miss spin class again,” is placing the emphasis on the optimistic rather than the pessimistic.
In other words, the woman who sees the glass half full rather than half empty will be more successful in achieving her goals.
Write it Down
Remember how good it felt to gush about that high school crush in that secretive journal? Putting pen to paper, or digits to keyboard, and detailing goals helps the mind focus on achieving those specific milestones. Specificity is also key. Broad goals don’t work.
Where there’s a Will
Ever wonder why some people can eat one piece of a delicious pizza and somehow not reach for seconds? Those individuals don’t have some sort of superpower but they do have better self-discipline than the average Jane. Studies have shown that people who exhibit exceptional willpower have different brain activity than those with no self-control.
But that doesn’t mean those of us who fall into that latter category are doomed. Just like muscles can be toned from weightlifting, the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for planning, impulse control, willpower and abstract thinking, can be trained.
Increased activity in the prefrontal cortex can improve drive. So, flex that brain and start leading a healthier life.
Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has health benefits that go beyond weight-loss. Dr. Ghozland is an OB/GYN practicing in Los Angeles, CA, that encourages his patients to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Being proactive about your health can help you live a longer, happier life.