Self-talk is legitimate… Who knew?
I am big fan of podcasts. I drive a good deal for my day job, so I find myself in my truck, frustrated with the radio fairly often. So I listen to podcasts. I have a variety of of favorites that I pick from depending on my mood. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me if I’m feeling out of the loop with the news (but not enough to actually WATCH the news… let’s not be silly). One Bad Mother if I want to remind myself that I am probably not the only person who got out the door this morning and then found almond butter in my hair and raisins stuck to my pants. Ed Tech Weekly if I want to beef up on my tech-speak so I can hang in a conversation with my husband (for like 2 minutes). But lately, it has been Fat Burning Man. Don’t let the title scare you away… or the picture of a half-naked man on the website. The Fat Burning Man is Abel James, who promotes a healthy lifestyle that is all about feeling great and eating amazing food. His website, fatburningman.com, has many useful resources about the Wild Diet (his Paleo-like way of eating that focuses on real, high quality food… including bacon and chocolate), including recipes, meal plans, and every podcast he’s ever done. It’s good stuff. He know’s what he’s talking about, plus he’s entertaining.
This week his podcast featured Dr.Srini Pillay, a certified master executive coach, brain-imaging researcher, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. They talked about overcoming fear and anxiety to reach your goals and achieve success. (Which normally, would not hold my attention… sounds too self-helpy.) But this guy is good. I listened to it twice yesterday and once today, so I could take notes. (Okay, the notes part is not weird for me. I’m a total nerd and love school. And I have the coke-bottle glasses to prove it.) It really spoke to me, partially because of where I am in my Shaklee business, and partially because of my current Whole30 project (more on that later).
In every human being there is a special capacity that is waiting to be activated. – Dr. Srini Pillay
It is all about setting goals and how you brain deals them. He talks about how most people procrastinate working on their goals because of a fear of success (not always a conscious one). He goes through how this affects your brain… fear activates the amygdala which causes anxiety and disrupts the way you make judgements. He talks about how the brain collects information, how we can best communicate with our own brains (self-talk… best done out loud*), and how we can stop sabotaging ourselves by reframing our goals in a positive way. And he does it all by explaining how the brain works, while citing actual research that has been done to prove it. I’ve totally been geeking out on this.
I think this could be especially useful for those of you who’ve chosen to go through The Whole30 with us this month. You have set a goal for yourself to change the way you eat for these 30 days. However, it is very easy to look at the process in a negative light. “I can’t have cheese.” “I’m not allowed to have beer.” And while those are true statements for this plan, framing it in that negative way can actually impact your journey because your brain is wired to rebound and do the opposite when it is under stress. (Why do you think most restrictive diets fail?) Your body is definitely under stress during The Whole30 because it is having to shift where it gets its energy from (fat rather than carbs). So when you are thinking about food, meal plans and what your are eating, try to focus on the positive aspects. “I can eat as much as I want of good quality, approved foods,” “I get to eat bacon AND steak today,” and “I’m not craving sweets as much as I was last week”. While the cooking may be more than you are used to, just think of all the new things you are learning to prepare. Hopefully some will become your new favorites! (See what I did there?)
So next time you get in the car, on the treadmill, or start up the vacuum cleaner, cue up this podcast. (Or if you are more of a reader, read the transcript… It’s all on the website**. The podcast is also available on iTunes.) Maybe it will help you get out of your own way in achieving your goals.
*A note about self-talk. If your “UGH” reflex went up when you read that, you are not alone. I am not typically comfortable in the realm of positive affirmations. But Dr. Pillay is telling me this is backed up by scientific research, and I really love science. So I am going to choose to believe him and try it. I’ll just put in an earbud and people will think I am on the phone. 🙂
** I also recommend checking out other recent podcast topics on Fatburningman.com… last week, he did a great one on food addiction and managing thyroid issues via your diet.