How To Avoid Overeating At Thanksgiving

Friday, November 05, 2010 08:25
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How To Avoid Overeating At Thanksgiving

I have a concept that I call sprint jog. It’s modeled after the third law of thermodynamics which states that there is an order and direction of all things and this direction is towards disorder or entropy. There is a direction that is compelled by human nature. A hot cup of coffee never gets hotter, it always goes in the direction of hot to cold.

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Likewise, there is no perfect system. The next time you drive your car feel the hood and you’ll notice that it is hot. There is no reason to heat the hood but there is waste or disorder in the system called the engine.
 
There is a natural tendency towards disorder and waste in the system called human being as well. One of the calendar events that is a trigger of this disorder is Thanksgiving.
 
The average Thanksgiving meal equals 3,000 grams of fat and the average person takes in a daily total caloric intake of 4,500 calories.[1] However, it is not inevitable that you forfeit the gains of your diet just because it’s Thanksgiving.
 
You are a protector of your clients’ lifestyle in retirement and for their family’s lifestyle should something catastrophic happen to them prior to retirement. You are your clients’ financial coach. You are in a position of expertise and authority so it’s important that you are excellence from the way that you dress, act, feel and look. Of course how you feel will be directly communicated to your clients. So look and feel your best by being excellence in physical fitness as well as every area in your life.
 
So what about overeating at Thanksgiving and what is this spring – jog thing? I’ll get to the spring – jog in a minute. For now, let’s examine the challenge of overeating.
 
You can search anything on the internet these days so I Googled “How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving”. There were lots of articles, comments, stories and tips including the following;
 
1.       Eat throughout the day prior to the main meal.
2.       Exercise before the main meal.
3.       Drink two or three glasses of water before the main meal.
4.       Stick to single portions and leave food on your plate.
5.       Don’t have seconds.
 
All of these suggestions seemed very reasonable. Except for one thing. They won’t work! Being reasonable is the lowest level of human consciousness!
 
The above 5 suggestions are not likely to have an impact on your emotional mind. I like to emphasize three areas of the brain. Here is an analogy.
 
Make a fist with both hands and put your knuckles together so the heels of your hands are touching. Roll your hands so you are looking at the top of your knuckles. This represents the outer cortex of the brain. This is the area that is responsible for rational thought, executive decision making and analytical thinking.
 
Open your hands and the fingers represent the deep area of the brain called the limbic system. This is the oldest area of the brain that is often referred to as the reptilian brain. It is the brain of our ancestors. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for emotional responses, fear, avoidance, disgust and arousal.
 
The wrists represent the brain stem, the autonomic nervous system, breathing and heart rate.
 
The above suggestions about overeating only appeal to the outer cortex, the thinking area of the brain. This also refers to the left brain, or the conscious analytical mind. The conscious brain agrees that it is a good idea to limit caloric intake.
 
Remember the fingers in the brain analogy, the limbic system? The limbic system is genetically coded for  feast or famine. The limbic system begins a hormonal cascade that signals the area of the brain called the appestat to delay its signals to the fat cells to release the hormone leptin. When leptin is in the blood stream you feel satisfied and stop eating. However, this primitive food scarcity mechanism of delay enables you to binge so you can survive the famine and it still operates as if your life was in danger. You can not be logical or reasonable around your eating at Thanksgiving. You have to do battle on the appropriate battle ground. You’ve got to address the emotional limbic area of the brain.
 
Here is how you can win this game called overeating at Thanksgiving. First, implement the spring – jog concept and “earn your pleasures”.
 
Come up with a mini business plan of the most important results and activities necessary from the time that you read this to November 25th. What is the minimum criteria that must be accomplished from now until that time. This is the concept of earn your pleasures. What results that you can control must you accomplish so that you can say you’ve earned your time off for Thanksgiving? What are the activities that you insist on executing? Once you have identified them then accomplished them you have now earned the right for your relaxation during the Thanksgiving holiday.
 
Now, what about the overeating? Does earning your relaxation mean that you must overeat? I say no. If you agree, then you’ll need to have an intervention otherwise it’s going to be overeating followed by rationalization. Here is how to make sure you do not overeat. Follow these steps;
 
1.       Get MAD!
2.       Declare the commitment. (Cortex)
3.       Add accountability through the use of a behavioral contract. (Cortical limbic loop)
 
Let’s take these one at a time. First, get MAD. Make A Decision! You’ve got to understand your “why”. Why bother eating sensibly at one of maybe two times a year where you can allow yourself to overeat.
 
You might decide that you can overeat on Thanksgiving and Christmas and then leave it at that. This would be a fine decision. Have as much as you want. You can get back on track next week. If this is your approach then you do not need to read this article. You are fine, no judgment, enjoy.
 
However, you might also think that Thanksgiving is not an excuse to get off of your plan and disrupt your healthy eating habits. If your decision is to stay within your plan then read on.
 
By the way, I congratulate you for either decision. It is a very weak position to be indecisive.
 
Step one: Make a decision.
Step two: Declare the commitment. 
 
Specifically declare what you are committed to. Are you only going to have one plate, no seconds, whatever your decision is declare it specifically. Someone else needs to know exactly what you are committing to.
 
Next you will need to appeal to the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system. The limbic system is like a radar sensing environment. It is constantly monitoring the inputs coming in from the outer cortex and all of the senses for any threats to survival.
 
You have a lifetime of what are called cortical limbic loops where just the thinking of taking an action is linked by the hypothalamus to previous threatening and dangerous experiences of pain. This constant dance occurs on a subconscious level and is constantly showing up in your life as avoidance. Unfortunately there is also another step of rationalization where you justify the avoidance and never realize that you are doing so.
 
The brain is genetically coded to find and respond to the highest level of perceived pain, always, just like your life depended on it. That is because at one time during human evolution the ability to recognize pain and avoid it was necessary for survival.
 
After you have declared your commitment now you must engage the limbic system to compel you to abide by your commitment. The commitment is in the cortex now you must engage fear to drive you to avoid, but to avoid over eating. You do this in step three.
 
1.       Get MAD!
2.       Declare the commitment.
3.       Add accountability through the use of a behavioral contract.
 
You must engage the avoidance power of the brain by having a high pain as a consequence for non performance. There must be a penalty if you don’t do what you said you would do. This penalty must be perceived as a higher pain than the pain of not allowing yourself to overeat. Your brain is designed to compel you to avoid the highest level of perceived pain. If you told another person that if you had seconds on Thanksgiving then you would pay them $100 I’ll bet that you would have only one serving on Thanksgiving!
 
This is a behavioral contract. Here are the dynamics;
 
Specific Declaration + Accountability = Elite Performance
 
Accountability has two parts. The first part is the check in. Someone outside of yourself checks in with you. Did you do what you said you would do?
 
The second part is the big one. There must be an enforceable consequence for non performance. This consequence must be the highest level of perceived pain. If it is then human nature will compel you to avoid overeating. It really is that simple.
 
Try it out and see what happens. Can’t find someone to hold you accountable? Use me. I’m only an email away, and $100 if you don’t do what you say you will do. ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) I’ll bet you won’t find this recommendation anywhere else on the internet!
 
 
High Performance Training, Inc.
Bob Davies, M.Ed. Psychology, Springfield College, B.S. Health, Rutgers University MCC Master Certified Coach International Coach Federation
 
20992 Ashley Lane, Lake Forest, CA 92630-5865
949-830-9192 fax 949-830-9492 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website: www.Bobdavies.com On-Line coaching www.bobdaviescoaching.com
 
To view a 7-minute video of a Bob Davies keynote presentation go to:
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NEW To view a 3:15 minute video of Bob discussing the limits of human perception, observations and the "gorilla" click here:
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Bob Davies, named in the top 100 greatest minds of personal development world-wide by Excellence Magazine.
 
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Permission granted to publish this article with Resource information included: Bob Davies High Performance Training, Inc. 949-830-9192 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it www.bobdavies.com Permission also granted to edit this article.
 
Bob Davies
High Performance Training, Inc.
20992 Ashley Lane

Lake Forest, Ca 92630



[1] According to the American Council on Exercise, a non-profit organization.

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