Why Do I Always Eat the Cake?

At some point in an average week almost all of us find ourselves 14 inches away from a delectable piece of death-by-chocolate cake. Worst of all…we almost ALWAYS eat it! We know that the cake is bad for our health, we know that the cake will make it difficult for us to lose weight, most  of us even would chop off our little finger to have the body of our dreams and yet, WE STILL EAT THE CAKE!

WHY DO WE ALWAYS EAT THE CAKE?

We humans have a number of software programs built into our subconscious brain that run the day to day operations of our body. The purpose of our subconscious programing is to protect us from harm and death while propagating the species. One core program that runs our day to day activities is the program that reads “avoid pain and seek out pleasure.” Said another way, we are built to always avoid pain and gain pleasure.  Now, back to the example at hand…

We eat the cake because we associate MORE PLEASURE to the eating of that cake than we associate PAIN to being overweight. I know what you are thinking, “I hate being overweight MORE than anything else in the world! I associate MORE pain to being overweight than anything else in my life!” That may be true, but at the moment that the cake sits 14 inches from your mouth and the scent of the warm, moist, creamy cake floats into your nostrils…the pleasure of eating the cake is MORE REAL to you than the now distant pain of being overweight. So, you eat the cake.

So what do you do about it? In order to refuse the cake, you must do three things:

  1. Associate MUCH more pain to eating the cake than pleasure you would gain by shoveling it into your watering mouth
  2. Associate MUCH more pleasure to being healthy, fit and lean than pain gained by refusing the cake
  3. Make the pleasure of being healthy and fit MORE REAL TO YOU THAN THE CAKE!

We all have habits and patterns by which we live. The cake lands in front of us which results in the cake entering our mouth, the process takes seconds and seems to completely circumvent our rational thinking brain that would almost certainly veto the activity. It is a reflex reaction that is governed by our subconscious programming. It is important to note that we are not necessarily at the mercy of our subconscious mind because conscious mind is the programmer! Here are some ways to reprogram our subconscious:

  1. When the cake lands in front of you, break the pattern, do something outrageous! Stand up, scream at the cake as if it had just insulted you and stomp out of the room! Silly, embarrassing and even a bit psychotic but desperate times call for desperate measures, sometimes your subconscious needs to be shocked out of normality.
  2. Imagine yourself as you want to be. Fit, energetic and strolling down the beach with the body of your dreams. Make it real to you, feel the wind massage your bare skin. Luxuriate in the feeling that you feel confident and healthy! Make it real!
  3. Imagine yourself biting into that chocolate cake only to get a mouth full of maggots. I know that it is a disgusting image, but the shock of it can break your body’s food-pleasure connection! You must imagine it in the first person as though it is happening to you RIGHT NOW! Remember, make it as real as the cake that sits in front of you. Be verbal about your disgust! Use your body to cringe, react as if your really just ate maggots!

About the Author Dr. Ray Hinish

Dr. Ray Hinish is a nutritional pharmacist, certified personal trainer, & certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. He currently practices in Baltimore, MD, where he owns and operates a wellness center and natural foods restaurant. His mission is to help folks to live their health potential so that they can pursue their passions with confidence and endless supplies of energy!

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