The Mind Resists Change, So Do This Instead

So many of the books written about health, nutrition, and weight loss are written as though the audience is professionals on these topics. Professionals like to write books to each other. We create our theories based on data, consensus, and professional interpretations. This is important work. And these books are very helpful.

Finding Answers

For years in my practice, I would pick some of these books and recommend them to my patients so that they could begin to improve their health. The book may be on how to change your thinking, or your habits, or nutritional advice that could lead to weight loss and the reversal of diabetes. What I often found was that my patients did not read these books. Now it may just be that it would take time to order them, or that the patient wasn’t really a reader in general. Generally speaking, the book could be 300 pages just covering one of those topics. What I learned over time was that my patients wanted a simpler version. They really didn’t want to read 300 pages on how to change their habits. They just wanted a simple template.

photo by Lucas Vasques

Again, data driven books written by professionals with citations are important. Those are the books I read to get the information that I can use to help my patients. But these books primarily engage the deductive mind, the left-brain. They create solid arguments based on sound science. They’re reasonable and believable. The reader believes the argument. But they’re still not moved to change in the direction the book would suggest.

Regardless of the varying theories that occupy the arena of thoughts regarding a particular topic, I have found that the action steps are generally very similar, no matter which underlying theory wins the day.

An example would be theories of insulin resistance. We have an epidemic of insulin resistance, and it’s causing diseases in our population. There are many theories about what causes insulin resistance:

  • Excess calories

  • Chronic obesity

  • Inflammation

  • Excess consumption of fructose

  • Excess consumption of sugar

These are just a few of the theories. However, regardless of which of these theories is true—and in fact all of them are probably partially true—the action steps you would take based on them remain the same. All will lead to the same response if you want to avoid or reverse insulin resistance.

  • Don’t eat excess calories

  • Maintain a healthy body weight

  • Reduce your sugar intake

  • Be active

Taking Action

My patients wanted to know the action steps. They trusted that I had read the science. And honestly, they didn’t really care which theory was accurate. They just wanted to know what would work. However, just knowing what will work often doesn’t lead to productive change. Most of us have the knowledge that we should eat healthier, and move more, and get more sleep, and perhaps turn off the television, but yet we don’t seem to change.

photo by Austin Ban

The knowledge alone really doesn’t do much for us. They say we know it, but we don’t really know it, because knowledge itself is not power. Only applied knowledge is power. Once you apply your knowledge, then you truly know it. You have experienced it, and you can talk about it as something you truly know. But as long as it’s just been a theory for you, you don’t truly know it. Or really understand it.

What I wanted was to present the knowledge, but mostly find a way to help the knowledge become applied. Because it’s only powerful when it’s applied. Again, I found that the scientific explanations and theories really didn’t help my patients. They needed to know what to do, and how to do it. This involves change, and change is hard. Habits are habits for a reason, even if they’re making us sick. They feel comfortable to us.

The mind resists change. For people to change, you have to engage their heart.

Their mind is important. They do have to believe that they have the right knowledge, but for them to turn that knowledge into the power to change, it involves the heart.

photo by Chang Duong

That’s why we spend so much time talking about mindset and willpower. But in our additional resources, we also talk about the heart, and following our hearts. Because your truest heart’s desires are ultimately what will lead to the changes you’re willing to make.

Engaging the Heart

Obviously we’re using the heart in a metaphorical way. Generally speaking, thinking from the heart involves right-brain thinking. This is creative thinking. This is intuitive thinking, which really involves the whole brain. This involves imagination and emotions, not just rational thinking. The rational thinking is important, and it’s the foundation that we can stand on, and it can inform our heart. It’s very important. However, to change you have to engage the heart. You have to engage the emotions and the feelings. The emotions are more powerful than rational thoughts. The emotions lead to sustained change. We follow our emotions, and we follow what makes us feel good.

That’s why understanding desire, and our highest desires, is so important.

My Role

Ultimately my job is to synthesize the information, simplify it, and clarify it in a way that the knowledge is accessible to those who need it. But then, I need to be able to engage the individual’s heart in a manner that creates desire, strong feelings, and emotions about achieving their best health. That’s where the power is. This takes story. This takes passion. This takes emotion, and imagination.

Just telling someone not to eat sugar because we’ve scientifically proved it to be harmful does not sound exciting to anyone. It sounds like something painful. It sounds like something they have to do or ought to do. They feel like they should do it, but they don’t want to. There’s already strong resistance to, and negative emotions associated with making the change regarding a powerful substance that stimulates their reward system and makes them feel good.

These processes are understood through our modern brain science. We understand much better how the brain works. We know for sure that having a very clear, passionate, and strongly imprinted version of one’s self gives power that is not compatible with being sick or feeling bad. Having a strong, passionate conception of being your healthiest self, and how much that will give you, is so important to this process. That’s where the power is.

My book, Authentic Health, is written to the end users. Although I hope it’s helpful to my fellow professionals, it’s not written to them. My book is about the fundamental action steps. It’s meant to be simple. It’s meant to engage the heart and the mind. It involves telling the story, especially the story of real people who’ve transformed their lives by transforming their health through these truths.

If you want more information about how to change your mind and identify your highest desires, please see our additional resources, and especially our video series, on mindset and desire. This will teach you how to use the power of your mind and your heart to permanently change and experience your best health. This works.


Visit my website and check out my other resources.