In this post, we’re going to get into a little bit of science. We’re going to discuss the concept of genetics and epigenetics, and understanding your body’s individual design.
I’m going to go ahead and outline the general approach to physical activity that supports a long, healthy lifespan. I want to make sure you know what we’re covering, and give you some actionable steps. I do believe this preliminary material I’m providing you is foundational to developing a proper movement habit, but I want you to be able to go ahead and get started.
The reward system in our brain is meant to promote our survival. It works off of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This neurotransmitter is associated with motivation and desire. In addition, when the reward system triggers, we get a bit of adrenaline, which creates a small rush, a feeling of stress, perhaps positive stress.
We discussed the characteristics of foods that trigger the reward system and override our control of eating. It’s important to note these foods also allow for a disruption in the hormonal processes that would control our eating. These types of foods appear to interfere with leptin doing its job of regulating our energy balance. They also may contribute to chronic inflammation in our brain which impacts our mental function and can create resistance to the leptin we secrete to naturally regulate our body weight.
This is my new series on the many benefits of physical movement. Our bodies and minds are designed for activity. Just think about how we’re made: muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissues, extremities. It’s clear that the physical use of our bodies is integral to the design of our body.
Your brain regulates your energy balance and your body weight over a span of time. How this is done is complex, but a major influencer of weight and energy balance is an area of your brain called the lipostat, located in the hypothalamus. This is a non-conscious regulator of body weight and energy balance.
We’ve covered a lot of ground, including mindset, desire, habits, basic brain science, cravings, willpower, and pleasure versus well-being. If you’ve stuck with this, and thought through all of these posts, and have begun to apply the teachings, you’ll have made considerable progress in controlling your own mind and directing your thoughts.
Your non-conscious brain influences your eating behaviors over sustained periods of time. What really makes a difference to your weight and your overall health is what you do on a consistent basis—what, and how much, you typically eat day after day.
Another important aspect of willpower is recognizing that whatever cravings you experience, they are just neurological pathways based on prior conditioning and habits. You want to depersonalize them. You no longer want to feel bad about yourself because you struggle with them. The neural networks that trigger these behaviors were established long ago and probably in a non-conscious way.