We as humans are biologically wired to encourage certain behaviors. Those behaviors are almost always related to survival in some way. Think about it! That urge to check out the very good looking young man or woman walking by is a biological urge of reproduction. That urge to Netflix and chill is a biological urge of energy preservation. The whole reason why your body stores fat is wired biologically! Our ancestors had to store fat very efficiently because there were almost always times of famine or scarcity of food (like winter months). Our biology doesn't know that we have access to food 24/7!
Despite our hard wiring, there are some cognitive behavioral techniques we can use in order to help us with these pesky urges.
#1: The urge to overeat. As stated above, our bodies are designed to overeat and store fat. Our species would not be around today without this mechanism in our biology. So as we take a look at that 4th piece of pizza that we can't seem to resist, how can we overcome our genetics? Some great strategies come from the Mindful Eating field of Psychology. Mindful Eating is behavioral practices that we can engage in everytime we eat in order to curtail giving into our biology. Here are just a couple of Mindful Eating skills. Before you eat, assess if you are really hungry. On a scale of 1 to 4 (1 being ravenously hungry to 4 being full) where are you? Unless you are a 1 or a 2, don't eat. And only ever eat until you reach a "3" on the scale. Once you reach a 3, stop. Another Mindful Eating skill is to well, eat mindfully! That means never eat while distracted or multitasking. So that means no scrolling through phones, no watching Tv, no working while eating. Sit, pay attention to only the task of eating. People who do this tend to eat less during the meal than those who are eating distracted.
#2: The urge to sit on your butt and do nothing. This is also engrained in our biology. Our bodies are designed to preserve energy as much as possible. This is because our ancestors needed to store energy in case of an urgent need to move, and move fast (survival instinct)! One great way to overcome this urge to be lazy is to get some accountability partners. Make a pact with a work friend and walk around the building every hour and during lunch. Track your steps on an app and get friends to join you on the app. Set up weekly competitions and challenges to beat each other for the number of steps you take in a week. Research shows that having an accountability partner for fitness goals can make you up to 80% more likely to achieve your goal.
#3: The urge to cheat. This can be cheating on a significant other or just cheating in general. A competitive edge is also ingrained in our biology. Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest is based on this principle. Our species was at one time in competition with other species and other groups of the same species for resources and thus survival. The urge to get something better than what we have or get something more than someone else can drive urges. The best way to deal with this urge is to identify when it is rearing it's ugly head and hit the pause button. Take a step back and start listing the things that you do have and what you like or love about what you do have. That lady walking by may have a great butt, but your spouse may be kind, funny and a great mom to your children. Are those things more valuable to you than a great butt? Yes of course! No one has ever said, "Well, she is a horrible mother to my kids, she is very boring and I hate spending time with her, but at least she has a great butt, so that makes up for it." Beauty is fleeting. That person with the great butt will eventually age and sag too.
We hope these tips were helpful! Viva la resistance!
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