As a society, we have programmed ourselves to eat in a way that is unnatural and harmful. We mistakenly prefer the taste of harmful foods. The most natural and healthy way of eating now seems strange, and, as a result, it eludes us. The benefits of eating natural foods, as opposed to processed foods, seem obvious, yet they are lost to many. Here are a few of the common excuses that I hear from patients:
- “It takes too much effort and time to prepare fresh food.”
- “I don’t like the taste of fruits and vegetables, so why should I even try?”
- “People will think I am strange if I eat this way.”
Others who may not have voiced these objections were still thinking these or other negative thoughts. It is the substance of their inner dialogue. This kind of talk is not useful. Its purpose is to prevent you from taking action. It is a type of learned helplessness: you didn’t believe you could succeed in the first place. This gives you the rationale for not trying. Right now, resolve to fight those thoughts when they enter your head. Excuses or reasons are not based on facts. They are an opinion formed before adequate knowledge is achieved, and, as you now know, knowledge is the cornerstone to success. Your internal programming and fixed beliefs can have you fail before you even start. A key concept is that our internal programming operates outside of our conscious awareness, yet it influences our thoughts and action.
Psychologists tell us that both these preconceived notions and the inner dialogue that resists change to a preexisting belief are a type of “automatic thought.” An automatic thought is an unconscious process that determines how we interpret the events of our lives. In many people, these thoughts are negative, pessimistic, and completely illogical. They persist because they operate beyond awareness and because they go completely unquestioned and unchallenged. Our automatic thoughts are the result of our core beliefs, and our core beliefs establish our perceived boundaries of what we can and cannot do.
The key to reprogramming yourself is to select an activity that elicits the desired objective, and then perform this activity habitually. As you continue to perform this activity, your skill will improve, your brain will reprogram to the preferred wiring, and your desired outcome will manifest itself. Your brain is not only flexible and adaptable, but it also will restructure itself to accommodate whatever lifestyle you wish to create. This book and the exercises it contains are designed to cultivate a skill and transform some aspect of your brain and your life. The cumulative result of all of these skills is superior health and your ideal weight. Your brain is ready and willing to make the changes
This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.