How Your Lower Brain Hooks You Into Bingeing

lower brain urgesA while ago I had the pleasure of talking to author Kathryn Hansen about her book, Brain Over Binge.

We talked about how the lower part of our brain gives us messages based on a strong drive for survival. We may get messages to eat unnecessarily large quantities of food… too much for our bodies, but seemingly never enough for our misguided brains.

Why is it so hard to recognize the voice of our lower brain? And how exactly does it ‘hook us’ into believing that there is a real, immediate need, and we’d better load up on food, NOW?

The lower brain is very tricky.

It sends us messages that really sound like it’s our true self that has this need.

If you’re working hard, and are tired or stressed, you might hear yourself think, ‘Oh, let me just have one cookie. I’ve been working so hard! I certainly deserve it!’

Doesn’t that sound believable?

If you have been staying conscious of what you’ve been eating, you might hear your animal brain say, ‘Oh come on, take a break! I hate having to think so hard about what I do!’

It can be really hard to distinguish your lower brain’s voice from the voice of your true self.

So here’s what you can do.

Let’s assume that you truly do want to stop bingeing.

Some people don’t.

But most do… so if you really want to stop, then just know that any excuse you think of to binge or to indulge without hunger is the voice of your lower brain.

Because these voices are not aligned with what your higher self really wants.

Our goal in breaking free from binges is to begin to hear your lower brain’s messages, and then choose to ignore them. We can notice them, and label them as ‘neurological junk’… not worthy of any attention. Just some brain messages from faulty wiring.

But, in order to dismiss these urges as neurological junk, we first need to recognize them.

I suggest that you start a list of your lower brain’s top 10 hooks.

Here are some examples:

  1. Just have a piece of cake! You can always start a diet tomorrow.
  2. You’ve been so good… just give this food to yourself.
  3. So what if you binge, it’s not that big a deal.
  4. You’re so tired, there’s so much to do… take a break and live it up!
  5. It’s not fair that I have to watch what I eat.

And so on…

Make a list of your own usual reasons for overeating.

Jot them down and look them over.

And the next time you hear that voice in your head with one of your top 10 excuses, you will know it’s just your lower brain trying to get you to do what you’ve always done.

Which has been to give in to the urge.

But you are in charge.

That lower brain can give you an urge to eat, but it can’t physically make you eat.

That choice is always up to you.

Start here. And learn to recognize the voice and the words that hook you.

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4 Responses to “How Your Lower Brain Hooks You Into Bingeing”

  1. Margie says:

    Love this information, Cookie. Thank you for sharing – it’s so helpful!

  2. I’m so glad it’s helpful Margie…I love it because this perspective helps us realize there is nothing wrong with us…it’s just the way our brain is wired.

  3. Sue says:

    Invaluable information Cookie! Knowing this, being aware and pausing to realize what the lower brain is up to is operating at a much higher level. Your teachings work and I am grateful that you are so passionate
    about helping us all to live a healthier lifestyle.

  4. Sue this info is so useful for all of us, particularly when we are trying to understand why we keep doing something that clearly doesn’t serve us. Keep me posted on how you are able to use it.