21/100 Neuroscience on Diet

I am currently reading a section on self-control from the book “What Makes your Brain Happy and why You Should Do the Opposite” by David Disalvo. Apparently, temptation is a major factor in failure of diet. For example, imagining that there’s a bowl of M&Ms will want you to eat chocolate more than imagining that you are eating chocolate. In a similar way, women who are on a diet are more likely to binge eat cookies than those who aren’t.

The factor is how far we are from achieving the goal. The further we have deviated from the goal, the more likely we are to no believe in the possibility and fail in achievement. For example, once you open a snack on the first day of working out, you may be more lenient than when you grab a snack after two months of consistent workouts. Why? Because in the later situation, you are actually closer to achieving your goals.

The size of your competition matters as well. The more people you compete with, the more likely you will give up. Women who see models on instagram all day might easily give up on their diets unlike women who only see women in their daily lives. In the era of social media, we are finding easier methods to isolate our identity in reality vs. that online.

Fear and confidence is also linked with the amount of effort we put into achieving something prior to a dealine. The more we fear and the more proximate the time in which we will receive negative feedback, the harder we will try. Confidence, however, is necessary in performance in a direct manner. We need to have both fear and confidence, which is ironic.

Anticipation and desire plays a bigger role in happiness than achievement. We tend to have expectations once we achieve something, whether it is weight, a career, certain objects, places..but once we have what we wanted so dearly in our hands, we are often disappointed. A common response is to look for the next “happiness,” or green light.

The axiom that resonates with me today is “wherever you go, there you are.”

Up next:

The psychology of jealousy & excitement



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