If we were to identify the part of the brain that is most closely associated with the attributes of being human, it would surely be the pre-fontal cortex. This is the most highly evolved part of the brain and it is the reason that you are able to read this secret. This is the source of our creativity and imagination and provides control mechanisms for our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. This is where human flexibility is rooted.
Unlike the limbic system, it develops slowly, not reaching its full capacity until our early twenties. The prefrontal cortex allows us to plan, to analyse, to be rational and to exercise control. Why is any of this relevant? Well, the two systems are closely linked. If the limbic system is the accelerator, putting the pedal to the metal for instant gratification, the prefrontal cortex is the braking system, slowing things down to maintain control and seek a more logical, reasoned approach.
It’s quite clear that the PFC is the key to many important behavioural changes. Planning, visualising, setting goals, measuring progress and adapting to changing circumstances are all attributes of the PFC. The more you engage its extraordinary creative potential, the more you override the destructive, instant gratification responses of your old eating behaviours.
Limbic saysGo, go, go!. Pre-frontal cortex saysSlow down! Stop!. The Stop-Go systems work in tandem They react together all the time in a seamless, inter-connected relationship. As one area becomes more active, the other becomes less influential.
The overwhelming need for instant gratification is powered by the limbicGosystem and this is where eating issues can show up as almost uncontrollable urges to consume exactly the worst kind of foods: saturated fats, sweets, sugary treats, comfort foods and fizzy drinks.
Reading about nutrition and the harmful effects of poor diet can encourage a more rational response from the PFC. Education and better information support better behaviour. Take time every day to learn a little more about the miracle that is your body. Understand its needs and treat it with absolute respect.
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