By STACY BERMAN
The science of self perception just that: how you THINK about self can help or hurt the metabolism.
This is the basic run down.
The autonomic nervous system regulates key involuntary functions of the body. It is divided into two parts:
- The sympathetic nervous system aka the “fight or flight” mechanism/stress response increases heart rate, raises blood pressure, constricts blood vessels. This part of the NS prepares the body to fight or flee.
- The parasympathetic nervous system aka “rest and digest” mechanism slows heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, relaxes sphincter muscles. When the parasympathetic nervous system is active is when the body heals, recovers and rebuilds itself.
WHAT’S GOING IN.
The thing about the sympathetic nervous system is that it doesn’t filter for content. Whether the threat is an actual one, like an attacker coming at you, or a perceived one, like nitpicking boss or you stepping on a scale, your body reacts in the same way. Your body goes into fight or flight mode and in that mode any function of the body not associated with immediate survival of the organism gets shut down. When there is a threat your body is like…get me the F out of here so all its resources go towards getting you the fuck out of there. It’s not worried about keeping you healthy, burning fat, cell reproduction, hormone balance, etc. It wants to keep you alive.
YOU ARE THE THREAT.
The problem is when that threat is only perceived the body reacts in the same way. And when that “threat” is triggered by you seeing your own body naked or getting on the scale you become neurologically conditioned to associate your body with the stress response and continually trigger and re-trigger the sympathetic nervous system. In that chronic state of alert, you never allow your body to rest, digest and lose weight. The sympathetic nervous system was designed for immediate action for a specific short term time frame. It was not designed to be “turned on” at a low level and long time. The body just doesn’t know how to deal with that and it starts breaking down. To put this idea in perspective, when you get food poisoning the body immediately recognizes that “it” is poison, it gets it out by whatever means necessary, you feel like shit for a few days and then you are back to normal. In a simplistic way the stress response works in the same way. There is an immediate threat, you fight or flee, once the immediate threat is gone you go back to hemostasis. The body was not designed to deal with low level toxins found in many food products today. When the body becomes over run with these toxins it starts shutting down and diseases become common. This low level poisoning is similar to what happens to your body when you continually shit talk yourself, releasing stress hormones, not allowing the parasympathetic NS to do its job.
Furthermore you become stuck in a repeated pattern of thought that you experience in mind and body. This is what I mean. If you think of yourself as “fat, ugly, disgusting (fill in the negative talk here)” you begin to release neurochemicals in line with these thoughts, your brain picks up on the chemicals and in response continues thinking thoughts in line with those feelings. Now you have literally wired you brain and become biochemically attached to this state of being and become locked into thinking and feeling this way. Your body continues producing a biochemical reaction that slows down the metabolism, limits nutrient absorption, causes inflammation, lowers immunity, and a cascade of other negative physiological effects that make losing those extra pounds a near-impossible struggle. Thoughts and feelings impact your body at every level, from cell reproduction, to DNA, genes and regeneration. Faulty subconscious programming and negative thinking can totally fuck with your overall wellbeing, especially when it comes to your weight.
LET’S START RE-WIRING.
The problem is, that wiring is often faulty, because over the course of our lifetimes we’ve picked up a lot of garbage, i.e. learned thought, feeling and behavior patterns. As cellular biologist Bruce Lipton puts it, “Psychology reveals up to 70% of these ‘learned’ behaviors are disempowering, self-sabotaging and limiting.”
Once the patterns or templates are in place they continue, beyond our conscious awareness, to flood the mind/body with neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and hormones that can totally mess with our weight loss efforts. When our negative self-perceptions become ingrained we are literally hardwiring ourselves so that these thoughts and feelings run on autopilot.