How to Lose Weight: Is Human Nature Holding You Back?

Overriding Human Nature’s Pleasure Principle

When was the last time you were in a rush to put your hand on top of a burning stove? Probably, never. When was the last time you got excited about pushing a needle through the palm of your hand? Once again, probably never. On the other hand, when was the last time you got excited about getting a paid three- day weekend? How many times did you get excited about getting free pizza that your friends are ordering? These two sets of situations all point to the same place. They all point to the very basic human need to seek pleasure, whether it’s a pleasure about things that we see, smell, touch, and taste. It all boils down to pleasure. Human beings are always looking for pleasure. This is precisely why millions of Americans are having a tough time achieving their weight loss goals.

Losing all that extra weight isn’t easy; it takes sacrifice, pain, focus, and discipline. Who wants to deal with any of that when you can just enjoy your chocolate cake right now and not lift a finger. Who wants to deal with sweating like a pig on a treadmill, when you can just put your feet up, watch TV and eat some macaroni and cheese at home, right? It’s all about pleasure seeking, but life is all about pleasure seeking. However, if you want to look better, achieve your weight loss goals, make more money, have better relationships, and be a better all around person, you need to focus on discipline. You need to override the perfectly human instinct of pleasure seeking. Keep reading below as to have a clue how to do that.

Human Nature 101

Human nature is actually predictable. First, we like to run to pleasure. Things that are pleasurable to our senses — whether it’s our eyes, ears, nose, tastebuds, and touch — we tend to run to that and want more of that stuff. On the other hand, we tend to run away from pain, things that are inconvenient, awkward, uncomfortable. Also we tend to run away from things that take too long. We want our rewards and we want them now. Do you see how this all works out? That is human nature. You would be lying to yourself if you’re saying that you don’t have this impulses. This is part of being human.

Pleasure Seeking Leads To Extra Pounds

The problem with being human is our pleasure seeking nature leads to us packing us a few pounds. Why? because these behaviors violate the rules of weight loss. What are the rules of weight loss? The rules are pretty straightforward; they are only two rules: Rule #1: Eat less; Rule #2: Move around more often. That’s it! That’s all the risk to it. There’s no rocket signs, no latin terms, no secret code, and no need to read between the lines. That’s all there is to losing weight.

The problem is millions of Americans have a tough time losing weight because they violate these iron laws. They eat sweets and fatty foods. They loaf around rather than hitting the treadmill/gym. All these activities: eating sweets, fatty foods and sticking around the house instead of doing physical activities lead to an increase of stored calories. Unfortunately, your body stores calories in the form of fat.

Automatic Reactions Make You Feel Less In Control

The main reason why we are seeking pleasures is because of the fact that we have two brains, seriously. There is a part of your brain that everybody knows. It’s the human brain; it’s the brain that has the seat of reasons, make logical decisions, that can weigh your personal actions versus your highest virtues and values. This part of human brain we would all like to think defines humanity. But, we also have another brain; it’s called the lizard brain. This is the older part of the brain. This brain is all about instincts, running towards pleasure and running away from pain. You might laugh at this part of your brain. You might even wish it was never there. But, this part of your brain is what ensured humanity’s survival in the past. Think about it. If a bunch of cavemen walking around in the field of grass somewhere and they saw a fire, which cavemen went on to reproduce. The ones who stuck around the fire and try to make it through the fire or the ones who ran away. Probably, the ones who ran away. The ones who ran away from pain got to reproduce and this instinct got hardwired even more into the brains of their descendants. That’s how it works. That’s the lizard brain for you.

Unfortunately, in this day and age the lizard brain doesn’t do you any favors. The lizard brain is the one that is insistent that you eat all those sweets; it is a part of your brain that compels you to eat lot of fatty foods and to hang out of the house instead of exercising. You need to take control over your lizard brain using your human brain. Decide to take control. The good news about the human part of the brain is that there is a decision center there. There is apart of your brain that is called, “The Mastermind.” Once the mastermind resolves towards a certain picture of reality, it will never rest. It actually perceives that reality; that’s why it’s called the mastermind; that’s why it’s so powerful. In other words, this part of your brain makes your physical body its slave, if you let it. You need to unlock the power of your reasoning or human brain by deciding. The decision is the key.

Unfortunately, many people who were looking to lose weight laugh this thing off, “Yeah right! All I need to do is decide.” Guess what? It’s absolutely true. If you’re having a tough time losing weight and looking the way you want to look, it’s because you chose not to decide. You chose to stay where you are. If you want to fully take control over the lizard brain portion of your brain. You have to take control. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose weight, or hit the gym, overnight. That doesn’t work that way. You can take a gradual approach, but the key is to get started today. Once you decide, get started immediately. Slowly taper off the bad food that you eat; slowly hit the gym. If this doesn’t work for you, the gradual approach fails to produce results, you can try cold turkey. What is cold turkey? Abrupt changes. Stop eating fatty foods; stop loafing around the house. The bad news about cold turkey is that it fails a lot. The good news is that it’s more sustainable than a gradual approach. Regardless, you have to decide today for you to achieve the weight loss that you feel you deserve.

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  1. The “Lizard Brain” and “The Mastermind” I love it! I never heard it explained quite like that before. It makes so much sense.

    I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and I agree that the only way to accomplish your goals is to decide to do it and then act on it.

    I plan to use this idea to get started losing weight right away, thanks for the pep-talk. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. Totally agree with Jay and I love the Lizard Brain and Mastermind concept, that is just awesome. I am a very positive thinker and it has worked out well in my life so I completely understand what this article is trying to get across to the internet reader. It is a great motivator and like Jay has said it is a great pep-talk. Thank you FitnessB! This site is doing amazing work out here.

  3. Mind over matter! I agree that people naturally go after what is pleasing to them but people also go after what is “easy” or”safe”. You have to be able to tell yourself no as well as others. That is another issue people have. If you can’t say no to others, how will you ever say no to yourself and vice versa?

  4. Huh, I’ve never heard it being referred to as the lizard brain before. That’s really interesting. I just think that it’s human nature to consume tons of things that nourish us. However, it so happens that we’re making those things unhealthy now. It’s hard to disregard human nature, but I’m sure it can be done!

  5. I think human nature works both ways if you really plug into it. Human nature includes knowing when you are actually hungry and when you are satiated not just eating every time an artificial “meal time” comes around. Human nature makes us enjoy exercising in natural spaces if we actually go out into them rather than sitting home all day in our unnatural constructed houses. Human nature makes us feel good when we are fit and bad when we are fat, and that is very rewarding if you just learning to tune into your real nature in its entirety by spending time in real natural environments that are engaging and not full of junk food stores on every corner.