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Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Neuroadaptation?

This term refers to the process  of our senses getting used to sensations because of the way our sensory nerves and brain interact.  When we ease into a tub of very hot water, we slowly adapt until the temperature feels normal. When we enter a room with a humming fridge, we soon get used to the irritating buzz and forget about it.  We all eventually get used to accustomary smells, sounds, sights, tastes, and tactile sensations.  

Unfortunately  taste buds have maladapted (gotten used to ) to our industrialized diet of high sugars, fat, and sodium.  A diet without the stimulatory effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD) tastes bad.  A health promoting diet of no sugars, less animal fats, less salt is not as enjoyable to the palate used to the excess stimulation of refined foods, artificially concentrated delights, and hormonally  engineered meats. "Ice cream is an extraordinary invention for intensifying taste pleasure- an artificial concoction of pure fat and refined sugar". (The Pleasure Trap by Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhammer)  French fries and potato chips are by far the most popular vegetable in our Western society.

A major obstacle in changing to a "clean" diet is this concept of the neuroadaption to artificially intense foods.  A change to  less stimulating foods can result in a reduced pleasure experience, hence many people continue to crave their former diets.  

Scientific research shows that re-sensitization of taste nerves can take 30 to 90 days of consistent exposure to less stimulating foods.
And during this period most people experience less pleasure from eating food. It requires more motivation and self-discipline to re-calibrate the taste buds, hence the frequent relapses to former ways of eating.  Most Western citizens are addicted to processed foods and many feels that a switch to clean food is being condemned to less pleasurable eating.  

Some people manage this "food addiction" by allowing their palates to detox. Experiences have shown that a one week water  only fast is enough to re-calibrate the taste buds. After this detox week,  clean foods can actually tastes better than artificial and processed ones.

Others,  just knowing, that food will once again become pleasurable in one to three months,  is enough to stay on course.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Are there different types of exercise motivation?

Why is it useful to understanding your motives for wanting to exercise? Because knowing what drives you to want to exercise helps you choose the best exercise plan for you and may help solidify your committment to developing an exercise habit.

The most obvious reason why people start exercising is to loose weight or build muscle or shape the body.

But there are 2 other motives: psychological and social motives. Psychological motives would be to improve mood, reduce tension, or manage stress.

Social motives have to do with liking competition and social contact.

Dr James Gavin further subdivides each of these 3 exercise motives into the 6 following subcategories.

Body Motives:

  1. Vanity
  2. Sexuality
  3. Addiction
  4. Weight
  5. Health
  6. Youth

Psychological Motives:

  1. Self-esteem
  2. Achievement 
  3. Moods/tension
  4. Stress
  5. Meaning
  6. Playfulness
Social Motives
  1. Sociability
  2. Anger
  3. Assertiveness
  4. Competitiveness
  5. Relationship
  6. Power

A worksheet will be posted shortly. 

What is "The Longevity Project" ?

In 1921 Lewis Termin (Stanford University psychologist) surveyed 1,500 elementary school students on lifestyle habits. He continued to follow them until his death in 1956. Other academics continued the study and in 1990 Howard Friedman and Lesie Martin analyzed the data looking for factors contributing to lengthy life spans. They came up with 5 factors more astonishing traits:

1) Those who engaged in service work and helping others  lived the longest.

2) High achievers, despite high levels of stress, lived longer then underachievers.

3) Moderate exercise is as beneficial as grueling workouts, in fact, may be better for longevity.

4) Some worry is better than too much optimism, as it forces one to be prepared for adversity.

5)Women who most often reached climax,  also lived the longest.    

What is intrinsic motivation?

Motivation is the drive which pushes people to take action. The stronger the motivation the stronger the intention to follow through with decisions. Action is always preceded by motivation

There are 2 types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is when drive comes as a result of some sort of inner reward, as opposed to extrinsic (outer) rewards such as trophies, approval, medals, money, rewards, etc.

Intrinsic motivation comes when someone has fun doing what they do, it makes them feel good,  they like the activity.

Too many extrinsic rewards can end up undermining intrinsic motivation.