Do you find yourself addicted to something? Food, cigarette, alcohol, whatever it is – do you just feel like you just can’t stop? And then you get hard on yourself for not having the willpower to do it. Would you be surprised if I told you that willpower has nothing to do with overcoming an addiction? My guest today, Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson is going to talk to us more about that to help us understand the psychology of addictive behavior.
I know this may have nothing to do with sales directly but you have to understand that addictive behaviors have a significant impact both personally and professionally. And you know you just have to overcome that. In order to be great at sales, you have to first make sure you’ve set better habits to eat better so that you will feel better and be able to sell better.
Man, this episode is just going to blow you away!
About our guest
Dr. Thompson is a 10-year psychology professor, with a PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. An expert in the psychology of eating, Dr. Thompson is the Owner and CEO of Bright Line Eating Solutions, a company committed to helping people with weight loss struggles achieve long-term success through science-based educational programs and support systems. Dr. Thompson is also the President of the Institute of Sustainable Weight Loss.
Taking the weight loss industry by storm, they are the FIRST EVER, scientifically validated model of effective sustainable weight loss. People doing Bright Line Eating have been found to be 280x more likely to lose all their excess weight and keep it off than doing any other commercially available weight loss program.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Susan:
An inspiring story behind Susan’s passion for weight loss:
Susan also once had addictive behaviors having been addicted to food and drugs (because these made her lose weight). Weight became a huge struggle for her to the point that she resorted to crack, which became very destructive for her.
She put down the drug and alcohol addiction but her addiction to food got worse. She got fatter and fatter. She joined a couple weight loss programs with other people but had a hard time since people didn’t want to do it.
Susan started studying how the brain of a food addict works and started studying it academically. After she got clean and sober, she went back to school studying Brain and Cognitive Sciences and did really well, finally getting her PhD at one of the best school in the world.
She became a tenured psychology professor and was teaching a college course on the Psychology of Eating. Then she wrote the book, Bright Line Eating and it prompted her to start the online program, Bright Line Eating. Currently, the movement has exploded having touched and influenced half a million people.
How does addiction work?
Research shows that 1/3 of the population are susceptible to addiction, 1/3 are moderately susceptible, and 1/3 are just not susceptible.
The brain of someone susceptible to addiction is highly sensitive to the cues that predict things, rewards, or consequences. Some brains wire really quickly in the face those cues. When the payoffs are unnaturally strong, you follow those cues, you get the reward, and the reward is just over-sized.
Dopamine floods into the reward centers at grotesque levels. These brains then wire to compensate for that dopamine flood by down-regulating their dopamine receptor response so feel that you’re in control of the situation. But once that thing you’re addicted to is taken away from you, you feel profoundly itchy, bleak, and desperate so the brain now needs to get more dopamine at unnaturally high levels in order to feel normal again.
Hence, the addict is actually using not to get high, but to get normal.
What you need to understand about addiction:
- Will power is useless.
Will power is actually useless in the face of this situation. Any strategy that involves will power to overcome this is useless. And people need to understand this.
- Addiction as a disease
It’s helpful to think of addiction as a disease because there’s a part of the brain that is malfunctioning in predictable ways.
- A sense of responsibility
“We’re not responsible for our disease, but we’re responsible for our recovery.”
Having an addictive brain is sort of a responsibility. Once you know you’ve got it then you do what it takes to make sure it doesn’t take you down and everyone else around you. You just have to take care of it.
Ways to overcome an addictive behavior:
- Go to a 12-step program.
12-step programs are helpful because you get to have a lot of support and be around a lot of people who have a brain like yours and understand.
- Abstinence is key.
Generally, the first step is to put down the thing and stop the behavior. Go cold turkey and just stop. And then get a lot of support to stop.
- Do the inner work.
Do the inner work on the back end to address all the corks of character that either led you to using it or that developed through the use. Either way, you can’t end up with full blown addiction without having pretty serious stuff to unpack in terms of inner issues.
How the Bright Line Eating Program Works:
- Making it a habit.
Automate your eating like you automate your teeth-brushing. Make it a habit that’s so predictable that gets executed no matter what kind of mood you’re in. Cue it by the time of day and the location of where you’re at so it gets done automatically. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner get hardwired into our routine just like teeth-brushing.
- Keep a food journal.
Keep a journal and write down the food the night before for what you’re going to eat the next day. The next day, nothing goes into your mouth other than that. Only eat exactly what you wrote down.
In the Bright Line Eating bootcamp, over 50% of people are not experiencing cravings by the 2nd week of the bootcamp. By the end of the 8-week bootcamp, 84% of people are experiencing few to no cravings ever. The key is to let your brain heal so that your brain is not hounding you for a treat anymore.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Everybody thinks that to lose weight and slender, you need to eat right and exercise more. But what are the success rates of that? 99% of obese people will not lose weight and 1% of those who succeed will gain the weight back over the next few years.
At the Bright Line Eating bootcamp, they would not allow you to exercise at the beginning of the program (because it will sabotage your weight loss).
What you weigh is a function of what you eat.
Exercise is healthy. But starting an exercise regimen while you’re trying to start a weight loss program is basically guaranteeing that you’re going to sap up every bit of available motivation, willpower, and focus that you need to be using to set up automatic new food regimens and using it up at the gym.
As a result, your body gets hungrier and the “compensation effect” kicks in. Your brain tricks you into making an exception with your food plan because you deserve it.
Working out doesn’t solve the food issue. It keeps you from solving the food issue.
Eating Right to Feel Right
In the USA, 2/3 of people are overweight or obese. While this may not be an addiction issue, take the quiz to find out how susceptible your brain is to pull off those addictive food. Take the quiz here www.foodfreedomquiz.com and you will know what you’re dealing with.
“Whether you have a weight problem or not, you will just function better if you eat better.”
Where Will Power Should Be At
Research shows that there are people who naturally have more willpower but they don’t use it because those people with a lot of willpower set up habits that shield them from temptation. Will power is not where it’s at. What you want more is the habits that make willpower irrelevant.
Get to know more about Dr. Thompson on www.BrightLineEating.com and take the quiz there.
Read Susan’s book, Bright Line Eating
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