Controlling the Hunger Habit: Dr. Jud Brewer on Mastering Your Relationship with Food


Controlling the Hunger Habit: Dr. Jud Brewer on Mastering Your Relationship with Food

Coming up next on passion struck with anxiety we learn to worry but with eating this is where comfort food comes in this is where the term stress eating comes in if we eat some food our brain says hey that tasted pretty good why don't you eat when you're stressed and so we start to learn these habits of eating not when we're hungry but when.

We're stressed when we're bored when we're angry or just simply when we see food because it's like oh that looks good boom we often lose use the ability to really check in with ourselves to ask am I actually hungry that's what habit is all about is automatic Behavior the joke is about this want a seafood diet I seafood and I.

Eat it that type of thing well that's our survival brain that's been co-opted in modern times welcome to Passion struck hi I'm your host John AR miles and on the show we decipher the secrets tips and guidance of the world's most inspiring people and turned their wisdom into practical advice for you you and those around you our mission is to help.

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And athletes now let's go out there and become passion struck I am absolutely thrilled to welcome my friend Dr Jud Brewer back to Passion struck welcome back Dr Jud thanks for having me so the last time you were on the show we did an in-depth exploration.

Of how to overcome anxiety something that you're well known for and in today's episode we're going to discuss your brand new book which I was one of the few privileged who got an advanced reader copy of and it is absolutely absolutely awesome and it's called a hunger habit and in it you explore why we eat when we're not hungry can you.

Explain what prompted you to write about this well it was not on purpose let's start there and I say that because I was developing a smoking program as an addiction psychiatrist was really struggling to help my patients quit smoking and so I was looking at alternative ways to help and the The Willpower approach hadn't really worked.

For a lot of my patients so we developing this program called craving to quit and it's an app based program so I was having people pilot test it and when they were pilot testing it they were saying oh yeah I'm changing my eating habits and I was thinking well most people gain weight when they quit smoking because they substitute eating.

For smoking so I'd made an assumption that they were just substituting eating for smoking but somewhere in there somebody said no no we're actually I'm using these same tools to change my eating habits in a good way way where I'm not snacking as much for example as I pulled my jaw back off the floor because you know wait a minute I almost.

Missed something huge here that actually got me looking into how eating has shifted from an evolutionary mechanism that helps us survive that one's still in place but in modern day to where we eat for all sorts of reasons but none of them having to do with Hunger so we developed this eat right now program in long story short as a researcher as a.

Neuroscientist I want to understand how this stuff works so we started studying it and learning all sorts of fascinating things as you and I talked about at the beginning of the program I'm going to offer myself up as a guinea pig today because I think like many people who might be listening to this I am someone who although I look really fit today I.

Have had a lifelong struggle with my weight that started as long as I can possibly remember it's interesting cuz you write in the book that the patients that you see as a psychiatrist are so helplessly out of touch with their bodies that they can't even tell if they're hungry or simply eating with their emotions how prevalent do you.

Think this is today oh wow it is so prevalent and I'll just highlight this is I learned so much from my patients I didn't realize how prevalent it was until I started working with a group of women who all had bingeing disorder and I went in with the assumption that they could at least tell.

When they were hungry and long story short that assumption was completely wrong I don't know a single person in that room I'm just thinking back to them I can't think of a single one that actually could tell the difference between what's now called homeostatic hunger which is actual true physiologic hunger and honic hunger which is a term.

That's a misnomer in one sense but also the scientific term that we use to study this phenomenon because it is so common and honic hunger just means that we're eating because of something that is emotional like Pleasant or unpleasant that's what hedonic is all about yet it has nothing to do with actual hunger so that's where it's a.

Misn yeah so it's we on the the treadmill but to eating all the time yes so I am probably like most of the people out there that as I've seen dietitians or as I've gone to fitness programs I remember doing the orange theory challenge which is one of the most recent one almost all of these things have been about people telling me that I.

Needed to Simply count the calories that I'm putting in and putting out and that's going to make all the difference but according to your research that doesn't work yes now to be clear the formula is true I learned it in medical school students still learn it in medical school just calories out versus calories in and the way I learned it in.

Medical school is like it was a Newtonian law well this is just what you do and the lecturer just stated it as though it was fact it is true yet they didn't say how you actually go about that so if we look at all of these and it's It generally tends to be some flavor of calories and calories out just with a.

New rapper or a new label it's like oh this year it's this diet this year it's this diet this year it's this diet yet all of them share some common element which is just use your willpower and do it when it comes to doing it one of the things that keeps coming up on this podcast as a barrier to maintaining our weight are the simple things of sugars.

And breads or starches and also processed foods how much do you think those are playing really into the problem or is it really a behavior issue I would say it's both so to set the stage we have and let's start with those pieces but then let's go to how our brains are set up because those two interact with each other so in modern.

Day there's all of this engineering of food I hesitate to call it food in some cases do you remember the onion that satirical Journal they had a headline that says Dorita celebrates its 1 millionth ingredient we get a sense for how engineered this stuff can be and in fact RJ Reynolds merged with Nabisco at some point because their tobacco.

Engineers could then shift their focus to food when when the tobacco industry got in trouble in the 80s so this has been around for a long time their entire books dedicated to how people engineer things like Bliss points and Vanishing caloric density which is just a fancy term if you think of a Cheetos or something that melts in your mouth you.

Put this thing in your mouth and your body says oh I just ate something and then it's gone and then did I just eat something no it's gone I didn't even chew it and and well try that again and then suddenly a whole bag of these things that's designed to melt in our mouth is in our stomach so the calories are there it's just that our.

Brain has been fooled so I won't go on and on because there are people that dedicate their lives that to describe this but you get a sense of it there's the Bliss point this perfect marriage let's say of salt sugar and fat Etc so that's the context in which we are living another contextual piece that's important is the ready availability of.

Food we can we have food delivery we have 24-hour restaurants and diners that are open for people that have the privilege of being able to eat whenever they want they can eat whenever they want because in the Western World at least the food is there okay so we've got ready availability of food and we've got engineering of food to make us want.

More somebody put it beautifully to me the other day they said they were talking about uh some type of candy and they said it tastes like more as in couldn't really describe the taste because their brain didn't have a good category for it but they knew that they wanted more when they ate one and that's certainly been the case I'm happy.

To talk about my addiction to gummy worms at some point if that's helpful I think we've all run into those types of things Okay so we've got the taste like more and we've got the ready availability of taste like more and also I'll just add most of these things have a shelf life of about a thousand years so we can put.

Them in our drawer we can put them in our car we can put them anywhere so that we have ready access to them so that's the modern context and we're going to pit that against our ancient brains and our ancient brains were set up to help us survive with two main flavors one is we've got to remember where food is is because there.

Isn't food delivery we had to go actually walk to the couldn't even drive to get the food we had to go walk somewhere and find it and then we had to remember where it was and this General flavor I I'll just go through it quickly you know I've talked about this before with because the same mechanism is at play with anxiety it's.

Called positive reinforcement three elements a trigger a behavior and result so let's say we're walking around on the Savannah we find the food there's a trigger we eat the food there's the behavor and then our stomach sends this dopamine signal to our brain that says remember what you ate and where you found it so it's that's set up as the.

The place marker that says hey here's the food when you come back tomorrow this is where you'll find it the negative reinforcement flavor of that works the same way it's just that it helps us avoid things that are unpleasant so if there's danger and we see that there's some a bunch of tigers over at this certain food source we can.

Remember hey let's avoid that there's the behavior avior and then our reward is that we survive we don't become their lunch so that's our ancient brain okay now when you bring these two together let me just highlight that the ancient brain is set up to help us get calories when we need them and it also has this mechanism to pack on calories in case we.

Can't find food for a while so we when there's something that's a high calorie source our brain says okay pack it in and then so with with sugar for example that's a really good source of calories we'll take sugar in and then we'll store it as fat and the idea is that's going to help us survive and in fact in not even super ancient times being fat was.

Actually a sign of prosperity right because you're going to be more likely to survive a famine over somebody that's skinny so that's the lay of the land now let's bring these together this positive and negative reinforcement process that is very much at play in everyday life this is how things like anxiety get set up because something unpleasant happens.

Let's say that we get anxious or stressed and so with anxiety we learn to worry but with eating this is where comfort food comes in this is where the term stress eating comes in if we eat some food our brain says hey that tasted pretty good why don't you eat when you're stressed and so we start to learn these habits of eating not when we're.

Hungry but when we're stressed when we're bored when we're angry or just simply when we see food because it's like oh that looks good boom and we eat it we're not even thinking about oh I'm hungry we often lose the ability to really check in with ourselves to ask am I actually hungry that's what habit is all about is automatic Behavior the joke.

Is about the seafood I'm on a seafood food diet I see food and I eat it that type of thing well that's our survival brain that's been co-opted in modern times yeah it's a really interesting discussion because what you're really talking about is that the traditional approaches of willpower measuring self-control that we hear all the time.

Are not how we're going to address the issue it's instead to get rid of these unhealthful habits and you're right uh through centuries we were hunter gatherers and that's how our metabolism was created and now we have so much readily available to us that we don't fall into that pattern anymore it's something for me that's worked I think.

To counteract this is I've been doing intermittent fasting now for about seven years and but it's interesting because I am in a couple group of friends where we like to go cycling and they like to cycle for about 10 miles stop and get breakfast and then cycle back which I don't understand the reasoning behind it because I don't want to cycle with food.

In my belly but I've been sitting there for years now as they eat having a cup of coffee or a glass of water they're like aren't you hungry doesn't it drive you crazy watching us eat and I'm like no I'm actually not hungry so I don't break the fast until I feel hunger and I'm still hunting and Gathering but it's interesting because.

Except for one of them the rest of them have these unhealthy eating habits and probably eat too much which we fall into so can you maybe take us down another scientific element of this on explaining the process of how food habits are actually formed in our brains would' be happy to and so if we look at this survival mechanism the healthy habits.

Are the ones where we're in touch with our physiology and we've learned basically all we need to learn is what food is going to give us calories and what food is going to kill us so we have a very good mechanism for detecting rotten or poison pretty quickly I'll just geek out on this a little bit cuz I love this how.

This works so let's say that we eat some chocolate or some berries or something like that and if you think about eating chocolate you if you're really paying attention you just let it melt in your mouth and you taste it and you're like this there's this note in this note and then let's say that we eat some food that is.

Rotten that is ejected from our mouth before we're even consciously aware of it and then our Consciousness comes on the line it's like that was rotten and so notice the just the time scale of that where it's what's the one that is it cyanide or arsenic that tastes maybe it's arsenic that tastes like almonds or something so it's like oh yeah sunite.

Does taste like almond wow that's so interesting that's out of our mouth because of its very bit flavor that says hey don't be ingesting this we don't have time to even think about it so I just love how exquisitely evolved or designed our brains are to be able to detect all of these things to help it survive that mechanism is at play and.

Then so that's the healthy habit right the other part of the healthy habit is that when we pay attention when we eat we stop when we're full because our stomach and our body tells us hey that's enough okay the unhealthy aspect of things are when we start to lose connection with our bodies so whether it was a Clean Plate Club that we learned.

As a kid eat all the food on your plate before you get dessert our parents were unknowingly actually training us to overeat and the reward was that we' get dessert where we got to eat even more everything on your plates before you get this treat so we've learned to overcome our Natural Body signals so that we are eating Beyond satiety we're eating.

Beyond fullness and we're also eating in the absence of hunger so we go to the movie and it's not like our parents when we're kids it's not like like our parents were saying okay don't eat anything cuz we're going to go fill up on popcorn you know at the movie theater they're like most of us didn't go to the movie theater with an empty stomach so.

We go to the movie theater and we learn to associate like the butter and the salt and the the flavor of popcorn with a good time cuz we're at the movie theater it was a big treat for me to go to the movie theater and I still remember they ask you how many squirts of butter do you want on your popcorn and they'd go squirt squirt as they.

Turned the tub around you know and it's well how much it popcorn was more like a butter delivery vehicle than anything else at that point and so I have certainly learned to associate the smell of popcorn like movie theater popcorn with like really good times because I got to see some amazing movies as a kid in the movie theater it was a big treat.

There's no such thing as like a 4K big screen television it was amazing so we start to drift from these survival mechanisms to hey this is good times whether it's the movie theater popcorn or whatever and then that drift happens even more when we learn to associate eating with the alleviation of unpleasant things so we learn hey when.

You're stressed out when you're bored when you're angry when you're mad when you're sad whatever the emotion is we learn to associate that with eating as well again none of these have to do with actual hunger so that's how the Habit gets set up as an example you feel stress there's a trigger you eat some chocolate or some ice cream it tastes.

Good so you distract yourself you might feel a little bit better for a moment and then the result is you don't feel as bad and that's the simple mechanism that gets set up and over and over and over and over to the point where it's automatic we're stressed we're running we we're headed to the refrigerator and we're not even aware of it so it sounds.

Like what you're talking about is our eating habits are just like any habits that we have it would be just as bad as you arsoning the very aspirations that you have by continuing to do harmful habits that are keeping you from your goals so I think what you're saying is that if you want to break these eating habits and I know you don't like to call.

Habits bad but if you want to break eating habits it requires that you use awareness is what I think you're saying and not willpower which is what so many of us have been taught to do is that correct absolutely as a clinician I'd been struggling helping my patients with smoking eating anxiety as a neuroscientist this fascinated me.

Because I was thinking what did I miss in medical school what did I sleep through because I for whatever reason and so I started looking at the question from a neuroscience standpoint and I was blown away because there are these very clear and equations that have stood the test of time for decades now there for example back in the 70s these two.

Researchers named roscorla and Wagner came up with a reinforcement learning formula which basically describes habit formation to a T and it also describes how to change habits and this equation has nothing to do with willpower absolutely there's no variable in there for willpower neuroscientists don't even talk about it the closest they come to.

Willpower is talking about cognitive control and when you look at these formula it's really about awareness and what I mean let's use a concrete example and then tell me if this fits with your experience so again our brains are set up to help us learn and they're also set up to help us learn habits so that we can set a habit today and then open up.

The space to learn something new I think of it as set and forget habits are there to be automatic so that we don't have to relearn everything every day because our our brains just don't have the energy and capacity and the time for it so we set up an eating habit let's say well for me chocolate cake I have a certain reward value set up in my brain for.

Chocolate cake and there are different types of chocolate cake there's the flowerless Tor that's really it's basically like a chocolate bar you can think of all the different types of chocolate cake and so I've got a reward hierarchy in my brain for which types of chocolate cake I like the most and which I like the least like the chocolate cake.

From a box where you just add water in an egg and mix it and cook it low on my list let's just put it that way if a new bakery opens up in my neighborhood and I see that they've got some chocolate cake that looks pretty good in their window I go into the bakery I have no idea how good it is so I buy some cake I eat it and if it's like the best chocolate cake.

I've ever had my brain sets off this dopamine fireworks show where it says Boom Big dopamine Spritz and I remember hey this is a good Bakery these folks know what they're doing it's called a positive prediction eror from a neuroscience perspective and that just means that my brain was expecting it to be this good right because I've got a an.

Idea of how much chocolate cake should be good and it was it beat the expectation on the other hand if I eat the cake I'm like me these guys got have some work to do I also get a dopamine Spritz because I learned this hey not so good and that's called a negative prediction error meaning that it was worse than.

Expected notice how both of those cause dopamine firing my brain and in both scenarios I learned this one's good this one's bad this one I prefer and this one I don't prefer like you said I good and bad are just ways that we judge the world and so I think of it as survival brains are out there trying to say hey this is helpful for survival and this is.

Not helpful for survival and it helps us not just label things as good and bad and then we're really good at judging things anyway so let's not judge ourselves for our habits you okay so notice how that only requires one thing which is awareness so if you pay attention as you eat your wise brain and body are going to tell you everything.

That you need to know now that might sound overly simplistic and I'm not saying this is easy but from a neuroscience standpoint this is critical we have to know how our brains work if we don't know how our brains work we're not going to be able to work with them and just as one example we did a study so we developed the seat right now.

Program and done there several studies on this now which is part of the foundation of the book we asked this simple question like how quickly does somebody's reward value change in their brain in their experience and we basically what we did was we had people we developed what's we call a craving tool when they're craving of.

Food like an amount or a type of food we had them basically pay attention as they ate the type or the amount of food that they were craving and then we could measure how quickly that reward value changed so ready for this it only took 10 to 15 times of somebody overeating for that reward value to drop below zero so for people who habit.

Overeat all they had to do was pay attention as they paid attention their wise body told them hey this is not so good are you sure you want to overeat and it's not about thinking because everybody knows that overeating is not healthy for them but this was doing something different instead of thinking they were feeling what it felt like they.

Were feeling the results and that's exactly what these equations predict that if you pay attention the reward value changes and this can happen pretty quickly our brains are tremendously plastic in the sense that they can change they can rewire they can change synapse strength they can change dendritic density all.

These types of things with receptors on our axons on our dendrites where we can we that's how we learn that's how we change behavior and it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective we don't have time to be chased 20 times by the tiger to learn that it's dangerous we have to learn things pretty quickly and the critical ingredient there again is.

Awareness so Jud I just wanted to ask you that through a different lens so I think one of the biggest issues I personally have I think it started when I was at the Naval Academy is I eat way too quick when I was a ple what we end up doing is you're sitting there and you're having to in a right angle put the food in your mouth and like every.

Time it gets right to your mouth the upper classman ask you a question so you put it down and you get about 2 minutes to eat once they leave the table and you're just jamming as much as you can get in before you have to go to class but it's set up this pattern for me that I eat I think way too quickly especially as I observe others I'm sure this is.

Something that maybe happens to other people how can you break that habit yes it's very common here I think once we understand how our brains work we can learn to work with close to any context in which we're put so for example you just may not have time to eat at a pace that allows your body to register how much you've eaten and that time frame.

From the research suggests that it's 15 to 20 minutes to register fullness basically in an Ideal World we'd eat slowly enough so that we could start to register we give our bodies that time to say hey okay you've had enough and for any of us that have had time to do that it's pretty straightforward right our body says okay that's enough assuming.

That we're paying attention in the situation where we don't have time and I think that's a great example of one we can actually use the I call this in the book we talk about retrospectives where we look in the rearview mirror and we ask okay what and how much did I eat and was that enough not enough or too much and so if you had to run off if you had.

To eat your food in 2 minutes and run off to class 20 minutes later as you're sitting in class your stomach could tell you hey that wasn't enough hey that was too much or hey that was just right we still have the ability to check in and then learn from it we have to learn to associate this is called reinforcement learning we've got to learn to associate.

The behavior with the result so again that takes awareness but that awareness can come in retrospectively as well so do you think something like that would apply if you'd known this something like that could apply to your situation yeah I think it would and oftentimes I think because I eat quickly I don't allocate myself the time to eat.

Slower meaning I know how long it typically takes me to eat so for me a lunch break is probably shorter than some people because I know I'm going to consume the food faster and I'm wondering if I just set a longer period for me to do it if it would start changing my Outlook on how quickly I am consuming it yes and so if not everybody.

Has the opportunity to do that so I just want to highlight a lot of people they don't get a lot of time for lunch or sometimes they're not even given a lunch break if you were able to allocate your a little bit more time you'd see it doesn't mean that you have to take a two-hour lunch break it can happen if we know how the.

Process works probably 30 minutes is plenty to give our elves time to consume and also to wait to check to see is that been is that the right amount today because it also changes right if one day we're exercising more or didn't get a chance to work out or something like that those caloric needs can vary from day to.

Day well what you and I have just been discussing is the beginning aspects of your book and then in it you go through a 21-day challenge which you separate into three different parts of the book Days 1 to 5 days 6 to 7 17 and then days 17 to 21 and I was hoping we could start by maybe having you introduce an overview of the 21-day Challenge and.

What it aims to achieve I'd be happy to so this is really based on a lot of work we've done over the last decade in my lab where we've done qualitative research and focus group interviews because we'd seen so for example in one study this was led by Ashley Mason at UCSF with our eat right now program there was a 30% reduction in craving.

Related eating and we were seeing pretty good results in fact this seat R now program is now a CDC recognized diabetes prevention program the first one that's really based pretty exclusively on mindfulness training and awareness certainly it includes all of the required elements for the DPP but the diabetes prevention program for example.

Has for the last four decades I think has been largely based on Willpower based approaches so it's really nice to see that the CDC is open as long as there's research behind something and and data to support it that they're open to Alternative curricula so this what we had done in some of our research behind this program was to just start asking.

People like well we're seeing that you're changing your eating habits a lot of people were losing weight when they just by paying attention because they're like oh I don't need to eat as much and there's the calories in calories out thing but it's very different than saying I need to force myself to restrict right because with that our.

Brains say oh is there a famine here I need to hold on to calories which is that's very different than saying hey do I need this much and showing our brains and bodies like we've got plenty there if we need it and we don't need to overc consume so we done these focus groups and started asking these questions and what we found that was that it breaks.

Down to three pretty clear steps the first step is just becoming aware of the Habit Loop or even breaking that down or simplifying it even more what's the behavior am I eating because I'm hungry or because of some other honic reason an emotion or boredom or whatever Second Step leverages what we've actually talked about in terms of the.

Neuroscience where it brings in Awareness to help us ask ourselves what am I getting from this so we literally have people ask that question we can go into that in detail in a minute but that's the basic premise is we're giving helping our brain get those positive and negative prediction errors which then helps us shift the behavior we think of.

It this way if it's an unhelpful habit we become disenchanted with the behavior the third step I call finding these bigger better offers because we're again leveraging this same reward-based Learning System in our brain and we're giving our brain something better so as an example for me I shifted from eating entire bags of gummy worms to eating.

Blueberries because for me blueberries just tasted better and then I felt better afterwards and they didn't taste like more and the last thing I'll say about the overview of the program is that I set it as a 21 day program because one of the biggest questions that I get that is based on an internet meme as in a.

False statement on the Internet is somebody asked me how long does it take to break a bad habit or form a new habit and if you put that into the internet ask whatever your favorite search engine is almost invariably it'll come up with well it takes about 21 days and I do this is a tongue and cheek nod to where that Meme comes from which was a 1960s.

Book written by a plastic surgeon who in a very unscientific way just started noticing observed that it took about three weeks for his patients to get used to their new nose jobs so it's not to say well certainly we've found in our research 10 to 15 times of somebody paying attention as they overeat that reward value drops.

Below zero and they start to shift Behavior so this can happen pretty quickly but it's not to say it's guaranteed if here's the thing here's the formula it's guaranteed to work that just sets people up for failure what I can say is this is is all based on our science and the guarantee there is that we all have awareness and that we all.

Have very wise bodies that will tell us all that we need to know the none of that has to do with willpower one of the first things that you talk about in the days one through five is effectively setting a Baseline and a map of food habit Loops how does one go about approaching that it's pretty simple and again not necessarily.

Easy but it's pretty simple and just asking a basic question like why am I reaching for food so I break it down a little bit more like like the why the what and the how of eating but it can start with why am I reaching for food am I actually hungry or not hungry and that helps to identify the behavior is it automatic snacking is it stress eating.

Is it overeating because I'm used to finishing everything on my plate so just identifying the behavior as the first step and then how do you help people to understand to differentiate between genuine hunger and urges a critical question and this is one of the things that I discovered when I started working with my group of binge patients with.

Binge eating disorder and so the way that they described it was that they had an urge and they just ate and I at first assumed that this was because of homeostatic hunger well an urge it can be a grumbling in our stomach it can be loss of concentration it can be irritability there are a number of things that tell us that we're actually.

Hungry have that host IC hunger yet unfortunately there's a large overlap between a number of these and and honic hunger where we're eating outside of hunger and for example if we can't concentrate on something or we're irritable well that could actually be true homeostatic hunger or it could be honic hunger because there are a number.

Of other things that make us irritable and so we can see that there's overlap but that's it's not complete overlap and we can also add emphasis to different aspects of our experience based on how recently we've eaten so if we just ate and we're irritable well that's probably not because we're hungry right and so we can start to bring these.

Things together asking simple questions like hey how recently have I eaten and what did I eat because if we eat a bunch of carbohydrates that can give us that Sugar rushing crash versus for me eating a good blend of especially if it's like Whole Food BL based food where it's nonprocessed and especially with a fair amount of protein in it I found that for.

Me protein helps me stay full much longer than if I eat something with a Vanishing caloric density for example and so we can start to ask okay what's going on in my experience and I even give it a checklist of a bunch of different things in the book and then we can pair that with how recently did I eat and that starts to give us a sense.

For whether we're actually truly hungry or if we're just mad bad angry lonely tired or bored one of the things I love to talk about Jud on this podcast is the power of intentionality and that set intentionality that drives Behavior change which I call intentional Behavior change but it seems like what you're talking about here and this gets into.

Days 6 through 16 is that paying close attention or it said otherwise being intentional about your eating behaviors will allow you to interrupt The Habit Loops that you've put yourself into is that a good way to understand yes and I think intentionality can be supported bolstered and fostered with awareness.

And the reason I say that is that the strongest learning mechanisms in our brain are the ones around reinforcement learning and knowing that we can leverage that and for example we can ask the question well why do I want to exercise and we can say well some social media influencers said that it's a good idea or they look good so we can base it.

On external things like oh I think I should exercise this is where this shoulds come in that joke we should all over ourselves right I should exercise more or we can also ask this question well what was it like the last time I exercised and that can help us draw on our own direct experience and our own direct learning and for me when I.

Exercise it feels pretty darn good good afterwards especially and even during like I the active exercising for a lot of people they're like well I make it through it and then I feel better so it really depends on the person and also the exercise so ideally we find something that we really love to do and it it fits with our lives and our.

Circumstances but let me ask you that question like after a bike ride and even during a bike ride how's it feel well that's one of my favorite activities to do so that's something that I look forward to doing sometimes it's painful while you're in the act of doing it I'm not going to lie there afterwards you feel great uh.

Because you've accomplished something that you put your mind to but even more than that I for me I get the anxiety out of my system I like to get that sweat in but there are days like today I did a 6 a. spin class and it sometimes is hard to get yourself motivated to do it but once you push through boy does it set your day up better yeah so notice how.

The setting your day up better is a great way to motivate you and provide that intentionality simply through your own direct experience right so you set yourself up we call this and a woman that I highlight her story in the Hunger habit describes it as setting up a you develop a a disenchantment database or Data Bank she describes it where you.

Become disenchanted with unhelpful habits but you can also deposit those gold coins in an enchantment Data Bank that says wow exercise feels pretty good and that actually goes right into the third step which is finding these bigger better offers so it could be if we're comparing not exercising to exercising we can see how crummy we feel when we.

Don't exercise and then we can also compare that to how great we feel when we do exercise again just takes awareness Ness of and recollection right so we've got to be aware of how it feels afterwards or we won't actually have that information or those data points and then we also just have to recall it like well how' it feel the last time I.

Did this we can also do the same thing with food for me it was gummy worms I started paying attention as I ate gummy worms and they literally taste like more right I have a craving for the next one before I've even finished chewing and swallowing the one that's in my mouth they're overly sweet they' got this weird feeling mouth feel that's just not.

Natural etc etc and I don't feel good especially cuz I feel like I got to eat the whole bag because I'm just so addicted so I became I really just started paying attention and became disenchanted with that we actually have some gummy things in our cupboard right now totally not interested like my wife doesn't even ask me anymore if I want.

Some she knows cuz I'm just not interested so there's that second step of just paying attention and then the third step for me was finding that blueberries were that bigger better offer love blueberries love blueberries so food exercise even the way we interact with people we can look to see if I'm short with somebody all the time.

What's the result of that if I bring kindness in if I even just pause and notice some irritation or irritability or something like that and pause and bring some kindness to an interaction how does that result in my connection with that person so there are lots of ways that we can bring these principles forward and and eating is a big part of.

Our lives so there are lots of ways that we can even use that as a way to start to learn how our brains work and then learn to work with our brains yeah man it is one of the biggest Pleasures we have and I don't realize how important it is to me until I have a head cold and I can't taste anything or once I had Co I think I went for six or.

Seven weeks without being to taste or smell anything man it was horrible yeah the one thing it did teach me is I did lose a lot of weight because since I couldn't taste anything I was eating I ate the healthiest things I could get my hands on but I also wasn't as hungry either because you didn't smell the smells in the house and the other things.

That I think were triggers to make you want to consume something yes yeah so one of the things I often talk about on this show is the need for us to reconnect with our self-awareness a lot of that is doing mind work but one of the things that you talk about in the book is that we need to reconnect with our body how do you.

Suggest that people reconnect with their bodies to better understand their eating habits yes and this is not a strictly modern phenomenon though I think it's getting worse the more we have Cornell West put described phones our smartphones as these weapons of mass distraction so we have all of these ways to distract ourselves from our direct.

Experience so for stress we can grab some food to distract ourselves or we can go to our phone to distract ourselves and that every time we do that actually distances us from our own bodies and our own experience I highlighted a there's a quote from a a short story from James Joyce back from over a hundred years ago 1914 I think.

The story is called the painful case and he described Mr Duffy as living a short distance from his body right so this is common especially in modern times where we have the ability to distract ourselves from ourselves so the way that we can start to reconnect there are a number of different ways that we can do it and I think of the main tool is.

Through curiosity and then there are a number of techniques that can help us use that tool and for example a common one that I talk about in the book is called the body scan right where we just start to bring curiosity to physical Sensations as we scan through our body whether it's head to toe or toe to head and what that can do is just help us.

Start to awaken to all of these Myriad of different Sensations that our bodies have from all the time that we're not even aware of and even if it's not hunger or something like that that just helps us start to reconnect with our body to say Hey you a lot of signals here maybe I can start listening to them again so Jad one of the things I wanted.

To end on is is you put yourself through this 21-day challenge you follow the instructions how by doing so does it help build trust in yourself and your relationship with food well knowing how something works builds a huge amount of trust right so imagine let's say we walk into a room that is completely dark and we're stumbling around we're bumbling.

And we're bumping into things we have no idea what those things are right that is a lot of uncertainty for our brains our brains don't like uncertainty so imagine that in contrast to walking in the room and flipping on the light switch and then you say oh here's this here's how I I don't bump into things I think that's a decent analogy for how we interact.

With ourselves and our own brains if we don't know how our brains work and I'm not saying that we've got to know it down to every system in synapse but I'm saying in a at a behavioral level if we don't know how our brains learn and if we don't know how they work to form habits there's no way we're going to be able to work with them that's that's a.

Dark room and we're just going to be bumbling around and we're going to be making a lot of false associations where we think we try something and it works for a little while and then it stops working and we wonder why it stops working well it's probably because we've Associated it with working in a correlational manner as compared to a.

Causal manner correlation does not equal causation so here once we learn how our brains work it helps us develop just gives us some ease because we know the system and I think of that as that first first step in developing trust or faith the next step is really critical which is having our own experience so we can say okay I learned that this Theory I've.

Got to try it out myself and so as people start playing with these practices themselves and they start simple questions like well what's it when I eat can I actually start to pay attention with each bite and see if that pleasure plateau effect is true they can read my studies but that's not going to be as Faith or trust building as.

Somebody's own experience and so here we all have to do this ourselves and see for ourselves that every time we do this every time we overeat it feels like this every time I eat gummy worms well it's been a while but I can still recall the last time every time I ate gummy worms it was like this whereas every time I.

Eat blueberries it's like this and so that ongoing experience just builds our trust because we see that this is a consistent thing our brains love consistency right this is a consistent thing it's not magic it's not some fed diet it's awareness it's curiosity and it's also the kindness we bring to ourselves because we're truly caring for.

Ourselves as compared to just scratching that itch of indulgence I think of it as meeting our needs as compared to feeding our wants which is feeding our wants is all about automatic habitual Behavior meeting our needs is really bringing that awareness in and asking what do I need right now and then looking at the results of how we meet that need thank.

You for being here today and congratulations again on the hunger habit I highly encourage the audience to pick up a copy of this book we've just gone through a small aspect of the jewels that are throughout it and I always like to give the guest an opportunity to share where's the best place for listeners to learn learn more.

About you oh sure so I have a website Dr drr that has links to the books and bunch of free resources and to our apps as well if folks are interested in checking any of those things out I'm also on Instagram at Dr period Jud at Dr Jud thank you so much again for coming on the show it's always such an honor to.

Have you it's really been my pleasure I thoroughly enjoyed that interview with Dr Judson Brewer and I wanted to thank Jud and portfolio for the honor of having him appear on today's show you're about to hear a preview of The Passion struck podcast interview that I did with Robert Sutton a distinguished Stanford professor and best-selling author Bob is.

Recognized as one of the 10 B School Allstars by business week and his influence extends far beyond the academic realm reshaping contemporary business thinking in this episode we dive into his revolutionary new book The friction project which is about the friction that we all know exists in every single organization our discussion.

Guides listeners on how to become Adept friction fixers enhancing workplace efficiency without exasperating the problems there's this notion that sometimes there is good friction because it forces you to slow down and think and other times there's bad friction where you just drive people crazy who are just trying to accomplish something simple.

They just want to get done so our book is about how to tell the difference between the two and once you figure out whether you want more or less friction how you deal with that challenge the fee for the show is that you share it when you find something useful or interesting if you know someone who's struggling with their eating habits then definitely.

Share this episode with Dr Jud with them in the meantime do your best to apply what you hear on the show so that you can live what you listen until next time go out there and become passion Str

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