One Brain, Two Minds Part 1


Our brain uses two different and often conflicting systems to process information and drive our choices and actions.


Mind #1: The logical mind:  “I’ll stick to my diet because it is healthy and will help me lose weight”. The logic-based mind requires willpower which is exhausted by dieting among other things. Resisting temptation over and over again takes mental energy which drains willpower. 

Mind #2: The impulsive, emotional mind: The emotion-based mind is experiential and often automatic.  It motivates us based on how we feel and is often outside our awareness.  Logic is screaming at you to avoid the cookies, you’re enjoying the cookies before you know what happened.

This goes beyond diet and very much applies to exercise and other health behaviors. When we are in the moment our choices are often driven by emotion especially when willpower is low. It is much harder to think about long-term goals and our future self when energy depleted.

Understanding the science of willpower will help us plan around the times we know willpower is low while working on strengthening willpower.  For example, if you are exhausted after work and find it difficult to prepare a healthy meal, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. There will be those days when you really just want to pick something up on the way home. Make a list of healthy options when you have the time and energy. The goal is to make things as easy as possible when you are willpower fatigued.

Understanding the science of motivation will help us tie positive emotions to our health habits by doing things we enjoy and focusing on how our health habits add to our daily quality of life. For example, focusing on how your daily walk improves your mood and energy level vs thinking of your walk of something you have to do to lose weight.  When your health habits feel like a chore the likelihood of continuing is slim. When you can find the gift in what you are doing you are more likely to continue.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Author: bestselfcoaching

Balancing work, family, and well-being seem like a never-ending battle. Failed attempts at “miracle” diets and exercise programs “guaranteed to take inches off your waistline” leave so many feeling frustrated and out of control. The diet mentality has us labeling ourselves as either good or bad depending on what we eat. We find ourselves using exercise as punishment for overeating taking the joy out of movement. When we can’t follow the “rules” of the latest diet, we blame ourselves for not succeeded and eventually give up. Wellness coaching provides a better way. Wellness coaching encourages a new level of self-awareness by guiding individuals to discover and utilize their strengths to make positive change, leading to a more fulfilling life. When you connect your goals to your personal, "positive why," and define how your health habits contribute to your day to day quality of life you are more likely to continue with your health habits for the long haul.

2 thoughts on “One Brain, Two Minds Part 1

  1. Very true! It is hard to make those decisions to eat well after a long day. Prepping ahead can help avoid that fast food lure. Waiting for part 2!

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