September 15

Episode 6 – Being healthy is 100% psychology

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Being healthy is 100% psychology (0:39)

  • It doesn’t really get touched upon enough; a majority of people think that being healthy involves only exercise and nutrition because that is the thing that’s predominantly promoted in society.
  • Aaron talks about a woman who had been struggling to lose weight for a very long time. After seeing a picture of herself one Christmas, and realizing how much weight she had picked up, she managed to lose weight using the very same techniques she had tried before. She eventually adopted a healthier lifestyle as well.

Statistics on people don’t change even after heart surgery (02:33)

  • A study that tracked over 150,000 adults from both rural and urban areas in multiple countries over a six year period. Among them, 7519 participants suffered a cardiac arrest
    • Only 4.3% of the participants who had a cardiac event made changes in all three areas; smoking, diet and exercise.
    • Over 30% of them changed their behaviour in two areas, and approximately 47% improved their practices in only one area.
    • The lifestyle change that people had the most success with was, surprisingly, smoking cessation.
    • Healthy eating followed that with 39%, while only 35% of participants said they became more physically active after a cardiac event.
    • 7% of women who had had heart attacks or strokes, made no lifestyle changes, while 26% of men made no lifestyle changes;
    • Only 10 to 20% of patients eligible for cardiac rehabilitation programs actually signed up for them.

So why, even when death is staring them in the face, do people not change? (4:40)

  • There are two clear reasons relating to psychology.
  • The first is habit; the habit that lead to heart disease has been honed over the years, it’s more familiar and more desirable than any new habit you’re looking to create.
    • Habitual behaviour takes less energy. So part of the brain’s preference is to do what was done before.
  • The second reason is the perceived gravity of the task. Many people don’t know where to start, or simply find the task of changing too overwhelming.
    • So many conclude that it’s impossible and they may as well enjoy the rest of their life while they can’, many think like that.
    • Others start off with the best of intentions but do not see results fast enough, and then miss the point that increasing their health is a lifestyle pursuit.

How would you start to get your psychology right to start being healthier (06:54)

  • There are five points you have to integrate:
  1. Get Tangible; Being healthy is ambiguous, so you need to be clear on what health means.
  2. Anticipate Roadblocks; When you are creating new habits, the old habits will be easier and more familiar to you. So map out what the roadblocks are and determine what to do about them.
  3. Mini-wins; The brain of them operates on little dopamine spikes, you have to recognize your mini-wins because being healthy is a lifelong long process.
  4. Your ‘Why’ or The purpose; You have to get out of the weight loss mindset. ‘Healthy’ is ambiguous, so you have to have a drive.
  5. Be open to change; Beliefs about yourself, and your ability, will shine through, they will keep you as you are, beliefs are rigid but being open to the idea that you can change is the route to being healthier. There’s something called ‘confirmation bias’, the idea is that we have a mental filtering mechanism which validates our current beliefs and values.

Conclusion (12:55)

  • When you integrate those into your daily life, you will find that there are many opportunities for you to be healthier, and as they accumulate, you’ll find that a year from now, six months from now, you’ll be that little bit more healthier, so that you can build upon it further.

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