How to silence your inner toddler and push back on “I don’t...

Today I want to help you push back on your inner toddler. I hope you don’t find this offensive, in fact, many of my clients find it funny and COMPLETELY agree with me when I talk about this subject. 

It’s what I refer to as "I don’t wanna" syndrome. It is ‘overcomeable’ (another word I created), and I’m here to explain more about it and show you how. The opposite of ‘I don’t wanna’ is ‘no matter what’ because this is the attitude of change and recognizing that you want a specific outcome or goal, no matter what it takes, even if that means temporary and short-term discomfort. The ‘I don’t wanna’ muscle is the one that many people flex frequently which means it’s THAT MUCH stronger than the ‘no matter what’ muscle. 

When you see things from this viewpoint, you can understand much more clearly how you may have gotten to where you may be. 

See the brain thrives on neuroplasticity which follows the neuropathways of the brain. 

What’s that you may ask?

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience. This means, what you DO most frequently, is the SUPER HIGHWAY from which your brain operates. What you do most often becomes the superhighway, and becomes the default behavior over time.

Now, let’s talk about patterns, which are also your brain’s superhighways. 

The pattern to cling to your old ways leads you down the old ‘I don’t wanna’ path, which is WHY we want to help you build the NEW patterns of the ‘no matter what’ path.. and yet this takes time, continued effort and dedication. 

See, when the OLD patterns are triggered….

You may not ‘wanna’ meal plan or meal prep
You may not ‘wanna’ go to the grocery store
You may not ‘wanna’ drink water
You may not ‘wanna’ move your body (fitness, gym, etc.) 
You may not ‘wanna’ take your supplements
You may not ‘wanna’ eat on plan (protein first, etc.)
You may not ‘wanna’ change your eating habits 
You may not ‘wanna’ only eat at meal times
You may not ‘wanna’ stop the grazing behaviors
You may not ‘wanna’ reduce or remove sugar or white flour from your diet

Yet, many of these things are very important for the post-op journey. And, your ‘I don’t wanna’ muscle is very strong because that’s where the superhighway is in your brain, and where your brain wants to return to. Also, many don’t want to feel discomfort and because you MUST BE CONSCIOUS when building and flexing your ‘no matter what’ muscle.

Not too long ago I was reading that the naturally thin person’s brain is able to reject pleasures in the present because they are able to delay gratification KNOWING that what they desire is much more important for their lives than the short-lived gratification of food. 

Within the post-op bariatric life, this is something we CAN integrate yet requires daily reminders of WHY you want the outcome to be thinner, smaller, weigh less, and WHAT this new post-op lifestyle will do for you.

Otherwise, ‘I don’t wanna’ brain can take over and then mid-week (or three months off track) you are wonder what the heck happened and feel like a failure. 

This is why FIRST and FOREMOST, you MUST connect with what you’ll GET from reaching your goals… because this is what helps to bring you back to focus on this journey. Otherwise, you’ll engage in mindless eating, autopilot behaviors, and you won’t even recognize it. 

Secondly, you need to know how to see your ‘inner toddler’. The ‘I don’t wanna’ can be silent or it can be loud. When it is silent, you may not even realize that you are off the rails doing what the inner toddler wants to do, totally ignoring the plan and in complete defiance. Here, you are completely blind to the behavior, until you get on the scale and realize you’ve got regain. 

Or the inner toddler can be loud inside your head.. "But I don’t want the chicken!! I want the fries!! I want to do what I want when I want, and you’re not gonna tell me what to do!" 

Then.. when the inner toddler wins, it becomes THAT MUCH HARDER to train the ‘no matter what’ because you’re flexing the old muscle, not the new one. 

Now, I recognize that this is difficult and no one is perfect. However, the more you train your brain with ‘no matter what’ the easier it will get. However, if you are in complete defiance and in a fight with yourself, you’ll likely say you want ONE thing, and do something completely differently. This is because you give in to the inner toddler and you’re not convinced that you’ll GAIN something from letting go of the old bad habits. Or, you’re completely impulsive and don’t have other tools to help you soothe when emotions run high. 

When the INNER TODDLER is running the show, you are unable to be the conscious "no matter what" you. And, yes, it may sound like multiple personalities but I promise you, it’s not. It’s the difference in delaying gratification and also letting go of trigger foods. 

This struggle is REAL. And, as one of my clients told me a while back, "it’s like I’m not even there when I’m making these decisions to have bread, potatoes, and other carbs!! Then I get so mad at myself." 

Here’s the deal….  YOU MUST BE READY FOR CHANGE…  

You can SAY you want anything, but are you ready to take action on your desires? 

If you are not ready, you need to get ready. And, you may be VERY frustrated with yourself because you haven’t sunk far enough to shake yourself out of it.

No one can make you ready. Your friends and family can scream and shout. You may even have a loved one pass on. Only YOU can decide when you are ready and no amount of begging or pleading will change that. 

It must come from you. In order for you to change, YOU MUST WANT IT! 

Now, to push back on your inner toddler, you must be willing to take no crap and listen to the inner whining, and yes, there will be some. There might be sadness or frustration or crying. No everyone experiences this, yet, if there is, you’ll want to flip the switch so it’s not agonizing. 

Step 1: Remember WHY you want this journey – go deep and get clear on what you want beyond the weight loss

Step 2: Create a RELEASE list – what you are willing to let go of on the old path

Step 3: A plan to avoid the RELEASED items – including how you will talk to yourself in an encouraging way to build your ‘no matter what’ muscle

Step 4: Celebrate yourself and keep a "victory" list to show you how far you’ve come

Step 5: Repeat 

Remember, when your inner toddler is screaming, it’s usually because you’re uncomfortable, you’re upset, or something else. It likely has NOTHING to do with the FOOD itself, but if you’ve always used food to comfort, it’s similar to transitioning a toddler off their binky. You’ve got to replace it with something else. 

In order to release the control that food has over you, you must place a higher priority on other areas of your life, otherwise the food will control you, instead of you controlling it. 

So start to keep yourself busy, and look to the life you want to create, instead of the life you fear you’ll be losing.

I promise you that a mobile life filled with purpose is a whole lot happier than an immobile life on the couch with Oreos..

Use these steps above and PROMISE ME that you’ll work on letting go of the ‘I don’t wanna’ and strengthen your ‘no matter what’ muscle.  This is a process and it is a practice so if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.