Annoying Brain Paradoxes


It’s the strangest thing.

I have been at my goal weight plus or minus 5 pounds for well over a year.   The other day a friend asked, “When are you going to believe you have lost weight?”  Hmm…

“Odd question, why do you ask?”

“You still haven’t bought new clothes.”

Guilty as charged.  I have not bought new clothes.  I am still wearing the same jeans I wore 50 or so pounds ago, granted they were tight then and are loose now.  Since she pointed out the obvious, I have been wondering why not.  Why haven’t I bought myself some new clothes, if not an entirely new wardrobe?

Sometimes our brains present us with such annoying paradoxes.  Well, mine does anyway.  I am done losing weight, yet my brain still thinks I need to lose more.  “Oh just 5 more pounds – you gained 5 pounds when you re-introduced exercise.  Just lose that, then all will be well.”  It goes on…  “Maybe you should stop exercising, get that off and maybe 10 more.”

But then, every time I catch a reflection of my upper arm flab jiggling like semi-set jello, my brain cringes “You need to build some muscle in that flabby jello!”

The next excuse my brain gave was “You hate shopping for clothes.”  “It’s winter and you don’t have appropriate boots to wear with dressy clothes,” and “Seriously, you need to lose 10, maybe 15 more pounds.”

Seriously brain give it a rest, will you?  

Then it moved on… “Maybe you should hire a fashion consultant.  You don’t know anything about fashion.”  As a pediatrican I used to spend considerable time on the floor playing with 2 – 3 year old kids while trying to figure things out.  So I rarely, if ever, wore a dress – too hard to crawl around in.  I didn’t need to concern myself with fashion.

“You don’t need new clothes, you never go out anyway.”  “And remember your New Year’s resolution to stay within your budget this year.  New clothes will blow that out of the water!”

Trickster brain continued… “And who can afford a fashion consultant anyway?  No need for new clothes.  You know your weight will come back as soon as you get new clothes.  That’s how these thing work.”

If these are the thoughts percolating around in the deep and dark crevices of my brain, it’s not in the least bit surprising I have yet to buy new clothes.

Such nonsense.  Seriously brain, enough already!

But my brain is just doing what brains do.  Brains love ‘the familiar’ and want to keep ‘the familiar’ familiar.  For forty years, I believed I needed to lose weight.  So, my brain thinks it’s normal to believe I need to lose weight, so it keeps telling me I need to lose weight, even though I no longer need to lose weight.  In fact, for forty years I did need to lose weight and the more I thought “I need to lose weight,” the more I gained weight.  It’s a crazy paradox.

Like I said, my brain is full of annoying paradoxes.  Really annoying paradoxes.

I will admit this makes me angry at my brain.  And I think thoughts like – “Seriously brain, give it a rest.” or “Seriously brain, enough already.”  This is also not in the least bit helpful.  Being angry at your brain for behaving like a brain is well, simply ridiculous – yet another paradox!

We have the most amazing gift – self awareness.  And it is our self-awareness that creates crazy paradoxes.  We should chuckle at our crazy paradoxes, at least we know they are there.  And when we know they are there, we can change them.

Seems it’s time to go shopping!

Have a fantastic week,
Dr Karen