Lost In Fitness
How a long time before people give up their new nourishment plan or exercise habit? For parts one and two, go and hear here. Research demonstrates by now most people have abandoned their new year fitness plan or nutrition plan. January or Veganuary have quickly turned into beverage and a burger for quite a few peoples’ Dry.
And why are some people still heading and sticking to their plan? In behavioral neuroscience and economics there is something called Temporal Discounting. Basically, how do you want to wait for an incentive long. And generally humans (and animals) prefer immediate reward to delayed reward. For instance, it’s not unusual for people to state after a week of exercise ‘I haven’t lost any weight yet’ or weekly of more healthy eating ‘I don’t feel any different, when am I going to lose weight?
The brain wants immediate results and rewards. This may explain two phenomena most of us see on a regular basis. One people weighing themselves after every workout, in the hope there’s been an immediate loss of extra fat or gain in muscle tissue. Two, people rewarding themselves with a chai latte and cake after a workout and immediately eating more calories than they burned off. Most of the studies concentrate on financial rewards in humans (sometimes while these are within an MRI scanning device) or offering juice to monkeys, or sometimes an unhealthy rat with an electrode implanted in the ‘prize’ center of the mind.
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A common question in these studies is, tomorrow would you like £10 now or £11, ? £10 today Most people choose. It is up to now, in the future people will choose the £11. It is not uncommon for lottery winners to be offered a lump sum now, but half the actual amount they won, or the total sum in portions over several years. People opt for the lump sum, though it is less money even.
Exercise and new nourishment habits are by their very nature delayed rewards for people new to it. They are not necessarily working out because they love it, it is being done by them due to a future postponed encourage such as fitted into a dress, looking good on the beach. And for many individuals this prize seems ‘faraway’ and unlikely (credited to past failures). The brain’s praise system prefers immediate rewards.
The release of dopamine creates pleasure. It triggers neurons in the Nucleus Accumbens/ Ventral Striatum (the ‘prize’ center deep in the brain).This dopamine release can be caused by drugs, but by other activities like a tasty wedding cake also. Back, to the rat in the lab, when it has an electrode in its brain that fires off some dopamine reward cells each time it hits a lever, do you know what it does? It hits that lever obsessively, in fact disregarding water and food until it collapses from exhaustion because it prices the activation of the incentive center in the brain over everything else.