Believing and Biases

Our brains have very robust mechanisms to defend our belief systems. All our beliefs are strongly shaped by preferential ways of thinking in the brain called BIASES. We have hundreds of types of thinking biases to filter information, make sense of things, and just get things done.

Two common biases we use on a daily basis are confirmation bias and in-group bias.

With the help of cognitive biases, family, teachers, friends, and environmental culture my brain built its first beliefs about how the world works. My first 12 years of education pointed my cognitive biases toward conforming. I learned things by rote, explored subjects others thought important, and followed the accepted rules of behavior.

My nursing education also did not encourage me to think out of the box or approach problems from a different perspective. My nursing profession continued this habitual conformity of thinking by valuing a focus on completing tasks, checklists, and economies of motion.

Over time my brain effortlessly applied beliefs built in childhood, school and work to other areas of my life like health and nutrition. I particularly liked to glom onto beliefs that were advertised by “smarter” people, supported by “science”, or promised “instant” results. I thought following their rules and beliefs would get me where I wanted to go.

Here are other people’s beliefs I used to believe:

  • I have to keep track of every calorie.
  • As I get older my metabolism slows down.
  • It is hard to lose weight.
  • No matter what I eat I always gain weight.
  • Other people eat whatever they want and don’t gain weight.

All these old beliefs were holding me back from losing and maintaining my goal weight and these beliefs are so negative!

So I thought up these new beliefs and am working on making them real for me:

  • The hunger scale is the only tracking tool I need.
  • My body knows how to balance its metabolism.
  • Losing weight is easy with the 4 basics.
  • I can eat anything to satisfaction.
  • I am not other people!

Beliefs are built on thoughts. Find out what yours are and if you still like them because what we think is what we do!

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