Traditional weight-loss and eating-disorder groups make a colossal mistake right off the bat. They assume that people have control when they don’t. Control comes from only two places in the brain.
Traditional weight-loss and eating-disorders make the mistake of trying to teach the frontal lobe to control behavior. Let’s examine the likelihood that the frontal lobe can exert control over the primitive parts of the brain. The addiction marketing scientists at the food industry have been addicting the primitive brain for decades. The primitive brain is processing about one million transactions more than the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe can process about 40 connections per second. The primitive brain processes about 40 MILLION connections per second.
When the primitive brain is stressed, it draws the blood supply away from the frontal lobe and the frontal lobe shuts down. No rational thought is possible. So relying on the frontal lobe for recovery is not possible. It's impossible. But support groups and professionals do it all the time. And for this exact reason, those groups and professionals fail their clients all the time.
I tried going to those support groups after my dad died in 2014 and I lost control over food. There were about 20 people in each meeting. In each meeting only one person had control over their food and the other 19 were failing. I would have had no chance whatsoever if I’d stuck it out in those meetings because my mirror neurons would have driven me to copy unsuccessful people.
Mirror neurons drive us to conform to the people around us. Mirror neurons can be trained to drive us to conform to a clean-eating tribe, but it takes time. Those mirror neurons have to be retrained to let go of the training they’ve received at the hands of food addiction marketing scientists. Typically, food addiction marketing scientists have been training people’s mirror neurons to conform to images of happy people eating processed foods. This has been going on for decades.
In recovery, mirror neurons are trained to copy clean-eating people. They copy recovered people. Mirror neurons have to be persuaded that the recovered people are going to stick around. That takes time. Mirror neurons have to be persuaded that the new recovered people are going to be around frequently. That just takes time and a lot of exposure to the new people.
The ARC makes it easy to hang out with new recovered friends through online video platforms. We use zoom. We understand that until mirror neurons are fully trained to follow the new clean-eating people, there will be lapses. Lapses are painful but normal. They are just flare-ups of old firing patterns in the primitive brain. They will go away with enough time studying the habits of new recovered community.
This is why people recover control in the ARC when nothing else has ever worked in their lives. Patience, expertise, ease of access to meetings, and understanding of the real role of relapse as a marker for progress. Longer periods of abstinence, fewer lapses, and shorter lapses are the norm but it takes time. Research shows that it can take a few years to undo the food addiction programming of decades. Does this make sense now?
Fortunately, we’ve got all the time in the world. In the Food Addiction Recovery Advocate training and FARA Certification, you’ll learn how to teach other people the wisdom and efficacy of this approach. The thrill comes from watching it work when nothing else ever has.