Supervising Your Toddler... Brain?


**If you would like to listen to this blog post, scroll to the bottom for the audio version.


I live on a gravel road. A quarter of a mile down the road it changes to tar. If you follow it all the way, the tar road will wind around the lake and take you to the highway in about 4 minutes. Or, you can take a left turn where the gravel and tar meet and follow another gravel road. That gravel road will take you to the same highway in about 1 minute.

Maybe you have never lived on a gravel road.  If you haven’t, you are lucky.  Gravel is really no fun.  Believe me.  I lived off of a gravel road 30 out of my 35 years on this earth. 

To make matters worse, I have a white vehicle

Needless to say, this white vehicle doesn’t get washed much.  It just doesn’t pay. 

See with three kiddos, I don’t enjoy taking the long way around to get to the highway.  Most of the time we are running a little behind, so an extra 4-5 minutes would make us VERY behind. 

And I hate being behind!

 So, gravel it is.  I don’t like it.  The road has miserable holes and huge patches of mud, but I still keep driving on it; even when I have a different way.


The other day I broke down and paid $13 for a car wash.  (Really?  Spraying water and soap on my car costs $13?!  I can buy multiple lattes at the coffee shop that will last me longer than that car wash!)  It dawned on me, while sitting in the car wash, that I would have to add extra time to my commute if I wanted to get my money’s worth out of this bath.

But the very next time I got to the intersection where the gravel and tar meet, I didn’t even think and turned on the gravel.  About a quarter mile into the trek I realized that I needed to keep this vehicle clean and better turn around.

Guess what?!  That same day, I did the exact same thing all over again.


That’s the funny thing about habits.  They get so ingrained in us we don’t even know we are doing them anymore.  We become robots on autopilot. 


There are two parts to the brain, our lower brain where our habits reside, and our prefrontal cortex where we make decisions for our future self. Our lower brain loves the familiar.  It seeks out the familiar.  Similar to that, our lower brain loves to be efficient.  IT LOVES SHORTCUTS!

So, my lower brain was telling me that taking the shortest way to the highway is the best choice ALL the time.  When I wasn’t AWARE, my lower brain just took over.  Until I brought awareness to what I was doing, my lower brain had control.

I don’t want my lower brain to have control. 


Because shortcuts aren’t always the BEST or EASIEST way to get to something.


You know what I mean.  Most of my weight loss clients have signed up for the quick results diets.  Goodness knows I have too.  The pill, the shake, the “eat only potatoes and bananas for three days” does work.  It will get you short term results.

Just like me taking the dirty, dusty gravel road to the highway.  Yes, it is the quickest way to get to the highway, but it isn’t the best way when I want to keep my car clean.


How about you? 

Do you want the quickest way or do you want to take a route that may take longer but ultimately gives you lasting results? 

If you want that way, well, you’re going to have to manage your lower brain.  Remember how I told you before that it loves the familiar and the most efficient way?  Guess what, if you’re not alert and aware of this, you will fall right back into the negative habits you are so desperately trying to get rid of.


Managing your brain takes effort, practice and some key tools. 

You bring the effort and practice and I’ll help you with a few tools.

  1. PLAN! I can not say how important this is.  So many of my clients tell me they don’t have time to plan.  Well, like the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  If you want to lose weight, plan your meals.  If you want to get more work done, plan your workday.  Planning is ESSENTIAL!
  2. Treat your lower brain like a toddler. I actually refer to the lower brain as our toddler brain.  It likes to throw temper tantrums when it doesn’t get what it wants.  If you plan your food and it wants the diet coke you ALWAYS have at 3 pm but didn’t have on your plan, it will throw a fit. You will want to give in.  But if you do that, it will just throw a louder temper tantrum tomorrow when you tell it that it can’t have that diet coke.  Talk to it and treat it like you would a toddler.  Be calm, firm and alert when this happens. 
  3. Reward it in other small ways. Toddler rewards work great for your toddler part of the brain.  Put money in a jar when you don’t give in. Or, give yourself extra time to read/play. 
  4. Stay alert. I don’t know about you, but I was always exhausted at the end of the day when I had toddlers.  You always had to be aware of where they were and what they were doing.  Same thing with your lower brain when you are trying to change its habits.  If you go on automatic, that’s when it will take over because it knows you aren’t paying attention.


Now, if you’re like, “Ok.  This gal has gone a little off the deep end here.” Trust me.  Listen to your brain and be aware of what is going on in that head of yours.  You’ll soon realize this is exactly what is happening.

I’d like to leave you with this verse:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Kind of sounds like our lower brain, right? 

Have no worries though.  God has given us everything we need to overcome this.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5: 9-11

Amen Peter.  Amen.


Need some helping managing that toddler brain of yours?  Ready to ditch the bad habits, lose weight and gain health and confidence?  Perfect!  Sign up for a FREE 45-minute coaching session here.


50% Complete

Stay in Touch

Sign up below to receive a special email with each new post.