Want to know how to slow down the ageing process? Get my free e-book by subscribing here.

Episode 135: How To Make Better Decisions Consistently

Your Pre Frontal Cortex vs Your Amygdala

In this episode, Lisa discusses how the cards are stacked against us in our modern society when it comes to making healthy decisions. She talks about the disconnect between our prefrontal cortex and higher executive functions and the amygdala and why inflammation in the body can lower our ability to make logical good decisions. How sugar affects both our body, the inflammation process and how it shuts down or lessens the ability of our higher executive function.

She talks about the effects of exercise and the effects of modern technology on our brain. Knowledge is power when we understand some of the processes hijacking our ability to make good decisions we can take steps to correct those and create an upward leading spiral that goes to more good decisions being made on a regular basis so you can reach your long term health and fitness and weight loss goals and wellbeing goals not to mention your productivity goals.

She also talks about the importance of sleep and what a lack thereof will do your brain.

Lisa also references the work of Dr's David and Austin Perlmutter and their new book "Brainwash" https://www.drperlmutter.com/brain-wash/ and the work of Dr. Bruce Lipton and his book "The Biology Of Belief" https://www.drperlmutter.com/brain-wash/

We would like to thank our sponsors for this show:


Makers of Photobiomodulation devices that stimulate the brains mitocondria, the power houses of your brains energy, through infrared light to optimise your brain function.  To get 10% off your order use the code: TAMATI at www.vielight.com

For more information on Lisa Tamati's programs, books and documentaries please visit www.lisatamati.com 

For Lisa's online run training coaching go to


Join hundreds of athletes from all over the world and all levels smashing their running goals while staying healthy in mind and body.

Lisa's Epigenetics Testing Program


Get The User Manual For Your Specific Genes
Which foods should you eat, and which ones should you avoid?
When, and how often should you be eating?
What type of exercise does your body respond best to, and when is it best to exercise?
Discover the social interactions that will energize you and uncover your natural gifts and talents.
These are just some of the questions you'll uncover the answers to in the Lisa Tamati Epigenetics Testing Program along with many others.
There's a good reason why epigenetics is being hailed as the "future of personalized health", as it unlocks the user manual you'll wish you'd been born with!  No more guesswork.
The program, developed by an international team of independent doctors, researchers, and technology programmers for over 15 years, uses a powerful epigenetics analysis platform informed by 100% evidenced-based medical research.
The platform uses over 500 algorithms and 10,000 data points per user, to analyze body measurement and lifestyle stress data, that can all be captured from the comfort of your own home

For Lisa's Mental Toughness online course visit


Develop mental strength, emotional resilience, leadership skills and a never quit mentality -
Helping you to reach your full potential and break free of those limiting beliefs. 

For Lisa's free weekly Podcast "Pushing the Limits" subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app or visit the website 


Transcript of the Podcast

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Welcome to pushing the limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by Lisatamati.com

Speaker 2: (00:13)
If your brain is not functioning at its best. Then check out the team at www.vielight.com do. Now being like producers, photo biomodulation devices, your brain function depends largely on the health of the energy sources of the brain cells. In other words, the mitochondria and research has shown that stimulating your brain with near infrared light, revitalizes mitochondria. I use these devices daily for both my own optimal brain function and also for other age related decline issues and also for my mom's brain rehabilitation after her aneurysm and stroke. So check out what the team do www.vielight.com that's V I E L I G H T .com and use the code T A M A T I and checkout to get 10% of any of their devices. Well hi everybody. Lisa Tamati here at pushing the limits today. I have a solo cast, so no guests, but I wanted to do a short sort of episode around decision making processes and why sometimes we don't make the decisions that we want to make and why we're not always in control of the things that we want to do.

Speaker 2: (01:24)
So this time of the year, a lot of us have been sitting new year's goals and resolutions and we often find ourselves failing when it comes to actually doing those goals and doing what we sit out to do. And we come across some stumbling block blocks. And I've talked on previous podcasts about the work of Dr. Bruce Lipton and the biology of belief has Bach about the subconscious and how that can sometimes sabotage us in our ability to follow through with decisions that we make. But I wanted to go on a bit of a different tangent today and look at the work of Dr. David and Dr. Austin pill mortar who've just bought out a book called brainwash, which is also really worth a read. And these are, you know, when you start to, you know, I've been studying a lot obviously in the last four years about brain rehabilitation, controlling the brain and understanding the brain.

Speaker 2: (02:20)
And you get snippets of information from all of these great sources and starting to connect the dots with a lot of things. So why is it that we can, you know, set out to do things and then we don't do them. We set out to go to the gym, we sit out to get fit, we set out to lose weight and eat more healthily. And, and then on the first time that chocolate bar appears where we're gone and we're back to doing things we don't want to do. And this is a problem of, of, of the human condition I think. But if we understand that we stand to look into the decision making process and how we're those decisions, we can actually see how the cards are stacked against us in their modern society. Especially we'll start with, for example, our food supply.

Speaker 2: (03:11)
So our food supply is not what our grandparents had. It is full of processed foods. It is full of sugar apparently over about, and this isn't America or a statistic out of America that 68% of the foods and the supermarket, this is millions of products have added sugar. So even when we decide we're not going to have sugar, it's very, very hard to avoid some of the hidden sugars that are in things like you know, tomato sauces and things where you wouldn't actually expect to find sugar. And these are all forms of sugar. It's not just when you read sugar on the label, these are your corn syrups, these are your, you know, coconut sugars. This could be part of sugar. This is what you might consider even healthy options, but they are sugar, even fruit, dos and fruit. And so what does sugar do in the brain?

Speaker 2: (04:02)
Well, sugar, from an evolutionary point of view, our brains are wired to search out for sugar because when, when food is scarce as it was in the past and we are wanting to chase foods that are high in sugar because it gives us the energy and so on. The problem is we have so much sugar in our society and it's very addictive and they say it's as addictive as cocaine. But so one of the problems that we have when we, when we eat sugar, then a number of things are happening. We spiking our blood sugar levels and causing an insulin release and then we are liable to put on more weight as it gets stored in our fat stores. But there's a whole lot of other things going on. There's inflammation happening in the body when we take on way too much sugar and this is affecting our ability to make good decisions.

Speaker 2: (04:58)
Now, why is that? Well, in the brain we have something called the prefrontal cortex, which is where you are your executive function, your, your logical brain sets. And then we have what they call the limbic brain. And in particular, the amygdala, which is your, it's an older part of the brain and it's much more impulsive. It's the, it's the, it's like the alarm system. It's always looking for threats and it's always impetuous and it's always, it's the one that will hijack you. For example, you get angry in traffic and it's the one that has you swearing before you even know and what you're doing. It's the one that reacts faster than your prefrontal cortex. Now, when you have a lot of sugar, there is a disconnect between the prefrontal cortex and the limbic brain and the amygdala. And the amygdala comes to the fore in the prefrontal cortex.

Speaker 2: (05:50)
And its decision making and its executive function is lowered. So what does means for us is that we then become more prone to making very short term, short viewed decisions. So this becomes in a spiral. So we start to make unhealthy choices. So the more sugar we consume, the more likely we are to consume more and to do things that are not good for us. In tunes off or lowers the executive function. And that amygdala and this way sort of hijacks us from what we want to be doing with our logical brain. We've decided we don't want as much sugar, we want to have a healthy for foods, we want to be healthier. But along comes to the amygdala and it overpowers us and the inflammation that's caused by sugar will cause us to make more of those decisions. Now, there are lots of other things that are influencing our decision making ability.

Speaker 2: (06:46)
Hormones for example. An interesting fact with the contraceptive pill that woman, so many women are on been doing a lot of research into that lately too. And that can have a very big effect on your decision making ability. All our hormones were very, very, you know, chemical based beings that a lot of what we do is influenced by these sorts of things. We all know what happens when we have alcohol or turns off our, our logical thinking brain and we do dumb things. And that's another example of the amygdala being stronger in that case in taking over. And it's like having, if you like, it's like the parents being away on holiday while the kids at home running the ship. And of course the kids are going to make decisions that are bad because they're not looking at it with a longterm view or with a maturity.

Speaker 2: (07:39)
And with intelligence and longterm thinking, a child just looks at the next 30 seconds of pleasure and makes that decision. And that's what's happening in the brain. And when we have a lot of sugar in our diet, that's one of the things that's happening. So this becomes then a spiral, not only a physiological spiral are the, you know, you're raising your blood sugar levels, you are causing an insulin release, you are dropping your blood sugar levels and then next causing cravings. But also this part of the brain is being turned off as the prefrontal cortex or its function as being lowered. And so we're less likely to make more good decisions. Now, by the same token, this sort of process is going along with exercise as well. So we all know exercise is good for us. We, we all know that and we don't necessarily all do enough exercise.

Speaker 2: (08:32)
And again, this becomes a spiral. So the more exercise we do, the more connection we have with our prefrontal cortex and the more ability we have to make good decisions. Once again, once again, the parents are at home. When we're have been doing more exercise, we have an ability to control ourselves better and to make better decisions. So that's one of the thousands of it reasons why we should be exercising. When we exercise, we produce more brain derived neurotrophic factor. Another really important reason we are detoxifying as we swear to and as we pump the blood around, there's so many reasons why we should be exercising. But of course it all comes down to the fact that we don't always feel like it. And if we've been eating better than we, we're even less likely to feel like it. And that amygdala is again going to override our decision making process.

Speaker 2: (09:27)
They actually go out and do the exercise that we said we're going to do today. And then in regards to exercise, sometimes we set ourselves up for failure. We like, right, I'm going to go to the gym five days a week for the rest of the year. Or, you know, I'm going to run a marathon and I'm going to train really, really hard and I'm going to do this right. And then we sit the bar so high that if we are unable to actually attain the required training a day, say I've decided I'm going to spend an hour a day in the gym and today I've been so busy that I've only got half an hour. And so I decided not to go at all. Now as it is always better to have that incremental amount of exercise even if it's not the full amount. So even if my day is gone totally to custard and I'm really, really busy, which happens quite often in my life, a 10 minute walk in the park is better than none.

Speaker 2: (10:20)
It's better than doing no exercise. And so sometimes having a ah, it's not worth me going cause I've only got half an hour. There is actually a detrimental attitude. You know what you can get in, okay, you didn't reach what was on the list today, but you got 10 minutes out of that hour and that 10 minutes is better than nothing. Another thing that I wanted to discuss is our modern technologies and our screen time. And we all know that technology is all pervasive in our lives and it has wonderful, wonderful implications for us and empowers us and has changed the way we live our lives. But it's also very insidious in that a lot of the apps and a lot of the things that we do online are made to be addictive. And so often, you know, I find myself doing this myself, you know, I have a job to do.

Speaker 2: (11:11)
I go online to answer an email or to go to messenger and answer somebody's inquiry. And then I find myself off somewhere looking at somebody's social media feed and end up in places I don't want to. And that time has been lost and it's so easy to be distracted and just led down this path. And then that takes up time and energy from our brains. And we are also spending just so many hours in front of a computer screens, TV screens every which way. And this is causing structural changes in our brains. And of course this is very much so, you know, affecting children. And I don't really think we've even scratched the surface of what this is going to have in the long term. We really don't know, but it's going to be major, that's for sure. The changes that our children's brains going to have in comparison to how we grow up.

Speaker 2: (12:08)
So some putting some parameters around your technology use of possible, if this is an area that is becoming a problem for you, they say that over 70% of the world's population has got a smartphone now and over 6% of the entire population has an addiction to the internet in some way, shape or form. And this is a problem that's growing and you will all know, you know, Instagram, Facebook ENCO made to pull you in. They want you to spend as much time as possible on the reps. That's how they make the money. And we need to be aware of this and be very intentional with our use of it and just observe our behavior on screens and how much is it actually bringing us? Is it bringing us a knit good effect as puts it? Is it actually bringing us the desired results that we are wanting?

Speaker 2: (13:01)
Or when you say, you know, I'm going to get fitter and then you say, but I haven't got the time to train. And then you look at the screen time, if you recorded your whole day, how much of that screen time was actually work-related and actually bringing you something and how much was actually just lost in the chaos of the social media world or the YouTube or whatever. And when we start to look at the amounts of time that we are spending on those sorts of things instead of doing the other things and not prioritizing. So putting some time constraints, certainly around your children's time in front of screens, but also around yourself some time, some intentionality when it comes to what am I here to do? And staying on target and not ending up somewhere completely different, which you know, is a battle.

Speaker 2: (13:50)
I bet all with us every day when I've got a hundred windows open and I don't feel like doing the thing that I'm meant to do, I often find myself off somewhere just staring at some newsfeed or some Instagram feed or whatever. So it's being aware that this is happening to our brains and this is making us wasting a lot of our time, a lot of our energy and causing action with structural changes in the way our brains function. The last point I wanted to bring up is, is around, or the second the last actually is around a connection to nature. I think it's super important. It's a proven fact that when we're out in nature or say in the, in the forest and the Bush somewhere up on a mountain down by the sea that has a calming effect on our body and turns our parasympathetic nervous system on and slows down the response of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Speaker 2: (14:49)
And so having time in nature, even if you're not doing the exercise, you're just hanging out in nature, staring at the trees, the beautiful flowers, whatever it is that you really connect to and having that time every day and having that prioritized in your schedule. You know, I started to, you know like I have a very heavy heavy workload and I feel guilty every time I go to just sit at the beach or go to go for a run in the pack because I could be doing a thousand other jobs. I could work 24, seven and the jobs would still be piling up. And I have to know that I have to prioritize and that it's okay for me to prioritize those other things because they will make me more productive in the long run. And I'll have our, we have much more used to everybody if I've had my time in nature and just being as a human being was meant to be connected to nature, outside moving in nature, exercising in nature, having some sunshine on my skin, getting my vitamin D three, all of those things are starting to become more and more scarce in our life as we are in artificial environments all day with our jobs behind screens.

Speaker 2: (16:01)
And then all night. And then we are often turning to, you know, self-medicating at night with, with things like alcohol, sugar, food and all. This is a spiral that leads us down. And so the odds can be stacked against us, but it's up to us to understand the brain and to start to use the information to give us a hand up out of the spiral downwards. And once you start taking little steps. I know, you know like I worked with a lot of clients. We were working through different health issues with our epigenetics program and often they want the big effect, they want to have it all perfect and that's really important to come back and actually just tackle one or two things at a time. It might be getting out in nature more. It might be a little less time on the screen. There might be doing those things before you even consider an exercise or a diet change and you can't do it all at once.

Speaker 2: (16:56)
You can't. It's too much. It's overwhelming. But when you start to make one or two steps that are healthier for you, that are getting you more on track, that are helping you strengthen your prefrontal cortex and your executive function and your ability to make good decisions, then it becomes easier to instigate the other changes that come after that, the food choices that are better, the exercise choices there to be there. And that leads me onto my last topic for the day. And that is the lack of sleep, a lack of sleep. We sometimes Palm off as just being, you know, one of the ills of our world and we have busy lives. Maybe you're a shift worker and your circadian rhythms are all up the watch. Now this has massive implications for our health, our brain health for S for sure. And also all of our hormone production, our circadian rhythms as beings, we have a rhythm, we have a clock.

Speaker 2: (17:52)
Every cell in their body is on a clock and we have an internal clock that has the times we meet to be asleep. The times we meant to be awake, the times we should be exercising, the times when we are most alert and understanding your chronobiology. And this is where epigenetics and the program that we do helps define for us what you, your right chronobiology is and then working out what time of the day should I be doing what and getting enough sleep is a huge priority. We need as human beings, seven to eight hours. And a lot of people say that, Oh, I get by on, I get by on five to six or four to five, which is, yeah, you'll get away with it for a little while, but I can guarantee you you're going to start losing brain cells. You're going to start your, you're increasing your risk of dementia later in life for Alzheimer's.

Speaker 2: (18:45)
You are by sleep deprivation. Anyone who's only getting four to six hours sleep a night on Everage a statistic and I can't, I can't tell you where the statistics from. So I hope I'm getting it right. But on average, a, you'll be eating more calories if you are not having enough sleep. And there's a couple of reasons for this. You're not producing enough grelin, which is sort of like your hunger that controls your hunger. So you're more likely to have those cravings. You're more likely to eat more and 350 calories a day extra onto your normal diet will mean weight gain. That's little loan from the fact that you're not getting the rest and repair and recovery that you need in order to function properly. To have the right hormones and all of these things will affect your metabolism and your, your your thyroid and all your hormone production.

Speaker 2: (19:39)
So getting enough sleep. If there was one thing that you changed in your life at the moment, if you don't want to take your food, you don't know to take your exercise regime, you don't want to do anything else getting out in nature or anything. If you prioritized and made it a priority for your whole family to get more sleep. And if you're struggling with insomnia, then go back over my old past podcast, I've had a number of podcasts on sleep and insomnia and how to work on, on those sorts of things. And I can do another one on that. But if you can get more sleep, if you can get to bed half an hour earlier, turn off the damnit flux. And this is something I struggle with too, when I'm relaxing in the evening and I want to binge watch something instead of going to bed.

Speaker 2: (20:26)
Just understanding that having an extra half hour of sleep, an extra hour of sleep will make a massive difference to your health, to your ability to function for your product. Tivity for your hormonal health, for your metabolism, for your immune system. All of these repair processes are when you're a sleeping. So if you're exercising hard and you're training for something big, but you're not getting enough sleep, then you're not going to be getting the effect that you could be getting out of that training. Same goes for if you're eating perfectly, but you're not getting enough sleep, you're not going to have the benefit of that food to its full effect. So prioritizing sleep is really, really, really crucial. Okay? Can't emphasize that enough. So we've covered off sleep, we've covered off exercise, we've covered off your executive fund, front function and your brain, your prefrontal cortex, your amygdala, how that can hijacked your, your logical thinking brain, how sugar affects us, how modern technologies affect this.

Speaker 2: (21:32)
So I hope that this has given you some insights and some things to consider as you go throughout your day. Now just pick one or two of these aspects. Go back over, listen to this again cause there's a lot that I've just covered in a very short period of time. Pick one or two that you want to work on this week. Even one, even just if it's one might be slightly more exercise, it might be, I'm trying to cut down on the sugar intake and the processed food and take, even if you haven't got the perfect diet and even if you haven't got the perfect exercise, work, edit an incremental stages, don't go for perfection. Do all that. All those perfectionists out there. Perfectionism is the enemy, a pro progress because you'll be waiting to, everything's perfect and that is never going to happen. Just make a start with some very small steps.

Speaker 2: (22:24)
I hope this information has been fantastic for you. I hope it's given you something to think about. Go and check out that book, brainwashed by Dr. David and Dr. Austin Perlmutter. And go and check out the biology of belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton. They'll give you incredibly good insights. My book of course, is coming out relentless. On the 11th of March and is available now for preorder. So if you want to hit over and grab a copy of that, I've got a real special going on at the moment to get the ball rolling to kickstart and get some momentum. I have given people access to my mindset, mental toughness Academy mindset. You for free. If you preorder the book it won't ship until the limits of March, but if you preorder it now you get a few dollars off the price, $29 instead of 35 and you get my mental toughness course, which is valued at $275.

Speaker 2: (23:19)
It's a grab that while you can just in the next couple of weeks and help me get relentless out the door and spread the word about that, which is all about my mum's journey back from massive brain injury and her brain rehabilitation. But it's also a book about mindset and overcoming obstacles and mental toughness and resilience and the, you know, elevating our potential as humans to, to adapt and perform. So if you want to check that out, head on over to Lisatamati.com At the shop button go to my book section and you can preorder that now. Thanks guys for listening again today. If you enjoy the content, please share this with a friend. It helps us get exposure and give us a rating and review on iTunes. That would be really, really appreciated and we'll see you again next week.

Speaker 1: (24:10)
That's it this week for pushing the limits. Be sure to write, review, and share with your friends and head over and visit Lisa and her team At lisatamati.com.

Listen Via...

What listeners are saying

My favourite running podcast by miles⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This is the best podcast for long runs. Lisa is just so relatable, honest, funny and inspires me to push my own limits. Awesome guests (I particularly enjoyed the podcast with Kim Morrison) and a wide variety of topics covered. Thanks for keeping me running, Lisa!
Jinni S via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 07/02/19


My favourite podcast ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Helps me get through my boring desk job. Absolutely love this podcast. Great topics and advice that has helped me to better myself and my approach to running.


Two thumbs up ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Always great guests, great insights and learnings that can be applied immediately for every level of experience.


Motivational and Inspirational ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I am getting my mojo back with regards to my health and running after treatment for breast cancer, I connected with Lisa as I was looking for positive influences from people who are long distance runners and understand our mindset. Lisa’s podcasts have been a key factor in getting me out of a negative space where I allowed others limiting beliefs to stop me from following my heart and what I believe is right for me. After 18 months of being in cancer recovery mode I wanted to get out of the cancer mindset and back to achieving goals that had been put aside. Listening to Pushing The Limits has put me onto other great podcasts, and in the process I have learnt so much and am on a pathway to a much better place with my mindset and health. Thanks so much Lisa for doing what you do and always being you.


This product has been added to your cart