I’ve just come across some very exciting research that proves how important your “mindset” is when it comes to losing weight.
You’ll be surprised at the amount of control you have over your body and how it responds to food…
The Battle of the Bulge and the Mind-Body Connection
This study was recently published in the online journal, Health Psychology.
A team of researchers at Yale University decided to see how ghrelin, the “hunger” hormone, responds to mental perception.
Just so we’re on the same page, ghrelin is known as the “hunger” hormone because it’s responsible for sending a signal to your brain that causes it to “want” more food.
When your body’s ghrelin levels are high, the signal gets stronger – creating a tendency to overeat, even if you’re already pretty full.
Similarly, when ghrelin levels are low, we feel satiated and don’t feel the need to eat anymore.
Your ghrelin levels will typically increase before a meal and decrease after you’ve eaten.
Indulging vs. Being Sensible
The Yale research team divided study participants into two groups.
Group one was given a 380 calorie milk shake. However, here’s the twist:
They were told it was, in fact, a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake.
Group two was given the exact same milkshake (380 calories) that group one received. They were told it was a 140-calorie “sensible” shake.
After drinking the shakes, both groups’ ghrelin levels were measured.
Can you guess what happened?
The folks in group one – the ones who thought they were drinking the “fatty,” 620 calorie indulgent shake – had a dramatically steep decline in ghrelin levels after drinking it.
Those in group two who thought they were drinking a low-calorie sensible shake had a neutral ghrelin response. Their levels stayed pretty much the same… meaning their feeling of satiety did not increase.
Here’s the cool part: The actual ghrelin response that took place in the participants’ bodies reflected exactly what would have taken place if the calorie counts in the shakes had in fact been as high – or as low – as the researchers claimed them to be.
All that changed here was the participants’ perception of the shakes they were drinking.
“This study shows that mindset can affect feelings of physical satiety,” said Alia Crum, the study’s lead author. “The brain was tricked into either feeling full or feeling unsatisfied. That feeling depended on what people believed they were consuming, rather than what they actually were consuming.”
“What was most interesting,” Crum added, “is that the results were somewhat counterintuitive. Consuming the shake thinking it was ‘indulgent’ was healthier than thinking it was ‘sensible.’ It led to a sharper reduction in ghrelin.”
Think and Grow Thin?
It always floors me that the majority of people will try everything under the sun to lose weight – pills… extreme fad diets… potions… exercise gizmos… laser fat removal…
It isn’t until they’ve tried everything that they turn to hypnosis. That’s because changing their minds becomes the last thing they ever think of – it’s often the last resort.
Ironically, changing your mind should be the FIRST thing on the list to try. After all, external fixes only attempt to remedy the symptoms. They don’t address the root cause.
That’s why focusing on your mind, your habits, and your beliefs about a healthy lifestyle are so powerful at creating effective, powerful and long-lasting change.
And this study further proves how critical this piece of the weight-loss puzzle can be to your success.
Think about it: Ghrelin is responsible for those irresistible cravings you get. It takes part in making you hungry. As a result, it causes you to overeat. The excess calories then get stored as fat.
And thanks to the researchers at Yale, we’ve just learned that we can control (to a large extent) this entire process just by changing our minds and thoughts about the things we eat.
So, if we can use our minds to make ourselves “think” we’re being indulgent… we can actually be healthier.
Can you imagine how much frustration, time and money would be saved if most folks started their weight loss journeys by first addressing that thing between their ears?
I’d love to hear what you think. Let’s get a discussion going here and I’ll make sure to respond below in the comments section.
Most dieters will agree…
One of the hardest parts of sticking to any healthy eating plan is dealing with cravings.
That is, until now.
Losing weight has never been easier, with what some are calling the “Imagination Diet.”
As it turns out, the key to eliminating the great temptation of a craving is to eat as much of the foods you crave – in your own mental fantasy.
The researchers wanted to find out if “imagined habituation” (thinking something over and over again – kind of like a habit) could play a role in curbing appetite.
Habituation is similar to the principle of diminishing returns. For example, have you ever craved chocolate… and then caved in?
Eating one piece of chocolate tastes great and exciting; but as you continue eating more… the fourth and fifth pieces don’t have the same level of pleasure as the first. With each bite that follows, your desire for the chocolate drops. That’s habituation.
It’s why you can get “sick” of eating too much of the same food. After a while, it becomes commonplace and loses its appeal.
In order to determine exactly how the imagination can affect how much we eat, the researchers divided the subjects into two groups.
The first group was told to imagine eating 30 M&M chocolate candies and putting three quarters into a slot.
The second group was told to visualize putting 30 quarters into a slot and only eating 3 M&Ms.
Then, the team of researchers got a large bowl of M&Ms and asked the subjects to have as many as they wanted. This was done under the pretense that they were doing a “taste test.”
After the subjects ate the M&Ms, the researchers weighed the bowl to see how many grams were consumed. This was done without the subjects knowing.
The Results – Eating in Your Imagination Curbs Appetite
It turns out that eating in your mind does in fact make you eat less in the real world.
The group that imagined eating 30 M&Ms ate half as many as the group that imagined eating only 3.
And in case you think this was a fluke – it wasn’t.
The researchers tried this experiment on four more separate occasions with different groups of people.
The ratio stayed the same. Those that imagined eating more of the M&Ms ate 50% less than those who imagined eating only three candies.
According to Carey Morewedge, the lead researcher in this study, “Merely thinking of a food does increase our appetite for the food. But if we perform the mental imagery that would accompany its actual consumption, this kind of thought actually decreases our desire for the food.”
How this can Help You
This recent research confirms what we in the hypnosis community have known all along: Your mind is the most powerful ally when it comes to losing weight and getting fit.
Because imagining something in your mind creates the same physical responses in your body as if you were experiencing that thing in real life… Pretty Crazy!
So next time you find yourself craving that burger… or that piece of chocolate… imagine eating it a few times first. Then, see if you find yourself eating less when you do indulge.
Let me know what happens. I’d love to hear how this little insight works out for you.