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How Your Thoughts Can Fool Your Stomach

You may be able to change your metabolism, with your MIND!

“Labels are not just labels; they evoke a set of beliefs.” – Alia Crum, clinical psychologist, Columbia.

In Crum’s study, she created a huge batch of milkshakes, then divided it into two batches that were labeled in two very different ways:

Half was put into cups labeled: Sensishake: A guilt-free drink, 0% fat, 0 added sugar, 140 calories.

Half was put into cups labeled: Indulgence: Decadence you deserve, 610 calories.

In truth, the shakes had 300 calories each.

Before and after the people in the study drank their shakes, nurses measured their levels of a hormone called GHRELIN (aka the hunger hormone). 

Quick side note about ghrelin so the rest of this makes sense::

When ghrelin levels rise, that signals the brain that it’s time to seek food. It also slows the metabolism in case you don’t find food.

After your ghrelin rises, and you have a big meal (say a cheeseburger and a side of fries), your ghrelin levels drop. That signals the mind that you’ve had enough, and it’s time to rev up the metabolism to burn it off for fuel.

But if you only have a small meal, like maybe a small salad, your ghrelin levels don’t drop that much, and metabolism doesn’t get triggered in the same way.

In her study, Crum found the participants who BELIEVED they were drinking the indulgent shake, their body responded as if they had consumed much more. 

The ghrelin levels dropped about 3x more when people consumed the indulgent shake (or thought they were drinking the indulgent shake) compared to the people who drank the sensible shake (or thought that’s what they were drinking).

What people believed about their milkshake came true.

If they thought it was fattening, they felt they’d eaten more, and their digestion and metabolism were affected.

Our beliefs matter in virtually every aspect, in everything we do.

So take on an indulgent mindset. Find satisfaction and pleasure in the nutrient-dense foods you eat. Think about all the good the food is doing for your body as you eat it, all the nourishment and pleasure it’s bringing you. At the same time, drop the food guilt when you do eat not-so-nutritious foods.

Of course food is essential for giving our body fuel and nutrients, but food is also a part of our life for emotional reasons – whether we like it or not 🙂 It fills our physical and emotional needs.

Own and enjoy your food choices. By stressing about them or having those “should” thoughts, you’re just releasing the hormone cortisol, which promotes fat storage.

If you’re ready to leave the old school beliefs that health and/or weight loss = nutrition + exercise behind, and embrace a holistic approach that will finally get you those results you’ve been chasing for years, I’d love to help you. Click here to apply for a free strategy call with me!


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