This week I want to talk about the power of the beliefs you have when it comes to nutrition and exercise.
Incidentally, I've noticed the people who don't get far generally adopt a mindset of 'nothing works for me'.
On the flip side, the people who succeed are persistent and believe in what they're doing. They 'trust the process' and don't throw the towel in at a first minor inconvenience.
I'm pointing this out because I believe it makes a genuine difference in your results if you believe that you're going to achieve your goal.
An 8-week study (Panayotov, 2019) looked at the effect of beliefs on weight loss and the results were truly astonishing.
The participants in the 8 study were split into 2 groups:
- All participants exercised for 30 minutes, 3 times per week.
- All participants were given an isocaloric diet (enough calories to maintain their weight / not experience weight loss from diet).
- Half of the participants knew they were eating a maintenance diet (ie. no weight change should be expected from diet)
- Half thought they were on a calorie-controlled weight loss diet where they should expect to lose weight from restricted calories.
The people in the experimental 'weight loss belief group' lost 7 kilos more per person than the other group even though they weren't supposed to.
The average weight loss was 9.25kg per person in the experimental group that THOUGHT they should be losing weight. Their counterparts in the other group lost an average of 2.25kg per person across the 8 weeks.
I found this result absolutely mind-blowing and thought you would too.
The researchers stated:
We did not expect the implemented isocaloric regimen to affect body composition or body mass. Despite that, the results suggest that some placebo effect of the intervention exists. In our opinion, that proves that the metabolic considerations behind constructing a weight loss program comprise only a part of all the tools for treating obesity available. There are many ambiguous psychological and behavioural mechanisms of the process yet to be explored.