The three main pillars of health at the studio that we always talk about is to MOVE consistently, to eat healthy MEALS and to have a positive MINDSET.
I can’t emphasize enough how essential the mindset part is. It isn’t just about being positive because it is a nicer feeling, having a positive mindset actually magnifies the positive effects that what you eat and how much you move has on your health.
Alia Crum, an American psychologist, who is the principal investigator of the Stanford Mind and Body Lab, researches how mindset affects human behaviour as well as physical and mental health outcomes, has proven this time and again.
The Milkshake Study
In one of hear earlier experiments she gave volunteers the same 380 calorie healthy milkshake but told half the group they were consuming a sensible, low calorie shake and the other half it was a high calorie indulgent one.
She then proceeded to measure the levels of the hormone ghrelin – a hormone released by the stomach when we are hungry and increases the drive to eat- before and after they drank the shake.
The volunteers who thought they had indulged showed a significantly greater drop in ghrelin levels than those who thought they had consumed something less.
What this suggests is the merely thinking you are indulging can quell hunger pangs and perhaps, quell overeating. And the opposite holds true, merely thinking you are depriving or limiting yourself can increase your drive to eat.
You can watch a quick 3 minute video about it below.
The Housekeeper Study
She also participated in a study that looked at hotel housekeepers, who are generally very active through the day. However, after interviewing them, 67% of maids reported they didn’t get any exercise at all. Measurements of the housekeepers body fat, waist to hip ratios, and BMI indicated outcomes similar to perceptions, they tended to be overweight and out of shape.
The researchers then divided the 84 housekeepers into two groups. One group was told how much their daily activities counted as exercise (specifically, how many calories were burned for each type of activity they did). The other group received no information and served as the control group.
The maids were then measured one month later. Those who were told their work counted as exercise lost body fat, bodyweight, and had better waist-to-hip ratios. Indicators of blood pressure were also improved.
What this suggests is a positive mindset can actually act like a placebo, giving you results without having to work for them. But the opposite also holds true, a negative mindset can act as a nocebo, and have negative consequences to your health.