How Your Mindset Impacts Your Health
Getting into a negative mindset about your self worth or your body image can be a really deep hole to pull yourself out of. I think as females it’s safe to say that most of us have experienced this at some point in our lives and constantly fluctuate in and out of it depending on where your life is taking you. I myself am always looking for new ways to change my mindset and combat these negative mindset ruts that we all experience. For me they usually come after a few weeks of neglecting exercise and not eating my best due to urgent priorities such as sick kids, high workloads or uni assignments due. I look at my body and feel as though I look like I’m 10kgs heavier (in actual fact its probably only 2kg) and feel horrible about myself physically and as a person. Sound familiar? If you can relate, please keep on reading, it gets better!
Upon listening to Dr. Alia Crum’s TEDx talk on “change your mindset, change the game” she explained several studies they had conducted about the placebo effects of mindset and honestly the results are incredible. If you haven’t listened to this, I would highly recommend it!
During her talk she explained 2 studies in particular that I think can really inspire us to change our attitudes towards how we are treating our body and how that can affect the health outcomes. The first study was about people who were aware of their level of exercise compared to people who had physically active jobs and burned just as many calories but weren’t aware of it. The people who were aware of the exercise that they were giving their bodies had greater muscle gain and fat loss compared to the people who were unaware. They then explained to half the group of people in physically active jobs about which muscles they were using and how many calories they were burning which then changed their mindset to that of they were giving their bodies exercise while at work. Compared to the control group (people who weren’t aware) results showed that after a few weeks they had higher fat loss and muscle gain.
The second study was a group of people who were fed the same protein shake at 2 separate occasions through IV and monitored, at the first sitting they were told it was a heathy low calorie shake, whereas at the second sitting they were told it was an indulgent high calorie milkshake. The results showed that when consuming the “healthy” shake their Ghrelin levels (a hormone in the body responsible for telling the body its hungry and controlling metabolism) dropped slowly and so their metabolisms fastened (burned more calories) as opposed to when they thought they were consuming a high calorie shake their Ghrelin levels dropped dramatically, slowing their metabolism so they burned less calories.
What this tells us is that your attitude and mindset plays a huge role in firstly how your body responds to exercise and secondly how it responds to the food and drinks that you consume. In order to become healthier and make your exercise and dietary efforts count towards your goals you need to be filling your mind with positive thoughts about what you are doing! Rather than focusing on the gym session that you missed or that you didn’t sweat enough, try focusing on what you have done! (example – the hour you played in the backyard with your kids or how many calories you burnt up vacuuming and cleaning the house or how many steps you did at work today). The same applies to your eating, focus on the fact that you nourished your body with 5 serves of vegetables today instead of worrying about that bar of chocolate that you had for dessert (which I’m sure you really deserved anyway). By changing our mindset and praising ourselves for what we actually have achieved instead of reprimanding ourselves for what we haven’t done or shouldn’t have eaten we can not only feel better about ourselves, be rid of the guilt but also increase metabolisms, muscle mass and reduce body fat and therefore become healthier both physically and mentally.
In short – BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR IT!