I love the concept of the placebo effect. I don’t care if you give a person a placebo pill and their symptoms get better. If it works, it works! The placebo effect is a reminder of the power of the mind. Miss treating your mind and you miss an important element of your health.
Your weight and health is not simply dictated by what you eat, but also what you think. Hand me a plate of pasta with a Mediterranean vegetable sauce and I am in heaven. However, another person may receive this same plate of food and see high carbs and weight gain. I would metabolise this dish with ease, enjoying each mouthful, absorbing the nutrients fully and burning calories efficiently. Once I finish the dish I probably won’t think about it again. The other person would eat it with anxiety and stress. He/she would probably feel guilt afterward and subsequently bring more stress to their next meal.
When your body is stressed a few things happen. The body thinks it is in fight or flight mode, survival mode. Blood flow goes to the limbs and away from the digestive system. For all the body knows it is preparing to run away from a lion. And who needs their digestive system to be functioning when under attack from a predator? This can leave you not absorbing your nutrients, experiencing diarrhea/constipation and holding onto fat around that stomach area.
Our unique thoughts are just important as the nutrient value of the food we are eating. The brain does not the difference between an imaginary stressor or a real one. How many times have you thought about a stressful event in the past, and then your heart rate increases, you feel knots in your stomach and you may even tear up. Your thoughts are powerful and can change how your body is in the now!
You can eat the healthiest of meals but if you are eating with stress, believing you are fat and hating life, then you are going to cause havoc on your digestion system and your body’s fat storage will go up. Think toxic thoughts and it will be toxic to your meal.
There are numerous studies whereby the placebo effect illustrates the power of the mind. Patient’s symptoms and conditions have been shown to improve whilst on the sugar pill/placebo. Sometimes the placebo groups even report better results than the group taking the real medication (1). When studies are conducted, participants get told about the side effects such as weight gain, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, headaches, and whatever else related to the medication being tested. People on the placebo pills have been known to pull out due to unbearable side effects! There have also been cases whereby people have thought they were getting back surgery but in reality, did not have the procedure. Yet they came out feeling their pain had subsided (2).
Mind over matter!
So next time you eat your plate of food with disgust thinking ‘this rice is going to make me fat and bloated’, consider the idea that you are instigating these effects.
Appreciate your food and body where it is at now. Slow down. Chew thoroughly. Taste your food. Enjoy it!
Affirm to yourself,
‘My happy thoughts create my healthy body’.
When I work with my clients, I work on the mind too. If any of the above resonates with you and you are feeling stuck in a cycle of bad thoughts and ill health, get in touch. I would love to help!