Think yourself thin, think yourself happy.
Have we been doing this all wrong? Limiting our food to rice cakes and kale, skim milk, and only ice cream on Sundays? Does your diet make you isolated and depressed, unable to make it to workout, and ending the night back on the couch with a pint of organic, low calorie sorbet? What if I told you the science shows that we can just think ourselves thin?
It's true, the body follows the mind and I'll give you two proven reasons why yours may be telling you to stay fat and sad.
First, is a fabulous study by Alia Crum that demonstrates how we feel about our food. Two groups were given the same 300 calorie shake. The first group was told it was a decadent, rich, full fat, 600 calorie shake and an amazing treat. This group felt full, satiated and content, and physiologically they produced less ghrelin, the hormone that activates your appetite.
Secondly, the same shake was given, but told it was low fat, low calorie, and barely like eating dessert at all. The participants felt hungry still, discontent, and dissatisfied. The amazing part of the study was that physiologically, this group had higher levels of ghrelin, the appetite hormone.
Yes, the same food had different responses in the production of hormones within the body based on perception. Something we think we have no control of whatsoever.
I know what you're thinking? How is that going to help me eat less, unless my spouse takes the time to shop for me, buy low fat, and trick me by transferring it into full-fat containers. Ha! Not in my house.
But here is more help. It turns out that the second piece of this is the mind. We think we are sad, depressed, anxious, and mentally unstable, so we turn to our doctors for help. The conventional practice is to support you with a drug that will trick your brain into believing that you are content and happy.
The drug doesn't increase your levels of neurotransmitters, it simply does not allow your body from reabsorbing the neurotransmitters that are there, so it's temporarily tricked. This has an effect like an absent minded mother feeding a child and noticing that food is still on the plate. Soon mom stops adding food to the plate, but the child is not eating anything. If you catch my drift, beginning one of these medications will put your brain into a deficit of not making anymore neurotransmitter, that only the pharmaceutical will be able to fill.
Before you get depressed, just check this out. What if your brain works like your body? What if the brain is receiving your information that life is sad, depressing, worrisome, and sucks right now? And what if your brain is supplying the appropriate low neurotransmitter response to maintain your view?
Think about it...
When were you last sitting on a beach, feet in the sand, and listening to the rolling waves in complete sadness? When were you last at a child's play, game, or presentation and thinking you needed to pull your hair out and tear your skin off. The feelings we have in those moments tend to match our environment and the experience derives a matching elation...
...because we are in the moment.
Yes, this is the yogi in me speaking, but I've taught for 15 years, and I think I can speak from experience, plus I'm backed by a lot of new scientific studies pointing to this very concept.
If we sit and breathe, I mean really breathe. Close your eyes, breathe in, pause, and breathe out as slow as you can at least 3-5 times. You will feel more grounded and less anxious. Don't stop... continue... breathe in, pause and breathe out... and start to feel gratitude.
Grateful for legs you walk on, the hands you use every day, the house you come home to, the air you breathe, the trees that clean it, the flowers that bloom, the sun that shines, the children that laugh, the tears that cleanse the soul, and the mistakes that help us learn.
Can you appreciate the beauty?
And even the absurdity of life that is sometimes so stupid and painful, we just have to laugh and cry and step out of our skin to survive. But don't for a minute, think you are stuck in that sadness, or that it owns you because the science shows us new capabilities.
If you want to change, you want more in life, or you just want something right now, close your eyes and tell your brain to make it happen. Tell your brain, no, this is my new outlook, and it's here to stay. This will take time as the mind can be like an errant two year old, but you are the parent and you can teach it to behave.
If it's just not working for you yet, find a therapist that can help you with this. I know of talented women in our community that can help you get into your new zone. If you think it's a nutrition aspect, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, the body and mind responds beautifully to holistic measures.
I am here for you, and I believe I can help.
Your wellnesss Muse,