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Think Your Way Thin?

I spend a lot of time and effort writing about taking responsibility for your life and inspiring you to believe that the world is your oyster and the possibilities for success infinite.  The only limitations after all are those inflicted on you by you.  But let’s be honest, many of us have more than a few challenges when it come to achieving and maintaining our ideal weight.  So when I came across a fascinating study outlined in Richard Wiseman’s book :59 Seconds, I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you all.

The original research was done by Alia Crum and Ellen Langer from Harvard University.  They were interested to test if people with physically active jobs, such as hotel cleaning staff, were aware of just how active they were.  If they were told how physically beneficial their job was for them would they come to believe they were fit people and would that belief alone affect their weight and blood pressure?

Eighty hotel staff, who each cleaned and serviced on average 15 rooms per day, took part in the study.  They were lifting, carrying, cleaning and were generally very physically active in their work. Each person was randomly assigned to one of two groups – one group was informed about the benefits of exercise and given a detailed breakdown of the number of calories they burned each day as part of their daily work.  For example – 15 minutes vacuuming burned 50 calories, changing a bed for 15 minutes burned 40 calories etc. 

The second group were also told of the benefits of exercise, but were not informed about the calories they burned as part of their daily activities.  Everyone completed a questionnaire on exercise outside work, diet, lifestyle and a series of health tests.  And the researchers departed.

When the researchers returned a month later they checked the workload for both groups had remained constant and all the participants completed the same questionnaires and health checks for a second time.  The questionnaires showed no changes in the habits of either group.  However, those who had been told how many calories they burned had lost a significant amount of weight, lowered their BMI and waist to hip ratios and showed a decrease in blood pressure.  The other group showed no change!

The researchers concluded that this was similar to the placebo effect – by reminding people of the calories they burned, they in turn altered their beliefs about themselves and their bodies responded to make those beliefs a reality.  It would seem just thinking about the benefits and calorie burning effects of your daily exercise can make you thinner!

© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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One response to “Think Your Way Thin?

  1. Pingback: “Diet” is a Dirty Word! | NLP THIRTEEN

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