“I can’t lose weight.”

Is that really what you believe? If so, simply having that belief is a major factor in your difficulty losing weight and here’s why.

Researchers at the University of Richmond looked at why people struggle to maintain weight loss after setbacks in reaching their goal. They found that people who were encouraged to believe that their weight was something they could change, compared to people who didn’t get this encouragement, avoided weight gain over a 12-week period. (Burnette & Finkel, 2012).

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People open to believing in their ability to lose weight are more likely to view their experiences as a learning opportunity. They are more likely to view setbacks as feedback to change direction, and are also more likely to remain optimistic about their success. Optimism results in sustained motivation, which predicts greater weight loss. (Burnette, 2010)

Placebo effect – the power of beliefs and weight loss

Your beliefs not only influence optimism and motivation, they change your physiology just like medications. There is no better example of this than the placebo effect. In a clinical trial, a drug must be more effective than placebo, an inactive substance, to be approved to treat a condition. What this means is that the drug being tested must beat the power of your belief in getting better.

The placebo pill in a clinical study does not contain any active drug. It is in essence a sugar pill. But in clinical drug studies, the placebo pill often produces the same changes in the body as the medication. Why? Because participants believe they are taking the medication, and believe it will be effective.

This is amazing if you think about it. A sugar pill can control high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce pain, and resolve depression. In Parkinson’s disease, the placebo effect not only increases dopamine levels, but also improves motor function. (de la Fuente-Fernandez et al., 2001)

That is the power of belief! The placebo effect shows how much power your mind has over your body.

The latest research on the placebo effect shows that it activates specific areas of the brain. In pain reduction, the placebo effect causes the brain to release certain compounds like opioids (pain killers) and dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. It’s also shown that the placebo effect produced higher levels of opioids in people who have personality traits associated with optimism. (Collaca, Klinger, Flor & Bingel, 2013)

Belief + optimism = more effective.

Take advantage of the placebo effect, or the power of your belief, and use it to lose weight effectively.

Believe you can lose weight

It is easy to get discouraged with weight loss, but to be successful you must first believe you can. The belief that you can lose weight comes by trusting in yourself. If you don’t believe you can lose weight, start by asking yourself why you don’t trust in your ability to achieve this goal. To get the answer, you should ask yourself this when you are relaxed and your mind is quiet. The following is a process that may help.

Power of Belief in Weight Loss - measurement

Align with higher self

Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and take slow relaxed but deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your abdomen expand outward when you breathe in, as this will trigger relaxation centers in your brain. Set an intention to align with your higher self, the part of you that knows exactly what to do in every situation.

After you have taken several deep relaxed breaths and are feeling relaxed, ask your higher-self where this disbelief originated. If you are patient, quiet your mind, and trust in the answer, most of the time, your higher self will show you the circumstances that created this disbelief. Often it is in childhood. Sit with the negative emotions that come up, like frustration, and diffuse these types of emotions by visualizing breathing through your heart space. Once the answer is illuminated, you have the ability to let it go, and the disbelief no longer holds power in your subconscious mind.

You will find that situations like an inability to lose weight are actually valuable experiences for learning a lot about your subconscious mind. Know that you have the power to change every experience. Empower yourself by doing regular mind-body practices like the one described above to connect with your higher self. It takes a little practice, but the payoff is huge.

You have the power and science proves it.

Good luck!

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