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  • Writer's pictureLisa Magnuson

Blow your Mind(set)

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about motivation; how to use intrinsic motivation to guide and drive your goals and goal setting momentum. This week I turn to a fascinating emerging "science" around the power of mindset. Myles and I "geeked" out to another podcast by Andrew Huberman where he interviewed a clinical and research psychologist named Alia Crum. Her research is based around the study of mindsets and beliefs and how they can shape our physiological/biological response to food, stress, exercise, pretty much, you name it. In a nutshell, how your specific belief or outlook (psychology) can directly impact your body's physiological response.

In one study, they took a controlled group of subjects and fed them milkshakes. They measured their biological markers (gut peptide response) before and after the group consumed the milkshake. For the first trial, they gave them a milkshake and said it was very nutrient rich, meaning it had lots of calories and was full of fat and sugar and very indulgent. After eating the milkshake they measured their various biological markers (like ghrelin- a hormone that is released when you are hungry). They did the same thing the next week with the same group but told them this milkshake was a "diet" shake, very low nutrient content and meant to be less filling.

Of course, it was exactly the same milkshake.

Technically nothing about the subjects bodies had changed nor the milkshakes contents. However when they compared the results, there were large differences between the bio markers from the first trial and the second trial. Mainly, the ghrelin levels dropped at a three fold rate when they were eating what they thought to be the high calorie shake vs when they were eating what they thought to be the low calorie shake. So essentially their bodies responded as if they had consumed more food (calories) even though it was the exact same shake. In other words, when they drank the shake they thought was more filling their metabolic response was that it was more filling allowing them to release less ghrelin and feel full longer. And when they drank the "diet" shake, they felt less satiated and would in turn feel like they needed to eat more calories based on the ghrelin levels measured post consumption.

These are the two main takeaways from this study.

  1. Your body can have a physiological/metabolic response to what you eat just from how you think about your food. (THIS IS HUGE!!!)

  2. If you are trying to lose weight, it may be best to think about how you are eating as though you are eating indulgently. This way you will feel fuller if your mindset is that what you are eating isn't necessarily healthy but rather, indulgent.

I know this is a lot and very "meta" and all that. But I thought it was extremely thought provoking. I HIGHLY recommend you listen to this podcast. She talks about stress in depth and how powerful mindset can be for adjusting our biology, not just our psychology. It is mind-blowing stuff- seriously!

(this takes you to the Huberman Lab Podcast website, you can choose how you want to listen- either YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts)

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