Health And Wellness

How To Lose Weight Just By Thinking About It

Photo: Look Studio / Shutterstock
woman thinking about losing weight

Have you ever been told that you're holding yourself back? It's actually more common than you realize. People seem to have a problem with constantly putting themselves down and not motivating themselves — especially when it comes to weight loss. 

Losing weight for most people is a long, strenuous process. You have your exercising and your dieting, but those two things don't come easily to everyone.

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Some believe they aren't doing enough, or find that they're doing too much yet still not seeing the results they're looking for. Others may not know exactly how to lose weight with lifestyle changes that work in the long term for them.

Well, according to a study, you can lose weight just by thinking about it.

No, seriously — according to this 2018 study done by the Mind and Body Lab at Stanford University suggests that our beliefs about how much we exercise could heavily influence our health and weight loss.

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Apparently, whether or not our beliefs about weight loss are right or wrong, simply changing the way you think about exercise could potentially help you lose weight more successfully. 

Alia Crum, the head of the Mind & Body Lab at Stanford University, and her co-author first conducted their research on the subject by studying 84 female hotel room attendants.

The attendants explained they felt they completed little to no daily exercise, although their work consists of them running around the hotel daily to complete their tasks each day (which of course does count as physical activity). 

After their initial interview, the researchers explained to half of the hotel-room attendants that due to their work, they were already meeting or exceeding national recommendations for 30 minutes of daily exercise, and just a month later when the researchers checked back with the same women, they now believed they were exercising more than ever before.

What's more, according to the researchers' data, all the women went on to lose weight and body fat and even developed lower blood pressure despite not actually exercising more than they had before.

This means yes — the thought does count.

Crum then decided to conduct a new study with a different co-author and fellow scientist Octavia Zahrt. Together with information from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, they researched 61,141 participants who answered questions about whether they felt they exercised more or less than people their age.

Many of the participants also wore accelerometers to help track their daily physical activity. Crum and Zahrt then linked their samples to data from the National Death Index, and the results were shocking.

In an interview, Crum stated that "individuals who thought they were less active than other people their age were more likely to die, regardless of health status, body mass index, and so on."

Basically, it all goes back to your mindset. If you think negatively about your health, you're more likely to indulge in unhealthy habits that can obviously put a damper on your life. But if you choose to think positively and believe in yourself, you can, in fact, lose weight and live a healthier and happier life. 

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Brittany White is a Yourtango contributor.