In the media you often hear how our beliefs about weight and dieting affect what, when and how much we eat. But there is something very profound you may not have heard about. Recent studies have shown that our beliefs actually influence our physiology, our cells and how they react.
It has been shown that our beliefs actually change how our bodies metabolize food and how our hormones are regulated.
The studies show our cells are listening to every thought we say to ourselves. The research in Bruce Lipton’s book The Biology Of Belief proves that our thoughts and emotions affect our cells, genes and DNA. This is now referred to as the science of Epigenetics.
If you get up in the morning and think “oh my gosh my stomach is so fat,” or “I am stressed” the reality is every cell in your body is listening to those thoughts and words and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your DNA, your genetic material finds a way to make that happen for you. It says “OK we can make that happen”. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful. I don’t say this to stress you out but only to bring awareness to the kinds of things you are might be telling yourself. Don’t freak out and please don’t judge yourself. Krishnamurti says “The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.”
The good news is once you become aware of your inner self-talk you can begin to change it.
To prove the power of the mind, I want to tell you about a study the psychologist, Alia Crum conducted at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. It is a fascinating study that shows our beliefs directly affect the functioning of our body.
In the study, Groups A and B were both given a milkshake which contained 320 calories.
- The Group A milkshake was given in a carton that said it contained an 640 calories. It said it was a creamy indulgent milk shake.
- The carton for Group B said the drink had only 120 calories, it was a diet shake.
Even though both groups were eating the EXACT same number of calories, one group thought they were having an indulgent treat and the other group thought they were having a diet shake.
The study measured the ghrelin level of the participants before and after drinking their drinks. Ghrelin is a hormone in the body closely related to hunger.
- Ghrelin goes up when we are hungry, signaling to the brain it is time to seek out food. It also slows our metabolism just in case you don’t find that food.
- Once we eat a delicious satisfying meal our ghrelin levels drop, signaling to our brain it is time to stop eating. It also revs up our metabolism so we can burn that food we just consumed.
When ghrelin is high our metabolism is slowed down and when ghrelin is low our metabolism is turn up.
In this experiment, the ghrelin levels went down in Group A, the people who though they were having an indulgent shake. It indicated that the person had ingested sufficient calories. They were no longer hungry. Their metabolism was turned up to burn through the shake they just consumed.
In Group B, where they thought they were having a diet shake the ghrelin level stayed the same level – it hardly changed, They were just as hungry as before they had the shake. Their metabolism was still turned down. They did not start burning up the shake.
Even though both groups ingested the exact same number of calories, the ghrelin level in the group who thought they were eating a diet shake didn’t change. The ghrelin levels in the group who thought they were eating the indulgent shake went down and their metabolism went up. Isn’t that interesting?
The belief that they had ingested something rich and satisfying caused Group A to reduce their hunger hormone levels and boosted their metabolism. On the other hand, the belief that they had only had a diet shake caused Group B to maintain the same hunger hormone level as if they had not ingested anything and kept their metabolism slow.
Their beliefs had completely determined how their BODIES reacted to the same amount of food. This study shows how our beliefs affect our body our physiology. Below is a video of Alia Crum where she gives a powerful TED talk about this study and how mindset affects our physical body.
TIP: The next time you are eating a piece of chocolate notice what you are telling your body.
- Are you saying this is so delicious and satisfying allowing your ghrelin levels to go down and reving up your metabolism?
- Are you saying this is going to make me fat, I really shouldn’t be eating this causing your ghrelin levels to stay high and keeping your metabolism slow.
Shifting Your Inner Self Talk
Now that you understand the power of the messages you are sending your body lets do a process to shift it.
I want you to think about what you say to yourself about your body? What types of things do you say when you look in the mirror? Do you say I hate my hair, oh that belly is too fat, ugh, look at those wrinkles? These are the things I sometimes catch myself saying although less now than ever.
Start noticing what you are saying to yourself. Would you say those things to your best friend, probably not?
As you become more aware of how you talk to yourself, you’ll recognize the beliefs affecting your body. Tapping is the most powerful tool in modern psychology to shift them.
To make lasting changes we always want to be honest with ourselves, it doesn’t help to put a band-aid on something negative by just saying a affirmation. It is hard to go from saying I am fat to I am thin, the mind just won’t accept it. There is going to be push back. There is a huge part of our brain that won’t believe it if you just try to say something positive without clearing out some of the negative energy. I have tried and it just doesn’t work.
This is where tapping comes in…
When you become aware of the thoughts you tell yourself and how they make you feel and then tap on them you are actually interrupting the neural pathway that is patterned in there.
This allows you to more easily create a new pattern of thought, a new neural pathway. This has been proven by science. By tapping on the words and feelings, saying them out loud while tapping you are honoring the emotion and releasing some of the energy which allows you to more easily think and feel something more nourishing.
Neural pathways are like well worn paths in the grass, when you stop walking on them or stop thinking those thought they grow over and you don’t automatically go down them any longer.
The first step is express how you feel honestly while tapping. Honor the negative feelings. Nick Ortner from the Tapping Solution calls it “truth tapping”. We start by loving and accepting ourselves even though we have these critical thoughts. I even like to go over the top expressing the negative. Love yourself for how ever you are feeling, even if it is negative. It is all part of you. That critical part is there trying to protect you. Tapping on how you truly feel takes away some of the charge. You are then able to start telling yourself a new story.
Let do some tapping on this. Focus on that feeling or voice that is criticizing your body. Really let yourself hear it and how painful it is to listen to it. On a scale of zero to 10 give the intensity of that critical voice a number 0 not strong 10 is a really strong critical voice. Make a note of it.
Starting on the Karate Chop Point
Even though I have this negative chatter in my head
and I’ve had it for years, it’s what I know,
I choose to love and accept that part of me
Even though every time I look in the mirror
I keep noticing what is wrong
I can’t focus on anything else
I love and accept myself with compassion
Even though my critical voice is really mean
and I believe what she says
I can’t quiet her down
I choose to love and accept her with kindness
Tapping through the points starting on the eyebrow
Change points after each sentence. Click here for an image of the tapping points .
This voice in my head
Saying Ugh I look terrible
Saying I should be ashamed of my body
Telling me I am not attractive
Telling me I am so stressed
Telling me I am so tired
Look at those thighs,
I hate those wrinkles
I can’t lose weight no matter what I do
I’m not sure I can stop
It feels like the truth
I am afraid to stop criticizing myself
Nothing will change if I stop
This voice pointing out all of my flaws
All day long she never stops
Every time I look in the mirror
This voice says something negative
Every time I eat she is there judging me
It hurts so much
It makes me so sad
It’s not safe to be positive
I have to notice what’s wrong
To keep myself safe
I am just going to honor this voice
How much she wants my attention
I am willing to listen
and tap on how she feels
But I don’t have to believe her any more
Wow, that was some heavy stuff! That likely brought up some emotion. If there is a lot of emotion go back and tap through the script above again until the emotion comes down. Feel free to use your own words.
Now let’s tap through a positive round…
Even though I’ve thought this way for a long time
I’m open to making some changes
I’m willing to see myself differently now
I choose to treat myself with love and compassion
Even though it is hard to stop criticizing myself
I’m open to healing and transformation
Even though I may still notice what is wrong
I am glad I am finding a new way
That is filled with love and kindness.
Tapping through the points starting on the eyebrow
What if this negative chatter is just something I learned
What if it isn’t true
But it feels so true
It has felt true for so long
But maybe it only feels true
because I have been saying it for so long
Maybe that’s why it feels so true
All these years
I thought if I just kept pointing out my flaws
They would get better
Maybe I can talk to my body in a whole new way
Appreciate my body for everything it does for me
It breathes and digests without me even asking
Maybe I can begin to enjoy the way I look
Just the way I am
Is a little scary to even say that
I can tell myself a different story
I think it’s time for a new approach
If f I’m so powerful at turning on “bad” genes
Could I be just as powerful at turning on “good” genes?
It’s time to turn on some “good” genes,
Genes that allow my organs to function optimally
Genes that heal my body
Boosting my metabolism
And fill my body with energy
I love feeling wonderful about my body.
I am open to healing and transformation
I am learning to cherish myself
And to love myself just the way I am
Back to the eyebrow, tapping through the points
It’s time to tell myself how wonderful I am
It’s time to feel safe loving my body
It’s time to feel safe enjoying the way I look
Only I can change this voice
It is up to me
I honor myself for being aware of this
I deserve to have a healthy, thriving body
I am beginning to feel how amazing my body is
How much is does for me every day
I notice the parts of me I really love
I am not perfect and I never will be
But I am definitely wonderful
Wonderful is so much more fun than perfect
Let’s tune back into that feeling or voice in your head that is criticizing your body. How intense is it now on a scale of zero to ten? Notice also what else came up during that process, what other emotions, memories, or ideas? Write down anything else that came up to tap on when you have time.
I love using tapping scripts. Even though I have been tapping for years, I make my own tapping scripts to get me started. It is especially helpful when I don’t feel like tapping, I just pull out the script and start. It is so much easier.
Would love to hear how you felt after this tapping. Do you feel more comfortable in your body? Are you feeling kinder to yourself? What changes do you notice? Please leave me a comment below.
Even if you don’t tap, noticing your self talk and being kinder to yourself will make you healthier. Remember your cells are listening.