Mental Training for Weight Loss: The Role your Mind Plays in Helping you Lose Weight

By: R Gupta

For long people have believed in the indomitable spirit of the mind; however, few have ever come close to measuring it in empirical terms. Along with the common requirements of weight loss - physical exercises and dietary modification - do we also need to do some mental training for weight loss? If yes, what exactly does such a training entail? And how do we know if it's even worth the effort? In short, what is this mental help with weight loss that we are referring to? A study conducted by the Harvard University sheds some light on this topic

It is a well known fact that cleaning attendants in hotels lead a very active lifestyle. The very nature of their work keeps them on their toes for several hours a day and includes actions like vacuuming, lifting, scrubbing, bending, and stretching. Researchers started wondering if the hotel attendants knew the positive effect of their job on their health. And, if they were consciously made aware of these benefits, would it eventually lead to weight loss and lower blood pressure?

To study this, more than 80 cleaning attendants working in seven different hotels were divided into two groups. The first was specifically prepped on how many calories they burned as they went about their daily job responsibilities. To help retain and reinforce this information, they were even given handouts illustrating each activity and the amount of calories it burned.

The second group, on the other hand, was not given this specific information, although they were informed about the benefits of exercising. Additionally, the fact that their work was actually a great form of exercise and they were burning a lot of calories on a daily basis was also kept from them.

Following this, both the groups were monitored regularly and care was taken that none of the participants changed any of their other habits, including that of eating, smoking or exercising out of work. This was done to ensure that external factors or lifestyle changes did not affect the results of the study in any way. Even the workload of the participants in both the groups was kept constant.

The results of this study were eye-opening. People in the first group showed significant weight loss, decreased blood pressure, lower BMI (body mass index) and a more favorable waist-to-hip ratio. The second group, however, did not exhibit any of these improvements!

Researchers believe that this huge difference in results is owing to what is best described as mental training for weight loss. Keeping in mind that all other factors were kept constant, the difference was that while one group was clueless about the benefits of exercise during their work the other one was aware of the calories they were burning on the job. As a result, their mind kept processing the benefits of the activity they were doing throughout the day. Simply put what it means is that the brain is a really powerful motivator. And, if you've got some mental help with weight loss the results increase rather dramatically.

The lesson from this experiment is that exercising alone isn't enough to lose weight. You have to believe strongly in the positive effects of your workouts and mentally visualize the results you are working towards. Something as simple as that can make a world of difference. So, going forth, in addition to cardio and strengthening workouts, don't forget to include mental training for weight loss in your daily routine.

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