For example is: sugar really addictive? Can non alcoholic beer make you drunk? Is butter bad for you? Are vegetables and fruit really good for you? Or does it depend on what you believe? Lots of questions!
As a Registered Nutritionist, in addition to Master Hypnotherapist & NLP Life Coach, I am interested in the beliefs people have about foods. With many people believing that carbohydrates are the devils food, through to dairy being really fattening, and sugar being as addictive as morphine, I wondered if our beliefs drive these so called phenomena.
As people have to eat food to live, eating is a very emotive subject, with everyone an “authority”. Additionally we all obtain food related experiences and other peoples’ views throughout our lives, driving our beliefs, so often people lose sight of what is fact and what is a belief at times.
I often suspect that these skewed beliefs, set as early as childhood, influence people’s health as much as the food itself. And so find that when I work with my clients to release these beliefs and install healthier beliefs they are then able to achieve their goals easier and feel better in themselves also.
For example do those that have a strong belief that eating any carbohydrates will be very fattening, are they causing the nocebo effect, (see an earlier blog I did on placebo effect) getting the mind to lay down more fat than someone with a more balanced belief about carbs? Unfortunately I cannot support this either way, however it is interesting that many of my clients who come to me to lose weight believe carbs are the culprit for them being overweight! Obviously a weight problem is multifactorial and these unique individual’s factors are what I aim to tackle and address including their personal, specific beliefs.
So if you believe something is very bad for you, such as we used to believe of butter, are we potentially causing our bodies to react badly towards it more than the actual nutritional effects it produces itself? It’s a thought.
Similarly a study showed that a group of people who were told that they were going to be studied to look at the effects of alcohol consumption on different people. They were sent to a pub and filmed, seeing them get drunker and drunker with each pint. Some people started flirting more with the opposite sex, some girls got teary, most started slurring their words and just general behaviour seen with drunk people. However, and rather amusingly, but surely embarrassingly for some for them, after many of them had a job to stand they were told that the beer they had been drinking was in fact alcohol free! This shows the power of the belief in relation to food and drink. Remember our beliefs can produce a placebo effect, a significant effect on our bodies, so what we believe makes us adapt to fulfil these beliefs.
If we believe we are addicted to sugar does that give our minds permission to crave more because there is a reason why we are doing this... “Afterall, it’s not my fault I can’t stop eating sugar, I’m addicted!” I think this is something we should be thinking about as the evidence is not clear in this area in particular, due to many reasons including a poor model used to understand this area. Are our minds the key to solving this? Or is it more comfortable for us to blame something perceived to be out of our control? Controversial, or do you agree?
This article is more to raise awareness of a new way to think related to food, as may hold the key to a multitude of food related health problems, so if we educate people not only about what we eat but also the way we think about food, that could have a 2 fold increase on the health of the population.
So what I like to get across to my lovely clients is that it’s good to develop a balanced view of food, and focus on the positive beliefs of those known healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to gain both a placebo effect and a healthy physiological effect, from eating them, on their bodies. And in contrast I try to educate them that there is no bad food, it’s all about proportion and balance, so a treat once or twice a week is fine for us.
If you would like a chat about how I can help you then please give me a call on 01252 706995, or firstname.lastname@example.org , as love to help you in whatever area of your life you would like to address.