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Can thinking about food affect weight loss?

There is a simple exercise that shows our minds and bodies have difficulty determining what is real and what is imagined.

I want you to take a deep breathe then picture and big juicy lemon sitting on a thick wooden chopping block. There are drops of water running down the skin of the lemon and besides it is a knife.

Take the knife and cut the lemon in half and then into quarters, watching the juice spurt onto the knife and the board. Pick up a quarter and with the juice running down your fingers bring it to your mouth and take a big suck.

If you were salivating as the pretend lemon hit your lips, that is a sign of your body preparing itself for the lemon – a physiological readiness for something only imagined.

This means our thoughts can and do affect our biology. Now if we replace that lemon with a donut, or cream bun, could this also cause a biological response that affects our weight loss?

The short answer is yes. If these thoughts stimulate the production of insulin, it could temporarily stall weight loss and decrease ketones levels. It is impossible to burn fat with high levels of insulin present so it is something you want to avoid.

The good news is as long as you don’t cave in and buy that cream bun, insulin clearance is fast and you could be back to normal in about 30 minutes.

But what happens if you are on a diet where you spend the whole time thinking about creams buns and cakes and chocolate …well let’s just say there is a reason I’m a mind-before-body weight loss coach.

Knowing that a mere thought can start a potentially unwanted biological reaction which increases insulin levels and that consistently high levels of insulin can lead to obesity, it is possible to think yourself fat and by the same logic, to think yourself thin.

So if you are still trying to use sheer will power to conquer weight loss, know that your thoughts could literally be  your undoing, even as you bravely decline the cream bun nestled firmly in your frontal lobe.