You could be exercising and eating right and still not getting the results you should. You know why? The surprising answer could be that you are suffering from the “nocebo” effect. It’s the evil twin brother of the “placebo” effect.
Placebo vs. Nocebo
Placebo effect is caused by people believing that a certain treatment will make them better, and this belief in itself causes them to get better.
Nocebo effect happens when people have negative feelings towards something which in turn does result in negative outcomes.
Scientific Proof of the Nocebo Effect on Exercise
Your expectations –my dear reader- can either improve or minimize the benefits of exercise.
In a study published by Psychological Science an experiment was conducted which included an “informed group” and a “non-informed group.”
The informed group was told that the physical activity they were doing was intensive enough to meet governmental guidelines for activity. The non-informed group was not given this information although the physical activity was exactly the same.
Jonathan Ross writes for the American Council on Exercise: “After four weeks, the informed group perceived themselves to be more fit and did indeed have lower blood pressure, weight, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index versus those in the non-informed group.”-
Is Exercising a Pain in the Neck for You?
If exercising feels like a burden to you, you will elevate your levels of stress hormones, oxidative stress and inflammatory chemicals. This will definitely defeat the purpose of exercise and negate many of the benefits of exercising.
If you already have a negative mentality towards exercising and have to balance it with a busy schedule at work and at home then you will definitely struggle and you will definitely stop exercising.
So next time you feel like quitting or if you have already quit, remember it is not the busy schedule by itself that caused you to quit. There is always someone busier than you who still hits the gym five times a week.
Is Willpower Enough?
No it’s not! The repetition of summoning your willpower every time you want to exercise is exhaustive. Your willpower will run out eventually. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert says, “If you’re using willpower to exercise, then you’re doing it wrong.”
You will end up eliminating most of the benefits of exercising and when your willpower runs out you will quit.
Make Exercising Fun
If you are one of those people who think “damn that’s exactly how I feel” after reading this article, don’t despair. You can train your mind to love exercising. One of the best ways is to make exercise fun by choosing activities you love to do. Not all of us need to be doing the same killer-routines at the gym or follow the latest fitness fads.
There are many ways to make exercise fun and there are also ways of exercising without exercising. Checkout 25 Ways to Exercise without Realizing It by Nerd Fitness (I love this guy).
Making exercise fun not only makes it easier to stay consistent but can also improve your post workout eating habits and help you achieve your goals faster:
- Labeling exercise as fun reduces the consumption of hedonic sides in a meal
- Labeling exercise as fun diminishes the amount of hedonic snacks served
- Having fun during a race increases the choice of a healthy snack
You can read more on the above points at Fun is the Secret to Efficient Weight Loss.
So there you go. As usual I am hoping that this post will benefit you my dear reader and help you achieve your goal. Never give up there is always a way out of the doldrums and the best way is by resetting your mindset and approach towards exercise and fitness. Do what you love, what is easier for you and what does not feel like a burden. Don’t feel guilty for not following all the fads and exercise routines out there every day of the week. Do what works for you and give it all you got.
Please share with us your struggles and conquests or anything that comes to mind after reading by leaving a comment below.