The #1 Thing That Most People Overlook to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

We’ve all heard the sayings…

“Make a lifestyle change….”

“Just eat healthy and exercise regularly…”

“Stress less…”

These are wonderful ideas that have the potential of leading to a healthy lifestyle. But if it was really about merely following a “healthy plan” people wouldn’t be struggling. Because one of two things inevitably happens:

  1. They follow the plan and don’t get what they want
  2. They struggle to follow the plan

So what does it really take to live a healthy lifestyle?

Living a healthy lifestyle has far less to do with what a person DOES and much more to do with who a person is BEING. This may sound odd considering the literature on living healthy is almost always regarding what we eat, how we move, and our stress levels. However, research shows that how we think and feel about our health is far more important than what we actually do. 

For example, Keller and associates did a study that showed the impact of stress on our health. What’s interesting about this study is the discrepancy between those that were healthy and unhealthy wasn’t actually a difference in stress levels. It was a difference in perception. The individuals that lived longer had a perception that stress wouldn’t affect their health negatively.

If that doesn’t show the power of perception, Crum and Langer did a study with hotel maids who believed they didn’t exercise. She simply told one group how much they were actually exercising and the other group was the control. After one month, the group who had their perception manipulated lost weight and had lower blood pressure. They didn’t change a thing except perception.

Another powerful study done on perception is when Crum and associates gave a group of participants two identical milkshakes. One label showed the milkshake as being indulgent while the other one was sensible. They measured their hormones after drinking each shake and the body actually released a different  amount of hormones after drinking an identical shake.

Their are countless other studies that show the power of perception through the placebo effect. It has been shown that the placebo effect works even when people know they are receiving the placebo. Their perception is that the placebo effect works, so they expect an effect. 

Want to live a healthy lifestyle? Start playing with the idea of perception. Do you perceive that cake will be glued to your thigh when you eat it? How about the perception of someone who doesn’t gain weight? They often perceive they can’t gain weight. We can’t prove that is what keeps them thin, but there sure is enough research to show it could.

About The Author

Michelle Hastie

Michelle Hastie Thompson is a recovered binge eater who turned her binge eating around and even got featured in Shape Magazine helping a woman lose weight in “My Weight Loss Diaries". She helps women end the battle of binge and overeating, fall in love with movement, and finally lose the weight permanently. A veteran weight loss coach for almost ten years, she is a Ph.D. student in Health Psychology and has three published books, the most recent titled, "Have Your Cake and Be Happy Too: A Joyful Approach to Weight Loss”.