Why are you killing yourself with all that labor and toil in order to lose weight? What if I told you there is an easier and more efficient way to lose weight and that it consists of having fun? According to a new study, your attitude towards exercise can influence what you eat post-workout and ultimately whether you lose weight or not.
You might be one of the many millions of people who are frustrated because of the ineffectiveness of exercise and efforts to lose weight. You may be gaining weight and eating more despite or even due to the fact that you are exercising.
Of course you will increase your appetite when you burn more calories due to exercising and may overeat as a result. Some have suggested that this might be the reason why people struggle to lose weight despite exercising. It does not however fully explain the wide variability in people’s post-workout meals and eating habits.
Proof That Fun Can Make You Thin?
Recently American and French scientists researched the effect of calling exercise by an alternative name – that is associated with having fun – and whether it might affect people’s subsequent diets.
1 Labeling exercise as fun reduces the consumption of hedonic sides in a meal
Fifty six women who were generally healthy but overweight took part in the study. The women were divided into two groups. Both groups received a map with the same exact details of a one mile outdoor course. They were told that they would be walking to a destination where lunch would be served.
The first group was told that their walk was meant to be exercise and that their exertion would be monitored throughout the course. The second group of women were told that the outing was purely for pleasure; they would be listening to music through headphones and rating the sound quality. The researchers encouraged the second group to enjoy themselves.
Upon reaching their destination, they were all asked to estimate the mileage, mood and calorie expenditure.
Those who believed that they had been formally exercising reported feeling more fatigued and grumpy than the other group of women. This was despite the fact that the two groups’ estimates of mileage and calories burned were almost identical.
When lunch was served, the women in the exercise group loaded up on soda and pudding while the other group chose healthy alternatives like water. The exercise group ended up consuming significantly more calories than the women who’d thought that they were walking for pleasure.
2 Labeling exercise as fun diminishes the amount of hedonic snacks served
A follow-up experiment was used to reinforce and broaden the findings of the first one. A new set of volunteers, some of them men, were instructed to walk the same one-mile loop. Once again, half were told to consider this session as exercise. The others were told that they would be sightseeing and were encouraged to have fun. Upon reaching their destination they were allowed to fill a plastic bag at will with M&M’s as a reward for their participation. The volunteers from the exercise group poured in twice as much M&M’s as the others.
3: Having fun during a race increases the choice of a healthy snack
The final part of the study took place in a real-world scenario. The researchers visited the finish line of a 10k marathon and asked the runners whether they had enjoyed their race. To reward them for their time they offered them the choice of a gooey chocolate bar or a healthier cereal bar.
Yet again those runners who said that their race had been difficult or unsatisfying picked the chocolate while those who said that they had fun picked the healthy cereal bar.
It seems like having fun while exercising diminishes the need for us to reward ourselves with food. We all know that the best reward-foods are those calorie-packed unhealthy varieties because they taste sooooo good.
Like everything in life try to have fun and enjoy doing what you do and not only will you see results but you will become really good at it.
Do you think labelling your exercise routine can work for you? Drop me a comment below…
Source: Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking by Carolina O. C. Werle, Brian Wansink, and Collin R. Payne.