Are you having fun yet? -The role of framing in weight loss

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’re not getting the desired results after making a real effort to keep hitting the gym and cutting back on the junk food. However, if this has ever been you, you are definitely not the only one, and a recent study from Cornell University may have done a key finding in answering this weight loss mystery: you forgot to have fun!

The study points at the importance of “framing” – how do we really feel about exercise? The three Cornell researchers found that people who look at exercise as a chore, and not as something that is fun to do, have the tendency to both eat more and to eat more unhealthy after completing a workout.

This finding was made among the college’s administrative staff members, who were all given a map and asked to complete a specific route with occasional stopping points along the way. The participants were either explicitly told that the purpose of the study was to exercise, or they were given an MP-3 player and told that the purpose was to assess the clarity of the music at the different stops. After completing the route they were offered a variety of different food, both on the unhealthy and healthy end of the food scale. The subjects in the exercise group ate significantly more unhealthy food than the subjects who were listening to music, and they also consumed significantly more food overall.

Why do we tend to make poorer food choices after a workout we didn’t enjoy? The researchers suggest that if people see exercising as an exhausting chore they feel an impulse to reward themselves after a hard workout, but if they had fun while working out on the other hand, this need doesn’t seem to emerge.

In conclusion: whatever you do, have some fun with it! This will help you eat better and in the long run reach your weight goals. Changing how you feel about exercising might seem hard, but try to bring that smile to your face. Listen to music, run in a beautiful place, do the activities you enjoy, or work out with a friend – anything that makes the workout seem less like a chore is likely to help you make those good food choices, and as an added bonus it will probably make your day better as well! Check out the article here.