Thinking negatively about exercising can actually make it harder to lose weight. If you find you are in the gym all the time exercising but not losing any pounds it may be your thought process getting you down.
Studies show that people that go into the gym with a mindset that they are just exercising will typically reward themselves with extra calories more so than people who walk into the gym looking for some fun.
The study was conducted at Cornell University by Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Carolina Werle. They conducted the study with a bunch of middle aged women. One group was told that they would be exercising and were told to keep track of how hard they worked. The second group was told that they were just going for a walk and to listen to music. Those people were told to rate the music and not worry about the walking at all but to just have fun.
After the exercise they were treated to a pasta lunch where they were told to help themselves to beverages and desserts. They had a choice between soft drinks and water or applesauce and chocolate pudding.
The interesting part of the study was conducted during lunch. Both groups ate the same amount of pasta but they found that the people that were exercising felt the need to reward themselves with pudding and soft drinks. While the groups that had fun drank water and ate apple sauce for the most part.
The people that walked for fun actually had more fun and stayed in a good mood afterwards. Even though the exercisers walked the same distance they felt the exercise was more work than anything.
Researchers suggested that it was because of the mood in which the subjects were in prior to walking that changed how they felt afterwards.
The researchers also wanted to make sure that the subjects weren’t more jolly because of the music they got to listen to. So they conducted another test with new people including some men. Two groups walked the same trail again this time however one group walked for exercise while the other group was told they were sightseeing. Afterwards as a treat both groups were given M&M’s and told it was a thank you.
Although both groups ate up the M&M’s the ones who had just finished “exercising” ate twice as much M&M’s than the subjects who just went sightseeing.
Researchers did the test based off of something called self-licensing which is the tendency to need to reward yourself for hard work. Giving yourself a positive for doing something you dislike. Hence how cheat days always become part of a new diet.
The study revealed that we could avoid the extra calories involved in cheating on a diet by walking into the gym with a positive idea of what you’re getting out of exercise. Instead of going in hating what you are doing go in with fun in mind and you will have no need to reward yourself later.