Want to lose weight? Try playing Tetris. No, really

Tetris CakesIf you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you probably know the evil that is the craving. It can strike anytime, is really hard to ignore, and can leave you with a bigger butt than you started with.

But what if there were a simple way to drown out the craving — one that was actually enjoyable? Well, these scientists are here to grant your very wish! They waited until participants were struck with cravings and told them to play Tetris.

And behold! Those who played that oh-so-seductive game experienced reduced cravings compared to their pitiable controls, who were stuck with a “Game Loading” screen.

Playing ‘Tetris’ reduces the strength, frequency and vividness of naturally occurring cravings.

Elaborated Intrusion Theory (EI) postulates that imagery is central to craving, therefore a visually based task should decrease craving and craving imagery. This study provides the first laboratory test of this hypothesis in naturally occurring, rather than artificially induced, cravings. Participants reported if they were experiencing a craving and rated the strength, vividness and intrusiveness of their craving. They then either played ‘Tetris’ or they waited for a computer program to load (they were told it would load, but it was designed not to). Before task completion, craving scores between conditions did not differ; after, however, participants who had played ‘Tetris’ had significantly lower craving and less vivid craving imagery. The findings support EI theory, showing that a visuospatial working memory load reduces naturally occurring cravings, and that Tetris might be a useful task for tackling cravings outside the laboratory. Methodologically, the findings show that craving can be studied in the laboratory without using craving induction procedures.

Or

You could try these tips.

If you’re desperately trying to squeeze in workouts and avoid your favorite high-calorie treats, it can seem like there’s nothing pain-free about it.

Yet while eating healthier and slipping in exercise does take some work, it really doesn’t have to require heroic effort. Making just a few simple lifestyle changes can pack a big weight loss punch over time.

When many of us are peacefully slumbering, Paula McClure, the owner of a spa in Dallas, is often jolted awake by what she refers to as her sleep committee. “The committee meets in my head at 3 a.m., and we run down a list of problems: all the things I didn’t get done that day, people I didn’t call back, decisions I’m worried about,” she says. The dark-of-the-night fretting may follow McClure into the daytime hours, often making her feel emotionally paralyzed. “My…
Read the Escape from the Worry Trap article > >
WebMD spoke to weight loss experts and everyday people who’ve figured out a few painless ways to lose weight — and keep it off. Here are their top tips on how to lose weight without sweating it too much.

Add, Don’t Subtract

Forget diet denial: Try adding foods to your diet instead of subtracting them.

Add in healthy goodies you really love, like deep-red cherries, juicy grapes, or crunchy snow peas. Slip those favorite fruits into your bag lunch and breakfast cereal; add the veggies into soups, stews, and sauces.

“Adding in really works, taking away never does,” says registered dietitian David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of 101 Optimal Life Foods, but do remember to keep an eye on overall calories. And don’t forget to add in something physical, too, whether it’s doing a few dance moves before dinner, shooting hoops, or taking a quick stroll.

Forget About Working Out

If the word “exercise” inspires you to creative avoidance, then avoid it. Maybe the trick to enjoying a workout may be to never call it working out.

There’s some truth to that,” Grotto tells WebMD, and once you start your not-calling-it-exercise plan, Grotto says you’ll discover “the way good health feels knocks down the roadblocks that were preventing you from exercising in the first place.

So burn calories and invigorate muscles by beachcombing, riding bikes, grass skiing, making snow angels, hiking, washing the car, playing Frisbee, chasing the dog around the yard, or even enjoying great sex. After all, a rose by any other name …

Go Walking

Walking when the weather’s nice is a super-easy way to keep fit, says Diane Virginias, a certified nursing assistant from New York. “I enjoy the seasons,” she says, adding that even when she’s short on time she’ll go out for a few minutes. “Even a five minute walk is a five minute walk.”

No sidewalks in your neighborhood? Try these tips for slipping in more steps:

Trade your power mower for a push version.
Park your car at the back of the lot.
Get out of the office building and enjoy walking meetings.
Sweep the drive or rake the leaves instead of using a leaf-blower.
Get off the bus a few stops earlier.
Hike the mall, being sure to hit all the levels.
Take the stairs every chance you get.
Sign up for charity walks.
Crank the music and get your heart rate up the next time you mop or vacuum.
It all adds up. If you walk twice a day for 10 minutes and try a few of these tips, you may find yourself with a low-impact, 30-minute workout easily tucked under your belt.

By Diane Umansky

 

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