Many people have trouble losing weight, even when they exercise every day. But researchers in France have found a simple way to enhance the weight-losing benefits of physical activity.
In several studies, scientists have found that when you exercise, you often eat more food afterward, negating many of the weight-loss benefits of movement. After working out, your appetite hormones may climb along with your serving sizes.
The way to offset the hunger effect: Think of your workouts as pleasurably fun excursions. Don’t work out. Fun out instead.
In an experiment to see how fun and pleasure might counter the hunger-boosting effect of exercise, the researchers had exercisers think of their workouts as more recreation than drudgery. If the people in the study were going for a walk, they were instructed to think of it as a scenic tour. At another time, exercisers were told to listen to music and just enjoy themselves. (As a control group, others were merely told to monitor how much exertion they expended during their activity.)
The study showed that people who focus on the fun side of exercise eat less afterward than those who toil through endurance exercise as a chore to be endured. The scientists believe that this attitude makes exercise its own reward. If you’re having fun, you don’t have to reward yourself with bonus amounts of food after you’re done exercising.