Have Fun, Eat Less


Attitude is everything, and your mental approach to workouts could mean the difference between achieving a weight-loss goal and falling short. Research from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York, found that subjects who viewed a 2-kilometer (roughly 1¼ mile) walk around a small lake as formal exercise proceeded to eat considerably more of the junk food offered afterward — 35 percent more chocolate pudding in one trial and 124 percent more M&M’s in the next — than those who thought of the activity as a “fun” scenic walk. One interpretation of these results is that humans have a tendency to believe they’ve earned the right to pig out if they’ve worked out that day. This can easily sabotage a fat-burning goal because a plate of french fries or huge dessert will probably add more calories to your day than the earlier workout expended. Our simple (yet sometimes hard to follow) advice for avoiding this tendency: Try to find exercise activities that you enjoy, not ones you think of as drudgery that can mislead you into thinking it’s OK to be gluttonous afterward.