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Think fun when exercising and you'll eat less later

Date:
July 9, 2014
Source:
Cornell Food & Brand Lab
Summary:
If you think of your next workout as a 'fun run' or as a well-deserved break, you'll eat less afterward, research has shown. However, if you think of it as exercise or as a workout you'll later eat more dessert and snacks, to reward yourself. For beginning or veteran exercisers, the bottom line is this: "Do whatever you can to make your workout fun. Play music, watch a video, or simply be grateful that you're working out instead of working in the office," said one author.

These studies point to one reason why people in exercise programs often find themselves gaining weight. According to Werle, "the notion is that some exercisers have a tendency to reward themselves by overeating after their workout.”
Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell Food & Brand Lab

Think of your next exercise workout as a "fun run" or as a well-deserved break, and you'll eat less afterward. Think of it as exercise or as a workout and you'll later eat more dessert and snacks to reward yourself.

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These new findings from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab study involved two studies where adults were led on a 2 km walk around a small lake and were either told it was going to be an exercise walk or a scenic walk. In the first study, 56 adults completed their walk and were then given lunch. Those who believed they had been on an exercise walk served and ate 35% more chocolate pudding for dessert than those who believed they had been on a scenic walk.

In the second study, 46 adults were given mid-afternoon snacks after their walk. Those thinking they taken an exercise walk ate 206 more calories of M&Ms, which was over twice as much -- 124% more -- than those who had been told they were on a scenic walk. "Viewing their walk as exercise led them to be less happy and more fatigued," says lead author, Carolina Werle, professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France.

Together, these studies point to one reason why people in exercise programs often find themselves gaining weight. According to Werle, the notion is that some exercisers have a tendency to reward themselves by overeating after their workout."

For beginning or veteran exercisers, the bottom line is this: "Do whatever you can to make your workout fun. Play music, watch a video, or simply be grateful that you're working out instead of working in the office," said Brian Wansink, author and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. "Anything that brings a smile, is likely to get you to eat less," he added.

The article, published this month in Marketing Letters, was coauthored by Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University and Dr. Collin Payne of New Mexico State University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell Food & Brand Lab. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carolina O. C. Werle, Brian Wansink, Collin R. Payne. Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking. Marketing Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11002-014-9301-6

Cite This Page:

Cornell Food & Brand Lab. "Think fun when exercising and you'll eat less later." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709095929.htm>.
Cornell Food & Brand Lab. (2014, July 9). Think fun when exercising and you'll eat less later. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709095929.htm
Cornell Food & Brand Lab. "Think fun when exercising and you'll eat less later." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140709095929.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

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