Thursday, September 04, 2008

think thin

How many times have you had this thought, "I can gain weight just thinking about food." Plenty?

Yeah, me too.

Now, how many times have you had this thought, "I can lose weight just thinking about exercise."

Me either.

Until tonight -- when I was browsing PsyBlog's
post citing a Harvard study done by Crum & Langer* showing that simply thinking about exercise helps with weight loss.

My kinda study.

Apparently, as I lie here pecking away at my keyboard and think hard enough about the exercise I did this morning and appreciate how healthy it was for me, I may actually lose more weight than if I didn't think about it.

And it doesn't have to be real, bonified "put on my sweats and monitor my heartrate" exercise. I can think about the everyday kinds of physical activity I did this week that elevated my heart rate, such as making beds, cooking, doing laundry, getting dressed, walking up and down grocery store aisles, racing to the kids' bedrooms to catch them goofing off when they should be doing their homework, and all such things in the ordinary life of a mom.

BadScience summarizes the study like this: "...amazingly, despite no change in actual exercise levels ... simply being told about the value of what [participants] were already doing caused a significant change for the better on every single one of the objective health measures recorded: weight, body fat, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure."

So. Let's go people. Listen to those smart Harvard elites. Let's fully appreciate the exercise we've already done and see what happens. Let's give ourselves credit for the healthy choices we've made this week. While we are laying on our arses. And wait for those pounds to ooze out of our pores.

Check back in a week and let me know how it's workin' for ya.

Oh, and lest you think I'm encouraging more exercise in the form of housework, you would be el wrongo.

*Crum AJ Langer EJ. Mind-Set Matters: Exercise and the Placebo Effect. Psychological Science 18(2) 165-171, 2007.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'll try anything!

Mrs. G. said...

Just what I needed to hear. I'm reading Trollope's new book too. I love her.

flutter said...

Housework? I'm sorry, what? is that english?

Madge said...

i'm thinking, i'm thinking.

it worked!! i'm a size eight again.


Anonymous said...

Ohhhh....we have to have already done it. Darn. I was going to think about marathons.

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Good. Because I'm *resting* my sore back today.

I've always liked sweating my brain better anyway.

(Just say no to housework.)

Mary said...

I still get the feeling that in my case it would take waaaaaaay more than thinking about my activities.

The activities are all well and good but I do need to do more than my housework etc to get the weight off.


JCK said...

I am liking this study. Very much!

GoteeMan said...

I feel thinner already...

J/ (

Anonymous said...

Best news I've heard in ages!

So if I think about the exercise I got in wandering over to the fridge and getting some cheese out and then the vigorous chewing I did to eat it, I might burn off the calories I consumed in actually eating it. Wow! I must go get another chunk! A heavier bit maybe to work more muscles both at the time and later.

shrink on the couch said...

jenn -- me too. I'm at that point.

mrs g -- I finished Mistress and now am reading Other People's Children. Which of her books should I read next? I have "Best of Friends" but read mixed reviews so I don't know.

flutter -- haha. I hear ya.

madge -- size eight, I haven't seen that since I was eight years old, I bet.

onebrick -- yes the actually done it part is the big downfall

lisa -- unfortunately, as my family will tell you, I say no to housework ALL THE TIME.

mary -- Maybe what happened in this study, this is my pure, shoot-from-hip conjecture, but maybe the participants felt encouraged and hopeful. "Oh, maybe I AM doing healthy things. Maybe I too have a chance to slim down." And this hope and feel-goodness lead to small behavior changes at home.. eating less, for example. People who feel better about themselves do less stress eating (or in theory, this hasn't panned out where I am concerned... I am an equal opportunity over eater, whether I feel great or like sh_t)

jck --glad to hear it

gotee man -- wish I could say the same. still feel fat and lumpish.

rb -- exactly the logic I would apply

HP said...

I'm ruminating myself away!

Dr. Deb said...

Great, great post!!!!

Vodka Mom said...

okay, so I'm sitting here losing weight......can you tell?

can you tell NOW????

great post.

stephanie said...

This is most excellent news considering I spend every fall Sunday sitting on my ass for approximately 9 hours.

So, I just need to reflect on how many times I climbed the stairs at school and I'm golden? Right on.

Slutty McWho? said...

Can I think myself healthier and slightly fatter, too? I've been stressed out recently and so haven't been eating as much - or as healthily - as I should have been. I've lost weight, but I look a bit gaunt and scrawny. Not a good look.

dkuroiwa said...

I am all for the 'power of positive thinking' and like jenn, will try anything.
I'm probably already one step ahead in the thinking process....i think about exercise a lot...don't actually do it, but i sure as heck think about it!
i am so excited about this! :-D