Food cravings can be a disaster to any type of weight loss diet effort, regardless of whether you are trying to eat more healthfully, to reduce your weight, or if you’re eating with any other specific purpose. When they come along, it can feel as though you have absolutely no control over whether or not you submit to the temptation, whatever it may be. Suddenly, before you know it, you’re eating that fast food burger, cheesecake, or that family-size bag of chips.
The good news is that the ability to overcome that craving is in your hands, in a most surprising form: Tetris. According to the results of a recent study that was conducted in the United Kingdom at Plymouth University, a few minutes of playing Tetris can actually bring the severity of your cravings down to a far more manageable level during your weight loss diet. According to the lead author of the study, cravings are something that typically lasts for only a few minutes, but during that time, it can be nearly unbearable to resist the temptation. Therefore, finding the right activity to fully distract the mind can bring the craving down to a level that can be tolerated, until it simply passes on its own.
This research was published in the Addictive Behaviors journal. In it, volunteers were asked to participate for a week, during which they were required to carry around an iPod Touch. The researchers would send texts to the participants on a regular basis, asking them about their cravings. They also asked the participants to check in with the researchers whenever they were feeling a powerful food craving.
Among the participants, half were required to play Tetris for 3 minutes after they had checked in with the researchers due to a powerful food craving. After playing the game, they were asked to report in, once again, describing their craving levels again.
Throughout the week, the participants who played Tetris experienced a reduction of 20 percent in the strength of cravings for food, but also addictive substances and other undesired behaviors.
The study showed that the design of the game of Tetris actually blocks the powerful imagery of the craved food, substance, or behavior because the same mental processes are required for looking at and manipulating the shapes on the screen in order to fit them into the necessary spaces. It is challenging for a person to concentrate on both things at once, and, therefore, the individual will usually shift attention to the game and away from the craving. This causes the craving to rapidly fade to a more manageable point, saving your weight loss diet.