You’ve probably heard all kinds of weight loss ideas. But Tetris? Unless rapidly moving your thumb around burns more calories that you’d think, there wouldn’t seem to be much to this. However, a new study shows that playing Tetris can, in fact, help you lose weight.
Tetris doesn’t burn many calories, it does however reduce cravings for food. One study texted participants 7 times a day for 1 week and asked them to fill out information about what they were craving (if anything) and how intense the craving was at that moment. Half the participants were also told to play the video game Tetris for 3 minutes and then reanalyze their craving levels.
The researchers found that participants experienced cravings during almost 50% of the samples times and almost 50% of these cravings were characterized as causing conflict for the participants. More importantly, researcher found that playing Tetris reduced cravings from an average of 70% to 56%. See below:
Why Does This Work?:
Researchers believe that cravings occur due to visualizing consuming the food or engaging the other craved activity.
Cravings are viewed as cognitive-emotional states involving embodied sensory imagery in the same modalities as the desired substance or activity. Motivation to use a drug or consume food is driven by the imagined experience of achieving that goal.
Tetris works because it occupies the limited visuospatial abilities of the mind, thus blocking any craving related imagery.
You don’t need to literally play Tetris when you feel a craving coming on. However, this research demonstrates how visuospatial distraction can significantly reduce cravings. So play Tetris or find another visuospatial task to occupy your mind! Good luck.
Skorka-Brown, Jessica, et al. “Playing Tetris decreases drug and other cravings in real world settings.” Addictive Behaviors 51 (2015): 165-170.