Skip The Gym, Grab A Controller: Scientists Discover ‘Tetris’ Can Help You Lose Weight

The classic negative stereotype is that gamers are mostly out-of-shape chubzos because we spend all our time on the couch with our dang Marios and Master Chiefs, but new research says absorbing, visually stimulating video games (like, say, Tetris) could actually be used to keep your ass a manageable size.

One of the chief destroyers of diets is the dreaded craving — that sudden desire to run to the kitchen and make yourself a hot fudge sundae in a serving bowl. Well, scientists at the School of Psychology at Plymouth University theorized that these cravings are based on visual stimuli, and that engaging in an engaging visual task (like playing a video game) could help distract you from the craving until it passes. The researchers designed a simple test in which subjects waited until they had a food craving, then were either given Tetris to play, or forced to watch an never-ending computer loading screen — the people who played Tetris more or less forgot about their craving, while the folks who got stuck with the loading screen wanted to chew their arms off.

This all squares with my own experience. I rarely, if ever, eat while playing games and have “forgotten” more than my share of meals while in the midst of epic gaming sessions. Of course if you want to be in shape you do have to get off the couch sometimes and eat something other than Cool Ranch Doritos — video games aren’t a cure-all. Still, if you’re having a hard time sticking to your diet, keeping a phone or handheld with Tetris within arm’s reach might be a good idea.

via Discover