In Lesson 3, Check-in 1, Lark reminded you to keep your phone on you and log your physical activity so you could stay aware of it and keep track of your trends. Gardening, sweeping, and washing windows and floors are just a few activities that can burn calories and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, so they are worth telling your Lark coach about.
What if there were a way to get more mileage out of your activities without changing one thing about them? It turns out that you may be able to lose more weight while doing the same activities, for the same length of time, and at the same intensity. All you have to do is change your attitude!
Hotel Maid Activity Conundrum
Harvard researchers Ellen Langer, a social psychologist, and graduate student Alia Crum saw something that did not make much sense to them, and made an amazing discovery when they investigated. They wondered why hotel maids on average reported that they did not exercise much. Over one-third of them said they did not exercise at all, and another third said they did not exercise much. This was puzzling, since most of them met or exceeded national exercise recommendations and were clearly physically active for hours each day while on the job, moving equipment, vacuuming, and scrubbing.
Perceptions Predicted Weight
The researchers started by simply making observations about maids’ perceptions of their activity levels and certain health indicators. They found that maids who felt that they were physically active were more likely to have lower body weights and lower waist-to-hip ratios than maids who did not think they were physically active, even though they all did the same job. (Higher waist-to-hip ratios are an indicator of unhealthy visceral or abdominal body fat).
Mindful Maid Study on Weight Loss
The Harvard researchers decided to investigate further. They divided 84 maids in six different hotels into 2 groups. One group was the control or placebo group. The other group was the experimental group. Study personnel told these maids the truth about their physical activity – basically, how high it was and how it compared to recommendations.
Differences between the two groups were apparent after four weeks. Unlike maids in the control group, maids in the information group had lost almost 2 lb., reduced their body fat percentage, lowered their waist-to-hip ratio, and decreased blood pressure by 10 points systolic and 5 points diastolic.
Be More Mindful to Lose More Weight
You can apply this lesson in your own weight loss and health journey by being aware of how much activity you are doing. Lark can help by helping you track and reminding you to get active and to log it all. You deserve all possible rewards for your activity, so change your mindset and chase those rewards!