A surprisingly easy trick to control overeating

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New research might motivate you to scrub your dirty dishes sooner rather than putting the dreaded chore off for later.

A study conducted at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and published in Environment and Behavior revealed that spending time in a cluttered and chaotic kitchen may cause us to consume more calories, Real Simple reported.

Researchers divided a group of 98 female participants into two groups. Members of one group were asked to write about a time when their lives felt in control. Participants in the other group wrote about a time when their lives felt out of control. Half of the participants then waited in a messy, hectic kitchen, complete with newspapers scattered around, dirty dishes in the sink and a ringing phone. The other half of participants waited in a kitchen that was clean, quiet and free of chaos. In both kitchens, bowls of cookies, crackers, and carrots were available for participants to eat.

In just 10 minutes, the participants who wrote about a time in their lives when they felt out of control consumed 53 more calories from cookies than the stressed-out women who entered the clean kitchen.

“Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets,” Lenny Vartanian, PhD., lead author of the study, said in a statement. “It seems to lead people to think, ‘Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn’t I be?’”

The participants who wrote about feeling in control ate approximately 100 fewer total calories in the cluttered kitchen than those who went in feeling stressed. Those results suggested to the researchers that meditation might be a helpful technique, although they recommended that cleaning was likely the easiest solution.

Need more motivation to wash the dishes? A previous study revealed that washing dishes encourages a state of mindfulness, which can lead to reduced stress and improved well-being.

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