Fitness

The Sit-On-Your-A** Diet

Researchers may have discovered a way to lose weight without lifting a finger

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You should've seen the jaws drop in the office when this news hit: women in a controlled study watched virtual versions of themselves work out, and they actually lost weight.

Allow us to repeat that, for good measure: The women didn't actually work out. They just watched virtual doppelgangers sweat it out and make healthy food choices. And they lost an average of 3.5 pounds in four months.

Related: 5 Playlists That'll Actually Make You Want to Work Out

The women, who were overweight and had been unsuccessful in other weightloss efforts, created avatars based on their own skin color and body shape. Researchers from The George Washington University Department of Prevention and Community Health created DVDs of each woman's avatar engaging in different healthy activities, like walking on a treadmill, grocery shopping, and eating smaller portions. The women who watched their avatars exercise once a week for 15 minutes lost an average of 3.5 pounds over the course of four months.

Sign us up, please!

Ah, but wait. Of course there's a catch, or at least a valuable lesson: the researchers note that this isn't a scientific thumbs-up for going couch potato. The point is that observation can trigger motivation -- actually seeing a version of yourself eating right, getting more exercise and moving your butt makes it seem less painful or intimidating, particularly if you've had trouble losing weight in the past.

Next up: we'd like to see if there's a way to win the lottery by virtual observation ...
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